Right, let’s talk about the night of 1st July 2009 and the bloody, wrist-slashing adventure that ensued.
We’d only buried my father at the weekend, and with that rather large event behind us, there was suddenly a metric ton of paperwork to take care of. Notifying all the various companies he had accounts with, getting utility bills transferred into The Mother’s name and dealing with a few legal matters. Not to mention the insurance claim for their disastrous trip to Lourdes.
Since it was the school holiday, we took the entire brood down to the parental home - hers now, not theirs – with the intention that the kids could play with their cousins while we sifted through his paperwork and got everything in order.
We arrived in the evening, too late to get started, and the kids went nuts. Stick six kids in a small house and watch as they race around dangerously. Repeated nagging – as always – failed to have any impact, but we kept nagging anyway. I was in the back garden talking to the brother-in-law when we heard a tinkle from inside. Unusually, this wasn’t followed by the sound of screaming or ‘angry parent discovering broken ornament’ noises.
Despite the lack of activity, I wandered inside to see Daniel sitting on the floor in the hallway. Something was wrong, but I couldn’t place it. Noticing a change in the light was the first clue that one of the glass panes in the door was smashed. Lisa came running past me, realising that he’d punched through the glass. She discovered a grotesque, deep gash in his wrist and he was starting to bleed heavily.
She screamed at me to get a towel as she cradled him on the floor, and I admit, it took a minute for me to react. Once she had the towel, I had the phone in my hand talking to the 999 service. I can’t even remember dialling – if it was me or someone else.
That was the point pragmatism kicked in, and I explained calmly to the operator what had happened, where we were and that we needed assistance. They ordered a paramedic and stayed on the line until the guy arrived. Lisa continued to apply pressure to the wound – possibly a side-effect of watching too many medical dramas, but it worked out well in the end. Anyway, the paramedic came in and dressed the wound and took him and Lisa out to the nearest Accident & Emergency in a town 30 minutes away. I followed in our car.
I remember just before jumping in the car, my mother and sister both looking at me dubiously. “You can’t handle the sight of blood, are you sure you’re alright to drive?” they asked, noting that I’d already gone deathly pale. I don’t know what propelled me, but I followed the medic and was arriving at the hospital at the same time Lisa and Daniel were. Some speed limits might have been broken in the process.
Whatever adrenaline we’d mustered during his initial wrist-slashing drained away quickly after a few hours waiting in the A&E department. We all felt knackered. And to cap it all, it was the same A&E that my father had been brought to when he collapsed at home and before he was admitted to cancer ward. I even recognized the same staff from that night, and so soon after the funeral, found it hard to cope with. These people wandering around doing their jobs probably didn’t remember the man brought in with breathing difficulties and his worried family. And seeing that place again brought it home how quickly everything changed.
Anyway, that plus the tiredness plus the jagged wound plus the not having eaten anything were slowly taking their toll. Eventually, one of the doctors came in and started trying to remove the dressing from Dan’s wrist. Blood had dried to it and he screamed in a mixture of pain and fear. We tried to distract him while she tried to get to the wound, but eventually she gave up in frustration and called some colleagues in to help.
I took a back seat at that point, but suddenly started feeling dizzy. Yep, that was the colour draining out of my face. This had happened before, and I knew what was about to happen. I muttered to Lisa that I was feeling faint, and she pushed me into that old head-between-the-legs position. Oh, but it was too late for that. I propped my head on my arm on the side of a desk and slowly, gracelessly, slid to the ground as the world literally disappeared and everything went black. The last thing I remember is Dan watching me as my face slid past his on the way to the floor.
The drama queen in me must’ve surfaced, because I remember hearing myself muttering that I couldn’t take this anymore and blah blah blah. shamefacedly, I decided to go and wait in the car while Daniel’s wrist was X-Rayed.
As you might imagine, this post was written months ago. I wanted to record the event, but forgot to post it.
Daniel’s wrist eventually healed. We were worried that he would have problems using his hand as a result of severed tendons, but by doing the exercises that we’d been given at the hospital, he has recovered.
He still has a horrendous, ugly scar running across his wrist, and he’ll probably always have to explain what happened when people notice his wrist and ask. On the other hand, he’s become much more cautious about touching windows and doors – which is not a bad thing considering.