Friday, June 2, 2017

Summer Brake?

It seemed like such a great plan. Jeff was playing softball and it was going to be a late night. I was teaching one segment of a PR accreditation class and was going to miss dinner. Ali was going to be home alone.

I suggested she find a friend and a movie that would work with my timeline to get there and back and problem solved, right? The movie that worked for me, didn't work for her friend, Navy, so we agreed that Ali could ride her bike to Glendale and I'd pick her (and the bike) up on my way back after my class.

So there I was, phone away from me, giving my presentation and catching up with an old PR friend and some new ones, blissfully unaware of the voice mail and missed call. Jeff, of course, was in the same boat. His was just sweatier.

I was in the car, prepared to get on my way when I checked my phone to hear my baby trying to talk through tears: "Mom, I was in an accident and I didn't have my helmet on and my bone is poking out and I'm ...."

I didn't listen more to the message. I called her and she picked up and it was chaos. She seemed to be in even more pain. I tried to figure out where she was. "Some people helped me and Navy is here." The phone cut out. I called back. Navy -- her awesome swim buddy -- answered.

"We are at St. Vincent's Emergency Room," she said. I told her I was on her way and tried to drive carefully. Luckily, I wasn't that far from her and it was just six million stop lights and few cars in my way.  I get there. No parking but valet, which is closed.  "Screw it. if it's closed, I can park in these empty valet only spots," I reasoned.

I walked in and it seemed like as soon as people saw me, they started smiling. I barely had to say her name when I was walked back to her. Front desk, nurses' station, they were all hiding grins. "Has she been a little profane?" I asked.

One of the nurses allowed that maybe she'd been a little profane. But that he was in the military and he hadn't learned anything new. I sighed.  I found her in an exam room draped in a gown, face still a little wet but in as good as spirits as Navy could get her.

And Kim Bryant. A woman who lives a few blocks from me but I'd never met but who is among my all time favorite people.

She and her husband were working in their yard at Primrose and 57th when Ali cruised by on my bicycle with only her headphones and flip flops to protect herself. She was also armed that morning with a map to help her overcome her directional deficiencies. She's used to being with one of us and will sometimes head Downtown when she's really in search of Broad Ripple. 

We just yesterday joined LA Fitness and she was hoping to ride there by herself to swim if I wasn't available. I didn't want her to end up in Illinois instead of the gym -- which is the same direction as the movie theater. I marked her N, S, E and W with Broad Ripple, Downtown, Taco Bell and the Monon to give her a better guide.

Her long legs have outgrown her bike, so we switched. Her bike has a very soft braking system compared to mine. She's only used it a few times and has never had cause to brake suddenly. According to Kim (and Ali) she was heading down 57th just fine but two cars came zooming along Primrose and startled her. Already on the fun side of a slight hill, she braked to avoid them.

And flipped herself right off the bike, onto the street. The bike kept going, of course, and smacked her head. One person in a car slowed and asked if she was OK.  Dazed, she said, "Yeah I'm fine." The other car didn't even slow down. The Bryants came rushing over to get her out of the street.

She said she wasn't in pain right way but when the Bryants pointed out the swelling, it hit her all at once. And of course, neither Jeff nor I pick up our phones. Thank God for the Bryants and for Navy. Kim decided Ali needed medical help. "I'm in HR so I know how much ambulances cost," she said.

So this perfect (and I do mean perfect in all respects) stranger, picks up my kid, along with Navy who comes zooming over and leaves her car unlocked and keys in it, and drives her to the hospital. And stayed with her until I finally got to my phone.

How amazing is that?! Her husband had put my bike in his garage and retrieved Navy's keys and locked up her car for her. And then they waited up until 11:15 p.m. when we finally got sprung from the E.R.

Ali has a fractured collar bone and cuts and abrasions all over.

"Head, shoulders, knees and toes. Hey Ali: you got the whole song," Navy proclaimed.

We were waiting quite a while and tried to pass the time with cards and stories. I said something to Ali about her last serious medical issue. She gave me a look. Trying to be discreet, I told Navy that it had involved a fire pole and a tear to a private area that happened when she lost her grip and then re-gripped with everything she had.  I even tried to be less graphic than I normally am. 

"Geeze, Mom. That's a little personal, don't you think?" she said, giving Navy the side-eye.

"Dude. I helped you pee in a cup. I think we're beyond personal," Navy deadpanned.

I LOVE Navy, who'd brought cookie dough and chocolate chips to get them through the movie. Alison's Nutella popcorn contraband was smashed in her backpack. I wasn't there in the beginning but I can't imagine Navy was anything but supportive and kept Ali from getting too over wrought.  She was just great. 

We finally got home and settled. Ali didn't need another prescription pain pill through the night and woke up in good spirits and not a lot of pain. I'm hoping that means it's not a bad break. I'm waiting now to see if she can even go to summer camp as expected Sunday and when/if/where I need to get her an orthopedic doc appointment on Monday.  

We are IU Health people, not St. Vincent people according to our insurance. So while I deeply appreciate the care -- and the humor with which the ER team treated my daughter and her sailor's mouth -- we may have to see a different doc than recommended by the fine folks at St. V.

Lessons learned:
  1. "I know I was a dumbass," Alison said, pledging to not only wear her helmet at all times but also closed-toe shoes.
  2. Choose good friends. (And be a good friend.) You never know when you'll be splat on the road and need them to scrape you up.
  3. Don't give up on the world: There remain awesome people out there. If you can help someone, please do it. As Kim Bryant told me, "I'd want someone to take care of my baby if she was in trouble. It's nothing. I did nothing."
She did a lot more than nothing. And we'll be forever grateful that the accident wasn't worse. Her bone will heal. I'm not sure my heart will. She's living the life right now, propped up on her highly malleable Yogi-Bo with what we call "the sick person's tray" Ramen and all of the bear necessities of teenage, first world life: phone, iPad, headphones and chargers.

The headphones, and possibly my bike, were uninjured by the crash.

Later today, we're going to compare hospital stories with Grandpa, who seems to have mad it through HIS bout with the Maine medical staff just fine.

No comments: