In the blink of an eye…

So there I was, lounging around on a sun bed by the pool at our apartment building, watching the kids having fun on the first day of the pool being open for the summer.  I snapped a few pictures of them on my phone and posted them on Facebook, purely to show off!

Next thing I know, one of the Josh’s friends in the building has slipped over and banged himself near his eye.  He was screaming blue murder but there didn’t seem to be much damage but he was whisked off back to his apartment nonetheless.  Having been shouting at the kids for an hour to be careful not to run around by the pool, at least they could now see reasoning in my boring parenting!

By this point Eden was back upstairs and I was watching Josh and another friend throwing a ball to one another, one in the pool and one out.  I gave Josh his 5 minute warning, then 2 minute warning, extended that a few times because I am so nice … then suddenly out of the corner of my eye, Josh slips and lands awkwardly.  He is clutching his eye and crying straight away so I start telling him to come quickly so I can take a look.  But then the blood started pouring through his hands and down his body.   Well, that got me off my sunbed, that’s for sure.

I think the combination of a head injury, where the blood always flows quicker and more freely, and his wet body which made the blood just flow down into a puddle on the ground very quickly, made the whole thing look worse than it was, but it was pretty bad!  When I removed Josh’s hand from his eye I could see a really deep gash between his eyelid and eyebrow and I knew this was going to need more than a band aid.  He’d landed right on a slightly raised tile edge.

Towels, cotton wool, tissues were handed to us from all directions as we tried to clean Josh up and stop the flow of blood.  A member of the Management Office offered to call an ambulance which at first I thought was probably a bit dramatic but then I thought that if the ambulance guys could treat Josh here then I wouldn’t have to take him to hospital.

Wishful thinking though.  The ambulance guys arrived quickly but Josh was hysterical the whole time he was waiting at the thought of stitches and injections etc.  They didn’t do much apart from clean the wound and apply a dressing before saying that they needed to take Josh to the hospital for proper treatment.  We ended up declining as the hospital that they had to take us to was much further than the nearest hospital!  But they had to take us to the one that was in their ‘area’.  So Josh missed out on a ride in an ambulance but since the blood flow had calmed down, I decided it would be fine to take 5 minutes to go upstairs, throw on our clothes and take a taxi to the nearest hospital.  I really didn’t fancy arriving at a hospital in my swimming costume!

I left Eden with my helper and instructions for her evening care and we headed off.

At the hospital we were seen within minutes but the doctor who saw us immediately said he needed to call a plastic surgeon because of the deepness of the gash and because of the facial nature of the injury.  Half an hour later the plastic surgeon arrived.  The hardest part for Josh the whole time was the anticipation of what was going to happen next.  He was just so nervous.  Dan was in Singapore so obviously couldn’t come to be with us.  I was texting him updates every step of the way but he felt helpless.  I was also texting pictures to my dad for his doctorly opinion and my mum felt helpless too not being able to kick in and be there for us.

Once the plastic surgeon had examined Josh, she declared that he would need double layer stitching – one for the skin layer and one for the muscle layer that she said was also exposed.  We had 2 options – local anaesthetic where Josh would be injected around the area, go numb but be awake and aware throughout the procedure or general anaesthetic where he would be put to sleep with gas and wake up afterwards not knowing a thing about it.  Despite the greater risks and escalating costs of going with the general anaesthetic option, I knew this was the right route for Josh.  Having gone through a lot of blood tests as a toddler before his Coeliac diagnosis, this has clearly left him with a psychological fear of injections and I couldn’t risk him squirming around in fear when scalpels were involved near his eye.  Decision made.


After a lot more form filling which basically involved agreeing to all the charges for everything Josh was going to have done, even breathing it felt like (!) we were taking upstairs to the paediatric ward where Josh got settled and we had to wait a couple of hours until the operating theatre was ready for him.

Situations like this really blow open the awareness of not being close to family in times of crisis and need.  Technology just doesn’t cut it sometimes.  I was on my own, Dan in Singapore, family in London having to make nasty decisions and keep a clear head.  I’ve said it before, and it’s very true, friends are your family in Hong Kong and everyone is very aware when others need ‘family’.  Without having to ask I had company and some essentials (and extra treats!) brought from home that we both needed.   Josh has received cards from Hong Kong friends and well wishes and phone calls from around the world, we are so lucky.

Poor Josh was exhausted and was on the verge of falling asleep whilst we waited to be called so I got him changed into his gear so he could relax and fall asleep, but he actually didn’t in the end.


We were called for the op earlier than planned which was good and taken to theatre very quickly so Josh barely had time to work himself up into a pickle again.  The anaesthetist was great with him, I held his hand the whole way and he was asleep very quickly.  The worst part was watching his body flailing about as he went under but I was assured that he knew nothing of this and it was just muscular reactions, horrible to watch though.

Half an hour later he was in recovery in a deep sleep looking very peaceful.  But as soon as they started wheeling him back up to the ward he was suddenly wide awake and alert asking how long was left!  He was stunned when I said it was done and he was on his way back to the ward!  So much for grogginess, he didn’t sleep a wink more, was thirsty and starving and could barely wait until he was allowed some water and the chicken and noodles he had ordered!  That’s my boy.

There were no further complications and we were allowed home once they were sure he was fine.   I was relieved to be getting home to Eden although I think Josh quite fancied staying in overnight.  The view he had from his hospital bed was a view that hotels charge mega-premiums for so no wonder he didn’t want to leave!  Plus, for him, the ultimate highlight was testing every possible combination of bed positions he could achieve with his remote control!


And now it’s the morning after the night before.  My job now is to keep his 10 stitches clean, well treated and infection free, all of which will minimise the scarring.  He’s developing some nice bruising around his cheek and eye which will probably be looking their best by the time he goes back to school on Monday!  I’ve kept him at home wrapped in cotton wool all day today but he’s dying of boredom so I’ll have to let him out into the risky wide world again at some point I guess!


6 thoughts on “In the blink of an eye…

  1. Josh is such a brave hero and Nina , as usual, is Supermum.
    I am so proud of you both.
    Grandma xxxxx

  2. Kids eh?! Joshy, get well soon and no more hurting yourself!!! Big hug, from all the Laifers x

  3. Josh, hope you feel better now. Make sure Mum and Dad and Eden make a big fuss of you and let you do whatever you want. Love from the Landsmans

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