Corbin, Memoir

Before and after life turns on a dime

before the accident
My handsome son before the accident.

It’s true what they say about life and dimes. Two weeks ago, plus one day, my life was turned into a violent tailspin when my sixteen-year-old son was hit by a semi-truck while riding his bike.

So many things went right that morning, despite the great and horrible wrong that landed us where we are today. The driver of the truck stopped and helped my son rather than hitting him and driving away. Local first responders arrived on the scene in record time and rushed my son to the closest emergency room. A helicopter crew then took my son quickly to another hospital in a nearby city where a first-rate neurosurgeon literally saved his life.

I was later told that my son would be dead if everyone hadn’t reacted so swiftly. If even one person had faltered that day, I might be in mourning right now rather than living in a hospital, watching my son make miniscule yet amazing improvements each and every day.

This will be one of those life-splitting moments where every event will be considered in terms of “before the accident” and “after the accident.” It will be a long, hard road to recovery. My son has lost sight in his right eye. He screams in agony when we try to get him up to use the bedside commode. The night before last, he had a sleepwalking/talking(screaming) episode that resulted in him having to be tied down to the bed and sedated. He ripped out his own PIC line and three consecutive IVs. He will need to have another surgery this week to replace the bone flap that was removed from his skull to help reduce the swelling. We have months of rehab in our future. I have no idea when I might be able to go back to work.

My son's bike after the accident.
My son’s bike after the accident.

But… BUT… he still has perfect vision in his left eye. Aside from the skull fracture and brain bleed, he didn’t break a single other bone in his body. His arms are still strong from the daily pushups he was doing prior to the accident. His legs grow stronger every day. He carries on intelligent conversations about music and shares an occasional laugh with me over a Facebook meme or a comment from a nurse that cracks us up because of our shared weird sense of humor. He can read the time on an analog clock and can count forward and backward. He still hates football as much as I do.

Yesterday, my teenage son let me give him a hug and a kiss without cringing away from me like he was doing prior to the accident. We are spending more time together than we have in many, many months. We only occasionally get on each other’s nerves.

both my sons
My sons posed for a picture recently at my family’s Christmas in July campout. You can tell how much my younger son looks up to his older brother.

I could be sitting here hating life right now and wondering what we did to deserve this. But I’m not. Maybe I’m just in denial, but somehow, I don’t feel the slightest bit of anger. The driver wasn’t cited for any wrongdoing. I still don’t know exactly what happened, but it sounds like it was simply an accident; two people in the wrong place at the wrong time.

There is no one to be angry with. There is little reason to be angry, but much to be hopeful and grateful for. I am especially thankful for my son’s stubbornness that used to drive me so crazy. It will probably drive me crazy again once he is on his feet and attempting to escape the hospital at every opportunity. When that day comes, please remind me to be thankful for his strong will. Without it, we might not be here today.

jars of fresh salsa
I spent the morning of Corbin’s accident cleaning house and making fresh salsa that has probably now gone bad in my refrigerator.

More to be thankful for

Several friends, neighbors, and family members have organized fundraisers to help defray the massive expenses that we will be incurring over the coming months (my son’s helicopter flight alone cost almost $24,000.) I am sharing links to these fundraisers here, but I am grateful for even just a prayer or kind thought that you might send our way. My son seems to have been added to every prayer list in central Illinois, and I am so grateful for all of the kind strangers who have taken the time to think of us and send us positive vibes for a speedy recovery.

Incidentally, my uncle is also raising funds to purchase musical instruments for the low-income school where he teaches music and band. I would love it if some of you would contribute to his cause in Corbin’s name rather than contributing to us: Support Mr. Webster’s Classroom

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7 thoughts on “Before and after life turns on a dime”

  1. I would click on the “like” button forever for this post! Why? Because I like that you wrote this post. I like that you are not angry, that your son is stubborn, that you are both strong. I like how the Universe conspired, through the people who came to your son’s aid and got him to a hospital as quickly as happened, to make certain your son survived to have had this experience of a terrible accident and learn about himself and others from it. So I like that he was so grievously injured? No, no. But I’m happy that he’s survived and is making small steps toward healing and recovery.

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