Monday, August 23, 2010

First riding lesson

Lu has always loved ponies -- as most little girls do. But surprisingly up until recently, she has been intimidated by the "real" thing; even though she loves playing with her "my little ponies" and other various horse-like dolls... she just did not appreciate the grandeur of a real, live pony.

She's had plenty of access to ponies... at grandma's house, at our neighbour's place, at the farm across the road from grandma,.... and the list goes on and on. But it wasn't until my dear friend Sian offered a pony ride at the stable she frequents. I happened to have a free Saturday morning, so Lu and I donned our best rubber boots and headed to the stable.

We arrived a bit early and Annabel was immediately drawn to the small, black pony - 'Beauty' - who was being groomed and polished by two young girls. Then... the pink saddle pad arrived... Lu was smitten... not only was this tiny, gentle pony nibbling her hands... but... she had a pink saddle pad. That pink saddle pad made everything in life perfect... and at that moment.. life was perfect.. perfect for a smitten four year old girl, with long, blond curly hair, held back in a french braid; a Vancouver Olympic t-shirt and grey leggings tucked into flowery pink rubber boots and a toothy grin that stretched from ear to ear.

Unfortunately, Beauty was being used in a lesson. But, Lu got to ride Sino the Palomino... and she just loved every single moment of life on top of that round palomino. She even walked over a few poles on the ground (yeah. her first jump) and trotted, each side, down the length of one wall (yeah, her first dressage test).

Soon her ride was over... but the euphoria of that special "first" still lives on - two days later - as Lu proudly tells anyone within ear shot of her first horse ride!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Anaphylactic Shock

I cannot get the image out of my head. The image of your tiny, frail body lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by wires and beeping machines and giant scratchy blankets under the grey-green glow of the fluorescent ceiling light.

I cannot get the image out of my head of your limp body in my arms while you vomited uncontrollably - your body trying to rid itself of the toxins within. I thought, at that instant, that we were going to lose you. It almost seemed as if your life was flowing out of you along with the sick. I thought at that instant I would collapse, overwhelmed by the uncertainty, the blind panic and unforgivable unknowns.

I cannot get the image of your swollen eyes, your hive covered body, of you clawing at your neck and screaming how it hurts. I was so helpless. What do you do? I had no idea. And for that I am sorry. I am supposed to save you from hurt, from pain and from everything bad. I didn't do my job very well.

Why. Why did your body react so severely. Why did this attack come on so suddenly. We had no history of allergies. Up until now, you had been the picture of perfect health in all your four year old glory. Yet this awful reaction almost felled you instantly. Instantly in my arms while I held you on the side of the road. Screaming at daddy to call an ambulance. To will an ambulance here. NOW.

I knew we couldn't waste anymore time. I urged daddy to get back in the car and drive. Drive like you've never driven before. We took a big risk rushing you to the hospital on our own. Driving like a maniac. Passing cars. Swearing at the oblivious drivers who had no idea the hell that was taking place in our car.

When I first saw the flashing lights of the ambulance, my heart lifted... ever. so. slightly. We pulled to the side of the road as the ambulance swung around to meet us. I was out of the car, instantly, with your shaking, in shock, limp body in my arms. The site of the angelic paramedics sent me to my knees. I was scared. I was crying. I was angry.

We were whisked to the hospital. You were taken care of so expertly, so thoroughly, so professionally and for that I am ever so grateful.

Now you must carry an epi pen everywhere. Now I must investigate every and all morsels to pass your lips. I will also wonder what else you might be allergic to? How can I protect you from all these unknowns.

I am scared. I am overwhelmed with sadness. I have tons of questions and I cannot stop thinking about all the unbelievably unthinkable 'what if' scenarios which could have easily played out Saturday night. I cannot even imagine what would have happened. What easily could have happened.