February 8th is a new red letter day at our house. Last year it was on a Thursday. Mr. H had scheduled Friday for a vacation day and we were going to have a date day. We did spend Friday together, but it wasn’t at all like we planned.
When I picked the girls up from school on Thursday afternoon, we came home like we always do. It was one of those gorgeous days that usually happen sometime in February: warm and sunny. The girls went out to play with their friend from down the road. My mom called and I was standing in the middle of the living room talking on the phone. Our cell phones don’t generally get a signal in the house, but through divine intervention, I was standing right by my purse and heard mine ringing. I told my mom to hang on and dug it out of the purse. I saw that it was Mr. H calling, probably to tell me he was on his way home.
The voice on the other end of the phone was NOT Mr. H. It was a lady whose name I didn’t catch. It was one of those phone calls that you never want to get. She was calling on his phone because he couldn’t. He had been rear-ended on his motorcycle and the EMTs were working on getting him into the ambulance. I don’t think I was capable of more than one syllable responses at the time. She told me he was able to talk but not really to hear much (he ALWAYS wears a helmet and usually earplugs, too, because that helmet was a bit noisy.) She told me which hospital they were headed to and then she put the phone close to Mr. H’s helmet so I could hear his voice. He said that I should meet them at the hospital and everything would be okay. I don’t know if that was her idea or his to let him talk to me, but it his voice was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment.
When I hung up the cell phone, I realized I was still holding the house phone in my other hand. Mom knew something was up from hearing my end of the conversation. I gave her the short version and asked her not to call Mr. H’s mom. I didn’t know any details and there was no reason to get her and Sr.Mr.H upset yet. I called our neighbor to make sure the girls could come down there for a while, then I called our eldest. She happened to be in Wal-Mart (where our cell phones, again, don’t get a signal) with her best friend. When she didn’t answer, I called her friend’s phone. When he saw it was our house calling, he just handed the phone to her. I told her what I knew, where her sisters were, and where I was headed.
My drive to the hospital was a surreal experience. I remember talking to God like He was sitting in the car with me, which He was. He always is: we just don’t pay attention. I remember debating calling our pastor. His sister, whose husband had just passed away, was on her way down to spend a few days with his family. I didn’t know what to tell him, but I knew he would be upset if I didn’t let him know what was going on. I left a message with his wife.
I had no idea what to expect when I saw my husband. I was shocked to see his head, still in his helmet, duct taped to the board he was lying on. The reality was not as bad as my imagination had conjured, though. Everything looked intact, except the sleeve of his leather jacket, which had been cut up to the elbow. The EMT, who was still in the room, told me that taping his head was a precaution, not a sign of trouble. His wrist was obviously broken and x-rays showed that his collar bone and several ribs were broken, as well. His hip was bruised so badly that he couldn’t walk for 2 weeks, but that was it. He was alive and, after spending 6 hours in the emergency room, I could take him home.
The trip home was another adventure, which I’ll write about later.