Why is it after an upsetting event, particularly when everything turns out well, there comes a barrage of what ifs?
I have a photograph that is typical of the before and after shots you see in all the magazines. It was taken almost two years ago and I hate it. But I will always keep it. Despite being at my heaviest ever, and tucking into a plate of take away plastic lasagne with cold rubbery chips, it serves as a reminder to me.
It was taken the day Oldest Boy had to go to A&E for a chest x-ray. He is in the photograph too, all smiles and excitement over the prospect of going to hospital.
He couldn’t catch his breath and his eyes were streaming but he was very much looking forward to that afternoon’s adventure. He had missed school that day due to an impromptu doctor’s appointment; I thought he had a chest infection. It wasn’t clear what the problem was but a nebuliser didn’t help him at all in the surgery and it was thought best to get it checked out.
In the photo, I am looking straight at him and I can remember exactly what was going through my mind at the time.
I’m sure every parent has had one of those moments where their child’s life flashes through their mind.
In the wind up, after talks of him having to spend the night in hospital and another round or two on a nebuliser, Conor was diagnosed with asthma.
What a relief. But still.
All the what if’s?
What if they hadn’t found anything wrong with his chest? What if it had been his heart?
Last week Smallest Boy had an upsetting confrontation with the front door the day before his second birthday. He had only just, that very morning, worked out how to open it without any help. It was his second time to escape the house. There is a nice drop out onto the ground and he cannot as yet navigate it so he sits on the step and lowers himself down. This is how the third finger on his right hand got squished. And squished quite badly. He will lose his nail. And most likely end up with a funny looking lump of scar tissue on his finger.
He lifted the entire finger pad “pulp” away from its moorings but thankfully didn’t damage any bone.
You never ever want anything bad to happen to one of your kids, but if I absolutely had to pick a child for whom an injury to befall, it would be Brendan. (Hear me, ye Gods. I have not just jinxed myself further) it also happened at the right time.
If there is such a right time to have a ka-bluey.
We were just in from the school run as were our lovely next door neighbours so I was able to go with Brendan to the GP’s almost immediately and leave the older boys with people to watch them.
Thankfully, although Brendan had removed his finger print until such time as his flesh repairs itself, he was in great form. A real little trooper. I gave him some painkillers as my own finger was throbbing something awful just looking at his and also pain relief was suggested by the GP. But do you know what? I honestly don’t think he needed it.
I was waiting for sleep to claim me that night and that was when the what if’s started.
What if Brendan had held onto the door jamb instead of sitting on the step?
The damage would have been much worse; I know that for a fact. Quite possibly maybe even losing a finger.
What if he had lost a finger? Would I know what to do? I doubt it.
Everyone knows how frightening the prospect of something can be; in some cases it’s almost worse than the reality. At least with reality you know what you’re up against and can take action. The trouble with your imagination is it can go wild.
I really had to tamp mine down after FingerGate. Or FingerDoor.
Smallest Boy was fine. His finger not so. But both of them lived to tell the tale. And he’s still telling it.
As for me? I’m off to find out how to preserve a severed digit.
I repeat, ye Gods, I have not just jinxed myself. I have not.