Family Life,  Life in Italy,  Parenting

Concussions and Socialism

If only JP had been wearing headgear, too…

This morning started as most others have in this strange new land filled with espresso and carbohydrates…with espresso and carbohydrates. Plus a spoonful of sugar.

I’d been telling Dave all week how deeply uncomfortable it is for me to be ‘offline’ in any sense of the word. When my cell phone goes dead, for example, my world grows dark and dim.

This week, having unsuccessfully obtained cell phones not once but twice, I’ve had to make the uncomfortable transition to something akin to footloose and fancy free, at least when I leave the kids at home with my sweet little sister (who is living with us these first 2 months in Rome.) I trust her completely, but I am juuuuust neurotic enough that I cannot fully relax unless I am physically proximate to my offspring. For example: I sometimes touch them at night to see if they’re breathing. Especially on the 3 nights they’ve both actually slept through the night.

So today, today my dear friends, I was plied out of my warm bed into the frigid Roman rain with due espressi and some biscotti senza glutine, which are not quite as gross as American gluten free baked goods, much to Joey’s delight.

After 4 hours in language school with mi amore, we trudged home in light rain to our humble vacation rental, basically 500 sq feet of street level finery, complete with barred windows and a very pleasant view of the feet of passers by during the daylight hours.

Dave ran on ahead to procure some variation of pizza for lunch, and I ducked into our building to check on the troops, but all was not well on the home front.

Knock, knock.

“Jenny, don’t freak out, but JP is hurt…I think he’s okay, but he fell and hit his head, and we’re locked in!!!”

I dropped my bags and began frantically pawing at the apartment door, but to no avail.

Holy shit, they are locked in.

Sprinting back up the stairs and into the street, I began desperately calling for Dave who, keys in hand, had disappeared into a nearby cafe.

“David! David! Oh God, Daaaaaaaave!!”

I ran up and down our street, screaming his name and drawing the curious stares of Italian gentlemen for a city mile, a couple of whom started jogging alongside me as I darted up and down the boulevard, searching for my baby daddy.

I tracked him down mid-pizza order, and we sprinted back to the apartment together, where we at last sprung the lock and freed our poor charges.

7 hours, 2 taxi rides, 4 doctors and 1 heavily-pierced and buzz cut female videographer later, sweet Christina and I exited Bambino Jesu hospital with a sleepy JP in arms, grumpy from all the excitement but otherwise unscathed.

Though we were instructed to stay for 6 hours for observation following a head injury, we spent the bulk of them sitting in the secondary waiting room across the alley from the main hospital, watching creepy Italian cartoons about St. Francis and trying to decipher messages coming over the loudspeaker.

Also, most of the other patients were probably suffering from some combination of the plague and/or oppressive grandmother syndrome…but that’s a post for another day.

As we left the exam room for the final time tonight, I clumsily communicated my desire to pay for our visit to the attending doctor, who looked very much like an extra from Grey’s Anatomy.

“Quanto costo (terrible, terrible Italian) la conta?” How much is the bill?
The young doctor stared blankly at me for a moment before a light went on and, throwing his head back and cackling with delight, he informed me:

“No no no, Signora, no bill … this is Italy!”



  • Cathy

    So glad everything worked out okay! I was an expat myself and I know how challenging it can be at times, but try to look on the bright side! Your writings seem awfully sad and frustrated. You’re in Italy — eat, travel, explore, soak it up! 🙂

    • Jenny

      I guarantee if you stop by on a day I didn’t spend 7 hours in a foreign ER with my 9 month old, I’ll appear less sad and frustrated… Maybe even carefree?

  • Alzbeta

    Oh, dear… so glad it all turned out not terribly (how’s that for weirdly structured thought). I’m fascinated by the “not awful” gf goods… you may need to send that secret back to the states!

  • Ana

    OMGeeeezie, this is so crazy and I am sooooo sorry about your little guy! I am really loving every single one of your Italian posts, Jenny, please keep em comin.

  • Unknown

    oh my goodness!! wow! laughing so hard! I just wish I could be there with you!! I know maybe its not a “happy” story, but you have such a way with words! I cant wait to come visit you!! I am already planning!! xoxoxo!

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