Some days in a child’s life are better than others.
A few years ago we were invited to Archie’s school for a dinner function. It was the annual get together of the parents of the boys in Archie’s boarding house. Each year group had to put on a performance whether they wanted to or not. All the boys in Archie’s group were reluctant except of course, Archie, who couldn’t have been happier. He threw himself with great enthusiasm into the task and rallied the boys telling them he’d written a short piece set to music and he’d cast them all into various roles and Archie would run the rehearsals and direct it and organise the music and take care of costumes and of course, have the lead role.
The night of the big event rolled around and Carl and I were wearing our Sunday best and we were seated at a table with an excellent view of the stage. Just after the buffet roast-and-carvery meal of mediocrity came the announcement that the boys were to go backstage and get ready to perform.
The lights went down, the music started and on came Archie’s group of boys but there was no Archie and that confused me seeing he’d told us he had the lead role. And the boys on stage just stood there while the music played looking confused and doing nothing. Then the music was stopped and there was an announcement, ‘Ladies and Gentleman, one of the boys in Year 8 has a bleeding nose so we’ll now have the Item from Year 9’. And as Archie hadn’t emerged on to the stage I imagined it must have been my son who had the bleeding nose.
But then I felt a tap on my shoulder and I looked up to see an ashen looking woman shaking like a leaf. With a quivering voice she asked, ‘Are you Archie’s mum?’ And I said yes and she said, ‘There’s been an accident, you’d better come quick’. And I told the others at the table that I wouldn’t be long and that I’d be straight back.
But I didn’t get back to my seat at the table with the fabulous view of the stage and neither did Carl.
Because when we went backstage we saw a concussed figure slumped against a wall in the corridor covered in blood. He wasn’t moving and his eyes were closed. It was Archie. I couldn’t imagine what had happened to him. With blood all over his face and soaking his shirt and swimming on the floor around him, it looked like there’d been a stabbing.
The Stage Manager told me that when the boys went backstage Archie ran down a corridor to get the music. Another boy was running down a different corridor and as the corridors intersected the boys collided at high speed, head-on. Archie’s teeth hit the other boy’s forehead resulting in one of Archie’s teeth being forced onto the roof of his mouth and three others were through his lips. It was the bloodiest mess I had ever seen.
The paramedics were called and we left the function in an ambulance.
Archie was taken to the Children’s Hospital and we had an ‘all-nighter’ in the Trauma Department. Archie had about 60 sutures to his lips and some temporary braces to try and hold his teeth within a normal range.
- Meanwhile the other boy was taken to the school’s hospital where he stayed for four days being treated for a back injury.
The next year at the very same event a decision had been made that there would be no Items.
Archie’s recovery took more than four years and involved numerous visits to a Paediatric Trauma Dentist (who knew there was such a thing?) and braces to correct the alignment of his teeth but, they were all saved!
- Do episodes of paediatric trauma happen in your family too?
While Archie was convalescing he was on a pureed diet because he couldn’t chew. This is one of the ‘meals’ I used to make for him.
Malted Vanilla Milkshake
Degree of Difficulty: 1/5
Cost: Minimal as these ingredients would be found in most kitchens.
Serves: One invalid patient with a little left over for a sleep-deprived mother suffering from shock
1 cup organic milk
2 large scoops good quality vanilla ice cream
1 organic egg
1 tbspn malt extract
1 tspn vanilla extract
Place all ingredients in a blender whiz for 1 minute.