Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The Guilty Feeling of Dumb Innocence
Knowing she would freak out, I decided to ring the wife whilst driving there and get it over and done with. She hates speaking to me when I'm driving and using the hands free and always keeps the conversations short, so I obviously use this tactic a lot. Such was her maternal panic that not even this was working, so I had to resort to beeping and shouting "Get out the way" to imaginary road users. That did the trick.
As I parked the car and started carrying him into the hospital, my stomach was full of butterflies and my head was full of paranoia. Not paranoid thoughts, just pure plain head splitting paranoia. I seemed to be visiting this place so often that I should get a season ticket. I'm sure the Security Guard nodded with a frown of recognition, and I still had to face the receptionist. I tried to calm myself down as I answered her numerous questions, told myself I was being stupid. I couldn't see her screen but I could imagine it now showing all of our details, all our numerous visits. I know I'm a good loving parent, I do believe in a smacked bum, but I don't believe in beating a child. I needed to stop panicking, it would all be fine.
"Was you alone in the house with the child when the incident happened?" This one brought me up short. Would they have asked a woman that question? When did the accident become an incident? I guess I should be thankful that she referred to him as the child and not the victim. I bit my tongue and gave neither a smart arse nor a stinging retort, just a feeble "Yes". I think I just made myself look more guilty, her eyes have changed I'm sure of it. Maybe I should be getting angry with the delay, but I know they're only doing their job. But one of their jobs is flushing out child abusers, and did I now look like one?
I was eventually directed to the Paediatric unit, and took the long walk with a sense of dread and trepidation. Most parents would feel this way on that walk, but normally because they were worried about whatever accident had befallen their child. I knew Mate was fine, they just had to un-Humpty Dumpty him, maybe that's why the paranoia was so bad. Maybe if I was doing the parent panic foxtrot, pacing up and down waiting to find out what was wrong with him, I wouldn't have even noticed it?
We sat down with the Triage Nurse and I answered another series of questions as she examined his head. They were a little more probing this time, dwelling more on previous visits, particularly the bruising episode. Mate had been 6 months old when I brought him in with some unexplained bruises on his arm. He hadn't fallen or anything, it just didn't make sense. That was the start of 48 hours of testing, monitoring and questioning. The Ward Sister could barely hide her contempt for me and what she thought I had done. That was until the second day, when she herself left him bruised after a straight forward blood test. Whilst she never actually apologised for her suspicions, she did offer me a cup of tea for the first time. They never did find the reason he was bruising so easily, but it stopped after a few days and never repeated itself, touch wood.
I knew I should stop talking, surely rambling on and on just made me sound nervous, and what did I have to be nervous about? I hated the over analyzing part of my brain, wishing it would just give it a rest and shut the hell up. Triage Nurse gave way to an actual Doctor who was thankfully short on small talk, and big on gluing the boy back together. I was sent on my way with the usual concussion warnings and some leaflets, none of which were about abuse.
As I escaped from the hospital, for escaping is how it felt, I did let out a sigh of relief, both for me and the boy. He was fixed up and showing no ill effects, and I had narrowly avoided a paranoia induced breakdown. I decided to reward us both when we got home, him with an ice pole and me with an ice cold beer.
Whilst escaping any signs of concussion, Mate did however have a couple of unusual side affects to his 'incident'. I was watching Erin Brockovitch the other morning when I noticed that Mate had stopped what he was doing and was intently watching as well. The train set that he had been playing with whilst watching Mickey Mouse lay forgotten besides him. My son had fallen in love with Julia Roberts. Although to be fair Julia does wear a lot of very low cut tops in that film, so maybe he just thought it was lunchtime. He also stopped wearing his sister's old pink boots that day. I can only conclude that his love of all things effeminate was knocked out of him and a love of the feminine form replaced it. That's my boy.