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/ by Dr Margaret Aranda /

She is still “mi muñeca,” the baby doll of my cuddly kittens when I was

Age Two.

I held mi muñeca so close, skin-to-skin, breathing her scent in, like any new mother finds within. Her pheromones glowed, as did the smell of her baby toes. I never wanted to let her go, you see?

I knew she was just ‘borrowed’ …and I’d have to give her back ‘to the world’ one day …but I held on to her every day, every second, hearing her breath stop in her crib, poking her rib to be sure she would live. People made fun of me for writing her a REAL Ladybug Book for her Two-Year-Old Birthday.

  lmts-lbbookcover

Image 1. Little Missy Two-Shoes Likes a Ladybug. Do You?

They scoffed, and said, “You have too much time.”

They didn’t know that time is relevantly irrelevant in the moments of pure love. And now I look back, and I have no regrets and I don’t care what anyone ever, ever, ever thinks of me. No, not ever again. 

I do what’s in my heart.

~Dr Margaret Aranda

At three years old now, her brown curly hair matched the big brown eyes that belonged to an actual doll. Just mesmerizing.

Women stopped their carts in the grocery store, talked to my 3-year old, then ran home to tell their husbands what?

“I want another baby!”

~Dr Margaret Aranda

Today they ran errands, “Mama” and “Baby Doll.” As long as she had her toy for the car, she was fine with it all. It was striking (but only later on) that Mama strapped her really tight in the back seat of the Ford Expedition. All tucked in, yes indeed. Seat belt tight, the baby car seat specifically did not rock to and fro on the seat, pillow under the neck for when she took the inevitable nap …and that was a wrap, so…

Let’s go!

Age 3: In the Blink of a CarImage 2. Screenshot, Mi Muñeca on LA Eyewitness News. My baby doll. Pure love, from heaven above.

“I remember it as if it was yesterday. It was just another drive to afar. I knew it was sunny, good vision, aligned car.

But a small little voice screamed, ‘Be sure that her belt is tight. Check it once, no, twice, no…

check it again and wiggle it back and forth.

No, Use all your force, and make sure

that baby car seat does NoT mOvE when you shake it hArD!’ So I did it… and I did it even again, not knowing why.

Never thinking that this would be the day that someone would die.

~Dr Margaret Aranda

After shopping, it was a long way home, so the baby had a diaper change, a full stomach, and you know. The nap was next. They had just finished visiting Grandpa with his Alzheimer’s, you remember? Grandpa lived in a city that was “over the hill,” and today little puppy Ella visited him too, in the Nursing Home of Death, but that’s another story, too.

All was as well with the world as it seemed it could be.

The things that needed changing were not Mama’s,

to any degree.

~Dr Margaret Aranda

It was a sunny California Tuesday afternoon, April 24, 2006 at 2:16 pm to be exact. Pepperdine University was on the right, bold green lawn with wild deer. The cliffs of Malibu beach were just beyond the baseball diamond that was straight ahead. The sea gulls swerved away from imaginary pockets in the sky, and th…

All of a sudden. Whoosh! CRASH! Spin….”What?”

Gripping the steering wheel so tight! Then Smack! …oncoming traffic straight ahead, coming straight, in full flight!

“We’re going to be accordioned!” was Mama’s thought at that very first sight! Mama could still see the cars driving past. Their car was facing the wrong side of the street; traffic simply veered out of the way, passing then without a weep.

“No one stopped.”

~ Dr Margaret Aranda

Mama walked away, baby in tow. Mama didn’t cry. She wasn’t worried one bit (she just didn’t realize what happened that day they were hit). She didn’t know how messed up the future was to be. She didn’t have to know. She shouldn’t have to know. None of it should have happened to such a beautiful baby, who was otherwise thankfully, gratefully fine.

“I used to stare at the three of us in silence: baby, Daddy, and me.

I must have vowed 100,000 times, ‘This family is the best thing that I could ever have. It’s the best present that I could ever give our daughter. We have such a beautiful family.’

I didn’t think it was truly only for “better” and in “health.”  

~Dr Margaret Aranda
When Mama opened the car door, she opened it too hard; it swung shut back onto her arm, leaving a huge bruise. Mama screeched a bit, seeming really perturbed. She ignored it though, asking Missy (first hiding her shaking voice and saying it extra-slow),

“Are you okay?”

~Dr Margaret Aranda
The baby looked up at Mama, wondering where her toy was, as it had fallen to the ground. “Yes, Mama. Can I have my toy now?” Yes, beautiful smile, puffy lips and frowning brows, that was a three-year old for you. She was okay, and Mama would suffer all the pain and injuries so that baby would be fine…just the same way as any Mum would have it. Thank God. Baby was okay.
 
“I don’t know what I would have done if she had died.
It would have killed my soul deep inside,
even to ponder, to reside
by the pond in disbelief with all the dead leaves
falling in the windy rain and
I wouldn’t care I could feel ‘going insane’
I can’t tell the difference hunger pain, rotting knotting pit where is my brain?
I wouldn’t have cared I would have died inside
would have only turned to my God to die to myself
live for Him
serve the dirt, feed the maggots from dry mouths.
I can’t imagine what I would have done.” 
~Dr Margaret Aranda

Age 3: In the Blink of a Car                       
Image 3. The Mother whose Baby Died. 
Mama was driving the car, so the horror of life with her baby’s death?
It would have killed her real insides. 
It couldn’t have been actual life.

After that, Mama left the house for short times and long times.

The baby grew and came to know that the ambulance in the driveway meant Mama was taken away. again. Again. Something about her brain, something about well… her brain.  Mama couldn’t walk except with a walker thingie; Mama was different.

All she knew was –  Mama wasn’t allowed to pick her up anymore, and they couldn’t play “Mommy Monster” with Mama chasing her all around the house. Squealing in pretend terror… No…..Mum was in bed, in pain alot. She CriEd and sHe tRiEd.

Eventually, Daddy stopped taking baby to see Mama any more. Baby did it, though, with the Nanny, because it made Mama happy. Baby missed Mama, and no one quite brushed her hair, brushed her teeth, nor read books to her like Mama did before you know that car thing. No one did it like Mama. No one tucked her into bed and made her giggle like Mama.

No more playing ‘Peter Pan’ in the morning.

~Dr Margaret Aranda
The whole world was different now.

“I didn’t know how sick I really was; the doctors couldn’t find a plausible cause.

So I self-diagnosed Traumatic Brain Injury with Diabetes Insipidus, Vertebral Artery Dissection, Dysautonomia, Mal de Debarquemént Syndrome, Brainstem Hypoperfusion, Oculo-Vestibular Dysfunction, and need I go on.

I argued with the doctors, got treated like scum, was called a drug addict and sent home without a thing. Oh.

And a neurologist told me to ‘stand up, close my eyes, and touch my nose.’ He knew full well that I couldn’t walk across the room. So when I tried to follow his instructions, I went ‘BOOM!’ He let me fall full-force onto the hard wood floor, where I laid while he screamed at me, saying,

“No one’s done that before! Not in 30 years!” 

To be sure.

~Dr Margaret Aranda

 
And so now I Advocate for those with no voice, the invisible, the disabled, the ones you never see. Because to me, that woman on the streets who died homeless, beaten, and raped? She could have been me. But for the grace of God, she could have been me… and I’ll never never stop helping, you see.
It is me. It is who I am. Let me be. You don’t understand me, so don’t pretend.
Just let me be. I let you be.
 

“Just let me be.”

~Dr Margaret Aranda

“I do what’s in my heart.”

~Dr Margaret Aranda
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THE END
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JOIN MEMOIR MADNESS Enrollment: Oct 15 – 30, 2016. Starts on Nov 1, 2016!

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Read Dr Margaret Aranda’s Memoirs:

Age 1: A Baby in the Sky for Father’s Day

Age 2: The Making of a Woman Intensivist

Age 3: In the Blink of a Car

Age 4: Respond, Don’t React

Age 5: A Baby on the Edge

Age 6: Glistening in the Moonlight

Age 7: The Pigeon Boy, The Suction Bush and The Darkness

Age 8: Selling Cupcakes

Age 9: Sitting on the Edge of a Cave

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This is the Fourth Edition of previous post on my Author blog, www.drmargaretaranda.blogspot.com; “Perseverance.”

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