I was really torn about whether to write this or not- until I recently met with a great friend and we were talking about how no one ever shares the photos or stories that go on ‘behind the scenes’. You know- the hour long tantrums, the silent treatment, the failed parenting moments- along with the anxiety, the rage- even the 746 pictures it took to get ONE where everyone is looking (or more importantly not screaming). We are so focused on appearing like we have our shit together, that we are adding to this image of ‘perfect parenting’ and well, let me assure you- I most definitely am not. Let this be my forewarning for family & friends- this year’s Christmas letter will include less fake smiles and undoubtedly more cuss words. So what I am about to share is as raw, honest and vulnerable as I can get.
December 28, 2016- that is a day I will never forget. That is the day that I nearly lost a bit of my soul, and should circumstances have been slightly different, I would have lost my son as well. We’ve all done a lot of things as human beings that we wish nothing more than to forget, accept and move on. And I like to think that one day I’ll accept and move on- but not today nor will it be tomorrow.
Our carelessness and need to constantly be rushing through every moment of life resulted in striking and pinning my sweet little angel between a vehicle and a ski-doo. I will never forget that terrifying moment I looked over to see his helpless body caught between steel, and both of us paralyzed in fear. I recall watching my husband’s super strength as he pulled off the machine and together, the two of us stripping him down in sub-zero temperatures to identify any broken bones and injuries. As a parent, we hurt when our babies are hurting, and let me assure you on this one- you’re breaking inside when YOU are the reason they’re hurting.
After initial assessment, imaging and testing at our hospital- it was determined that my little guy’s injuries warranted deeper observation and treatment from a paediatric team. I was at home trying to keep myself calm, while knowing that my child was hurting and I wasn’t right there beside him reassuring him it was going to be okay (I had to stay home with our other son). When my husband called to inform me of their decision to not only transfer him to the Stollery Children’s hospital- but air lift him via STARS for the matter of urgency, I needed to see my boy and I set off.
As I pulled into the parkade at the University hospital, I could hear the chopper still on the pad. I ran nearly half way around the building to the emergency entrance and it took me three attempts to say who I was and why I was there- basically, I crumbled. Security lead me to a room where I could watch them come by- someway, somehow I beat them into emergency, and he wasn’t going to be alone in a strange place after-all. During transport, I had received a few text updates from the STARS team letting me know his status, which I will be forever greatful for. As it was, they came right past where I was waiting and with waves of emotion, I was able to see my little boy for the first time since the accident.
Immediately we went straight into a trauma room and was overwhelmed by Doctors, Surgeons, specialists, introductions and questions. He was screaming out and my Momma strength was wavering. I vaguely remember overhearing a Doctor (one of the many whose name will forever be lost) indicate to bring in a social worker. Fortunately, I was able to pull myself together when we realized that his cries of discomfort were due to his folly and not his internal organs. While still disheartening, this was a tremendous relief.
Everyone was so kind to us, and I truly felt that we didn’t deserve to be treated so well as we were the reason he was there. Doctors brought him a book and added to the array of stickers and bandages on his abdomen. The STARS crew shared photos that they had taken during his flight for us to have and cherish- they had even given him a teddy bear for comfort on the ride to keep. In miraculous time, my husband appeared and together, the relief we had once we were told that no immediate surgery was needed was truly grounding. We were going to be there for a few days purely for observation and with the nature of his injuries, the hospital’s ability to quickly react should his body need some immediate intervention.
The three of us spent the next few days building Lego, cruising the halls in our wheelchair hoping to catch a Pokemon and encouraging our little guy to heal and strengthen. We’ve had a few stays now at the Stollery Children’s Hospital and each time I am so gracious for the care provided- not only for the first class medical care, but also the mental well-being of the children staying there. We truly are so honoured to have such a facility that is dedicated to improving the lives of children.
STARS has always been an organization that we’ve held dear and supported over the years. (Let me assure you there are no shortages of ‘helicopter bandaids’ in this house). They were there for my husband many years ago with his accident, and today we continue to hold our gratitude for their passionate care with our son. Not that we live in any kind of a bubble, but you never really think a situation is going to happen to you- until it does. And once it does, you re-evaluate what is truly important.