When the children were younger my husband got a job in Germany and as a family we all decided to take the plunge and move there together. It was a difficult decision as we were so happy living where we were but we needed bread on the table so the choice was made. Rupti found us a beautiful house, on a Lake in a small Franconian village called Weisendorf. We rented our cottage out in Devon and left one cold December day.
We were welcomed into our new life and soon made friends. I was very homesick though and missed the network of good friends and family I had at home. The language was a barrier to begin with but pretty quickly managed to get myself understood at the shops , schools etc. As everyone believes, we thought the children would settle very quickly but it became apparent that Fergus was having trouble. He was being bullied at school and was generally an unhappy soul. It took us a while to realise that he had hearing problems, which he had been able to deal with in England, but because of having to learn a new language, was unable to cope with anymore. He simply couldn’t hear well enough to pick up new words. He was also having difficulties with his sight which we soon sorted out by going to a good eye doctor. We decided to take him and Cai out of the state education system and send them to a Montessori school where happily they both began to thrive. Although by this point Fergus had decided he was not going to learn German and utterly refused to speak anything but English! Thankfully the school worked with this.
While this was happening Jago was at home with me and we would attend Kindergerchen (Playgroup) together a few mornings a week. I still felt homesick and was struggling with it all generally. Its so hard to feel safe as a Mother when you can’t really totally communicate with those who need to know what’s happening with your children and the problems with Fergus had really made me realise how far from home I was!
We bought a Camper Van and decided to go away for a week testing it out. We jumped in and headed South. We were having a great time and eventually ended up in Switzerland, by this point we needed a supermarket visit. There was a toy train inside by the tills where you put money in and the kids could have a ride. While we were paying for the shopping the boys had a turn each on the train……..then it happened…..something that would change my life forever!
There was a loud scream and I looked up and saw Jago lying on the floor. Cai came rushing over, very upset crying “Jago’s hurt himself!”. Rupti and I ran over leaving the shopping and went to pick Jago up and comfort him. Small boys often hurt themselves and this didn’t seem any different to any tumble. The manager of the shop insisted on calling a Doctor who checked Jago over and pronounced him fine. Jago was still very upset and I noticed that the floor was marble and had no rubber matting around it. I made a mental note to complain about this later and went back to pay for the shopping. We carried on our journey and that night arrived in Austria. We ate and went to bed. At about 2am Jago woke up screaming…I mean really screaming. It was horrendous. We were on a campsite-didn’t know where the phone was-didn’t know what to do. Rupti left to find a phone and call an ambulance while I tried to calm Jago and the other boys who were really upset hearing Jago wailing. After what seemed an eternity Rupti came back and said an ambulance was on its way. The ambulance took us to a nearby clinic. By the time we got there Jago had stopped crying and was very quiet. I explained what had happened and they prodded and poked him and took him for an X-ray. They checked for dilated pupils and other symptoms of head injury and once again pronounced him fit and sent us on our way with pain-killers for him.
We decided to go home as we’d been so rattled by the experience the thought of holidays just wasn’t right anymore. It was a long drive. I sat in the back with Jago on my lap and for the first time in my life since I was a child I started to pray. I looked out of the van window at the sky and thought of God. The God of Judgement, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit……but where was God the Mother? It was Her that I needed…she would understand. So I called Her and I prayed that Jago would be alright. My instinct told me that he was far from alright but now 2 Doctors had told me he was fine and to stop worrying. So again I prayed…”Let Jago be ok…don’t let him die……”
I was so upset that I insisted we stop and find another hospital. By this time my husband was beginning to wonder if I’d lost the plot but we stopped and saw another Doctor who did the same checks, asked the same questions and once again sent us one our way with painkillers.
Finally we arrived home late at night and all went to bed. Jago seemed to be peaceful so once again with a prayer in my heart I went to bed. In the morning I went to see Jago and still my heart was full of worry. He wasn’t right. I couldn’t say what wasn’t right but he wasn’t right. I woke my husband up and insisted once again we go and find a Doctor. It was a Saturday morning and the nearest Doctor open was a half hour drive away so once more we all piled into the van and headed towards a surgery. This time it was a woman Doctor-she did all the same tests and came to the same conclusion as the others- a bit of concussion perhaps but nothing to worry about. At this point I just broke down. I couldn’t take the worry anymore. She looked at my husband in a sympathetic way and suggested for my sake to take Jago to the Emergency Clinic in Erlangen to put my mind at rest!
Arriving at the hospital I carried Jago in. It was now 4 days since he fell. I went to reception and explained what had happened. The duty Doctor came out did the usual tests and once again came to the conclusion that Jago was fine. However as a precaution they would keep Jago in for 24 hours to observe him. Still they made me feel like I was an hysterical woman making a fuss out of nothing.
Finally we got to the children’s ward and were met by a very young doctor. It was his first week and he was obviously nervous. Again he performed all the tests and found nothing. He looked me in the eye and asked. “Are you worried?” I broke down and sobbed “There is something wrong with him. I know it!” “Well I am new to this” he says “I am going to trust your instinct. I’ll arrange a scan.” He called downstairs and a scan was organised. I went down with Rupti and Jago. Rupti went into the control room and I stayed with Jago in the scanner room. It was a terrifying machine for a little boy so as he lay there I started to tell him a story. I watched the faces in the other room through the glass and as the scanner moved over my son’s head I could see their expressions changing from good humour to anxiety to panic. Rupti came into the room in a hurry and took my hand. “Jago has a massive brain clot and needs and emergency operation. If the clot ruptures he’ll die!”
Below is a copy of the scan taken. As you can see on the right hand side is a large oval shaded area. That is the haematoma.
Suddenly all hell broke lose. There were Doctors and nurses running all over the place. Jago was put back on his trolley and was pushed at great speed out of the scanner room and down a long corridor. I had to take my shoes off to keep up-they were running so fast. As we got to the operating theatre forms were thrust into my hand to sign-I scribbled my signature, gave Jago a kiss and he disappeared through the double doors. A neuro-surgeon had been called and he came to talk to us while Jago was being prepared. He said ” Your son is dangerously ill. The heamatoma could burst at any minute. Its a miracle he is still alive. The haematoma is so large it is giving him brain displacement. We are going to have to remove the paretal bone in his skull to scrape it out. You must be prepared for the worst, he has a slim chance of survival and if he does survive there is a very strong possiblity of severe brain damage and epilepsy!
There were the words any Parent never would like to hear. My world collapsed in grief and fear. My beautiful boy who made me sing was dying and I couldn’t do anything. The Doctor said the operation would take a couple of hours and they would let us know as soon as there was any news Then came the longest 2 hours of my life. My husband and I went outside and walked around in a daze. We found a chapel but it was closed. So we both stood by the door and rested our heads against it and began to pray in earnest. I opened my heart to God the Mother. I shared the deep anguish I was feeling, I asked for Her help and comfort, I asked that Jago be given the chance of Life, I prayed that all would be well. The 2 hours stretched to 3 then 4….still no news….finally 4 and a half hours later we got word that the operation was over and he was still alive but he was in intensive care. My husband immediately went to see him and soon after I did. It was a shock..his little body was twitching as he was begining to regain consciousness….there were tubes coming out of his skull, nose, arms. He looked so helpless like a new born babe or an ancient old man. Then he open his eyes and as I gazed into them I knew he was ok. Jago was still there! I sobbed and sobbed in relief. The neuro-surgeon came over to us and said. “It was a much more difficult operation than we’d expected. Some of the haematoma had hardened and was difficult to remove. He is an amazing little boy, I have never seen anything like it before. He has such a strong constitution that his body compensated for all the pressure the haematoma was causing and he showed no classical symptoms at all of head injury. It really is remarkable as he could have died at any point from the moment he hit his head. To survive shows a massive will to live.” He then turned to me and said ” This is a teaching hospital and I would like to ask your permission to use Jago’s case for the students. Jago has given us a really clear message, that no matter what we think as professional Doctors, no matter how sure we are that everything is OK we MUST listen to the Mother. If she says something is wrong we MUST trust this!”
I went outside and looked up at the night sky. I held my arms up and opened my heart. There were no words only an enormous out pouring of gratefulness and love and as I stood there I was almost swept away by wave of love like I had never felt before…..immense and beautiful….timeless and healing……Mother to Mother……….I was held in Her arms and cradled like a child…..Her child……Her children………….That moment changed me.
I stayed with Jago in the hospital for 3 weeks. He slept on top of me as I held him close every second. Because of the tubes he lay on his back on my body and he called this a ‘proper cuddle’, anytime later on in his childhood, if he was feeling at all unhappy or insecure he would ask for a proper cuddle and we would lie together. Once again I sang to him. He had many tests over the time we were in the hospital and remarkably he had no long term effects from the injury. No brain damage and no epilepsy………Miracle…..Her Miracle.