Monday, June 14, 2010

Putting on the oxygen mask

Everytime Reya or Rithik fall sick, I remember my first trip to Emergency room with Reya...

Before I tell you that story, let me back up 11 years... year 1999, I got married that year and had quite a bit of air travel that year... Everytime I boarded a plane, I heard the flight attendant announce "Please secure your own oxygen mask before assisting your child.". I felt curious as to why? Rahul explained that while it only took a few seconds to help your child, if you don't put on your mask first and passed out while you were helping the child, both of you may die... whereas if you survive, you can help your child...

Hmm... Made perfect sense! I was convinced!

Only the thing that makes perfect sense in theory is very hard to do practically as I found out in 2006

One week before Reya's 2nd birthday, we were getting ready to go out when we heard Reya scream. We ran to the bedroom to find her on the floor. And then I saw blood... on her forehead, then on the nightstand corner and then on carpet.... EVERYWHERE! We pressed her head with paper towels, but the blood kept on gushing. We rushed her to Emergency room which fortunately was just half a mile away from our home.

Rahul held Reya in arms all the while pressing the head with lots of paper towels while I signed insurance papers. When I was done, Rahul said that the smell of blood was making him queasy and so I held Reya while we waited for doctor, all the while singing to her to calm her down.

Once the doctor came, he looked at the Reya's wound and said she needed stitches. we were taken in, and since Reya was crying and moving a lot, the doctor decided to swaddle her like a burrito in a fabric with velcro strips... He also told us to sit down as he didn't want us to fall sick... Rahul sat on a stool nearby, but no way I was going to sit and leaving Reya crying. I stood by the doctor, singing and comforting Reya. Rahul asked me to sit, but I told him I was just fine... and I stood there talking to Reya while the doc cleaned the wound, did the stitches and then the bandaging. Then Reya was released from the fabric. She stopped crying... and thats when it happened...

I felt a kind of rush in my body, then my mind went blank and everything around me became dark and I passed out and fell on the floor!

When I woke up just a few seconds later, Rahul and doctor were helping me and putting me on a chair. I kept on saying "I am fine, I am fine... where is Reya..." The doctor said "I told you I don't want 2 more patients while I am taking care of this little one".... I was kind of embarassed as Rahul wheeled me out of Emergency room in a wheel chair while I held Reya in my arms... just like the time we took Reya home when she was born!

But that night, as I tried to sleep, I remember the airline safety demo and realized that I had not put the perfect theory in practice... despite the warnings from Rahul and the doctor, I had chosen to be with Reya than to sit down. I had unconciously chose to put on her mask before my own...

And it made me realize that parenthood is certainly not easy. Like Elizabeth stone said "Making the decision to have a child - It's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."

And I sure hope it makes you realize that all of us need to appreciate our parents so much more for all the countless times, when they put our needs or desires ahead of their own... so I urge you, call you parents today and let them know you love them oh so much!

Signing off,

P.S. I don't want to sign off on such an emotional note, so here is a funny one.
"We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up." - Phyllis Diller


  1. Hi Shilpa,
    Really touching, and I can really understand what mother's went through when their kids are in such helpless situation.
    Similar incidence happened with me, when my younger son Aarav, just 1 week before his first bday became unconcious and fell on bed , I was like aback but I strongly made all the efforts to make him conscious and took him to hospital, I was not having hubby at home too, thanks to neighbours.But the moment I saw my hubby I lost my strength and broke down.Can never forget that terrible night, holding my lil one in my arms and he was back from hospital on his BIRTHDAY!!.

    Pls keep writting blogs.

    God Bless you and your family.


  2. I can totally relate to the post. Everytime i board the plane and flight attendant announce emergency safety measures, i can't help thinking, "Will i be able to put my my mask first before my baby?". I really hope, i will never have to face the situation, one of the reason is I really doubt myself..

    You are an awesome writer Di :)

  3. "your heart go walking around outside your body."..........beautiful.