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.