A few different people have told me in the past couple of weeks that I should write a novel (about my life). Finally I have plot. This is the catch up post though.
On June 21st, if that was a Wednesday, I got home from a market, had just enough time to unload the meats back to the freezer and sit down to check messages when Elisa came running in. She said something and in there were the words “Harriet is hurt.” Up on the hill the girls had been sitting in a pick up truck waiting for Billy to finish moving one last bale and come down for supper. The truck was turned off and slipped out of gear and started rolling down the hill backward. Billy saw it disappear behind the shrubs and jumped off the tractor in a full run. Elisa hit the brakes but nothing happened with her twelve-year-old strength. Harriet panic and jumped out. I didn’t know any of this until later.
When I got up on our hill the truck was backed into the hedge row and Harriet lay on the ground talking to Billy who stood over her. She looked like a kid who had fallen off a bike. She complained that her leg hurt and it looked pretty scraped up behind the knee. We got her up and help her into my car ( really, really stupid) and I drove her down the hill. Billy had said I needed to take her to the emergency room just to be safe. And I said, “Really?” Hospitals are unknown territory for me. Half way down her breath was short and she was hurting at every bump. I called a friend I haven’t talked to in years and don’t even ask me how I remembered her number and she said, “Anna call 911!” which I did. More guys than you can imagine showed up. I think they thought Harriet was pretty seriously bruised and going was in to the hospital was a necessary precaution. We answered questions. Harriet spoke very calmly. Billy came down off the hill and got in the ambulance with her. Elisa hid in the house until everyone was gone. With some help which I needed that night, I milked, got a change of clothes for Harriet, took advice to take a book because it was going to be a long night ( ha!), and headed with Elisa to the city to meet up with Billy and Harriet.
I need to just catch up though or I will be writing for hours and I also need to take care of the kitchen before it’s time to milk. Harriet, much to the doctors’ shock when they finally read her cat scan, had a broken pelvis, four broken ribs, a punctured and collapse lung, and a broken clavicle. I remember now when they all came rushing in and just looked at her lying on her back and said something about her being tough. The truck had rolled up her leg and over her body. This is when I like to remind myself how lucky we are. Her organs are fine. Her spine and neck are fine. She is alive and she has only broken things that are fixable.
I headed home with Elisa at some awful hour. A couple hours later Billy called to say they decided she needed surgery which would be happening later that morning. I milked again and called a friend to stay with Elisa so she could sleep and not wake up in an empty house and my friend came, gave me a hug, and handed me a travel mug of coffee.
Five days later we brought her home. She’s in a wheelchair now and will have the summer to get back on her feet. We had an enormous amount of help. I took people up on their offers. Harriet’s sense of humor is saving all of us. She got over her extreme teenage modesty some night while a nurse but still a stranger helped her use a bedpan.
Then the following Thursday, June 27th, Elisa complained that her stomach hurt. We had a house full of visiting family. I had been gone all day having just launched a new farmers’ market in our town. Dinner was delivered by our friend and when we sat down to eat Elisa only wanted a couple of bites. I checked on her at eleven before I went to bed, turning off lights down their hallway and picking up clothes to go to the laundry and she was still awake, lying in the dark in her bed. A couple of hours later she got me and we lay on the bathroom floor together. I asked what she had eaten the couple of days before. I told her she would feel better soon. By the morning she was moaning and Billy knew it was the appendix. I had googled it at 3m and knew it couldn’t be because she didn’t have a fever. Then suddenly at 7am, she did and I cancelled my plans for the market that day, unloaded the coolers from my car and we both drove her back to the emergency room instead. Not good to be an old pro in the emergency room. Not good when you get the same doctors and they say in disbelief, “This is your OTHER daughter!” Elisa had her appendix out later that morning in hospital pajamas that said “tired little tiger.” She was nervous but in serious pain. When they asked what her pain level was after the exam, even with morphine she said 20. Both of my kids are tough. She woke up in the same hallway and thought she still had to go in for surgery once it was all over so that impressed her. That first day she still had a fever and slept a lot so I left Billy there for the night and went home to milk, spend the night with Harriet, and get ready for the market the next day. By this point I was on auto pilot.
On Saturday I came home from market, unloaded my cooler, very carefully hugged Elisa and jumped back in the car with Billy to go pick up our exchange student from the Basque region of Spain who was being dropped off in a parking lot in Syracuse. Poor girl has arrived into…what would you call this? Her name is Andere. She is smart and jumps in to help. She has been here a week now and we would keep her forever.
Meanwhile also my parents arrived as previously planned to go through the boxes they had stored at my house and make decisions about what to take back to California. My niece Josie came up to help with Harriet. And my niece Ariel came and stayed. Amazing girls. Our church made supper for us every night for two weeks and that kept us functional. The girls got visitors and books and board games and cards. All beyond nice.
Also our vehicles all decided to have major trouble at this time and they were somehow gotten to the shop and fixed or are close to fixed by now. A ewe got sick and we thought we had saved her but then she died. We lost a lamb suddenly in the middle of the night. It was one of Harriet’s show lambs. Penny finally had her calf and he is a sweet little bull and doing well. This is another story that will have to keep but somehow I managed to hit a car and break a tail light on July 4th. In my defense it was in a pitch black parking lot and the car was parked with the lights off against a shed. I couldn’t see it even when I drove in forwards. We are missing Marta’s puppy training classes. Oh well. Elisa got a part in Peter Pan, which our town is putting on for the summer. She got the part of Jazz. And lastly, our good friend Arny had a car accident the same day as Harriet’s and had similar injuries though worse because he is in his eighties but luckily he is doing better now too.
This week is fair week and we are going in a very minimal way. Elisa is taking her two pigs and that is it! No cooking, baked and decorated cakes, no chickens, rabbits or lambs. I’m taking a little time off work and we are going to try and have some fun for a change. First though, today after the pigs are loaded for the fair and after I milk, the girls go back to the hospital for follow up exams. Aren’t I lucky they are both on the same day and a couple hours apart so we get to only make one trip?