My life has been such a whirlwind I’ve barely had time for any on-line presence. It always seems that just when you think the week ahead is looking like plain-sailing and you might actually have the chance to tackle the overdue tax reports the accountant has been asking for since October, that another crisis rears its ugly head.
Miss Arabella was due to start uni today. I’ve been counting the days. But two days before she was to start her Arts/Law degree, she was asked if she could work one shift at a nightclub/restaurant. They were desperately short-staffed and they would be so appreciative if she could drop everything and help them out.
‘I don’t know about that, Arabella; it’s your brother’s birthday tomorrow and he’ll want you up early so he can open his presents and we do have 16 coming for lunch to celebrate. And are you sure you don’t want to rest? Your face is still swollen from your oral surgery‘.
‘Don’t worry, mum; I’m fine; he said I can be the first to leave so I’ll be home just after midnight’.
We gave her a lift to the restaurant and in the car she said, ‘Mum, I don’t know why I’m wearing these heels; I should have worn your flats’. And I looked and she had on a pair of impossibly high heels. ‘How are you going to stand up all night in those?’
‘I’ll be all right’. As she got out of the car I yelled, ‘And be careful; uni starts Monday’.
I was woken at 2.30am with the phone ringing. I just knew it would be Arabella. ‘Mum, I’m in hospital. I fell over at work and hurt my knee’.
‘Oh for heaven’s sake. What’s wrong with your knee?’
‘I don’t know’.
‘I’ll get your father to come and get you’.
‘No, I have to stay in overnight. I might need an operation’.
‘What are you talking about?’
‘It’s fine; it’s just bleeding’.
‘Should we come in and see you?’
‘No, I’ll be okay. Just come in the morning’. Then Drew spoke to the nurse who said her knee had been cut by glass and the wound would probably need suturing in theatre but that she wouldn’t be going to theatre until the morning’. We were confused and dazed but tried to get back to sleep.
In the morning I phoned her and she said she’d been given morphine and endone for the pain. I thought that sounded pretty heavy-duty pain for a cut to her leg so asked what happened. She said that at around midnight she was carrying a tray of clean glasses up a few stairs when someone accidentally banged into her causing her to lose balance. The tray of glasses crashed on the floor and she fell on her knee on top of the broken glass. That sounded more serious than what I was told the night before. I said we would come in and see her before everyone arrived for lunch but she said she was going to have a sleep and to come in later.
Well…it was the little guy’s 10th birthday and the show had to go on so I buzzed around getting ready for a sit-down lunch for 16. I phoned her at around 12md and all was well but she was still waiting to go to theatre.
After the lunch we beetled into the hospital. Arabella was now in a four-bed ward and looking a tad anxious. Still hadn’t been to theatre, was tired of being nil-by-mouth and was complaining of pain. There was a heavy bandage around her right knee and her leg was black, bruised and swollen.
We waited and waited and waited and whenever we asked what was happening with the surgery we were told, ‘Don’t know’.
That wore thin. I went down to reception and said, ‘I realise there is only one emergency theatre and I realise the list can change with new cases with a higher priority arriving through the doors but at what stage does my daughter become a priority? You can’t keep her nil-by-mouth for forever’. Due to the lengthy emergency list, extra staff were called in and a second theatre was made available.
Arabella went down for surgery at around 7.3opm. She asked, ‘Will you still be here mum when I come back to the ward?’
‘Yes, I’ll be here’. So she was wheeled away and Drew took the birthday boy home and I waited in the lounge area. Two hours later her surgeon phoned and said, ‘It’s all gone very well and your daughter is waking up in recovery’. He told me Arabella is very lucky; that it could have been so much worse as in, severing an artery. He had to repair a severed ligament and a severed tendon and in one place the glass had gone right down to the bone, damaging the outer layer. He then had to piece together some of the skin and flesh on her shin and as some was very mushed, he cut it away and then joined the remaining pieces together. He said she may need plastic surgery down the track. She is in a splint for six-eight weeks and will need crutches and maybe also a wheelchair. After that she’ll need rehabilitation with physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.
Arabella came back to the ward at around 11pm. She was very groggy with eyes rolling around in her head. I told her all was well and that I’d see her in the morning.
I was telling a friend who said, ‘She’s been in hospital ever since you got back from Vanuatu. I think you need to go back’. I said, ‘Did I tell you she also went to hospital in Vanuatu?’ But that’s a story for another day.
This week I am bedside at the hospital. Miss Arabella has been distressed about missing the start of her combined degree but I’m sure there is a way she can keep up to date on that front. And as for the little guy, well he said he had the best birthday ever.