Friday, 14 December 2012

A child, in two parts

Now that I've had a couple of days to calm down and gain perspective, here's the tale of my son losing a toe... and what I've learned from the whole experience...

Last Saturday, Daniel fell off an aluminium ladder at a party... and lost a toe in the process. Apparently it's a common thing for people to lose digits and toes when aluminium ladders are involved - but getting a phone call to say that your child is in two parts at a party was something that I hope will not become a common feature of our world. The short version is that the toe has been reattached, and at the time of writing, we've yet to find out if the surgery worked - the off(ending) toe has to spend 10 days wrapped up, lifted and immobile, and we'll find out on Monday or Tuesday next week if it stays, or if it'll fall off. Yes, really.

So. In the interests of making lists (because everyone loves to read lists, don't they?), here's my list of Lessons from the Ladder.
  1. No adult or child should ever climb on or fall off an aluminium ladder if they don't have shoes on. I'm beginning to think that safety gloves are a good idea too. If a finger or a toe is severed from your body, you have six hours to get it back on. Sooner is better, but six hours is the outside, according to the lovely Dr Mia.
  2. The Linksfield Clinic can't deal with paed plastics emergencies.
  3. The Linksfield Clinic also can't bandage a foot with a severed toe. They can however chuck a bundle of bandages in the general direction of the offending foot, and send you off to the Milpark.
  4. The Milpark Clinic has no paeds facilities. At all. They only treat over 10s and gorillas.
  5. The Milpark Clinic is great at bandaging a foot with a severed toe. They're also great at phoning around for you to find the right place to go to with your child in two parts, and making sure that a great plastic surgeon is waiting for you when you get there.
  6. We've all heard of people being turned away at the door of Casualty because they couldn't pay a deposit or provide proof of medical aid membership. The teams at Linksfield and Milpark didn't even ask our names before they started attending to our son - and they didn't make us fill out any paperwork when we dashed out of their facilities. So - they were healthcare professionals doing what healthcare professionals do - addressing the needs of the patient, when he needed it the most, and without getting stuck on admin.
  7. The male paeds nurses at the Sandton Clinic are much better at their jobs than the female paed nurses. Thank you, Peter and Chico - you were rockstars. To your female colleagues who didn't respond to my repeated request for pain meds for my son for over an hour - you're not rockstars. Rocks, maybe, but not rockstars.
  8. While kudos has to go to the Sandton Clinic for having sleeper couches in the paed ward so that you can stay with your sick or injured child overnight, the person who designed those sleeper couches (and the person who bought them in bulk) deserves a bitchslap, and a night of sleeping on one of them as punishment.
  9. It's very funny to watch and listen to your son when he's completely whacked on opiates.
  10. It's a great idea to have a wheelchair in the family. We're using one that belonged to my dad's first wife. Ja. We have an exteeeeeeeeended family.
  11. Little boys are great at making fun out of stuff. I've been amazed at how quickly Daniel has mastered the wheelchair, maneuvring himself around the house, through doors, turning corners etc.
  12. Even boys get man flu. He hasn't needed pain meds for four days now, but every now and then, when he remembers, he reminds me that his foot might be a little bit sore. But it's clearly not.
  13. The Twitterverse is amazing. Of course, Brett and I being twittaddicts of a sort, we both passed comments about what had happened. People who have never met our child have kept on asking how he's doing. The world can be a caring place - thank you to all of you.
  14. We all bitch about Discovery. However, they have picked up every bill that's been created around this drama (as far as I know). And I am inordinately grateful that we had access to private healthcare that was quick and responsive, and that gave us a fighting chance to save that toe.