today is brought to you by the letters WTF?

October 17, 2005


Ok. Today started off pretty well. I got up, cleaned part of the bathroom and took out garbage before I went to work. I even got to work on time for once. People at work seemed happy, and I was nervous about finding time to do all the stuff that I should’ve done over the weekend.

Then came the call. My phone said it was my stepmom, Deb, who has really been more of a mother to me than my previously-mentioned crazy-ass mother has ever been. Odd for her to call me at work mid-morning. And my grandfather’s health has been bad of late, so I was expecting bad news.

What I got was a strange voice. Luckily the voice introduced herself as my Aunt (whom I almost never speak to), and before I could wonder why she was calling me from Deb’s phone, Aunt G began the scare tactics.

Real words in normal text, my thoughts in italic. For every group of my thoughts, just imagine I’ve said “Uh,” or some other meaningless drivel.

“Your mom’s been in a motorcycle accident.”
I’m sorry. what? a motorcycle… thing with two wheels, goes fast, blood on the pavement…
“She’s ok.”
oh no – no-one ever says the wounded person is “ok” unless something’s been amputated… if it was just a broken arm she’d’ve just said it straight out
“Her leg’s shattered and her lung is torn and there’s a broken rib.”
ok my ass…
“She’s at Stanford.”
how the hell…
“They flew her up in a helicopter because there’s some sort of thing there with plastics that they can only do at Stanford.”
plastics???? helicopter????

And so I left work in a daze and drove to Stanford. And got lost, and then got unlost, and then found parking. Eventually I made it into the hospital where I pretty much walked straight into Deb’s room without ever being challenged or asked my identity (more on this later).

Deb’s good friend from the area, Jenny, was already there. Apparently I was notified somewhat late in the process. Deb looked like hell and we cried a bit as I hugged her and tried not to accidentally remove any of the various tubes/IV’s that were attached to her.

I pieced together that Deb and her boyfriend, Russell, had gone on a Sunday bike ride to check out real estate. (Incidentally, this took place on Highway 1 just south of SLO.) There was a turn, there was a Mustang traveling quickly in the opposite direction, there was panic, and then there was blood on the pavement. Deb miraculously escaped with a shattered ankle (no, not the whole leg as I’d been told), a broken rib, and they had a chest tube in her to suction out air that had gotten in and had collapsed one of her lungs. No head trauma, just a few scrapes and bruises and the injuries I’ve already covered. She is so incredibly lucky given the nature of the accident.

Russell? Not so lucky. He’s still down south where they’re breathing for him and keeping him completely sedated for a few days. It’s hard to get full details, but it sounds as if he’s got many, many broken bones. He also has actual lung punctures — thus the sedation. Until they get his lungs stable, they can’t go in and operate on anything else.

I can only hope that Aunt G, who’s our source on Russell’s status, is somehow exaggerating the facts as she did to me with Deb’s. Because the alternative is very depressing. This guy has actually made Deb happy, and even managed to earn my approval. Let’s hope he pulls through.

I’m home now from Stanford. Deb’s had surgery to file down her jagged bone fragments, put them back together as well as can be, and then have a few pins fitted. She’s resting dreamily, if not comfortably in a morphine haze.

I’ll know more about what comes next in her treatment when I speak to the docs in the morning.

I’m so tired. And worried.


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One Comment on “today is brought to you by the letters WTF?”

  1. sweeney_o Says:

    Holy cow!!!
    That’s way more doctor-talk than anyone really should have! Give my best wishes to Deb and her significant other! Those orthopedics at Stanford… they do good work, or so I hear 😉
    Good luck!!


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