Saturday, September 03, 2005


I had planned to spend Thursday afternoon writing up a post about Wednesday night's class, about showing Master Hughes the photoblog I set up, about doing my form without much difficulty, about our grueling sparring practice.

But I spent Thursday afternoon at the emergency room with Eli.

Before I go on, I need to say that Eli is home now, recovering and will be fine. I say that because what happened was truly scary.

Thursday afternoon, when we were near the school to pick up Robbie, Eli was hit by a car.

It all happened quickly, as these things must. I was standing outside our car, chatting with Suzie (another mom) when suddenly she screamed "Oh my god, no!" I heard car brakes, and turned to see Eli lying on the road.

In one moment, I was screaming and running toward him and flinging myself on my knees at his side. I wrapped my arms around him as he lay on the street. He started to shake and then to cry. There was blood on his head and arms.

In a moment of crisis like that, your perceptions change. I could feel all of my focus, all of my energy, going towards my son. Around me, the rest of the world blurred. I knew that people around me were yelling, someone was calling 911, Suzie had run up and was standing there with her hand on her shoulder. But all I could do was to kneel there over Eli, my arms wrapped around him, my cheek pressed against his.

"Suzie, could you stay here until they get here?" I asked.

She stayed. I could feel her hand on my shoulder, a reassurance.

Emergency vehicles arrived and the officers began asking me questions, which I answered, never taking my eyes off of Eli. They knelt down around us, and moved Eli, who was still crying, onto a board and strapped him down.

Sometime after he was strapped onto the board, I remember getting up. I went to find Robbie, who was at that time, standing wide-eyed and teary with fear next to Suzie and her son. I hugged him and told him the paramedics would take care of Eli and that we'd go to the hospital. Mrs. R., the children's 2nd grade teacher, sat on the grass next to Robbie dialing number after number on her cell phone, trying to find Bruce over at the college.

There was also a woman sitting on the curb and weeping; I knew she'd been the driver of the car. I went to her, asked her name, hugged her, and told her Eli would go to the hospital and would be all right. Then Bonnie appeared and held me silently while I briefly broke down in tears. But not for long--I had to be with Eli. I remember saying "I need to get my act together." Bonnie took Robbie home with her and Jacob, her son and Robbie's best friend.

In the ER, people buzzed around Eli, trying to examine him and move him off the board. Eli was crying, but also able to answer some questions. Every move the paramedics made frightened and hurt him. I stood by, stroking his arm or holding his hand.

Every time someone walked past the curtained area in ER, I thought it would be Bruce, but he hadn't gotten the word yet. Finally, a police officer appeared. She gave me information about the driver (suspended license, no insurance), and asked if I had any questions. I looked at her and thought I wish it were Brian here instead. She repeated, "Do you have any other questions?"
I asked if Brian were on duty that day.

"He is," she said. "Is he a friend of yours?"
"Yes. Can you . . . just tell him what happened?
"Of course. Would you like him to stop and see you?"
" . . . Yes, please."

Eli and I were taken into the CT scanner room, Eli on a gurney, me alongside, hand on his arm. Blessedly, he fell asleep while having the scan done. I stood around. Things started to catch up with me. I tried not to think.

At some point on our way back to ER, Brian materialized next to me. I can't say how much it meant to have someone with me then. He put his arm around me and I could feel the Kevlar vest beneath his shirt. I think he talked with me, but I don't remember. He stayed with Eli and me, a strong, familiar presence, until Bruce and Robbie arrived, followed by Suzie and Mr. N., the children's principal.

Bruce went right to Eli's side. Robbie stayed at the foot of the gurney, shaken.

After that, things seemed to be under control; things started to make sense. Maybe I felt that way because Bruce had arrived; I didn't have to make decisions alone. The ER doctor determined there might be some bruising to Eli's brain and though that injury rarely was harmful, he arranged for Eli to go to University Hospital where a neurosurgeon could look after him (turns out there was no bruising).

After another ambulence ride down there and being looked at by swarms of doctors (it's a teaching hospital, after all), we spent a night being observed and reassured that Eli would be fine. He's home now, his appitite is back, and he's sleeping in his own bed.

Looking back now, I realize that during those moments of crisis there were so many friends whostepped in when I needed them. Suzie, Bonnie, Mrs. R, Mr. N, and Brian--they surrounded me and held me up at that time when my entire being was focused on being with Eli and when I couldn't manage anything else.

I love that quote "Leap, and the net will appear." But it seems like today I learned "When you're pushed off and falling, the net will appear." And that net was made of friends.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow... I'm so glad Eli's alright. Its weird... I've been keeping up with your blog for a few months now, and I kind of feel like I know you, even though we've never even spoken to each other. I don't mean to sound like some freaky stalker person, but I just found it interesting that I felt genuine fear for your son when I read this entry. Anyway, here's my blog so you can be satisfied that I'm not a freaky stalker person, but a fellow Tae Kwon Do enthusiast: