Meet Tamlin, 14 years old.
I’m not absolutely sure what was going on in my brain that fateful afternoon, but I chose to use the outside steps. Now, these stairs had already tried to kill me once before when the railing gave out, so I don’t know what I had expected, certainly not for it to be my saving grace, that’s for sure.
It was as simple as that. I thought there was a step where there wasn’t.
I slammed into the old, wooden stair, my left shin taking the fall.
I remember looking down and seeing blood and white fragments. I started screaming.
You see I had this bruise-like lump on my leg that we called my ‘Alien’. I had landed on my Alien and it had burst quite rightly. I was always scared that that day would come, I should’ve been afraid of that day never coming.
I’m not a screamer but I screamed, and I screamed so much that the next-door neighbours came to see what had happened. My family didn’t react so quickly, they thought I had almost run into a spider or something. They came out slowly; my older sister first, followed my mother, questioning what on earth was wrong. They saw me standing there, tears streaming down my face, unable to explain what had happened, unable to move.
It was like I had been glued to the spot.
All I remember and all I choose to remember is that pain, that nothing ever could be as bad as that pain.
On a February afternoon in a peaceful street, you could hear my screaming, my neighbours yelling, my mother shouting instructions at my sister. On a February afternoon in a peaceful street, you could see my neighbours jumping fences to come help, my family running back and forth from me.
On a February afternoon in a peaceful street, there was an old house, where lived a girl whose world had just changed forever.
They say that some silence is deafening and others peaceful. The car ride to the hospital, I found it peaceful, whereas my mother would have described it as deafening. To have silence where questions were normally posed, where words to a song were sung off-key, or where the names of cars were shouted, I suppose would classify as deafening. I don’t remember much of the car ride there. Just sitting with my leg out in front of me, clothed in a towel rag. I remember clutching my doll and faintly, Taylor Swift music. The only time the deafeningly peaceful silence was interrupted was when my mother would ask me if I was alright, double-checking that I was still alive, that I hadn’t slipped away for some reason.
As I waited in the pre-emergency area, this family walked by lead by a nurse. The dad had a BALD boy in his arms, wrapped -almost lost- in a blanket. They walked straight past me, but the mother, however, cast a warm, tired smile at me. I smiled back and thought about how I was just probably going to need stitches, how lucky I was how I wasn’t a cancer patient.
I just had to tempt fate, didn’t I?
Tune in tomorrow for Tamlin's story of her ED admission, the surgery to remove the Alien and what pathology thought of her rare presentation.