Sunday, August 14, 2011


I didn’t pick up my best friends call last Thursday, even though she rang twice in the space of 10 minutes.  This is nothing new.  She does it to me, I do it to her, figuring, as per usual, it would just be something trivial.  It’s pretty standard that we both call each other at inopportune times for nothing in particular.  I was at work.  I was busy and I didn’t bother listening to the message she left me straight away.  In fact, I only listened to her message later that night to get to another one I thought would be important.  It wasn’t, but hers couldn’t have been more so.

Her thirteen month old daughter was at the Mater Children’s hospital having micro surgery on her teeny tiny thumb in an attempt to save it.  It had been basically severed off when she attempted to pick up a piece of shattered glass. 

But when I did eventually listen to the message, Jodi, my friend, still didn’t actually tell me what had happened.  The message was fast and it was clear that she was upset and anxious.  She was in shock but in auto-pilot mode which is, from my experience, the brace position we all take as parents when something truly awful happens to our children.  No, see, the silly thing was, the message was an apology to me.  Huh?

It was hard to interpret her words at times, but basically she was trying to stress that she didn’t think she had been around enough when my children were in hospital.  She was leaving this message, pacing the hospital corridor while her husband cradled her daughter.  I knew that feeling and I certainly didn’t want her feeling any extra irrational guilt for being a shit friend.  Because she wasn’t.  To the contrary, I always felt well supported and even more importantly, like I could count on my close friends and family when something spectacularly awful had gone down.  I should be the one apologising.

And you know, had Jodi come around the corner 5 seconds earlier, gorgeous little Georgia would know for sure that she’d be able to make the  AOK signal with her hand when she grows up.   But she didn’t. And that's life.

Our own examples:

Maddison Aged 2: Got her foot broken by a kid at Sizzler.  This kid got up on the railing, jumped down and drove his knee  down  into her foot  WWF style.  Two broken bones and 6 weeks in a cast.

Sam Aged 1.5: RSV – In for three nights

Same Aged 2: Intussusception  (when the bowel telescopes back in on itself) Scary as shit to watch.  Scarier when they find it hard to diagnose. 

Sam Aged 2.5: Hernia operation .  In for a week

Sam Aged 3: Severe Influenza A.  Lumbar Puncture. Weeks in hospital

Jack Aged: 3 Fell from his father’s shoulders and broke both is wrists and busted his face. 

Sam Aged 7: Fell off the monkey bars, totally broke and disconnected his upper and low arms.  Surgery to insert wires.  Wires got infected (100:1 odds) and had to spend another week in hospital on heavy duty antibiotics.  Further surgery to remove wires.

So that’s it.  I think. There may have been other nights we rushed them to the ER that don’t stand out.  Oh, once we had Jack taken to the hospital in the Ambulance because he couldn’t breathe.  Equally tops.

And I guess it all comes down to the fact that to get through life unscathed and to never see the inside of a hospital for anyone is rare.  To blame ourselves for not identifying certain symptoms in time, or to beat ourselves up for not avoiding the day to day accidents is just useless.   Phil still finds it hard to accept that Jack fell from his shoulders on his watch.  And I'm pretty sure he's never forgiven himself no matter how much I try and make him see otherwise.

But Jodi, you have done a wonderful job of not only being my friend, but also being there when I have needed you.  You are an outstanding mother and Jodi, be kind to yourself, it’s all going to be okay.  And I promise to pick up every call in the future. x

Jodi, myself and Bonnie.  Best friends a gal could have. (and you too Bron) 


Sharon said...

Wow, that sure is a scary list of hospital encounters.

Its funny the things you think about when you are in that Parental Crisis Autopilot Mode. Anything to avoid thinking about the worst I guess...

You two must be great friends for her thoughts to go straight to you at a time like that. You are blessed, Bern & Jodi.

Jodi, I hope your little one comes through surgery safely and with her thumb in the upright position.

Mum on the Run said...

Hope Jodi's little one is ok.
I remember thinking similar guilty feelings at many stages of the early parenting ride.
That I wasn't there for my friends enough when they went through all the lows/intensity bubs can bring.
And friends have called with the same feelings towards me once they've buckled in too.
Sounds like a fabulous friendship.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

You must feel terrible!

Ms Twitchy said...

That's a pretty impressive visits record there. Thank goodness we've only been to hospital with each kid once, and in the second instance, the queue was so long a horror temp finally reduced by the time we were seen!

I don't think we as parents let up on ourselves from the minute we conceive. We're so very lucky if we have good friends to remind us we'll all be ok. x Best wishes to Jodi and her little one.

Linda said...

Sending prayers that Jodi's baby will be ok. Jodi will be ok because she has your friendship to help her get thru this long haul ahead. You may have missed the emergency but I suspect she'll have you to lean on while her baby heals

Alison said...

My daughter broke her forearm a few years back. She fell, she cried, I checked her arm, it seemed fine. Then I sent her to bed...
The next morning she was still moaning, I told her she was ok, not to make a fuss and I went to work. Her dad wasn't so sure and took her to hospital where they confirmed it was broken. I felt awful - Mother of the Year, not.

bigwords is... said...

lovely Bern, just lovely xx

Diminishing Lucy said...

You know I know how it is when you feel like the hossy is your 2nd home.

I love that you blog to your mates.


Melody said...

Beautiful mates photo.

I reckon the worst thing about having kids is having something/anything bad happen to them. Hate it when they're sick, hate it when they get mysterious rashes, hate it when something isn't 'right' with them. Worst thing is having to take your kid to Emergency... (remembering 14 month old Lily had stitches to her brow when she fell onto a tv cabinet corner - not on my watch but it was I who had to take her....)

Maid In Australia said...

What a lovely post! Erm, not the part about kids being hurt and sick and in the ER etc, but the part about friendship. Where would we be without our friends? Glad you have such good ones. That Jodi sounds like a top Mum and friend. Like you. xo