Driving remains a stressful and complicated issue when it comes to living with epilepsy. Most who live in rural areas, or often times even cities, require some sort of transportation other than their feet or a bicycle. Services like Uber have been a godsend for many like myself when trying to get long distances within the city I live in. I've taken it to the dentist and my neurologist's office for appointments. I've taken it for groceries and plenty of others. It's been a while since I have really been presented with a situation where the inability to drive truly becomes a serious issue. Until last week.
Last Wednesday my little girl was climbing a tree in the park across the street from our house. She let go of a branch a little to high for her and went tumbling to the ground, catching herself on her hands. As soon as she hit, she gave out one of those terrible screams that only a parent can know. She sat up and was favoring her arms, there were no tests that needed to be administered to identify one of her wrists as broken. It was clearly not where a wrist should be. This put me in an immediate pickle. I didn't have access to a car to take my little girl to the hospital. Even if I did, I don't have a valid drivers license.
I immediately considered an ambulance, but was able to put it out of my mind when I decided that calling my wife was a superior choice. Ambulance rides in the US are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, even with insurance. My wife also works relatively close to our home, so I called her and informed her of the situation. My wife said she would be here in "a few minutes" which sounds comforting, but since she was at work, it could mean anywhere from five minutes to half an hour.
The immediate situation had been handled, but now I had to help a seven year old little kiddo with pain management for the amount of time my wife was on her way. I lightly picked her up and put her in my lap, we sat and watched a show she had been watching lately on Disney+. She was still crying throughout, but I think it successfully distracted her to the point that it made things tolerable.
Unfortunately the amount of time it took my wife to get to the park was closer to the half hour previously mentioned. All the time I was dreading sitting in the hospital waiting room with her crying for hours while we waited. We softly loaded her in to the car and were off. The University of Utah hospital is pretty close to our home, and we were there within ten minutes or so. By that time, I think my daughter had gained quite a bit of her mental acuity back and was able to call our attention to the sign that marked "Primary Children's Emergency Care." We turned around and went in there instead of the regular hospital waiting room. This turned out to be a stroke of luck because it was completely empty except for the staff who seemed to be awaiting our arrival. She was quickly through triage where they were exceptionally great at gently putting her arm in a sling and getting her a room, and assigning us a nurse who took care of her pain management with a fast-acting aerosol based pain killer. She went through the standard motions that one would go through at the hospital afterwards. X-rays, a splint, and instructions on when to return for a proper cast.
Everything worked out all right, and my little girl proved herself to be a tough little kid, but the whole time I was cursing myself for not being able to drive, forcing my little girl to be in pain for that extra 30 minutes. I know she doesn't blame me, and I think we worked through it as a team pretty well, but the guilt will probably take a long time to lift itself from my shoulders.