We were coming towards the end of our holiday, and the sun had finally decided to make an appearance. Keen to make the most of it, there was one boy in the pool playing catch, a second boy on a sunbed; and a third boy who hadn’t quite had enough of the waterslides – up and down he went, again and again.
It was a classic holiday scene.
And then came the shout down from the top of the slides – “He’s hurt himself!” called the biggest boy of the group; our friends’ eldest one. “He needs some help.”
So far, nothing unusual. Twin 1, aged 5 and the most boisterous of the three, is always tripping and tumbling. He comes home from school with an accident slip in his book bag most days. I imagined that he had fallen on his face and cut his mouth again – that happens quite a lot. Or perhaps yet another grazed knee.
And then he appeared…..with a lot of blood and what appeared to be a hole in his head.
A HOLE IN HIS HEAD!
I am not good at dealing with such situations, but I tried my absolute best to hide my panic and think I did reasonably well, until I reached my husband and shouted that we really needed to find some first-aid very urgently indeed as our child appeared to have a HOLE IN HIS HEAD!
This was probably not the best choice of words. Twin 1, already distressed at the sight of quite a bit of blood; was understandably alarmed by this latest news. “What do you mean I have a hole in my head, mummy? What do you MEAN???”, he sobbed.
“It’s not really a hole, sweetheart; no it’s not a hole.” I said, desperately wishing I could take back my words. “I got it wrong…..that was a silly thing to say. But we do need to get you some first aid. And probably go to the hospital.”
We found the owner of the campsite who told us where to find the local A&E. We found a plaster, we stopped the bleeding, and my common sense told me that the hole was fixable. We were all much calmer.
Our friends offered to look after the other two boys so that we could concentrate on the injured one – advantage number 270 to holidaying with friends. The eldest boy and Twin 2 were beyond thrilled at the news that they were going on an unexpected playdate. Would this mean they would finally get to play Fifa 18 on their friend’s Nintendo Switch? What about Mario Kart? Perhaps the evening could start with a football match outside? There was just so much fun to be had.
I suggested that they might like to calm their enthusiasm a little and remember that their brother had just had a nasty fall and now had to spend his evening at the hospital. Perhaps asking if their brother was alright might be a nice thing to do?
They looked suitably sombre.
“Are you alright?” asked the eldest boy.
“Are you alright?” asked Twin 2.
Twin 1 tried to hold back his sobs but couldn’t quite manage it. “It’s not fair, mummy”; he said. “They get to go and play with the others and I don’t. I want to go and play Mario Kart. And LOOK! Now they’re outside playing football too.”
I tried to explain that I would be a thoroughly irresponsible parent if I decided to let him go and play football followed by Mario Kart rather than take him to the hospital to get his wound attended to. It didn’t help.
I offered him a few Pringles followed by some caramel popcorn; which seemed to work much better.
Fuelled by his snacks, Twin 1 ran outside to find out how the football was going.
‘How’s it going guys?’, he asked. For a brief moment, you wouldn’t have known there was anything wrong.
Apparently football was going well – it was 2-2.
The others crowded round the injured boy. Friend A, the eldest of the group, looked at the injured head. ‘I can see blood coming through the plaster’, he said. ‘I really think you need to get to the hospital – I hope you get on ok.’
You are probably imagining him to be about 15…..He is 8, but clearly very sensible when it comes to giving medical advice.
There were nods of agreement from the others.
‘Have a good time at the hospital!’, shouted Friend B, aged 6 and the only girl of the gang.
‘Yes, have a good time!’; they all called out.
‘Thanks!’, shouted Twin 1 as he strode to the car with his backpack. It was all so ridiculous I couldn’t help but smile as we went on our way.
My first ever experience of French A&E was generally very positive. Obviously I would have preferred not to have been there in the first place; but given that we were I came away really quite impressed. AND the parking is free. FREE! In fact, when we asked a man if we needed to pay, he looked at us like he’d never heard anything so ridiculous before.
Anyway, the injured boy was amazingly brave while the (now much less dramatic looking) hole in his head was stitched, and then the doctor gave him a whistle as a well done. That was probably the only less positive bit about the hospital experience….. thankfully we may have misplaced the whistle since returning home.
We headed back to our little cabin with one tired out but actually quite proud-of-how-brave-he’d-been little boy, and picked up the two other boys who had had the time of their lives. And then everything returned to normal alarmingly quickly.
Twin 1, still struggling to get past the fact that his brothers had played on Mario Kart and Fifa 18 without him, let slip that he had had some Pringles and TWO pieces of caramel popcorn.
Twin 2 could not believe the injustice. Couldn’t he have some caramel popcorn? What about Pringles? And what was this…….Twin 1 was now eating more slices of pizza than he’d had? Perhaps it is worth injuring yourself if these are the rewards.
Clearly I had got my priorities all wrong. In an alternative universe, Twin 1 would have forgotten all about his head and instead would be flinging himself around on the football pitch before playing endless games on the Nintendo Switch; while Twin 2 would be busy finding some steps to fall down in the hope of earning himself some Pringles and caramel popcorn.
Life is so unfair when one of your siblings requires a trip to A&E.