Friday, November 6, 2009

Hawaii Can Wait

We got the tickets back in August, and Mike has been packing and planning for a week in Maui ever since. Every once in a while he would grin and do his "We're going to Maui" dance (No, I will not post a picture of that).
Wednesday morning he rode his bike to work. Less than a mile from his office he has to cross some old railroad tracks. He was going 25 miles an hour, and the last thing he remembers is swerving so he could cross the tracks at a 90 degree angle. After that, he has glimpses of someone standing over him as he lay on the ground, being in an ambulance in a neck brace strapped to a hard board, then in the ER, me next to the bed, then our bishop there giving him a blessing. After that, he became much more coherent, and all his circuits started firing. I had barely been holding my panic at bay until then. When his eyes started looking normal, and he started connecting the dots I let myself believe he would be okay. Shortly after that the doctor checked him, they removed the brace and board.
For a while it turned into a "Men Are From Mars" thing going on in the Emergency Room. One of his nurses was a big time biker as well, and he and Mike started exchanging road warrior stories. He looked at Mike's smashed and cracked helmet and said he had all of his totaled-by-an-accident helmets hanging in his garage like trophies. They were talking about the brand of bikes they rode, and comparing the size of their equipment, and I was fine with all that because it was distracting Mike from the trauma, and me from the drama. Then we were told he was being admitted to the hospital, and they brought a hospital gown for him. It was cold that morning, so Mike had several layers of biking shorts, jerseys and leggings. While I was concerned about the possible damage done to his brain and neck, he was worrying about damage to his favorite jersey and new bib shorts. His left shoulder was obviously damaged because he could not move or lift his arm, but he wanted me to try to lift his jerseys over his head. They had just given him some major pain killer, so he was willing to have me move his arm around for him. It was agony for him to get the first jersey off, and I said I would cut the second one off down the back so I could sew it back together. I went and asked the biker nurse for scissors to cut the jersey. He said, "Oh no, that would be tragic." He came in and worked with me to save the jersey. Mike was in pain but happy with the results. A non-biker would not have hesitated to sacrifice the shirt and save Mike from intense pain and an unintentional bone adjustment. I have not been able to penetrate the mysteries of the die-hard biker mind.
The most painful moment for Mike was when I said the words out loud, "We will not be going to Hawaii on Monday." He didn't seem to hear the next part - "It's all right, we will go another time. Hawaii will still be there. I am just glad you will be okay."
Actually, I am beyond glad. I was able to talk to the people who saw the accident and helped Mike. As soon as he got to the tracks, his bike tire caught on something, was yanked to the side and Mike went flying. He hit the ground with his head and left shoulder. There was no rolling or skidding. The initial impact was the full impact. One helper, whose friend will never be the same because of head trauma, thought Mike had the same kind of damage. When I talked to him Wednesday night he was amazed Mike's head and neck CT scans showed no injury. He was not surprised to hear about all the broken bones.
We can't always choose how miracles and healing come into our lives, but I know I will miss out if I am not willing to see it however it comes. So even though Mike has been in the hospital for 2 days, and he has 6 broken ribs, and 4 detached ribs, a 2 lung contusions, and a severely fractured scapula, and road rash on his head, shoulder, hip, knee, elbow and knuckles, and his pain is bad enough to cause his muscles to spasm, and he has to try to breathe deep and cough so he can expel the fluid from his bruised lungs... he also has a fully functioning brain, and is coherent, and more aware each moment of how fortunate he is to be alive.
So Hawaii can wait. We are busy enough creating healing and profound gratitude. So thank you for the people who stopped and helped, and the EMTs, and the great medical care, and great medicine, and the good insurance, and the blessings, the neighbors who walked Sam, the meals of comfort food from friends, the visits, the ice cream, the calls and messages, the thoughts and countless prayers, the love, and most of all, the miracles. Thank You for the miracles.

1 comment:

Barbara Bee said...

Thank you for sharing that story. We have been very worried about him ever since we heard. We celebrate with you the miracle of life. My you find comfort at this time. God bless.