So, Saturday (the first day of buses being back on the roads after 59 days of shock and awe strike and repairs) started out well enough. It was overcast, but mild and the buses started rolling just after 7:00 am. The sight of freedom.
The child and I both had huge, bus-related plans for the day. I was going off to meet Robin, Stella, Zoom-and-the-GC for a breakfast we’d been trying to organize for months while the child was off to her regular Saturday figure-skating lessons.
We were going to hook up later to do some shopping we’d been putting off for months and maybe check out some Winterlude activities.
We both left the house just before 11:00.
The bus ride was uneventful; quiet, subdued. None of the spitting, cursing and physical violence drivers had been trained how to deal with at Friday’s “Coping with Nasty Passengers” session.
I arrived at the appointed breakfast spot which was just opening.
Then my cell phone rang.
This is never good. No one calls my cell phone except the daughter and she only calls when something is wrong. Usually she just texts to say “hi” or “what’s for supper” or “I got 51% on my history quiz” (to give me a chance to cool down before she sees me later…. I raise no fools)
“Hello?” I said, heart in throat.
“Hi!” a chirpy voice answers. “Is this XUP Jr.’s mom?”
Okay. Now, as bad as a cell phone call from the daughter is, a cell phone call or any other call from someone else asking if I am the daughter’s mother is a thousand times worse.
I stop breathing.
“Yes,” I say, brain synapses bursting; heart pounding; hands clenched; teeth (including the new crown) grinding.
“Oh, hi! This is Cathy, XUP Jr.’s skating coach? She’s had a fall and I think it’s pretty serious. We’re in the ambulance right now on the way to CHEO and I’m wondering if you could meet us there.”
Ticktickticktickticktickticktickticktickticktickticktickticktickticktickticktick (That’s me quietly, yet methodically freaking out.)
Cardiac arrest from still not breathing.
“What? Happened? What?” I manage to ask through clenched jaws and still without breathing. (I’m a biological phenomena, I really am.)
“She seems okay. She’s conscious. No concussion or anything but I think she hurt her shoulder.”
Okay. Okay. People sometimes survive shoulder injuries, right? Of course they do. Almost always. You don’t need your shoulders for much except shrugging and we’re not planning to emigrate to France anytime soon. So, okay…
“I’ll get there as soon as I can. Thank you.”
How do I get to the hospital now?
The idea of flagging down a cab in the streets in Ottawa is absurd. So, I call for one.
It’ll be 20 minutes they tell me. TWENTY MINUTES? I start breathing again. (Being pissed off requires oxygen)
I hate this city.
Fortunately, just then, the whole gang starts to arrived from various directions.
I said, “Hi! Gotta go. Waiting for a cab.”
The GC, being every bit as gallant and wonderful as Zoom makes him out to be, immediately offered to drive me to CHEO in his fabulous GC-mobile. I hesitate. I didn’t want him to miss the long-awaited breakfast, too, but I was desperate. So off we went.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (And I understand the GC made it back in time to enjoy a hearty breakfast. Phew!)
Anyway, he drops me at the hospital pdq. The daughter is on a stretcher with paramedics hovering over her. She looks not too bad. We chat. I do all the paperwork. We get x-rays. We sit and wait.
Two and a half hours later, the verdict is: broken collar bone, nothing we can do, go home and let it heal. Big relief. And, the 2 ½ hours is a minor miracle and one which will be discussed by Ottawans for years to come. A far cry from the 7 ½ hours it took last year when she broke the growth plate in her hip.
Needless to say, no more figure skating. Finito. At least for the foreseeable future.
She has been asking to start learning guitar. That seems safe enough — until the strings snap and take out her eyes. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
One other thing, though. While we were sitting there waiting, the daughter beside me whimpering in pain, me stroking her good shoulder, a little busy spot in the back of my head was totally ignoring her and was instead composing this blog post.
I’m such a heartless barvarian.
 Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario