many of us, certain events take place that have an incredible
impact on our lives or we meet someone who leaves a lasting
impression. These events may be the most inconsequential
of things and the time that you spend with these people
may be fleeting but the imprint they leave is indelible.
year, the day after her birthday, my daughter fell off
her bicycle and broke her arm. I think my heart might
have stopped for a moment when I saw her lying on the
ground trying to hold up her bent-out-of-shape arm. Thankfully
my husband was there and called for an ambulance. We rushed
her to hospital and the doctor said that she had actually
managed to snap her forearm literally into two (she had
broken both her radius and ulna). The orthopaedist was
concerned that it may not be adequate just to have the
bone set but that she might require surgery. We were,
of course, worried sick. They then took her up to the
paediatric ward as her operation was scheduled for the
following morning. My husband went home to be with our
two other children and I stayed with my daughter.
section of the ward we were in had six beds and I noticed
after I had settled my daughter in that only one other
bed was occupied. It was early evening and the lights
had been dimmed so it took me a little time to see the
little baby lying in the bed. The lady sitting by her
was evidently her mother. As we were the only people in
that section, it was inevitable that after awhile we started
up a conversation. She asked how my daughter had broken
her arm and I reciprocated by asking her about her baby.
She told us that her daughter had bronchitis. Up until
that moment I had assumed the baby, whose name was Emily,
was less than a year old. Her mother said she was almost
two but was small for her age--she had been premature.
Then she told us that Emily had been born with a hole
in her heart and had undergone major surgery soon after
her birth. She then went on to mention certain other medical
problems that Emily had had to cope with and I was humbled
at my ignorance of these ailments. It was only when I
went up to the bed that I noticed the tubes protruding
from various parts of Emily's body. It was painful to
see. She gave me a beautiful smile and her mother said
that her face was partially paralysed hence the somewhat
couple of hours later Emily's mother picked up her bag
and gave Emily a cuddle and told us she had to leave as
she was a single parent and had two other children waiting
at home with a baby sitter. The nurse came in to check
that everything was alright with Emily and sat with her
while she fell asleep. I lay in bed with my daughter while
she tried to get some rest, but all I could think about
was Emily and all I could hear was her laborious breathing.
As I listened to her it was as if someone was constricting
my chest. After awhile I sat up and looked across to see
if Emily was in any discomfort but there was no visible
movement so I went up to her bed to take a closer look.
I watched her little face as she slept and spent the rest
of the night hovering between my daughter and Emily.
next morning they took my daughter in for her operation
and to our relief, when they brought her back, we were
told that she had not required any metal pins in her arm
and it had been set into place without surgery. When we
got back to the ward Emily's mother was back and we chatted
a little more until lunch time when she said she had to
go and bring her children to the hospital as the babysitter
was away. She then asked me if I would keep an eye on
Emily. I sat next to the little baby and put my hand through
the railings of the bed and stroked her hair and she touched
my arm--tentatively at first and then held my hand. After
she had dozed off I went to sit by my daughter. Emily's
siblings arrived and stayed until the evening. They gave
Emily cuddles and kissed and left for the night. Once
again I was unable to sleep and spent my time between
the two girls. Every now and then the nurses came in to
check on Emily and would offer me tea or coffee. This
routine continued for one more day until my daughter was
discharged. My husband came with our two children and
before we left my daughter asked if we could give Emily
something to remember us by. My husband ran down to the
hospital gift shop and reappeared with a cuddly toy and
when Emily saw it her face lit up and she lay down on
the bed and made it into a makeshift pillow. I sat on
the chair and uncharacteristically felt unable to hold
back my tears. I felt like I was abandoning this beautiful
little baby who smiled through all her pain and misery.
Who was going to make sure she was alright at night? What
if she wanted a cuddle in the middle of the night? My
husband tried to reassure me by telling me that the nurses
would look after Emily and her mother would be there in
the morning. My feelings were irrational and probably
misplaced but my heart ached at the thought of leaving
her. Even my husband seemed reluctant to leave Emily.
However, once the nurse had filled in all the necessary
papers we had to say our goodbyes. Emily's mother thanked
us for looking after her daughter and we went home with
daughter had a check up at the hospital after a couple
of days of being discharged and we both knew without having
to say it out loud that we were going to go and see Emily.
When we arrived at the ward, Emily was lying in her bed
hugging the cuddly toy we had given her and visibly perked
up at our visit. We stayed for an hour and played with
her and it warmed my heart to see her smile and gurgle
with laughter. They say "parting is such sweet sorrow"
but there was nothing sweet about Emily's tears and distress
when we had to leave. I felt like Judas at the last supper.
If I could have I would have picked her up and taken her
home. Finally the nurse had to pick her up and distract
her while we slipped away. When we went back to the hospital
for another check up, Emily had been discharged and we
had no way of contacting her.
daughter summed it up so accurately for me when she said,
"I am so lucky, I only broke an arm. Poor Emily has
had so many problems and she's still so smiley and cheerful
and she isn't even two." I couldn't have said it
any better. We have much to be thankful for and it is
sometimes a good thing to think of the "glass being
half full" and counting our blessings. Emily is often
in our thoughts and will always occupy a little corner
of our hearts.