by Katja Nilsson
“Hey, where did you get that scar on your cheek?” “I was attacked by a lion in Africa!” “Yeah, right! Tell me another one!”
One minute everything was complete perfection … “Good night Mum! I’m going to bed!” Big hugs and kisses were exchanged. “I love you!” He walked happily into the kitchen, on his way to the bedroom …
Next thing I knew, he came running back into the TV-room with his hands covering his face and before I could ask: “What’s wrong?” I could see the blood dripping through his fingers onto the back of his hands …
I always thought I was quite a calm person, who didn’t panic easily, but at that moment I could only say: “ Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!” I didn’t seem to be able to make any sense and the mere thought of what could have happened to his beautiful, perfect face made me not want to even look.
After what seemed like forever, I finally snapped out of it and shouted out: “Honey, come quick! I need your help!” He came running and took control, assessing the situation in all calmness. Meanwhile I was still waking around stupidly repeating: “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God, my perfect baby!”
With great effort, I tried to calm myself down and act like the sensible mother figure that I was meant to be portraying. I turned to my sweet, frightened baby girl who was now hysterical with fear about what had happened to her big brother.
Luckily only one of its teeth seemed to have punctured his cheek, but it was difficult to see the extent of the damage. We decided that my husband would take him to the hospital, while I stayed at the house with his completely freaked out sister.
The longest most dreaded waiting time ever! When her sobs and hysterical gulps for air finally subsided, she fell asleep on top of me and I lay there unable to move as I tried not to imagine the worst scenario.
The minutes ticked by agonizingly slowly and it was with mixed feelings that I finally heard them arrive back at the house. “Would he be scarred for life? My beautiful, perfect boy! Oh how could this have happened?”
His cheek was all patched up and he looked exhausted but o.k. I asked him how he felt and he was so very brave. He explained in a calm, yet tired voice that the doctor had given him four injections: one for rabies and three local anesthetics in his face, before the seven stitches. My poor baby, he had been through so much …
We put him to bed as gently as possible and hoped that he wouldn’t have nightmares haunting him at night. My husband explained quietly, that he had been very lucky and that indeed only one canine had punctured his cheek, causing only superficial damage.
At that point … fear turned to anger … “That monster has to be put down! How dare he attack my baby boy! And for no reason! What got into him? Has he gone insane? He has got to go! I will not have him near my kids ever again! He could have ripped off his whole face!”
How I got to sleep that night, I still don’t quite know, but it was probably sheer exhaustion from all the emotions running rife. My last conscious thoughts were: “Maybe things will look better in the morning…”
Things were somewhat better in the morning, he had slept well and we got an appointment with the dermatologist to check on the job that was done at the emergency room. The doctor seemed pleased, he gave us special scar preventative cream to apply every day. He told us to keep him out of the sun and away from physical contact sports as much as possible until it was fully healed.
“As if that was going to be easy … my soccer playing, karate kicking, tree climbing, active boy … how was he supposed to avoid the sun and physical contact sports? What a nightmare for the poor child, and all thanks to that wretched creature, whom I still hadn’t found worthy of so much as a look.”
‘That wretched creature’ however, was my mother in law’s baby/ bodyguard and she needed him now more than ever as my father in law had just passed away. Living alone on the farm was going to be a huge change for her and living alone without her bodyguard would be devastating to say the least.
As time went by, the wound healed and all that was left was a small, almost circular scar on his once blemish free cheek. Slowly but surely I learned to forgive and accept the situation, but I’ll never completely forget …