It was just another day in the house. B +ve and O +ve were up to their usual selves – jumping, running and dancing around.
Suddenly, one of the girls fell on the floor. It is a usual occurrence, it happens a number of times during the day, so no alarm as such. She got picked up by a family friend sitting next to her fall. The girl, who fell down, was not crying and was not in any pain either. A minute later, the family friend got up in alarm, her dress was getting wet with the blood dripping from the chin of my daughter.
We cleaned up the wound with water and applied turmeric. The girl was not complaining. We asked about any pain. She replied in the negative and continued with playing around.
After 3-4 hours, the turmeric fell off. The wound was visible now and we had a shock. She actually had a deep cut, it was looking like a pit dug on her chin.
Lesson 1: The child is intrinsically brave. We instil fear in the child.
We immediately rushed her to a children’s hospital, close-by to our home. The nurse cleaned the wound and did the dressing. The duty doctor told us to visit a paediatric surgeon immediately. We went to the see the surgeon and she scared the life out of us.
All through this, the girl who had the wound was just being her own self. She was not crying or complaining. She was asking questions about the surroundings, the hospital, what the people were doing all around. Her sister was also normal, doing the same thing.
After what the doctor told us, my wife and I were worried a lot. It was visible on our faces. Now, the girl realized that something was wrong with her. She wanted to be picked up and comforted. Fortunately, my wife had the presence of mind to show the pretence of normalcy. And, that was it. Again, the girl was back to being normal, her own self.
This reminded us of an earlier incident. The same girl had fallen, 2 years back, and twisted her ankle. She had to get an X-ray done and had to put a crepe bandage for about 10 days. At that time also, there was no crying or complaining, just playing, whatever her limited mobility allowed.
I realized that children are intrinsically brave, irrespective of their situation and the situation around them. This is the first bravery lesson. We tell them about the consequences of what has transpired with them and they get afraid, as a result. If she would have cried, there is no way that we could have maintained our sanity. But actually, she through her behaviour, made us brave.
For the child, who are we teach to them bravery? For, they are the really fearless souls.
Lesson 2: Do not panic.
The paediatric surgeon had scared us about the well-being of our daughter. We wanted to follow her advice immediately. Somehow, it occurred to us, to speak to Adithi, our in-house doctor, who has now moved to the Netherlands.
Adithi heard us out. She could not see the wound over the phone which was dressed up. She told us that she would not believe a word of what the paediatric surgeon told us. Adithi explained to us about a couple of things that the surgeon had spoken to us and informed that that is not how medical procedures happen.
She wanted us to get a second opinion from our regular paediatric doctor who has been seeing the girls since they were born. She assured us that our daughter would be fine and there is no need for immediate action within one-two hours itself.
This was the second bravery lesson – Not to panic. The most common-sensical, but never occurs at the moment when required the most.
Lesson – 3: Letting it be is also a worthwhile option.
The next day we went to see the paediatric doctor, who sent us to the paediatric surgeon. He repeated whatever Adithi had told us the previous day, a complete contrast to what the paediatric surgeon in the previous hospital had said.
We were told that we could either get stitches for our daughter’s wound or just leave it to heal naturally. We told the doctor that we were unable to decide and he replied that letting it be is also a decision in itself.
As parents, we want to do the best for our children. And if we do not do or are not able to do, which goes against the conventional wisdom, we feel guilty about the same. Here we were told that, no matter what the others say, letting our child be was also a good decision.
This does not occur to us at all – letting it be, allowing nature to take its own course. This was the third bravery lesson. There are multiple ways of doing the right thing and there are also the wrong things, which abound in advice.
Our daughter is healing fine, naturally. She continues to be her own self, aware of her injury but oblivious to all other paraphernalia.
For us, there has been a number of bravery lessons learned, we hope to remember for the future. Trust the child’s instincts, not to panic and let it be.
PS: Adithi told us that we should apply organic turmeric powder on the wounds, and not the regular turmeric powder. Another learning worth sharing.