the baby and the bathwater

November 16, 2007, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

close: to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.

Many of you may know that my eldest daughter, Lizzy, had an accident a few weeks ago. She was on her bike. Probably doing some sort of ridiculously outrageous wheely, knowing her.

The first I heard was when my wife called my office and said that she had been sitting on the sofa, apparently in agony for half an hour. I rushed home, and then drove her down to the hospital. Apparently what had happened was that she had fallen off her bike, and as she fell, the handlebars twisted round, and the end of the handlebars went into her stomach.

So there I was, sitting in casualty, feeling helpless as my daughter sobbed in pain, waiting for the doctor to see her. It took a while. Eventually we got her seen by a pediatrician. After a few tests, and a second opinion, we were told that she should have a full scan. It was the equivalent of her receiving a full years ‘background’ radiation in one go. There were other options, but they wouldn’t give the doctors the information they needed, in the detail they needed. So I agreed. My wife had arrived by that time too, and so we went in for the scan as a family.

Lizzy was really brave, and did very well. It was distressing, but she seemed ok by the end. We went back to the waiting room and….waited. I popped of to the toilet. When I returned, my wife and daughter had disappeared. I questioned the nurse, and she told me that they had gone back to CT area. I found my wife there. She looked at me and said ‘they want to do another one’.

That was one of those moments that parents dread. Given that they had been reluctant to do the full scan in the first place, the fact that they wanted to do another one could only mean one thing. They had found something wrong. I could see it in my wife’s eyes. A fear, tempered only with a desire to hold it together for the sake of Lizzy, and my younger daughter Sarah, who was of course with us.

Lizzy had her second scan, and quite quickly we were taken back into the consultant who said they had found some fluid around her duodenum. They said they had done the second scan to try and confirm their suspicions. And their suspicion was that the handlebars, whilst not going through the skin, had effectively momentarily trapped the duodenum between the handlebars and the spine, and had punctured it.

And that, they said, didn’t get better by itself.

They needed to rush her to the hospital in Gloucester because they were expecting that Lizzy needed an operation.

So my wife stayed with Lizzy, and prepared to go in the ambulance to Gloucester. And I left with Sarah, to take her home to try and settle her. As we left the hospital, me and Sarah, hand in hand, she started to weep. Even at that young age she had sensed that she had needed to hold it together for Lizzy’s sake. But now at that moment, finally out of sight from her sister, Sarah cried her eyes out.

And as we walked, hand in hand back to the car, we prayed together.

That evening, I had intended to be at a meeting at church. It was a gathering of all our leaders, cluster leaders and ministry leaders. So, as we drove home, I ran past the church, hopped out of the car, and met my friend and co-pastor Tim, and asked him to pray. I rushed away, anxious to get Sarah home, and then get down to the hospital where Lizzy was headed. I found out later that the whole gathering prayed for Lizzy during that time…many stayed late to pray more.

But I had left, I took Sarah home and got her to bed. I had to lie down with her on her bed to settle her. Eventually she drifted off.

By then a friend had come round to baby-sit. So I headed off to Gloucester hospital. As I arrived and parked, I found my great friend Mark there too. He had left the leadership gathering early to come and give some moral support, and pray for us. We went up to Lizzy, who by then was in the high dependency unit. We prayed, and then waited for the specialist.

Eventually the specialist came and spoke to us. He had reviewed her scan, and decided that he wouldn’t, after all, need to operate. He too had seen the fluid around the stomach, but felt it was better not to operate, but to wait. He now thought that it was just a bit bruised.

Anyway to cut a long story short….

Well, not too short, if you’ve got this far….

Lizzy had a few very uncomfortable days in hospital. Susie was incredible and stayed with her through the nights. And I did the relatively easy day-shift.

By the weekend, five days after her accident, Lizzy was back at home, and feeling much better.

Then on the Saturday morning, she and I went out for morning coffee and hot chocolate together. It was her first trip out after the accident, and she was so much better.Now I’m one of those people who tends to claim little, but be thankful alot. And that morning I was so thankful to God that she was there with me, thankful for all my friends who had prayed, and thankful that Lizzy was apparently well on the road to recovery.

And we strolled into town, in the fresh, cold, but beautiful autumn sunshine.

Now Lizzy is at that stage where she doesn’t like too much contact. I only get a hug if I creep up on her unawares. And holding hands is completely out of the question. But I am allowed to put my arm around her shoulders as we walk. That seemingly is quite cool.

I try and know as much as possible about my daughter. That’s so important as I seek to serve her, and invest in her as a father. That really is so important. But in that moment, we were walking together into town in the fresh early morning autumn sunshine, my arm was around her shoulders, and she and I were smiling. I was close enough to see the glint in her eyes, and the flash of teeth in her smile.

And my heart was captured.

And I thought: all the knowledge I have about my daughter is really important, but it is in this moment of closeness that I am compelled to a life of devotion towards her.

It was in that moment of closeness that I was compelled to live a life of devotion to her.

You see, we can have all the knowledge in the world about someone. But we need moments of closeness where our hearts become captured, moments of closeness when we are compelled to live lives of devotion.


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

That’s beautiful. To write about something so scary and end up not only thankful for Lizzy but drawing such an inspiring conclusion is awesome.
Thank you.

Comment by Ruth

So sorry to hear that you have all had a rough time-may you all grow closer through this. ‘Beauty from ashes…’j x

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