4.22.2018

In Which, One of Us Has to Go to the Hospital


"Penelope fell in gym and got a gash on her forehead. We think she needs stitches."

Is what I would've said, if I worked at the school and called us. Instead we got a call with:

"Penelope's hurt. Come now. Just come NOW!" (translation)

So we did. As we were pulling on our shoes and heading out the door, we heard an ambulance, with sirens blazing, speed down our street.

When we got out the door and around the corner, we saw that yes, it was parked in front of the school.

The worker at the gate let us in with eyes down and a "sorry" (not a translation). I gave her a thumbs up.

We could see a crowd of people (school employees, paramedics) surrounding Penelope. They did not part for us. I had to duck to see under arms that Penelope's eyes were open; she was breathing; her skin was a normal color; and she was sitting up in someone's lap... so no spinal injury. All I could see was someone putting pressure with a bandage to her forehead, which is all it was. I was thinking maybe a broken bone.

They really set us up for panic, but I knew the whole time everything was fine, because I trust the Holy Ghost. And the Holy Ghost was telling me nothing was wrong.


They took Penelope by ambulance to the better hospital, a half hour away, because they have a pediatric unit. Woo rode with her, not just because he speaks Portuguese, but because he's by far the best parent for these situations. Frequently in pain himself, he has a lot more compassion than I do. Plus, he's funny, and a good companion to have along in a strange situation.

Penelope was taken to the ER where they exceeded our expectations for care. Other than having to walk through a room containing rows and rows of beds of elderly ER patients (it definitely weirded Woo out), she was seen quickly and her gash was bonded shut (no stitches).


Meanwhile... I had all the other kids at home. I served a failure of a dinner (too spicy), that none of the kids would eat, and was waiting for a text from Woo to pick them up. This is only the second time I've driven in Portugal, so I was a tiny bit nervous.

With Herbie's help (standing outside, gauging my proximity to walls and poles) I got out of the garage without too much trouble, and we were off. Ruby sat in front and texted Woo our progress and updated us on theirs, while I drove and navigated off the other phone.

It went okay, other than I'm only pretending to know what I'm doing on a roundabout (I do think I got it on the way home), and I took one wrong turn. I found myself on a oneway road, looking up a very narrow, steep, cobbled exit that I refused to take in my giant van full of kids. I was afraid I would stall, among other things. The road was deserted, so I backed up (hitting one of those cone-like rubber barrier things), and turned around to drive 100 ft the wrong way. Ruby, Herbie and the one other guy who saw me did not approve, but I did it anyway.

We drove past the hospital, Moses and Linus yelling at me to stop, but I was on another hill, paying attention to the immediate road and my phone, which said I still had half a mile to go, so didn't see it. After some more awkward (but not illegal) turning and parking and walking, we found an exasperated Woo and a happy Penelope.


And then to top it all off, we ate dinner at Burger King. The kids got a crown and a toy and every one of the kids went to bed thinking the day had really been spectacular.


At one point on our drive Herbie had told Ruby to text Penelope that we love her. Woo had let her read it herself and Penelope was very touched. Overall, it was a fun, exciting experience for her, where she got to feel everyone's love and concern. When she got to school this morning, she was surrounded by a crowd of kids, all wanting to know what had happened and what her wound looked like.


In other news... Woo's parents have come to visit! The kids have been excited for weeks. Herbie helped move Archie into his room (we'll see how that goes), so Woo's parents can have Archie's room and the downstairs bathroom while they're here.

Other tidbits:

Ruby and Herbie did a lot of good work preparing Grandma and Grandpa's room. Ruby cleaned out the closet (even down to q-tip detail!) and Herbie blew up and made the beds.


Moses is our best octopus eater.

Herbie (testing to see if Moses is smarter after eating octopus brain): What is cheese?  
Moses (in an authoritative voice): An orange type of food. It’s called moldy milk. 

We had a few very warm days this week. Linus ran around with his sweat pants bunched around his knees all morning until he could change into shorts at lunch.


Nellpea had a birthday party before Grandma and Grandpa came at one of those kid play places like Kangaroo Zoo. Ten minutes before Grandma and Grandpa were due to arrive, we all went to pick her up. I asked if we could have Penelope.
"No," said the guy. "We haven't sung Happy Birthday yet."
And he was totally serious.

Only when Woo explained that her grandparents from the Unites States were due to arrive, did he decide he could release her to us.

Nellpea: Where’s New England?  
Archie: Oh! It’s by France!

And Woo and I found the world's most amazing napkins.


"I'm just glad they've finally found a way to employ all the starving artists in the world."

Hope your week was great!