My husband set off on Saturday to do his first (un)official century ride. He’d trained and crosstrained and was so ready when he set out with his buddy in the morning. An hour later, the landline rang. Nobody has that number. I glanced at my cell phone. Dead. I ran upstairs as quickly as I could to get to the phone.
Flash back to a few days after our honeymoon when my husband set out for a ride and I got a call from an unknown number on my phone. I didn’t pick up at first. The person called right back, and I dove for the phone, knowing instinctively that something had happened to my husband. Sure enough, it was a stranger telling me that my husband was being loaded into an ambulance.
Flash back a few months before that to me coming home from a movie with my mom and sister who were in town to help me plan last-minute wedding stuff. I glanced at my phone and saw several missed calls from my dad’s number. I checked my messages. It was a stranger’s voice. Somehow in my gut I immediately knew that my dad was either dead or in a coma. It was just a question of which one, and if he was dead, if he had died alone. Somehow it was that simple. (A phone call would reveal that when he fell, he never hit the ground, that he was caught by two young men he had mentored when they were in prison. I was so thankful they had been there to catch him when his heart stopped beating.)
These are the calls that make the earth stand still. I remember that rushed, interminable drive to the hospital to find my husband, my father’s death still fresh in my mind, my whole universe imploding, thinking how things don’t always end up ok now. Everything is up for grabs. I remember a calming presence enveloping my mind, telling me this was not that, telling me he would be alright.
Running up the stairs to grab the phone, I went through an abridged version of all of these experiences. It was my husband’s voice on the other end of the line. Thank. God. Yes, he had been in an accident. Yes, he was on his way to the hospital.
We spent Saturday in the Emergency Room. His elbow is badly broken, his forearm essentially dangling there. For some unfathomable reason, they have not been able to get us in for surgery yet, so it’s been an exhausting week of waiting at the hospital, being sent home, being ready at 6am to go in and being told not today, getting 5:30am calls saying we’ll call you again every hour on the hour until we know, and on and on. Meanwhile, he is swelling and in pain and has a giant hunk of sharp bone floating loose in his arm. It’s incredibly frustrating.
And yet, every time I look at him this week, I’m so thankful. Yes, I’m frustrated that they aren’t taking this as seriously as I think they should, but when I compare this to when 20 doctors were gathered around my nephew in the trauma ward last year, I’m thankful. And when tomorrow (yes, it will be tomorrow. It will.) they wheel him out to put him under, I will make sure I say I love you, and I will be a little afraid, but I will be thankful. And just so very thankful when it’s done.