Today one of our subs was hit by a van while crossing the street.
I took the call from the emergency room nurse.
We are listed as her emergency contact, as she is an exchange student. Not a lot of contacts.
My first impulse was to get all the facts.
How bad is it? What do you mean by scull fracture, an open wound, a hairline fracture, what? Were the police involved, did the driver have insurance, etc.
As a rule I am good under stress and in an emergency. I tend to be calm and unflappable, which is often construed as cold.
I like to know the facts, to some people that quality is interpreted as uncaring.
When someone is in the hospital, it is not my instinct to go visit them.
Is that weird of me?
Apparently is it.
The few times I have been in the hospital, the last thing I wanted was visitors.
I don't like people seeing me weak, or in my pajamas, or oozing bodily fluids.
When I have visitors, I feel like I must entertain them, and when I am sick or injured I don't feel very entertaining.
I feel like being left the hell alone, which is what I usually do with sick people.
I am learning that my way is unusual and makes me seem unconcerned.
I am a very concerned person, however I find idle concern without direction or a plan of action, highly irritating.
I realize that it would be helpful to learn to gush and hand-wring and be more jumpy, so that I can convey the level of concern that is genuinely residing in my heart.
I spoke with a colleague later to see how the teacher was doing, and she felt that she should be doing more, however undefined more is.
I tired to reassure my friend that she was doing the right things, because she was. She was being totally sensible.
What more can you do? You live in a tiny place with steep steps, not suitable for someone with broken bones. Your own health is poor.
Should I offer to care for the girl myself? It would be a totally impractical proposition, but again, it seems like one should make the offer, even though one knows that there is no substance behind it. I won't but I did feel that I should, which made me feel very far afield from anything meaningful or real, which my concern and heartache over the injury was.
Suddenly it was all about judgment and social convention and not at all about the welfare of one individual.