Monday, 16 March 2015

Hell. Met.

On Saturday night I was cooking what were going to be the worlds best hamburgers for my boys when my 13-year old son Max came off his skateboard just up the road from my house. Badly. Wearing no helmet. I heard him crying in his bedroom and went in. Took in the badly skinned knees and elbows. But when I saw the size of that bruised and bloodied lump on his temple? And the way he was shaking and crying and his friend told me Max had been knocked unconscious .... calmness set in in the way it only does in an extreme emergency. All boys into the car. All I could think about was how I had been HARANGUING him all day to put his helmet on.

"Yeah yeah."

Yeah. I put my brown workboots on with my tracksuit pants and cracked Roccos shins so hard against the car lifting him up he started crying too and then I couldn't find my car keys so I ran around the house shouting CAR KEYS CAR KEYS and called an ambulance and got through but she told me she wasn't sure whether it would just be quicker if I drove him the five minutes up to the hospital anyway. I found my keys and hung up on her and got into the car and said over and over, "Everything is going to be ok." 

Not believing it for a second. I think we got there in there in three minutes. Max was getting wobbly, could hardly walk, I parked illegally, and rushed to the front of reception at emergency and shouted MY SON FELL OFF HIS SKATEBOARD NO HELMET HE NEEDS A DOCTOR RIGHT NOW. And they sent him and his friend and a still-crying Rocco inside while I filled out paperwork while presumably my sons brain was being filled up with fluid oh god this is why you should never love it all just gets taken away.

Medicare card, health insurance, forms - finally they let me in and he was just LYING there in bed, in pain, nobody really paying attention. Squeaky wheel gets the most oil? I was a terrified angry bulldozer.


I don't go to places in my head where something happens to my kids anymore, too awful to contemplate explicitly because of the shocking suicide of my brother which has ripped me up into tiny pieces.

I grabbed a nurse, begging her, he needs a doctor NOW this happened to a friend of mine and her son almost died and needed a craniotomy and was in a coma. I grabbed her hand, turned away, "His brain could be filling up with fluid right now every second please help us." And she was SO LOVELY like most nurses always are and she grabbed me back and said "This is exactly how I would be reacting too. The doctors are on their way right now. He looks stable. We will do everything we can. Now go and sit next to him and hold his hand."

So I did. Made the exact same murmuring noises like when he was a baby and he still is, always will be, my baby. The love I have for my sons is all I have left. Flurry of nurses and doctors and Max falling asleep and nearly vomiting and all this happening while two people were being scheduled for the mental health ward, shouting, laughing, crying right in the room next to us. It was too much for my six-year old Roccos curiosity he HAD to know what "those crazy people were doing mum" and went to have a look but came back really pissed off.

"The security guard just told me to get out of the way."

One of the nurses said above the noise of the people with the pain in their brain that at least this was better than TV.

Almost told her it used to be me.

They gave Max panadol, did neurological tests every half hour. He passed. His responses and answers and pupils were good. We had to wait there for four hours and if there was the slightest change it'd be straight down to the Nepean Hospital Neurology and I remember wondering if they would helicopter him there. It would be quicker. Helicopters could help stall a young boys brain from filling up with fluid, surely.

Things became quieter, more calm. The only person whose phone didn't go through to messagebank was my friend Megans and we NEVER phone each other because we both hate it so she answered with "Are you ok?" And I said no Max came off his skateboard and I was just cooking fucking burgers Megan and we have to wait and when I rang the ambulance a SPIDER crawled on my shoulder and my Megan, she knows loss and she knows panic and I wish I were part of her blood family because as I was telling her all this in a rush yet calmly I simply said "Megan. If anything happens to my boys. If one thing happens ....."

She cut in she's a bossy librarian she does that thank god and she told me that Max would be FINE he would be fine Eden she sees things like this happen all the time at school where was the lump, how many hours had it been, he is in safe hands. And she knew too, the stakes of something happening to one of my boys were just to big to even think of because of every other thing that has happened until that point. She calmed me. Max increasingly became more alert and stopped crying and got EVERY card right and pointed at his nose and back super quick and he had full-function of his body and at the very moment I realised he might be ok, I got my period and almost fainted.

Eventually, years later we got home and my son and his friend ate cold hamburgers and dissected what happened. "You weren't even going that fast - there was a dip in the road! You didn't even know who I was!" And they continued the sleepover, watched the horror movie and ate lollies while I tucked Rocco up in bed so late but it didn't matter.

Nothing matters in times like that. Not people you loved using your own mental health against you, not splitting up a marriage, not one thing you yourself are feeling or going through or growing through. Not the stupidly dramatic huge anxiety attack I had in the middle of the night the other week. Nothing matters, nothing matters but my boys. And it's up to me to teach them the things they need to know before I go but it's also up to them to stick around so I can make it so.

I've lost too much. They cannot go.

I got home and even though today is Monday, I think I'm still in shock and it it hasn't hit me yet. I am AWESOME in a crisis. But give me a fairweather day where I feel uselessness beyond anything you can imagine and I fall apart at the seams over and over and over again.

For a few weeks now, everything has caught up with me and I've felt so scared, confused, misunderstood. There's about seventeen highly demanding and taxing things happening at once, too big to write. I have wondered, where does strength come from? After you run out? Because I ran out of strength. I've also been betrayed, falsely accused, double-crossed, and been made out to be crazy. Probably because I am - we all are to some extent. But I love my boys. To the brim. And I'll fight so much that I've had to let go of pursuing truth in order to keep them.

My brother died. I fell apart. Excuse me while I sit on the fucking floor for a while, yes, STILL .... because people who do not not know the hell of the well where true grief lies, clawing at your heart every second? There's no point in trying to make them understand anymore.

I let a lot of people go. I'm angry, sometimes lost, always that bit broken. But I realised it just in one second finally - I choose strength. It doesn't come to me from some mystical place that I bow down to or crawl on my hands and knees. I choose to be the strong. Sometimes I look around and I'm the strongest person I know. Sometimes I'm in Uganda for World Vision and I'm shocked at such intense strength of other humans and it makes me feel feelings I can't even name. Seeing other people be strong. Gives me hope. I've known my whole life I had to take care of myself.

Held him close and told him calmly the next day that if I EVER see him not wearing a helmet again I will destroy his scooter, skateboard AND bike. He knows I'm not joking. 

So we'll see what happens next. I'm getting through the old cliched one day at a time. Just this one day I concentrate on. The utter freedom of honestly not caring what anybody thinks of me anymore is one of the most liberating things I have ever felt. I don't care what or who you think I am or what you think I've done because I know the truth and that's good enough for me.

I've slept on a mattress on the floor in my sons bedroom at night since it happened. My boys sleep together on the bed. I'm freezing - still no proper heater or internet or television in this new house. I wish more people cared about their jobs like nurses did.

But I had a heater in the bedroom and I could hear both my boys breathing in and out and that's all that mattered.

For a while now I can't sleep, eat, do much. I missed a few days at college but I'll catch up. I'm learning extraordinary things and I'll just go with it, tell myself of COURSE I can do assessments! My class is full of amazing, worthwhile, caring people. Some are annoying. I'm sure I'm annoying to some.

On our first week there we had to pick a postcard and correlate it to why we chose to study Community Services and when it came to my turn I showed the class my card of a woman on fire and I said REALLY loudly,

"I'm here to fuck shit up."

And I am. Inside every single person is something buried deep within us that is so extraordinary. Most people don't dig hard enough. Or give up. Or pretend it's not there. But it's there. And even while battling so much shit right now I'm getting my stuff out, in whatever way I can, while I can.

And as I listened to my sons breathing and coughing in that bed I thanked whoever the fuck was in charge even though I do believe in random things for no reason at all - I said thank you anyway. Asked for protection and care with complete abandon. My sons brain is healing and he will be fine. I still got stuff to do. And I finally listened to every bit of this song. I'm very particular about my musical experiences so it had to be the acoustic version backstage.

Hozier is right - we were born sick.

"No Masters or Kings 
When the Ritual begins 
There is no sweeter innocence 
than our gentle sin 

In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene 
Only then I am Human 
Only then I am Clean 
Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. 
Take me to church I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies 
I'll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife 
Offer me that deathless death Good God, let me give you my life."

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