Every parents’ nightmare

The late-night/early-morning phone call.

Every parents’ nightmare. It pulls you out of pleasant dreams and a sound sleep and your mind immediately goes into overdrive. Let’s face it: that’s the one where someone says “Mom just died,” or “Uncle Frank’s had a heart attack”. At least that’s the way it used to be.

In today’s world, it’s this:

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I saw this on my cellphone about 20  minutes after it was sent, and called the only hospital I could think of in Galveston, but due to privacy concerns, they could only tell me he was being admitted. That put my mind at ease – a little. He was alive, and that was the important thing.

We jumped in the car to make the 70+ mile trip to Galveston, and I was fortunate to be driving, as it required me to focus on getting there safely, rather than letting my mind wander and jump to conclusions. I couldn’t take my mind off driving long enough to look at Yvonne, but I knew the look I’d see on her face; the worry; the internal struggle; the helplessness.

Upon arrival at the ER, we were told he’d been moved to a room in the Trauma/Ortho wing, and walked in the room to see him standing there, phone in hand.

He looked up, said “Oh, you’re here,” and hung up the phone.

Family members and friends showed up and shared our joy that he was okay, and even gave Yvonne and Lisa a ride home.

You know how, as a parent, you miss holding your kids when they’re grown up? Just hugging them?

Them allowing you to hold them because the morphine won’t touch the pain isn’t at all what you had in mind, but you take those opportunities where you can get them. So, cradling his head against me, I stood by his bed for an hour, gently picking the grass burrs out of his hair, until I felt him relax.

The next day, we were told he’ll recover completely, which is amazing. He’s suffered a broken neck (fracture of C7) in the crash. Hospital staff told us that 90% of those who suffer a break of C7 (the bone that you feel at the base of your neck) die. Of the 10% who survive, 90% are paralyzed. Let’s do the math: Out of 100 people, 90 will die from their injury. Of the 10 who survive, 9 will be paralyzed. That’s 99. My son was the 1 who walked away.

And I thank God for that.

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