While my hatred of running is a perfectly good reason for not using the treadmill, it's really tangled up in my scariest moment I think that I have ever had. Even though it happened almost three years ago, I have the daily reminder every time I see Annabelle.
It was December 1, 2008. The date will always be etched in my brain. I was on the treadmill jogging away. I hadn't been on very long when Annabelle wandered in. Usually she stayed in the living room while I exercised but this time she wanted to be with me, though why I'll never know. Now I had a rule, she must stay in my sight line at all times but she was 2 1/2 and constantly pushing boundaries so she walked behind me. In the ten seconds it took me to tell her to, "Get where I can see you!", she screamed. Not a scream of fun or joy or just for the heck of it but excruciating pain and terror. I hear that scream in my nightmares.
I still don't know to this day why I didn't just jump off the treadmill and grab her. I took the time to turn off the treadmill and pull the plug. I waited for the belt to stop moving. I know it had to have been a guardian angel sitting on my shoulder helping me stay calm. Annabelle had put her tiny little hand under the belt and it git sucked in. If I hadn't waited for the belt to stop moving, the doctors told me I probably would have pulled off her whole hand or at least a few fingers. She would have been horribly deformed.
|One day later. The blackish grey area is burned rubber that we couldn't get off.|
I can remember calling her doctor as a cradled my sobbing, little girl in my arms. I bundled her so carefully into her coat and buckled her into her car seat. I hit the garage on the way out and ripped the side view mirror off of the car in my rush to get her to the ER. We were there for hours making sure nothing was broken and trying to get as much of the melted rubber out of her skin as they could.
She was so lucky. We had 3 appointments with a plastic surgeon who once again reiterated how lucky we were not to have lost her fingers or hand. He said she may need/want scar revision surgery once she's older if it bothers her but that it was the best outcome we could have possibly had. She only has a slightly noticeable scar in the shape of a bunny on top of her hand. You have to look very closely to see the scars on her ring and pinkie fingers.
|This is what her hand looks like today.|
|See that tiny little space between the belt and the frame? That is where she put her hand. I still have no idea how her hand fit in there.|
I am so grateful every day that she is OK. Most people, if they would look at her, wouldn't even notice the scars, you have to look very closely. It was my very worst moment but part of me is grateful for the memories, the scar. It is a reminder to be vigilant, to not let my guard down too much because even the most benign thing could spell disaster. I know how easy it is to slip.