A year ago today I got a call that every parent fears. At 3:21 a.m., the hospital called and said my son had been in a car accident, and that he was in ICU on a ventilator. I was grateful the call hadn't been from the coroner, but I was terrified of what the future held. We found the news story online about an overnight accident that left two hospitalized. As the anchor spoke, the camera panned over to the firefighters working to remove the passenger from the car. In the background, an ambulance drove off. I was later told my son "didn't look good" when they pulled him from the car. Watching the video, all I could think was, "My son is in there. He's unconscious. They're cutting off his clothes, looking for injuries, attaching IV lines, and checking his pockets for identification."
There are no guarantees with head injuries. He could recover completely, he could recover a lot, he could be a child forever, or he could remain in a coma. I did my best not to think about the bad "what if's", but at times, I had to ... I had to have some kind of plan. We were extremely lucky, though. After two weeks in the hospital and two weeks in rehab, he came home. Over the next few months he continued improving and was able to go back to work.
Fast forward a year ... my son is perfectly healthy. He's still intelligent, funny ... and often annoying. He's working at Toyota and is the father of the world's cutest, sweetest baby boy. Our prayers were answered and I will be eternally grateful God gave me my son back. I was lucky in that I have family who love me and my kids and bent over backwards, some for months, to help us all through that time.
This morning, I woke up to a story on the news about two people taken to the hospital after an overnight wreck, both injured critically. I know their parents were called in the middle of the night. I know they shook with fear as they got dressed and drove to the hospital, sick to their stomachs and scared to death ... and I know they'll stand beside the beds looking at their "child" wondering what the future holds. They'll ask the same questions we asked, and they'll get the same answers ... "With head injuries, there's no way to tell until they wake up."
Their families face some long days and nights at the hospital. There will be times of complete terror, stomach-churning agony and fear, and the occasional glimmer of hope. My prayer is that those families find the strength to get through this and that the outcome is favorable.
When my son was in the hospital, I was anxious to have the whole ordeal over. I wanted it to be nothing but an unpleasant memory. It finally is ... but when I hear an ambulance, I still get that sick feeling in my stomach. I don't guess something like that is ever really "over".