Thursday, July 28, 2011

Files of Memories

Today I was going through some of the boxes in the den - our collection site for all the things we don't know what to do with or haven't gotten to yet. Some of the boxes are ones that we brought back from my mom's. She so graciously stored them for us for a long time; some nearly a decade. I found a file of pictures drawn by Gabriel and Hannah circa first grade.

They brought a smile to my face. Sweet memories of my now grown children.

I find myself wondering what Hannah was wearing that day that made her draw her shirt or dress like that.

There was another file. It contained only two items. An x-ray and a slip of paper from a Romanian doctor. I don't know what the paper says. I've always had a difficult time reading Romanian handwriting - and this was written by a doctor! But the x-ray was self-explanatory. A tiny baby only nine months old had suffered an injury. She was so tiny that the bones in her hands had not yet fused together. There was another hand in the x-ray - a nurse holding the baby's hand down. Or perhaps it was me. I don't really remember.

It was January 1999. We were in Brasov, Romania. John had taken a trip to the United States. Gabriel, Hannah, Holly and I had been alone for nearly 10 days. We were fine. We had several good Romanian friends. I knew the language well enough. We would be fine for those 10 days that John needed to be gone. It was on that last night that we found it necessary to visit the Romanian emergency room. I was supposed to go to language class that evening. I was tired and decided not to go so I called the teacher and told her. Gabriel, Hannah and I were having fun building with K'nex. We decided to build a tower taller than Daddy before he came home. Holly was crawling around and making a mess out of the process. So I got the exersaucer and put it just outside their bedroom door which was right next to the kitchen. We made our tower, took some pictures and with a sigh I realized we just had one more night to get through. John would be home the next day.

I went to the bathroom to start Hannah's bath water. She asked if she could play with some Tupperware in the tub. Sure. She knew where it was. She opened the cabinet, took what she wanted and closed the door again. She didn't realize that her baby sister had put her hands on the door. She couldn't know that the door would become a knife to a tiny finger.

The scream that reached my ears was one that could stop a mother's heart. It was more than pain. The blood that I saw terrified me. The tip of her pinky looked frightening. Was that her nail . . . or bone? I searched the cabinet for any sign of flesh but found nothing. I grabbed a clean towel and the phone. No one I knew was home. And there was no 9-1-1.

"Oh, God!" I prayed aloud, "help me!" Hannah sat in the living room and sobbed. I told Gabriel to pack the diaper bag. We were going to the hospital. He didn't really know what to do. Hannah was my helper in that department. I kept making phone calls. Finally, in desperation, I called a missionary wife that didn't like me and made that fact obvious. Her son answered the phone. I remembering him telling me to calm down. I didn't realize I sounded frantic but I must have been. She came right away. She was the right person to get ahold of. She knew where to go, what the procedures were.

We went to the children's hospital for the x-ray and then on to another hospital. At both places, they put some medicine on the finger and wrapped it up. "Come back in the morning for surgery." Really?! There's no surgeon now? Can't you call someone? "Who are you to wake the surgeon up?" I was told.

So we went home. By then, our good friend Marius and Laura were home. Marius went to get Ildi who lived many miles away in a Hungarian village.
Ildi helped me with the kids and the house while I was at language class. She adored Holly. Before she arrived, I looked at that cabinet door again. There it was on the edge, the tip of her pinky from the fingernail up. I don't know how I missed it earlier except that God must have blinded me to it. I'm not sure I could have seen that at that point without having a nervous breakdown. Ildi came and cleaned up the blood and washed Holly's outfit. We took turns holding her all night. Meanwhile, John knew nothing. At the time of the accident, he was on his way home. Even if I could get in touch with him, what could he do?

I took her to surgery the next morning. Our doctor in the States advised me to not let them give her a general anesthesia. A local was all she needed. The night before I had trouble remembering English but that morning, I was arguing with the surgeon in Romanian. "Who told you this? A pediatrician? He is not a surgeon!" So I gave my sweet baby back to God. "She's your baby Lord. Do what's best for her." Then the surgeon came back out and asked how much did she weigh. Eight kilograms. They said they would only do a local. "Thank you, Lord!" And with that, they took sweet Holly down the hall and behind closed doors.

To be continued. . . (Read Part 2)

No comments:

Post a Comment