Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cooler Sunday

Last night we were at the Wolf Den for the Annual Pirate Party when we noticed the weather changed quite drastically. There was a small shower that passed through and then it was like all the heat and humidity was sucked out by the blowing wind. I was ready to head to the car to get my jacket, but I braved it out until we went home. It was so nice and cool and refreshing! I didn't want it to end! And the breeze was keeping the mosquitos at bay so it was wonderful to be outside.

Today we spent most of the day with the windows wide open and the air conditioning off. Man, what a difference that makes! Much cooler Sunday, makes for a more productive and happier me. I was going to spend the day in the house cleaning and cooking and other things, but instead, Alex and I went to the video store in Zimmerman to rent some movies. Then we headed to my parents house to see my Dad who just returned home from North Dakota on Saturday night. He's the last one to see Alex's hand, and we gave him some excellent black grapes we bought at Jim's Market in Zimmerman. Mom and Dad sent home some homegrown potatoes, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes along with a piece of smoked fish and some salt water pickles.

In telling the story of what happened to Alex on Thursday night, we noticed something. Thursday, August 12, is George's birthday. George is QH's Dad who passed away in January of 2009. And the name of the surgeon was George Landis. I believe QH's Dad was watching over Alex the night of the accident.

I am still so very grateful he didn't have a worse injury than what he had. I'm still fighting that mother's instinct to do everything for him because he's my baby and he's hurt. But Alex is a grown man, and not a baby anymore. He wants to do as much for himself as he can, and yes, just like his mother, he won't ask for help unless it's absolutely necessary, meaning, as a last resort. I know that if I baby him, he'll be worse off, and he will not heal. If he meets the challenges he's facing on his own, in his own way, he will speed his own recovery, and hopefully stave off any depression or feelings of uselessness he might have with only being able to use one hand. It's a hard lesson for both of us, but we will be stronger for it.

This has been a hard week for lessons. In the town of Zimmerman, a young man named Glen "Bubba" Bye died in a car accident two weeks ago. He was the quarterback of the Zimmerman Thunder football team and a baseball player with a very bright future. He was on his way to work when he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tree. A Good Samaritan was with him after finding him, so he was not alone when he died, according to his mother on a recent news report.

I cannot imagine what pain that family is going through. My son is home, he's broken right now, but he's going to be okay. I worried about him being on the ship when he was in the Navy, when he went to Haiti during Operation Unified Response and when he was in South America. I imagined all sorts of horrible things happening that didn't happen, and then he comes home and this happens.

In true Crawford Tradition, if things are going really well, start worrying. Something's coming and it ain't good. I was hoping and praying Alex would be unscathed, but it was not meant to be. I know he must be playing the "What If?" game, "If I'd only done this, not that, then I would be ok." Well, those games don't change what's happened. The best use of your energy and time is to heal from what's happened and move on, remembering the lessons learned.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

More Gray Hairs

I came home Thursday night after work, looking forward to a nice, long shower, the air-conditioned comfort of my house, and a fun weekend. What greeted me as I arrived was QH with a worried look on his face. Uh-Oh.

My son, Alex, broke all four fingers on his right hand in a press brake machine at his job. He was taken by ambulance to North Memorial Hospital and had to have emergency surgery. QH said the fingers weren't crushed, just broken, and they were still attached, both good news, but he had trouble finding my new work number and wasn't able to call and tell me sooner. My cell phone works sporadically at best in the shop, so there was no way for him to reach me. Since Alex was in surgery, he decided to wait up until I came home to tell me.

I jumped into the shower, changed, and gathered some clothes and Alex's eyeglasses (he wears contacts), and pretty much ran out the door. QH was exhausted, and had to work the next day, so he went to bed. I drove in a wild thunderstorm to Robbinsdale, praying Alex would be okay. I wouldn't know how bad it really was until I saw my son.

When I was nearing Maple Grove, Alex called me and said he was out of surgery and in a room. He gave me the room number and I could hear he was groggy and tired, and I told him I was on my way with his clothes and his glasses. I got to the hospital, checked in with information, and made my way up the elevator to his room.

When I walked in, I saw his hand propped up on a pile of pillows, wrapped in a splint. His finger tips were visible and were nice and pink, not black and blue. I did see some dried blood, and he said it did bleed when it happened, but he said he could feel his fingertips and his thumb was ok. He said he heard the bones break when it happened, and they cut his T-shirt off when he got to the hospital. He also said he felt really stupid. I told him to get over that. Beating himself up over something he can't change was not going to do him any good. I told him it was an accident, and to concentrate on resting for now, and healing from this later.

His bosses at work were at the hospital earlier, checking up on how he was doing. Telling him he still has a job when he's ready to come back to work.

The nurses came in and gave me a few blankets and a pillow to settle in for the night. I slept in the recliner, watching the storm rage outside the window. I was thankful he would be ok, as I drifted in and out, but knew until I spoke with the surgeon, I would not relax until I knew for sure.

We spent the day at the hospital yesterday, and finally the surgeon, Dr. George Landis, arrived. I was immediately relieved by his presence, he was very kind and explained what happened with his hand, how he repaired it, and what his prognosis would be. I felt relief when he said there was no nerve damage and minimal tissue damage to his hand and with some therapy, he would get the full use of his right hand. He said Alex could come home and set about discharging him with instructions.

In 21 years, I've never had to go through Alex having a broken bone, or a trip to the emergency room. I told him 21 years without a broken bone wasn't bad, considering I had 6 broken bones before 2nd Grade, 4 stiches in my knee at 9 years old and a concussion at 15 years old.

I am grateful to the surgeon, the medics, and the nurses who took care of my son before I got to the hospital and while I was there. I can't say enough about the excellent job they did, and my gratitude extends to the supervisors Alex worked with who called 911 and put ice on his hand right away.

He's got a lot to think about in the next few weeks, and getting around with one hand is going to be a challenge, but my son is my son. He will come through this stronger than he ever thought he was, and while he will have some scars, I know he'll be a better man for it.

Thanks to my family and friends who have sent their well wishes for Alex and for me and QH. I have a few more gray hairs, but my son is still here and he will heal.