The most annoying thing about being the mother of a rebellious eighteen-year old is that you can’t always ensure they go out in their best underwear.
That was one of the things that went through my mind on Thursday as we wove our way through city traffic to every parent’s worst nightmare…
After the call…to say that our child had been involved in an accident.
First of all, Kurt is okay – shaken, not stirred; nor deterred unfortunately from future trouble. By my estimation he has about four lives left. Three days down the line, I can now think about that day without wanting to vomit.
As long as there’s no blood, I’m actually very good in a crisis; surprising when you consider what an emotional wreck I am the rest of the time. If fact I’m eerily calm, so when we received the call to tell us that Kurt had experienced some sort of fit on a bus and that they had called an ambulance, I remember steadily relaying the information to the old man like I was discussing the weather. Somehow, magically, we got our legs to walk to the car.
So many ‘what ifs’ go through your head in these situations. What if I hadn’t shouted at Kurt that morning? What if I hadn’t been short with him on the phone only a few minutes before that call because I was working? What if I’d bought him some new boxers for Christmas? What if he was…?
The ER was as crazy a space full of madness as I had hoped it would be, having been an avid fan of 24 hours in Emergency for the past year. No Dr Ross, though, and you get a different, much more unnerving perspective when you’re on the other side of the fence.
And there were far too many middle-aged people in there, not much older than the old man and myself, experiencing chest pain, for our liking.
The surprising fact about those interminable waits in the ER is how you cope with whatever bad news is thrown at you because you have to. ‘Oh, he needs a brain scan,’ I remember responding calmly to the doctor, when inside my body my heart was doing a triple somersault and quivering in my rib cage. At least by that stage Kurt was conscious and moaning about the wait with us, nevertheless we still had to go through the process of getting him thoroughly checked out.
As our very tired-looking doctor informed us, ‘emergency medicine is about excluding any risk that might kill you immediately,’ which for some reason was vaguely reassuring at the time.
A kid with ADHD and anxiety disorder, no emotional control and prone to angry outbursts, is not the kid you want to be when you have to wait six hours for results. Of course Kurt had assumed the worst about his diagnosis. His body shuts down to emotion when he’s scared and can’t go out for a smoke to calm down – ‘No you can’t go out because you’re waiting for a brain scan’ – I reminded him at least ten times. But nothing I said was going to be right. When he asked me if I thought he had brain cancer and I answered with an emphatic ‘no’, he rationalized that I was only saying that to make him feel better; when they took us onto a ward and I started to look worried, he told me I should do a better job of hiding my fears.
The old man’s dad jokes about the neurologist discovering what we’d known all along – that Kurt doesn’t actually have a brain – went down really well, as you can imagine, but pretty soon he found his invisibility cloak on the ward and turfed some patients out of the best seats in front of the television, which meant I didn’t have to worry about him as well.
Long story short, it was a mild seizure, cause unknown but hopefully nothing serious, and my prodigal son remains in an interim period of forgiveness, milking it for all its worth.
I have a renewed respect for the kind people of this world, particularly the bus driver who allayed Kurt’s fears as he regained consciousness and called us with an update every few minutes until the ambulance arrived.
I shall be buying Kurt some new underwear this week, along with some new trousers. When the doctor said that it must have been a seizure rather than a faint because his trousers were all torn, Kurt informed him that they were ripped because I refuse to buy him any new ones.
Live each day, peeps.