The undoing.

Her hands flutter over her port sites old and new then to the wounds on her neck and finally come to rest on the inside of her arms.

“I’m so scarred. This one will scar too”, she says to me, as she rubs the spot where the numbing cream has been and that is my undoing.

The point I knew that I could not let them cannulate her again.


With a still bleeding port site we needed to put the plan to rest it into action.

On the Friday we had gone in and waited.

No doctor wanted to do it.

Finally three hours after our arrival the cannula went in and when I say it went in what I mean is that it was unstable at best but she had cried out, big tears and big eyes and big gulps of air to try to calm herself down and it was working so instead of insisting they take it out and start again. I hugged her tightly and said it would be fine and took her home.

At the first flush it was anything but fine. She screamed with pain as fluid entered her tissue instead of her vein, the cannula instantly useless and I knew that we would need to go back.

I begged off driving to the hospital at midnight on the promise that we be there first thing the next morning.


I have to wake her,the look of tired resignation on her face, as she turns her arms to the sky for more EMLA, killing me inside but I do it anyhow and we make the long trip into the ward so we can try again.

We arrive and wait and wait and wait.

She plays on the iPhone for a while and then she dances and finally she starts to talk about school about the hospital about the scarring and suddenly I know that we need to leave this place, that she needs to be free.

That she cannot take another needle, another trauma, that I can’t do that to her.

Not today.

We have been waiting for three hours and I stand to leave. I tell our favourite nurse that we need to go now, that I will wear the paed’s anger, I will do ear drops. I will deal with her getting sick but I will not be holding her down for cannulation – not today.

She says it’s my choice. My choice. As if there is any choice that will sit well. I can only cry because I know, for the first time ever, it is the right thing to do but I have never walked away before.

I pick her up apologise and run.