Gardening accident or, That was a week, it was

Photo of Papa Zesser showing abrasions on upper lip and left side of chin, towel for some reason draped over his right shoulder.
No, I don’t know why there’s a towel draped over my shoulder either.

I dunno about you, but I’ve never thought of gardening as a particularly hazardous hobby. Sure, you can cut yourself on a thorn, and weeding can be hard on your back, but who expects to come away frightened for your teeth?

The injuries visible in the photo are only two of those I received on Tuesday. There is also a scrape on my left knee, an abrasion on my right forearm and, four days later, my right shoulder is still a little tender, and my right index finger is still stiff and swollen. Not to mention, my upper gum feels just a little bruised.

All that because I was coming in from uprooting our old and dried up green onions (planted last summer and so enthusiastic this summer that they went to seed faster than we could eat them; incidentally, in the early stages, green onion flowers are an interesting addition to a salad) and replacing them with fresh cuttings.

Easy, right?

Well, yes, but I’d had a brutal few days, was wearing an old pair of sandals, the right one of which is coming apart at the toes, and I wasn’t paying attention as I step across the new-planted onions.

The next thing I knew I was horizontal and then — wham! — I felt my face hit the edge of one of our concrete front steps.

I lay there a moment or two, tonguing my teeth and — tentatively — finding them in all in their proper place, enough to start cursing up a blue storm as I got to my knees, then my feet and tried to assess the damage.

Some blood, some pains, but I was walking and thinking hard about the vagaries of random chance. Baobao was waiting for me upstairs, sick, and Raven was still a day away from coming home from Regina.

I went upstairs and cleaned myself up as best I could, then did my best to carry on as per normal. (I was able to see my dentist on Thursday — no problems visible on X-ray — but I won’t know that everything is okay (or not) for as much as another year, so keeping an eye on any changes in my mouth: sensitivity, discolorations, etc.)

Not that Tuesday was normal, since Baobao had gotten sick on Saturday, the same day Raven had left the two of us on our own. Despite the reality of the pandemic, Raven has started travelling for work. So far, she’s been to Regina. Twice. I am tempted to add, “Poor girl,” but the truth is, I’ve never been so can only dis that small city based on hearsay.

Anyway, she left us last Saturday morning, leaving Baobao and myself to what I fully expected would be an easy four days.

But things started to go wrong pretty soon after Baobao woke me up, though I didn’t recognize a problem at first. The initial sign was when we were going to go out — to try out her “new” bicycle, I’d hoped. But after I needed to make a repair or two on her training wheels, she announced that she only wanted to go in.

So, in we went. And she was unusually low energy and grouchy for the rest of the day. And then she called for me after bed time (was it after midnight? I think so) and started to throw up as I was carrying her down the stairs. (Amazingly, only two tiny drops hit the carpet; I was spared some troubles!)

She woke up a couple of more times after that, and vomited once again in the morning — and once again, only on the kitchen floor. By which point it was clear: she was sick.

With what, of course, I wasn’t sure. The next few days were among the hardest I’ve experienced since she turned two months old and started sleeping through the night (I know, we’ve been incredibly lucky on that — and on many other — fronts!). She slept fitfully at night, literally waking me up every couple of hours from Saturday night through Tuesday night; she had very little energy; and almost no appetite. The only thing she didn’t have was a fever — at least, she wasn’t feverish any time I took her temperature.

Anyway, those were probably the hardest days I’ve had since Baobao started sleeping through the night when she was around two months old — I know, we’ve had it really easy with her so far!

On Thursday, the day after Mama had returned home, she developed a rash on her torso, thighs and to her cheeks and suddenly the internet gave us a probably diagnosis: roseola. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, beyond the fever and the rash, typical symptoms include loss of appetite, irritability, mild diarrhea, and swollen eyelids. On those last four she had all but the swollen eyelids, so I was pretty convinced.

We tried, and failed, to get an emergency appointment with our GP’s office, and Friday saw the disappearance of the rash and the reappearance of Baobao’s normal energy and good spirits, so we’ve decided there’s no need to see anyone now. We’re just not used to her being sick, because, until quite recently, she’s had almost no contact with other kids, so she hasn’t come down with the usual array of childhood illnesses.

But to come back, perhaps a little incoherently, to the start of this missive, my fall left me with a powerful visceral sense of how easily things can go wrong, of how contingent our lives really are. It would have been unlikely if I had died in that fall, but it wouldn’t have been implausible; or, I could have smashed all of my front teeth and had to, somehow, get myself together enough to get myself, and Baobao, to Emergency.

But. So. Here I am, (probably) nothing broken, and our lives carry on pretty much as if the fall hadn’t happened at all, no matter that it could so easily have been so much worse. I’m almost tempted to count my proverbial blessings in a mystical sense, but in the end I, an atheist by nature as well as intellect, am left to point only at luck and the inherent toughness of the human body for my narrow escape. There but for the grace of random chance …

But since we are all okay for a moment, I invite you to enjoy a video of Baobao showing proof that she too is feeling better.

Hey there! Since you’re reading my daughter’s correspondence, why not …

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