The secretary said he'd been in an accident. PE class, soccer, collision, leg, ice, principal's office. I didn't hear the sentences as much as I heard disconnected words. Things became blurry as I called Debbie and bounced work priorities around before running out the door.
Two hospitals, countless doctors, nurses, tests, twists and turns later, he's nursing a badly broken leg, has a bright green full-leg cast just waiting for everyone to sign, and is enjoying the prospect of being the center of attention for a little while.
I'm not sure what was more exhausting: the direct upheaval of everyone's lives as we shipped his brother and sister to our friends' house, navigated the city-within-a-city that is the children's hospital here and fought the fatigue as we try to be by his bedside 24/7; or the more subtle realization that you've got to give up any and all sense of control as you entrust your child to a group of people you met not five minutes previously.
But entrust we did. And my how incredibly gifted these doctors, nurses and hospital staff were. It was inspiring to watch them shepherd a frightened 12-year-old along the convoluted path from initial injury to resolution.
If you ever find yourself doubting the future of humanity, spend some time watching the ortho team step through a reduction on your kid's crunched leg. I think what did it for me was the most senior doc's demeanor as he sat at the head of the bed, timing drug doses and talking to our son as if they were watching a ballgame. He never failed to find the right words, tone and inflection. This surreal mixture of professional perfectionism and heartfelt humanity was remarkable to watch.
We just got him home and he's resting comfortably on the couch, his little brother hovering over his every need. I'll have much more to say in the days and weeks to come. For now, Debbie and I feel changed by the experience, challenged by what comes next, and lucky that it wasn't worse. Blessings always seem to hide amidst the chaos. More on that in future entries.
Your turn: Wordnerd, who kindly IMd us with words of comfort while we were in the hospital (BlackBerries rule, btw), suggested we ask visitors for a virtual cast signing. I love that idea! So what would you write on our son's cast if you had a marker in your hand right now? I'll share all of your submissions with him, so please write to your heart's content.