It’s frightening how much your life can change with a single phone call.
“I’m Dr. Lynch. We have your son in the intensive care unit at UK. He’s been in a car crash.”
You’re crushed by the weight of those words. The shock races through your body, attacking everything in its path. Your heart stops beating. You forget to breathe. Your world spins out of control.
When you regain your senses, you opt for denial. There’s been a mistake. Not my son. Not Mitchell. He just left a couple of hours ago for an appointment in Georgetown. He’ll be back in an hour.
It can’t be him.
But there is no mistake. Our 21-year-old son crashed, in the rain, on I-75, not far from home last Monday. Now he’s lying in a hospital bed in the intensive care unit with head trauma, along with other injuries.
First, more denial. This can’t be happening. Two hours ago Mitchell was a strong, healthy guy with plans for the day, the week, the rest of his life.
He’d worked hard the past three months, piecing his life back together after an extended illness.
Why such a setback now?
But the call is real. A parent’s worst nightmare. Must stop stalling. And act.
We arrange for our other three kids to get home from school. I toss random things into a bag, not sure when I’m coming back home. We head to Lexington.
The trip seems longer than driving to the west coast. We can’t get there fast enough, yet don’t want to get there at all. So afraid of what we’ll find.
The police officer investigating the accident is at the hospital. He gives Mason details of the crash. No one at fault. Weather related. I don’t really listen. I don’t want to know. Otherwise, I’ll relive the crash in my nightmares forever.
I’m thankful no one else was hurt in the two-car crash. That’s enough for me.
I feel guilty for letting Mitchell drive my car on a stormy day. But I can’t turn back the clock. Can’t live with “what ifs.” Must forge forward. Concentrate on the doctor’s briefing. Cracked ribs. Bruised lung. Head trauma.
I see my son, battered and bruised, hooked up to so many winking and blinking monitors. Tubes everywhere. Can’t touch him. Hold him. Console him.
Despite all of the high-tech equipment, no one knows how extensive the brain injuries are. That’s causing the biggest concern. While they figure that out, we wait, worry, wonder.
As a news reporter for 30 years I’ve covered accident stories like this before, but never fathomed the depth and breadth of a family’s pain and loss – until now. I feel myself slipping into the pit of despair, but gain my foothold when I find the doctors and nurses so competent, capable and compassionate. No complaints about the quality of care.
They give us a crash course in Nursing 101, explaining procedures, numbers, medicines. We latch on to all the positive signs encoded in the medical-speak.
Once the tears have poured out and I’ve mourned for Monday morning Mitchell and accepted his injured afternoon replacement, we start monitoring treatment. I write down key words to Google and read up on head trauma. So much depends on so many factors. The true test is time. To see how it all plays out.
We make some calls. Break the news to family and close friends. I’m humbled by how quickly offers of help come. My sister and brother-in-law from northern Kentucky are on the road minutes after we hang up.
We get on prayer lists. Our First United Methodist Church family mobilizes immediately.
The hospital chaplain visits and listens.
Prayer warriors from various churches get loud. God can’t help but notice.
We’ve seen miracles already. The doctors have been amazed by Mitchell’s responsiveness.
I’m as proud of him when he wiggles his fingers on command or raises a thumb, as if he’d won a Nobel Peace Prize. Watching his eyes follow the person speaking is cause for celebration. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.
We’re not kidding ourselves. We know Mitchell’s recovery will be a long, difficult one. We prefer progress to be measured in leaps and bounds. But we’ll gladly accept baby steps.
We know we’re not facing this crisis alone.
I’ve tripled the phone numbers in my contact list already and will be calling in many favors as the days stretch into weeks and maybe months.
And I’ve put God on my speed dial. He always answers.
It’s frightening how much your life can change with a single phone call.
- Lifestyles & Community
There’s more to do at the Village Trough
“I wish there was more to do here.”
Do you ever find yourself saying this sentence as you sit there bored out of your mind? Have you heard others ask it?
Well, there is something more to do now that Village Trough in Berea is staging shows with local and regional talent and preparing to open as a full dining and entertainment venue.
Let’s have a Mardi Gras party in Kentucky
It’s the time of year when the people in New Orleans celebrate a festival called Mardi Gras. Many states now do the same. Some call it “Fat Tuesday” which I have never understood till I went to New Orleans (five times) and saw all of the excitement for myself.
Beat the winter blues with meatballs
When it’s this cold outside it’s nice to warm up with some good comfort food.
I can think of few things more wonderful than the smell of simmering meatballs coming from the kitchen while I cuddle with my two young children, and a few good books, on a brisk winter day.
Taste test Thursday
The sun is shining, but the chill has returned, so I hope you made the most of the warm, sunny weather this weekend.
The spring greens are being as tentative as the warm temperatures, but there is talk of lettuce being harvested and a continued trickle of kale, pea shoots, miner’s lettuce and spinach. To make room for the spring harvests, winter squash and sweet potatoes have been marked down to $1/pound and pumpkins are only 50 cents/pound.
Buttercups in grazed pastures
One of the signs that spring has arrived is when the yellow flowers of buttercup begin to appear, but it’s during the winter months that the vegetative growth of buttercup takes place.
As a cool season weed, this plant often flourishes in overgrazed pasture fields with poor stands of desirable forages. In fact, many fields that have dense buttercup populations are fields heavily grazed by animals during the fall through the early spring months.
Make a difference this summer, volunteer at 4-H Camp
On June 30 more than 200 Madison County kids will load a bus headed for four days and three nights of fun at 4-H Summer Camp.
Campers will have a chance to hike, swim, dance and spend time learning about the environment, their friends and themselves.
And we need your help to make it possible!
A whole lot going on
Downtown Richmond Farmers Market opening
The new Downtown Richmond Farmers Market officially opens Saturday.
This market will set up in downtown Richmond on North First Street between Main and Irvine streets Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (weather permitting).
For more details, go to www.downtownrichmndfarmersmarket.com. There you will find an events calendar and how to sign up for workshops that will be conducted at the market.
A Visit with a bell-The Dinner Bell Restaurant in Berea
I have wanted for some time to visit and interview people and food establishments here in Madison County and surrounding areas that you may have not gotten a chance to visit. \
I chose the Dinner Bell in Berea for my column this week.
Extension celebrates 100 years of nutrition education
For the past 100 years, families in Kentucky have looked to the Cooperative Extension Service to learn better ways to be healthy.
Next Break it Down workshop to focus on dismantling goat
The Berea Farmers Market has moved inside for the winter!
Find your favorite vendors in the pavilion of the Berea College Goldthwait Agriculture Building, 230 N. Main St., 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays.
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