Every morning, my alarm goes off on my phone and I grab it and shut it off and spend the next five minutes lazily scanning the subject lines of my emails in a half-asleep haze. (Do you do this too? Reach for your phone upon waking? Do I need an intervention or has this just become acceptable behaviour these days, I can't tell. I stopped knowing what was borderline sociopathic and what wasn't when the guy next to me answered his phone in a movie theatre. This is how societies fall apart, people.)
Anyway, most of these email subject lines are innocuous things about the amount of money I could save at Piperlime or Michael's or Pottery Barn if I'd only buy that pair of fall booties/set of glue gun cartridges/perfect ikat throw pillow today, which is why the one that said MUM IN HOSPITAL stood out in such sharp contrast to my sleep-addled brain. I tell you, there is no triple-shot latte in the world that will wake you up as quickly as MUM IN HOSPITAL in your inbox. And if you're not awake by that point, then "Hi, I'm in hospital in England, waiting to have emergency surgery" probably will.
What had happened—and you're going to want to finish your lunch before you read this—is that my poor mother had stepped on a needle six weeks ago, shortly before she got on a plane to spend two months in the UK. I'm not entirely sure how this happened, but I am at least fairly confident that it was just a regular old sewing needle and not, like, a discarded heroin needle or something, although I admit that I am really only making an assumption about this part, because it happened at my parents' house, where I would like to think there are no discarded heroin needles lying around. So we have that, at least. If you must step on a needle, the sewing kind is better than the heroin kind.
Anyway, she managed to pull most of the needle out immediately after stepping on it, but part of it was stuck in her foot and wouldn't come out, and because she had a plane to catch and could still walk on it, and because the doctor she saw a little bit later said not to worry, the rest of the needle would just "work its way out," she just kept walking around like normal. On her foot. With a broken-off needle stuck in there. Are you making the face I'm making right now? There is a speech bubble right above my head that says OUUUUUCCCHHHH.
And then finally it was so painful that she ended up going to A&E, which is the UK version of the ER—and which, if you are as familiar with the long-running British TV drama Casualty as I am, you are going to imagine was exactly like an episode of that—where they said holy crap, madam (the madam part was because they're polite and British, although I may be paraphrasing this whole conversation), we need to get you into emergency surgery immediately.
So this is where we pick back up with the email. Which also included this horrifying attachment, the content of which serves as an excellent reminder that none of us should ever do any sewing ever again. (Or any heroin.)
In case it isn't clear from the blurry cameraphone picture, that is an x-ray of a foot with a needle sticking out of it. Or into it.
Anyway, she is out of surgery now—which was done under general anaesthetic and involved cutting through several layers of tissue, two details which make my shoulders involunatrily rise up to my ears in a shudder of horror—and she is recuperating nicely with some good drugs, under the care of my aunt (who, handily, is a nurse) and my sister (who, handily, was home to accept the delivery of champagne I sent, less to say "congratulations on the forcible removal of a needle from your foot!" and more to say "yeah, I think you might really need this." I even sent mini bottles so she could drink one a day and pretend they were medicine. What, it's way more useful than flowers.)
So that was exciting! If by "exciting" we are allowing a loose definition of "wow, I shouldn't have watched so many episodes of Grey's Anatomy where people don't wake up from general anaesthetic and then their relatives gather mournfully at the foot of their bed and say 'but she only went in for ______!'", which I am assuming we are. But all is well, thank goodness, and she is even going to get some pretty sweet crutches for the next few weeks, which I am sure will be super fun to use considering she is staying at the top of a hill and it is always raining in England. On the bright side: excellent upper body strength!
To wrap this up, won't you join me in wishing my mum a speedy recovery? While you're doing that, I have a miniature hotel sewing kit in a drawer somewhere that I need to go and set aflame. Hey, you can't be too prepared. Prevention is better than accidentally stepping on a needle, as the old saying goes. Or should.