He’s sleeping soundly on the couch right now, my oldest son. I keep glancing over to be sure that he’s still o.k. And he is. Thank God, he is.
Sitting in a canvas chair this afternoon, watching the end of my daughter’s second softball game of the day, I could hear my cell phone ringing. I dug around in my purse and fished it out, just as the call went to voicemail. The Caller-ID showed that I had just missed Brad’s call. He was probably calling to tell me he was home, or almost home. He had spent the weekend with his two best friends, Justin and Joe at Justin’s dad’s house about an hour or so from home. The boys had been fishing and when I had called Brad earlier in the day, he had said they were just getting ready to start the drive back.
After the missed call, I quickly called him back and when he answered, I said, “Hey Bud. Sorry I missed your call. I picked up just as it went to voicemail.”
“Mom,” he said. “We were in a car accident. We’re in an ambulance and on our way to the hospital.”
It was the call that every parent fears. My mind began to race and I heard Brad say, “I’m ok. We’re all ok. But we’re going to the hospital.”
I was panicking. “What happened? Are you hurt? Is anyone hurt? What hospital?”
“We’re on our way to Regions. Justin was driving and had a seizure. I was in the backseat, asleep. I heard Joe shouting to Justin asking what he was doing. Joe was trying to steer….” His voice was breaking. He told me again he was ok but I could tell he couldn’t continue to talk. I had caught Mark’s attention at this point. He was hanging on every word as were several others within earshot.
“We’re coming!” I told him. “We’ll meet you there.” Mark called Joe’s parents and gave them the frightening news.
The next few minutes were a blur. Mark and I were gathering our chairs and grabbing our belongings in a frenzy while several other parents were telling us to go and that they would take care of Kacey for us. I caught up with Kacey long enough to explain and assure her that her brother was ok. Mark and I took off running for the car.
Luckily, the softball tournament was being held within minutes of the hospital and we made it there quickly. It’s a busy, downtown hospital and we had to park in a ramp. We got caught in a crawl behind several cars searching for a parking spot and it seemed to take us forever to find one ourselves. We finally found one and hurried to the hospital entrance where we were shown the way to the emergency room.
I saw my son standing with Joe and his parents and grandparents. Justin was already in an exam room being taken care of. I looked around to see that everyone had tears in their eyes but the boys really were ok. Justin’s parents were making their way to the hospital from their cabin a few hours north, and his grandparents arrived not long after we did.
In an instant Brad had me wrapped in a bear hug. I squeezed him back as tight as I dared, worried about cuts or bruises.
Brad was crying as he told us how Joe’s shouting had awakened him and one glance at Justin told him that Justin was experiencing a seizure. Joe was in the front seat, trying to steer the truck as they traveled down a busy highway. Brad remembered Justin showing him the emegency brake in the truck a while back. Most vehicles have a pedal to the left of the gas and brake pedals. Justin’s truck had a different style; one that sits to the right of the steering wheel and is pulled in the event of an emergency. Brad said he was shouting to Joe that they had to pull the emergency brake and he leaned forward and was able to grab on and pull. The truck’s wheels froze as the vehicle bounced off the guardrail and then rolled over, landing upright again, balanced on top of the cement guardrail with the front and back tires on each side of it. One of the paramedics took a picture with his cell phone and sent it to Justin later on.
Joe scrambled out the window of the truck and Brad followed quickly behind. Traffic had come to a halt in the wake of the accident and the two boys screamed for onlookers to call 911. Justin was still in the truck and not yet conscious. A good samaritan who had been right behind and witnessed the events stopped to offer help. Brad says there were so many people who stopped to help and he didn’t get any names or have a chance to thank any of them. The ambulance arrived within minutes and the firefighters not long afterwards at which point Justin was pulled from the truck. The paramedics told the boys they had only been four blocks away when they got the call. They also told the boys they had never seen anyone come out of a rollover accident as “well” as these three boys did.
Brad walked away with only a few cuts and scratches, which he’s sure happened as he fell out the truck window. Joe sustained a cut to his arm and had to have some bits of broken glass removed and a couple stitches. Justin had a dislocated shoulder, a few cuts to the head and some bruising on his face. All three boys were released from the hospital and allowed to go home.
It’s been an extremely emotional day. Brad is struggling to come to terms with why this happened. Justin feels guilty and responsible and neither Brad nor Joe want him to feel that way. The doctor who evaluated Brad told him Justin probably won’t be driving again soon. As I sat with Brad in the exam room, waiting for his discharge papers, he was asking me why. Why did this happen to Justin? Why today? Why?
I told him they were extremely lucky. I told him Someone was looking out for them today. I reminded him that one or more of them could have wound up dead, but they didn’t. They were able to walk away, relatively unharmed. They were smart. They were all wearing seatbelts and have the bruises to prove it. I told him that he and Joe had the presence of mind to get that truck stopped.
Now that we are home, I am trying to keep myself from hovering and constantly asking if there’s anything he wants or needs. He keeps insisting he is ok, just a little sore. I can’t help myself and I have to keep checking and he continues to refuse any pampering. It could have been so much worse, but by some miracle, it was not. They will be sore tomorrow and for a few days afterwards, but they are ok. They lived to tell about it and I am thanking God today for watching over my son and his friends.