Waiting Room

We went to the OU game today with my Dad. Minutes before kickoff, Beatrice was playfully running and fell, hitting her head hard on the pavement. Seemingly instantaneous, a huge, angry bump protruded from her forehead. In the after, all around us there were EMTs, police, and kind bookstore workers, while I swirled about in a muffled tunnel of my screaming, hurting child. She never lost consciousness, and once we got her calm- which took at least 20 minutes- it seemed like she was going to be okay. The EMTs suggested an ambulance ride to the ER, but we couldn't bear to put her through that again, so we drove her to Children's ER ourselves. By the time we arrived, she was all giggles and snacks. We were rattled but becoming less panicky by the minute. The waiting room was busy and there were lots of kids everywhere. I was surprised when we got quickly into a room. I thought maybe it was just me but the staff seemed out of sorts. The doctor saw us quickly and put our fears to rest. Our girl would be fine. I asked if they had seen many victims from Stillwater. She said, "Oh, yes." And then, "We just got word that we lost a two year old in the OR." Chills. My heart plummets to the pit of my stomach. I looked at Bea, playing with the thermometer and taking her doll's temperature, and I was so very grateful. It was then, when we emerged from our room ready to go home that I realized: All those kids in the waiting room were wearing OSU gear. Their parents, too. A woman in a wheelchair was battered and war-torn. These were the parents and village-folk of kids hurt in the parade today. Their babies had been medi-flighted here.

This year and its medical trauma has taken something from us, no doubt. There was a palpable PTSD for us when we were once again en route to Children's with our baby. But through the storm, David and I have been given the gift of gratitude. I don't think I'll long forget that waiting room today. My baby got to walk out of it. That makes us incredibly fortunate. All of our prayers are with those lost and injured, and their families, as well as all the witnesses and responders who answered the call. Hug those you love. Peace.