My daughter swallowed a rock, a magnet rock. I am not sure why a nearly 9 year old swallowed a rock, but that is what she did.
She ran downstairs to tell me what happened, and I picked up the phone to call her doctor's office. The rock part didn't bother me much; the magnet part did.
Within an hour we were dressed and heading for the emergency room. We were chatting and nervous, and the favorite stuffed dog was in tow. I didn't know if we would be there for a moment or a day. I didn't know if we would be just one of many seeking assistance. But I knew that I had to keep the Diva calm and at ease.
A calm emergency room was a welcome site. Within 15 minutes we were checked in. She was asked to tell her story. "Are you sure you swallowed just one magnet?"
"Yes," she answered with conviction. But we had the check; she had to have an ex-ray; we had to know where the magnet was, that there was just one, and that it had not caused problems.
The bright lights turned her hair from dark blond to golden as she lay on the bed. The sheets looking all the whiter given her vivaciousness and her enthusiasm for the adventure at hand. Her curiosity was stronger than any anxiety.
"DO you want to ride to the ex-ray room?"
"No, I will walk. I walk at least 2 miles a day." And off she went.
I breathed deeply, holding tightly to her stuffed and well loved dog. The momentary silence wrapped itself around me. I bent over to ease the nauseous feeling in my stomach and the lightness creeping into my head. No longer required to be strong, I clung to my Diva's special friend as the rush of adrenaline left my body. There is nothing like a hospital with its clinical atmosphere and harsh lighting to leave a parent feeling helpless. I wanted, at that moment, a hand to hold or a shoulder to rest against.
She returned. "They only saw one!"
"Good, where's your sweatshirt?"
And she took off for the door. No longer scared of the hospital, my little Diva was ready to do it herself. She finally had the excuse to explore; to move!
I sent her back to the bed and asked a nurse to get it for her.
Within the next 20 minutes we had been ushered to the ex-ray room to see her stomach and intestines. The magnet had, to everyone's surprise and delight, already moved into the intestine.
Then we had our papers and were out the door.
We were gone 2 hours; just two hours!! From the moment we left to our happy return, only, two hours had passed. Yet for me, it seemed like days. I felt the after effects long into the following day. I slept heavily that night knowing that my Diva, my little shanachie was okay and would be okay. Yet, the feeling of helplessness and the desire for that strong hand and warm touch lingers. I was never alone throughout this situation, but that desire for touch was felt all the same.