Friday was the last day of work for me before I began summer holidays. So exciting! As is our family tradition, it was Friday, so we headed down to Vancouver as we do every other Friday night. This time, we headed to Stanley Park, specifically. This is our favourite place to go as a family. It’s just so beautiful and going there each week, really makes us realize how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful place.
Unfortunately, this Friday night included an accident that would end up in the emergency ward. My seven-year-old daughter was being her usual monkey-self on the monkey bars. This time, however, she was trying something new. She was trying to skip 2 of the bars (she’s already mastered skipping on bar). She made her way back and forth on the monkey bars a couple of times, but as she was turning around at the end, she slipped and fell. She landed on her tailbone and let out a very loud scream. She was holding her arm. On her way down, as she fell, she slammed her elbow into the platform she stood on when getting onto the monkey bars.
It was not good.
We tried to assess the situation, asking Trista to see if she could bend her elbow. She straightened out her affected arm and bent it – not flinching. Hmmmmm….this made us wonder about the seriousness of her injury. We decided to make our way home. Once home, we had another look at her arm and was surprised to see just how swollen it had become. A trip to the ER was in our near future. After a quick change (into something a little warmer), Trista and I were off to the hospital.
We didn’t have to wait too long before we were triaged, had x-rays taken, and then was told that Trista had indeed suffered a break. She had broken her elbow. I’d never heard of such a thing. She would need surgery, but would have to wait until the next morning for that to happen. She had an IV inserted for pain relief medicine to be given. And then, I helped bend her arm into place so the doctor and nurse could put on the temporary cast for the night.
We had a fairly good night. Trista was being given a lot of pain relief. The nurses were wonderful and even set up a bed for me in Trista’s room. Trista showed a great deal of strength and courage. I was so proud of her.
For me, the most difficult part of this whole situation took place the following day. The porter came to get Trista to wheel her for surgery at about 11:30am. I went with them, talking with Trista along the way. We stopped outside the operating rooms and talked there for a little while, waiting for the surgeon and the anesthesiologist to arrive. They arrived along with a couple of surgical nurses. They chatted with us for about 10 minutes. I knew what they were doing. They were making small talk, laughing and joking with us, trying to make both Trista and I comfortable with them. The succeeded.
It was time for them to take my little girl away. Time to give her medicine to put her to sleep so that the surgery could be completed. I didn’t want her to go. I wanted to be with her. I knew I had to be strong and let her go. I knew she would be safe. I knew she was in good hands. I knew it was necessary. I kissed her and told her I loved her. She returned the sentiments. She was so brave. I could see she was a bit worried, but she held it together. She was so strong. The doctors and nurses continued talking with her as I watched them stroll her away from me. I remained there looking on. Watching my little girl go to surgery. I couldn’t hold it together any longer. I couldn’t hold the tears in any more. They had to come out and they did.
As I waited, and cried, I thought about our final minutes together. I thought about how strong she had become. She had grown up so much since she started Grade 1 in the fall. I thought about all the days she cried at the very beginning of grade 1. I thought about the times when change, like having a Teacher on Call when her teacher was absent, was so difficult for her. I thought about all the times she tried to be so brave and in control, but couldn’t manage to keep the tears away.
And here we were, at the hospital, her with a broken arm, her being taken away from me into an unknown place, knowing that she was going to be put to sleep to have some unknown doctors fix her arm. Here she was with a brave outer exterior, trying to be strong. Trying not to worry. Trying to be courageous. She succeeded much more than I did in all of these pursuits. Here I was, after they pushed her away from me, with tears rolling down my cheeks and worry in my heart.
It was then that I learned how much my daughter has grown up over this past year. And, while I am glad she has become the strong, brave, courageous girl she is today, it also makes me somewhat sad that she’s growing up.
My daughter got through the surgery with no difficulties. She has remained courageous and brave through this entire process.
I think I could learn a thing or two from her.
Here are a few more photos of Trista’s ordeal.
1. In recovery, after surgery, with her new friend, Jewel. This was the softest thing I could find in the hospital gift shop.
2. Still in Recovery.
3. Back in her room, watching a movie.
4. Going home. She’s not too happy that she can’t put on her shirt and has to wear her sweater like this.
5. Home at last, with her big blue cast, relaxing, watching a DVD on the computer.