It only takes a second or less to have your life dramatically changed, doesn’t it?
Monday night, at about 8 pm the phone rang… English being my second language, I still have a hard time with the beginning words of strangers on the phone, so I didn’t really understand who this person was, but he was telling me that my husband had suffered an accident on the biking trail, and that he was now at the hospital.
Oh my God!… the hospital???
The person on the phone said they were checking on Joey, and he thought he had only broken an arm. He mentioned some abrasions on Joey’s face, but assured me that he has awake and alive. I hung up thankful that Joey was ok, imagining that I would probably find him on a wheelchair, moaning like a little child, with a cast around his arm, and looking similar to what he did the last time he had an accident while mountain biking. So I grabbed my digital camera and left for the hospital’s ER.
At the ER, they told me to go to the last room on the hallway, on the left side. This was the very first time I’ve ever been to an Emergency Room. I walked silently looking at the people around. Nobody seemed too bad… not a lot of blood or screaming like you see on TV shows… But at the left, in the very last room on the hallway, lying on a rolling bed, immobilized from the neck down, hooked to a respirator, and with his face completely covered in dry and fresh blood, I found my husband. The gravity of the accident suddenly sunk in.
He told me he loved me. He said I was a wonderful wife. He pouted, and we both cried a little bit. I asked him what happened but he couldn’t remember anything; not even the second when it all started to happen. He remembered being at the end of the trail, quickly taking a glance to a path he could follow, then nothing… strange dreams, sort of like snapshots of his whole life, and suddenly waking up with a crowd around him and an ambulance on its way.
Some minutes after I got there, a doctor came to see him. He said they would take some X-Rays and a CAT scan to check things inside. Joey couldn’t be cleaned or move until they knew that his back and neck were alright. At some point the doctor lifted the blankets covering Joey. I saw a shivering swollen body and understood that my little bear was cold and scared. He was terrified to imagine that the accident might have paralyzed him. That possibility hadn’t even occurred to me, but seeing the way he was strapped to a board, with a plastic thing around his neck, and the way how they cut open his shirt, I silently prayed that he was REALLY ok.
Then they took him for X-Rays. The nurse said it would take 10 minutes. I was left alone in the room, and started collecting Joey’s stuff from the dusty camelbak. I found his glasses. They were completely covered in dust with both lenses scratched. I imagined the kind of fall he went through to end up the way he did. As I waited for them to bring my husband back, time went by… A lot more than 10 minutes. The chatter of awful thoughts tried to come by. I heard what sounded like the beep of a flat line. My mind quickly envisioned Joey bleeding inside and dying. I thought I couldn’t live without him and quickly shut down all thoughts of tragedy… And prayed for Joey to be ok as I contemplated his gafitas and cleaned them with my shirt.
It seems that this time we were spared. The X-Rays and CAT scan showed that Joey was ok. We spent a little over six hours at the ER while they ran the tests, cleaned and put dressings on his wounds, and sutured his pinky finger and lip. His left hand was in fact broken, and it will need surgery to pin some bones back together. Around 2 am, a top-naked Joey wearing biking shorts was finally able to walk out of the ER. He went to sleep holding my hand that night.
Joey’s face got several cuts and scratches and it should not see the sun unprotected for six months. He often asks me if the war scars will go away. After four days of sleep and recovery, we even joke a little bit about it… He caught a few looks of pity and child horror at the doctor’s office today, though he looks a lot better by now. I help him take baths, and – as usual – he splashes a lot (!). Appetite for fattening delights is quickly returning, and he doesn’t hold my hand at night any more… We are truly blessed, and the warning has been heard: He ain’t getting on that bike ever again.