Sunday, June 12, 2011

Another Hospital Trip

(Rob reporting) Friday evening we attended a small party Tamara helped plan at a friend's house, their moving-away party as they are relocating soon to Singapore. A few kids were supposed to be there, so we brought the girls along.

The catering staff had set up a small buffet in the hosts' dining room and tables in the backyard for guests to sit together, so it was something of an indoor/outdoor event. The kids were roaming around here and there.

About one hour after we arrived Tamara and I were sitting at a table outside, eating and drinking and chatting. Then we heard a loud crashing noise which sounded like someone dropped a plate on the floor, but the sound just kept going, as though an entire tray of dishes had fallen. I looked up but could not see well, and for a few seconds was still unconcerned and then someone said "Riley". I ran for the door.

I was only about twenty steps from the house and on the way there the origin of the noise suddenly became clear. Large pieces of jagged plate glass glinted where the sliding door used to be, Riley was on the floor already surrounded by people and pieces of broken glass. Someone brought towels and I wrapped up her left leg quickly, but not too quickly to see the extent of the damage. There were two bad lacerations, both just below the left knee.

A lot of shouting and chaos, and then our driver had us in our car on our way. Twenty minutes to the hospital, Riley in a lot of pain and us with no idea how bad it really was. She had many small cuts on her face and blood in her right eye. She was incredibly brave, and on the way there alternated between concern for her wounds and pain, and concern for her upcoming trip to Taipei with the school sports club where she was to compete in soccer, track, swimming, and t-ball.

At the hospital around 9pm they gave Riley morphine and told us to wait. Finally we could confirm the extent of the damage - the two cuts on her leg and several small cuts on her face including two near her right eye would require stitches to close. The plastic surgeon would fix her up but we had to wait until 1am so her stomach would clear and they could have her under general anesthesia for the operation.

As we waited for the time to pass Riley was awake and lucid, but not feeling pain anymore. She was up and down, brave and then scared and back to brave again... but mostly just worried about Taipei and her team. At 1am they brought her in for surgery and let Tamara stay with her as she fell asleep, the operation took one hour and appeared to be executed very nicely with lots of very small stitches everywhere. I guess around 40-50 in her leg and another 10 or so near the eye. We went upstairs around 4am to rest and recover and finally left for home about noon on Saturday.

On Saturday night school held a banquet for the traveling sports club and Riley insisted to go. She stood on the stage together with her team and posed for photos with her certificate, a bandage above her eye, another around her leg, and a big smile on her face. We were very proud.

She also decided to travel to Taipei with the team and cheer them on, and if she feels up for it she may participate in swimming with a waterproof bandage. Of course we are nervous for the trip, but so far Riley is recovering nicely and was adament that her hard work over the past few months must be completed.

It may be some time before I forget about the awful sights and sounds from that night and stop thinking about how much worse it may have been. We are thankful that the cuts were "only superficial" (words of the surgeon) and no more serious injury happened. It could have been otherwise.

I am hopeful that Riley and Tamara will have a great trip in Taipei this week, and after that it's only a few days before they head home to Michigan for some well deserved rest and recovery. She's looking forward to seeing you all soon.

Once she is back please be mindful that she may not be happy to re-live this experience through repeated retelling of the story or showing of the wounds. She will be very happy to be home and among family and friends, and only needs a dose of positive energy from everyone to encourage her recovery.

See you soon....