Friday, January 24, 2014

Worst Fears Realized

Okay, that title may be a bit over-dramatic, but I did have to face two of my bigger fears recently. They just happened to be parenting moments, too.

1) Gruesome injuries. I shudder when I hear the word "stitches." I meticulously hide the poisons and the chokeables. And I wonder on occasion what range of injuries I will have to attend to as a mother. Sometimes out of interest and sometimes out of dread.

2) Russian (and/or foreign) hospital stay. It's a different culture, a different language, and a different medical philosophy. The problems start with forgetting your slippers...

So David ushered us into new parenting realms last week when he had a scalding water incident. He reached up to drink from a mug on the table that happened to contain hot freshly brewed tea (we actually use the same mugs for plain drinking water). Both Andrei and I were home and worked together to get him under cold water and try to figure out what to do. The skin was peeling off in some places if that gives you an idea.

The next day, David and I were admitted to the hospital for a week's stay (though the doctors immediately gave us a grim prognosis and said it would be at least 2 weeks).

Here are some of the ways the fears above are founded in reality:

Of injuries: We are mortal. We feel physical pain. We cannot protect children from getting injured, and we will witness them experiencing pain. Our nurturing instincts as parents will cause US pain.

Of hospital stay: Culture shock is real. The Russian medical system is not perfect. Even when the medical care is good, no Russian mother is going to tell you she's "comfortable" staying on the ward with her child. Everyone wants to go home. When you are in the hospital, you have no control over: your roommates or neighbors, which staff is on duty and when they will do their rounds, the food served to you, and the noise level at any given moment when you are trying to sleep.

Even as I knew David's life was not in danger and that everything was in God's hands, it didn't stop me from experiencing anguish. I wept when I saw my baby in pain, and I cried as my husband walked away, leaving us alone in the hospital for the first night.

As we settled into life on the ward, I was constantly torn between wanting to put on a happy face and yet wanting to be compassionate towards the other mothers. Stealing a glance at their faces, I could tell we were all thinking along the same lines. Behind the stoic facade, we were all ready to burst out crying. It took several days to break the ice, longer than you'd think. You would imagine that having so much in common (about 90% of the injuries we saw had happened the exact same way), there would be lots to talk about. But it was hard to talk about at first. However, my husband and mother-in-law did just fine at making friends there. And of course, David was as charming as ever.

I've had to call on the Lord's mercies lots of times in the past week and a half. We still have some sickness in the house, and are ever aware of our human weaknesses. Interestingly enough, our small group Bible study (canceled last week on account of the accident) has been gearing up to discuss the topic "Trials and Temptations."


  1. Oh, goodness....I was thinking about you a LOT. What an experience! Though, I think it must have been SO much better to have been admitted WITH David and for a period of time that assured healing, then what would have undoubtedly happened here - he taken away from you from some period of time, then sent home with a "good luck to you" a few medications and directions to do things you feel unable to do.

    But - it sounds pretty intense, for sure. Perhaps you'll give more details at some point?

    Somehow I never had to worry about my older kids who were so completely adverse to risk-taking. Though the only horrid thing that happened to Aidan, was similar, it sounds like. I was cooking and he reached up and grabbed the container of cayenne pepper off the counter. I'd been measuring from it, so it was open and all of a sudden his eye was full of red pepper. I held him under cold water and prayed fervently and (never-one-to-worry) that was the end of it. But I'll always remember the horror.

    Monica scares me; she's more like David, climbing and trying out everything. I turned around the other day and she'd gotten hold of a razor and had it in her mouth. Oh, her guardian angel has got the work cut out for him!

    1. If I ever catch up on housework! Piles and piles!

      Certainly, it was "easier" in some ways to have the doctors change the bandages. David probably would have cried regardless of who was doing it.

      Of course it is difficult to make a child understand he needs to stay under the cold water. We weren't able to do it for very long.

      Yes, I turned around once and David had taken a butcher knife off the kitchen counter and was walking toward me, holding it out. Yikes!

  2. Oh I am so sorry, Elizabeth! What an ordeal to go through, both for you as parents and your little guy. So are you both home now? How is David doing?

    1. Yes, we're home, and he is actually fine, just some scabs left. All's well that ends well!


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