“Even these things it will one day be a joy to recall.” — Virgil, in the Aeneid
I read those words from the paperback I cradled near my face, hoping to ward off the germs from the lady hacking up a lung next to me in the ER waiting room. It seemed apt, as it was a day of joy, transition, and surprise irritations.
My plan for my first day with Olive in preschool was to take an extended dance class with my muse teacher, and write. However, those plans were foiled the previous night, when, changing Olive & I into our pajamas while Joel was off at a movie, I stepped on a piece of broken glass and bled all over the house.
The cut was really deep, but I made barely a sound, so as not to scare my sensitive two year old, who talks about it for days if I give a little shout at a bee or a close call in the car. I gave Olive a book and hobbled to the first aid materials, to clean it out and bandage it, which I quickly saw would not be enough. I bled through the bandaids faster than I could put them on, so I grabbed a diaper and wrapped it around the laceration. Then I finished putting Olive to bed, and stumped around the house, putting things together for the first day of Waldorf preschool — special school slippers, a fruit and vegetable to share, labelled extra clothing, and paperwork.
I got in bed early, and dreamed about blood magic. The novel I mentioned before is all about magic, but not in the “Alomahora” kind of way, but in the knotty, real way, in which you worry that everything good in your life is fake because you willed it to happen, and everything bad in your life is because you didn’t prevent it.
Anyway, there’s lots of talk of certain kinds of magic needing your blood, and in my dream the blood from my foot seeped into the floors just like I thought it would before I went to bed last night, and it meant I was part of this apartment, and would always belong here in some way.
Well, perhaps this 31 year old Rhea will belong here forever, but I grow and change every day. Today was case in point.
I left my daughter at preschool, her asking open-faced, “Where you going?”, and went to the cafe to have a latte and see if I could avoid the ER. I called my Doctor’s office — they had never heard of me because though they’ve been my primary care physician for over a year, I have never been there.
I am the kind of person who avoids the doctor unless I am absolutely sure they can do something for me. Even then, I do what I can on my own, having been raised by a nurse. I bring this over to my parenting, and am often arguing with nurses on the phone about not needing to bring Olive in to see the Doctor, and usually, I am right.
“Your insurance will PAY for it” the secretary at my Doctor’s office said to me in his bitchiest voice. “Just GO to the nearest hospital.” I wanted to say, “Why can’t the Doctor there just sew it up? Didn’t they teach him that in medical school?” I knew the cut, which was not bleeding but not closed or scabbed, needed to be looked at. So, I walked the 6 painful blocks to the ER.
Once there, it really wasn’t so bad. I read my excellent novel, and chatted with the people there intermittently (they agreed with me that Wendy Williams was born a man, and that Ru Paul is much prettier as a girl). I waited nearly two hours. I was annoyed to be spending my whole first day there, but I also had the thought that I’d be feeling guilty leaving her just to dance and sit and sip coffee, so it was good to be doing something I really couldn’t do without her, taking care of myself in a very real way. And the pain in my foot kept me from the twisty feeling in my gut from being apart from her in this new way.
The doctor finally saw me, laughing appreciatively at my diaper method. “That was really smart. This looks totally clean, and there’s no glass in there. It’s too old to suture, so we’ll just give you a tetanus shot.” They didn’t even change my bandaid, confirming that I pretty much could have done all of this at home, barring the extra defense against tetanus.
When I walked back to get Olive, I noted that I now have a wicked gangster lean. Olive hugged me for a long time when she saw me. She asked about my hospital bracelet, and I told her we were both very brave that morning. She’d gone to preschool for the first time, and I’d gone to the hospital to see a Doctor. She had a lot of questions about that, but mostly was pleased with the idea that we had both practiced patience and bravery this morning.
Tomorrow is another day, and will bring new changes and challenges, that I can’t know or create, I just have to live into. We are all made of stars, and blood magic, and we know where we belong. That will help us to weather the shifts to our plans, even when they are new or unwelcome.