I probably should have realised earlier. When she came to me on Saturday afternoon and said her ear plug was lost, I never thought to check her ear. Obviously I should have. A bright orange ear plug is not easily lost.
She said on Sunday, (or was it Monday?), that her ear felt blocked, but I took no notice. With a hole in her ear drum, this time of year often brings a blocked or discharging ear. It’s just a fact of life.
Monday it was sore and again I was unmoved. The pain always comes the day before the puss, as the ear floods itself of the infection. It’s a regular occurrence.
On Tuesday morning, I brushed her hair and took notice of her pain. Pulling the top of her ear gently, I looked inside to see if the tell tale flood was about to pour out.
Instead, I was greeted by the bright orange I should have found on the water park floor on Saturday. That plug, was well and truly stuck.
The GP was unable to remove it, and so, by some miracle, they made an appointment at the public hospital for Wednesday. I didn’t think that kind of thing happened.
We were warned she would probably need some kind of sedation and I told her there would almost definitely be a needle. Neither of us minded so long as this time there was no general anaesthesia. We are not so much a fan of that.
The time arrived and we waited patiently. I had booked out the entire afternoon, sending Boatman on the preschool excursion I was supposed to go on, giving us all the freedom we needed.
The nurse called our name, and we travelled down the old hallway to the room. It was all so surreal. This part of the hospital had been the emergency department when I was a child, and it still daunted me. I was drawn back to the night my mum and I had sat in the waiting room, whilst an ambulance brought in a two year old boy. I had asthma and was sick and apathetic, but mum was the exact opposite. Immediately she started praying and I looked up wondering what was going on.
Sadly, her prayers were too late, and moments later the wails of a heartbroken mother pealed through the air. The boy had already drowned. Nothing more could be done.
I did not like that room, nor the halls or their old, brown tiles, but this ear plug needed to come out.
They gave her nothing for the pain.
No local, no sedation, not even a cup of Panadol.
Instead they instructed her to stay still whilst they used their tools to clean her ear.
I couldn’t see what they were doing, and it bothered me. That’s the sort of thing a mother should know.
But I could see her. I held her head on the right angle, held her hands on her belly and gazed at her face whilst she squeezed her eyes shut against the light.
I saw the tears escape once they began the vacuum. Saw the fight in her face and she used every ounce of her strength and courage to fight against the pain.
I used my words to encourage her; told her I loved her and how proud I was of her.
Listened to the doctor and the nurse commend her fearlessness. ‘She’s a strong one.’
Always has been that girl.
Strong and stubborn and fearless and brave.
She has made me tear my hair out and stand tall with pride. Every day of my life.
A mother’s job is to know her child inside and out. Understand what makes them angry and sad and joyful. Know their fashion sense and what shoes they will never wear. Be able to pick at a glance the books they will never be able to out down.
I know my Bridie. I’m her most astute student on account of being stupidly in love with her.
It saddens me that she always gets the rough end of the deal. The ear that will not heal, the worst cold bugs, the most intensive gastro. It’s always her.
But that girl is the strongest person I know and I love how she fights every day. Fights the good and the bad and the unjust. Fights her fear and her pain and any other evil that dares beset her.
Even when she is fighting me, I love her. She is nothing but passionate and determined. Strong and spirited just as her name means. Beautiful and perfect and courageous.
And there is not one part of me that doubts, that kid is going to change the world.