Sunday, August 1, 2010

MIA... or where I have been

Life can throw a whole lotta crap at you, all in one fell swoop. You're rolling along, things are going just fine, you're enjoying your life... and then BAM! One phone call and your heart skips a beat or two, your ears are filled with thunderous sound, and your life isn't your own.

A week ago, my youngest son called me to say that his older brother was in the hospital after a serious bicycle accident. He'd fractured his skull, had a subdural hematoma, a broken collarbone, and a cracked rib. He'd been in the emergency room for several hours, a friend having called an ambulance after the wreck, and was headed to ICU. Needless to say, my husband and I jumped in the car and made the first of many hour-long drives into the hospital. My stomach was in knots, my thoughts were going to places I didn't want to be, and though I told myself to control the tears... well, I just couldn't co-operate. When we found our son in that curtained and darkened space, the tears started flowing. He tried to reassure me, but you know that words can't always soothe the fear, and the emotions just have to get out.

By the time we left the ICU that evening, after the nurses told us to go home, that they would take good care of our son, we'd talked with the neurosurgeon and I felt much more encouraged. Not only did our son have the injuries listed above, but he'd also bruised his brain in a second location and fractured his sinus cavity which could lead to other issues. BUT... the doctor felt that because he'd been fairly clear and coherent throughout the day, he'd make it through just fine. Our son was in the ICU through Tuesday night, and then he was moved into a regular room for another day. He was released on Thursday morning and so far, so good.

I am extremely thankful for my youngest son who got to the ER as soon as he heard the news and who took charge, asked and answered questions, and listened to everything so that he could fill us in. He also had his brother come home with him after his release from the hospital and tended to him for a couple days during his early recovery. It makes a mother proud!!

So you think that's enough? I sure did... but NO! My dad called on Tuesday afternoon to tell me that my step-mother was heading to the other hospital. She'd been wearing a heart monitor and when the results were read, the doctor reported that her fatigue, her shortness of breath, and her all-around discomfort were due to the fact that her heart was beating only 10 times per minute. Okay... with news like that, it's a wonder she was still breathing at all! So on Wednesday, we traveled into and across town to visit our two family members who were in not so great shape in two different hospitals. It was a very long day following three very long days... and did I mention stressful?

My step-mother had a pacemaker implanted on Friday afternoon, so we were back at the hospital for the afternoon. When we arrived, we found our youngest son sitting in the room with his grandparents. The surgery was a great success, and my step-mother is doing well. In no time, I hope, she will be feeling better than ever and able to get back to a normal life without feeling so tired all the time. My dad is much relieved, for sure!

One week of living like that is enough for me. So many heavy burdens, so little sleep, so many emotions, and so little control over any of it. I was reminded of many things this week, not the least of which is that life takes its twists and turns and I ain't the driver. I can't control the events of life. Accepting that fact sooner than later makes living just a wee bit easier in the sense that when a hard turn comes up, you just lean into it, steel yourself for what's round the bend, and do the best you can. But knowing it and doing it... two very different things.

And yes, lots of other lessons and reminders came along this week, but I'll deal with those later. One thing at a time.

So that hummingbird up there at the top of the post? On Friday morning, during a rare few minutes alone, I sat on the deck in the sunshine, warming my tired bones and getting energized for the day, and enjoyed the many hummingbirds who were jousting for a spot at the feeder. Those little souls move at a very fast pace, and though they sometimes hovered only a foot away from me, I couldn't quite catch them in focus with the camera. But their mid-air dancing and swooping and chasing and chirping remains focused in my mind and serves to remind me of both the simplicity and the complexity of this waltz of life.


  1. So glad all your loved ones are improving! What a time you have had! Welcome to my "past life" as a caretaker! One roller coaster ride after another. Posting a hummingbird photo is quite appropriate. In Native American folklore they are seen as spirit messengers of immortality and soul carriers. For South American Indians, they are a symbol of resurrection, life cycles and love. I will keep your son and step-mother in my prayers. My mother had a pacemaker for years and it improved her health tremendously. You should be proud of your youngest son for taking responsibility for his brother in such a serious situation. Keep us posted on everyone's progress!

  2. Strength to you Rebecca. Hope both your son & step-mother continue to recover. What a gem your younger son is to be there when it really counted.

  3. Thanks for the updates, rebecca. Sigh! Life sure does throw a lot out when we are least expecting it, as you say. Good to hear about improvement on the health front for both of your loved ones..and to see that beautiful fluttering hummingbird. xoxo

  4. I've thought about you and your son so many times over the past days, so thank you for the update.

    As you know I have been through more than a fair share of bike accidents with both my husband and myself, so I know the heartstopping anxiety you've had.

    I'm glad your step mom is on the mend too.

    May the rest of the summer bring peace, health and hummingbirds.


  5. Life is so tenuous and changeable... sigh... it makes for many adrenaline moments and all being well... moments of peace and quiet to balance those stressful times.

    Thanks for sharing your life stories and emotional experiences... makes me feel less of a fruitcake when I know other folks out there can have the same emotional range as i do. sigh.

    Glad those little 'motorized maniacs' (my endearnment for hummingbirds) were able to comfort and ground you.

    Best wishes,
    xox Nicole

  6. What a blessing that everything has turned out okay for your family. It's amazing how much we can deal with when we have to.

    Birds are amazing creatures. Thankfully they can provide you with a moment's peace:)

  7. My goodness, Rebecca. You've been through the ringer. My heart aches for you but Lo Christine is right. I always like to consider that no challenge is given to us that we cannot handle, which means that if we're given some pretty serious challenges, that must mean that we're strong enough for the fight.

    Beautiful how the imagery of the hummingbird sums it up.