A month after we moved to the Netherlands, I heard Katherine howling outside the bathroom while I was trying to shower. (This is not unusual.) I hollered at her to calm down and went back to shampooing my hair. Then my friend Rebecca, visiting us from the States, knocked on the door and said, “I really think you should come out here,” very calmly, “there’s blood.” (THIS is unusual.)
You know how head wounds bleed.
Joshua had shoved Katherine off the top bunk, and she had split the back of her head on the radiator edge. We had no Dutch health insurance and no Dutch doctor and very few Dutch words. When I called the hospital, they said to take her to a general practitioner instead of the emergency room. So we called a local doctor friend for a GP recommendation in Maastricht. Matthew grabbed a Green Wheels car (did I mention the part about how we don’t own a car?) and we hurried K in to the city center.
In spite of all the blood, the injury wasn’t serious, so the very friendly family doctor (also named Katherine) made quick work of the four stitches.
When I was 18, I hit a tree. And knocked myself out. You should know that A. my parents had only one tree in their front yard, and B. I was on foot. I don’t actually remember what happened, but somehow I literally ran into the tree on my way back from the mailbox. The part I do remember is waking up, on the ground, facing away from the tree, checking to make sure all my teeth were still there.
I stumbled up the hill to the house where my little brother Daniel was home alone. He kept calm and carried on quite well in the face of his sister’s bloody face…he says when he answered the door, I was hunched over and catching the blood in my cupped hands.