“How was your vacation?” a friend asked us yesterday. “Did you go anywhere?” I looked at my daughter standing next to me. We both shook our heads and smile-sighed. It seems like the holiday was months ago.
Sometimes life instantly ramps up and time goes into a weird hyper-drive that is slow motion at the same time. Those times when a day feel like a year and a year speeds by in a day. A time warp that is crazy, but safe. Like in Mario Kart when the bullet-award races you forward totally in control though you feel completely out of control.
Granted that analogy might be lost on many (though Mario Kart is worth consideration and a family-play) – but I’m guessing we can all relate.
I had just gotten back to Dallas after spending some time in Arizona with my girls and my folks. The girls and I had driven a car out for them and stayed for a few days. It was great, but I was glad to be home with our boys. Except for our high school Sophomore who had gone skiing with Young Life. The kid, who usually shies away from group things (personally, I cannot relate – but I have a house of friendly introverts) was one of the first kids to sign up.
Late afternoon of my first day back, the phone rings. Our Young Life director’s number pops us. Initial thoughts raced to some form I must have forgotten (which is usually the case) – but at the same time I felt a tiny sense of dread and braced myself like I do with calls from school.
“Kay, I just wanted to let you know that B had an accident. He’s doing better. Can I put to the doc on the phone?”
“Of course,” I reply, not sure, but trusting. He hands the phone over.
“Hello? Hi, this is Ski Patrol. We’ve managed to get B calm. He’s breathing now. And we need your permission to work on him. Do we have your permission?”
“Of course. Yes. Calmed? Breathing now? Is he okay? What happened?” Now my heart is pumping. This isn’t a good phone call. It’s those ones you hate. The one where you take a deep breath and fight to rise to the occasion because you have to.
After clearing everything, I asked, “Can I talk to him?” They hand the phone to B.
“Mom.” He’s gasping. “It hurts,” he whimpers, trying to breathe. The gritty kid who only slightly winced when he cracked his head open on the school playground in 4th grade can barely get the words out. I hear the fear and pain and briefly wish I hadn’t asked to talk to him a reality rushes in. “Sweetheart, it’s going to be okay.” Shaking, I didn’t know what to say. “Can you hand the phone back to Robert.”
“He needs something for the pain,” I urge Robert. “Please get him something for the pain now.” Then ask, “What happened?”
“He had a pretty bad fall. His snowboard – the tip got caught. He face-planted and his legs propelled all the way over his head. Russell, his leader, was with him and is here right now. Let me let you talk to the doc.”
The doc gets on the phone. “Mrs Wyma. We have B here. He has a contusion on his frontal lobe and multiple compression fractures in vertebrae. His spinal cord appears unaffected, but we would like to send him by ambulance to Denver Health, a Trauma 1 facility that is fully equipped to handle this. Are you okay with us sending him to Denver?” Yes, of course.
The Young Life Director & B’s leader were on it and took such great care of him while I hopped a Southwest flight – arriving at the hospital a little over an hour after they got there. Then the ER doc, Christian, was amazing – walking into B’s room not ten minutes after I got there. He filled me in. T4-T6 compression fractures and a frontal lobe contusion that had all but healed itself by the time they arrived. HIs spinal cord appeared untouched. They moved him to Pediatric ICU – for pain management and neuro checks.
Like clockwork, every detail fell into place as medical and ministry personnel moved in and out of our picture like a beautiful symphony.
Our night, filled with scans and questions and pain meds was sprinkled with a multitude of thankful utterances. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Lord I repeated while watching B sleep. As I mentally re-played the day’s happenings – I couldn’t help but catch glimpses of what I know to be true in every situation (happy or sad) God goes before, behind & beside us all day, every day. And He is good.
Little peeks behind the veil – before/behind/beside glimpses – started to show themselves:
- 3 hours before the accident, we had made a reservation for B to come home early so he could be in Dallas for his cousin’s wedding. It’s a long story – but suffice it to say, B already had his flight home BEFORE anyone knew he needed it.
- B had chosen to pull off from his friends for a run on less steep slopes. Russell went with him so he wouldn’t be alone. B doesn’t remember anything about the accident since it knocked him unconscious. But he does remember Russell next to him, helping him. “What would have happened without Russell,” he contemplated in the hospital. “I’m so glad he was there.”
- Like clock-work every detail was handled. The flights, the docs, the scans, the nurses – amazing and seamless. Every hurdle that had to be cleared and test that had to be passed was – as if on some predetermined cue.
- And the cherries on top: We made it home for the wedding. Of course it was fine, more than fine, if we hadn’t. No one, us especially us, expected to be home. But like a sweet gift, we were. B actually went to the wedding. He was even in our family photo that my mom had hoped to use for her annual Valentine card. (Again, not a big deal, just sweet.)
The accident was a serious spill. But amazingly, he’s walking and should fully recover. Every detail (including our amazing nurse, Kelly, searching out and finding a pair of shoes that B has worn every day since, despite their geriatric stylings) fell into place. The custom back brace that should have taken a few days to get (it was a Friday afternoon) took only hours. His sitting up-right and taking steps that should have been excruciating and slow-coming happened within 24 hours after the fall. Every neurological test passed without a hitch.
We are so grateful on every front. Grateful for God’s presence – literally every minute before, during and after the accident. I don’t know why God has allowed us to see some of the behinds the scenes, but we’re humbled and grateful for that too. Whether B would be walking today or not can never change God’s intimate care – even in those moments on the mountain when he was unconscious and barely breathing. And then to think we got to celebrate “Great is Thy Faithfulness” with B sitting next to Jon at my nephew’s wedding. Amazing!
At the wedding reception, when sharing this experience with a friend I realized out loud, “You know – every step of this, we were treated like Royalty. Seriously. From the Young Life director/leader, to the Ski Patrol, to the mountain docs, to the instant ambulance ride, to the as-if-on-cue flights, to the Denver Health ER and Pediatric ICU – it was like we were special VIPs.”
Then I couldn’t help but chuckle and say to them and me, “What am I thinking? We are. Each of us. B. You. Me. How easily we forget or don’t even believe – we are Royalty, daughters and sons of the King.” The King, Creator, Lord over all dominion and authorities says of us: “You are mine. I call you by name. …you are honored in my sight, precious to me… I love you.” (Isaiah 43) Always.
Thanks for walking the road with me. Sorry for the long post. I wanted to write it down so I don’t forget it.