Just months after Matthew died, we moved our family from London back to NYC. The company put us in corporate housing near Grand Central while we looked for an apartment for our family.
After spending a day by myself on the Upper East Side, I came home with a dozen pictures of available apartments to show Bryant and the children.
The children piled on my lap. And, just like in the nursery rhyme, they all rolled over and one fell off. 4 year old J fell, head first, into the glass coffee table in front of my knees. His wound turned white before it ever bled, and he did not cry because of shock. The gash was deep, we could see it clearly. And when the blood did start to flow, it gushed. Bryant carried him into the bathroom and I called 911. The operator on the other end told me to put ice on J‘s head, while we waited for the ambulance.
“I don’t have any ice!” I languished. “This is temporary housing…”
“What do you have in your freezer. Use whatever you have in your freezer!”
“Peas! We have frozen peas!”
“Wrap it in a towel and put the package on his head.”
I took the opened package of peas from the freezer, and applied, as directed. J was still in shock, but conscious, when the ambulance arrived. Bryant decided it would be quicker if he carried him down the stairs to the ambulance, rather than waiting for the EMTs to come up to us. As he ran down the four flights of stairs, I followed, crying at this point, in the elevator, accompanied by the superintendent of the building.
“My son died!”
“Your son WHAT?!??!”
Crying even harder, “Not this one. Another one. I am just saying…..”
The poor man.
When we got outside the building, we circled the barely-conscious child – me, Bryant (holding J), the superintendent, and a couple EMTs. One of the EMTs went to remove to towel, to examine the wound. As he pulled the soiled kitchen towel from J‘s forehead, bloody matter poured out, and we all jumped back.
I didn’t yell that, to my credit. But I think we all thought it! I had never seen brains before, but they didn’t look the way I’d expected!
It didn’t take us more than a second to realize it was the peas – bloodied and thawed – falling from our boy’s forehead, and not his brains.
The superintendent survived.
And a request was sent by the other two children to Auntie, to come to New York and take care of our wounded boy.