Four months ago, on a Wednesday afternoon, I got a call, the kind of call that you never want to get. There’s been an accident. My boyfriend is very hurt. He was on his bicycle and hit by a truck. A stranger is telling me these things. My heart stops and my brain gets fuzzy. He holds the phone up to my love. He is frantic. He tells me that he is hurt bad. He tells me that he does not know what is going to happen. He tells me that he loves me. I fight tears and tell him that I love him back. He tries to tell me where he is. The stranger gets back on the phone. The whole thing is so confusing to me. We hang up. I am still not very sure what has happened. I was on my way into a meeting. I walked in and apologized for having to leave. I could hear myself speaking but I felt like a robot. I knew that I had to keep it together. All I can think is that it is a good thing that he was talking to me and I hold on to that thought as I spend the next hour searching for where he might be.
I finally find myself in the waiting room of the USC Los Angeles County Hospital Emergency Room. After what feels like an eternity, they finally come out and tell me that I can go back to see him. He is all bundled up. He has a neck brace on. He’s super out of it. I immediately tear up, but then decide that I had to stop, he can’t see me cry upon looking at him. That is not reassuring at all. I finally see a doctor. Broken arm. Broken pelvis. Broken ribs. Broken finger. Liver laceration. He will be kept overnight for observation. This all sounds bad. I find myself fighting tears again.
Its time to go into problem solving mode – there are police officers to speak to, a cell phone to find, a broken bike to get into the car and phone calls to make. I speak to the officer, who was pretty much a jerk, so that was pleasant…not. The cell phone was nowhere to be found (striking out here) and after quite the process, I did manage to get the bike into my car. As I sat in my car it was time for phone calls. Dread. I called my mom first, I knew I needed her and as soon as I heard her voice I loose it. She says she is on her way. I am so thankful. I had also texted my cousin (and bestie) and she was already in route to walk and feed our dogs and grab something to eat for us. Once my mom arrived we went back into the hospital, they had moved him to a different place and as we walked there I knew that I had to make the worst call: his parents. They live on the other side of the country and while I do not have kids of my own yet, I can only imagine that getting a call of this nature is a parent’s worst nightmare, even when your kids are grown adults. And the distance makes it worse. They were amazing; I remained calm and gave clear and concise facts. I am so incredibly thankful for how lovely his family is and how they have welcomed me with open arms. That made the call just a little bit easier.
My mom and cousin sat with me in the observation waiting room for hours. We were allowed to go in and see him once an hour for 5 mins. We ate takeout, thankfully my cousin knew that cookies were in order and oddly enough, we laughed a lot. We had not seen each other in a while, so it was a catching up of sorts. I do not know how I would have made it through that night without them. Like for serious, they were above and beyond wonderful. As midnight approached the nurses let us know that he needed to sleep (and frankly, so did I) and that I should go home and come back in the morning. As my mom and I walked to the car I felt like I was in a dream and I was not quite sure what to do with myself.
Earlier, on the phone, his mom offered to come out. I said that we needed a few days to get settled and then we would see how everything was. Looking back, I should have said YES immediately because I had not the slightest idea of what I was about to be thrust into and once I was in it, there was no turning back...