One Dreadful Summer

May 10, 2012
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I tossed and turned in bed awakening from a terrible dream. I rolled over and looked at the clock. It was 9:58 A.M. on Friday, July 18. I knew I needed to get out of bed and start the day, but I did not want to just yet. I finally decided to get up when my stomach would not stop growling at me. I got out of bed. as I was walking to kitchen to get some food I looked all over for my mom. She was nowhere to be found. She was probably at the bank or something. I fixed a bowl of cereal and ate. Mom still had not shown up, so I went to see what was on television. I was lying there watching television about to fall asleep again when the horror of that summer started.

The commercials had just finished, and the show was coming back on when I heard the door open. I did not think much of it at the moment. I just thought mom was coming back from wherever she had gone. Then I heard my name called out by my mom in a weak and struggling voice. I knew something was wrong. I sprinted for the front door, and there she stood, hunched over and holding her back like a little old lady. As I helped her walk to her bedroom to lie down, mom explained how she was riding Penny, our horse, and Penny had bucked her off. Penny had taken off running, but Mom said she hurt too badly to go after her, so she walked to the house, about 300 yards, hoping to feel a little bit better. I had a bad feeling about this.

It seemed mom was finally settled semi-comfortably on her bed, so I started watching television again. Around noon I was hungry again, and mom was in too much pain to fix anything, so I made my own food. After I had finished eating, mom asked me to get her some cheese and crackers. Also she asked me to get the home phone for her. Mom told me to get dressed and told me to call my grandma to ask her if she would take her to the chiropractor in town. Grandma said yes, of course. A few minutes later, once I was ready, I helped mom put on some shoes. By this time Grandma was pulling in, so we left and headed to the chiropractor.

As mom was trying to get out of the car, the chiropractor happened to be at the door. The second the doctor saw mom, she said she was not going to touch her. Mom talked her into at least putting her hip back into place. When the doctor felt mom’s back she looked straight at grandma and told her to take her to the emergency room right this second. Mom tried to protest, but grandma was not going to listen to her. We left the chiropractor heading straight to the hospital. My grandma, mom, and I arrived at the hospital, and got everything settled. We sat there waiting for the doctors to come. This was my first chance I had to finally relax, and I realized how hungry I was. It was now almost seven in the evening. I asked grandma to take me to get something to eat. As we were leaving, the doctor walked in.

I walked into the hospital room carrying my food, and the first thing I saw was my mom crying. Something was definitely wrong if my mom is crying. She had not cried all day until this moment. I ran over to her and asked what is wrong. She said when I left, the doctor felt her back and decided to take an x-ray. The x-ray showed that she had broken her back. Mom said she was going to have to have surgery. I sat down in the chair trying to process what was going on. The doctor came and explained more of what happened. He said when mom was bucked off she landed in a sitting position; this compressed her spine three-fourths of the way. If it had compressed just less than a millimeter more, or the width of pencil lead, it would have compressed it all the way and she would have been paralyzed. Thankfully, God was watching over her, and it did not happen. The doctor continued to explain to me that although she did not compress it fully she did break her L1 and T12 in her back. He told me my mom was going to be life-flighted to Joplin to have immediate surgery.

I was so confused. This was not supposed to happen to my mom, but it did. I got calmed down after a while and remembered my food. I tried eating. How was I supposed to eat after I just got this horrible news? Everything was now a blur. I answered questions when they required an answer as I forced myself to eat. After what seemed like an eternity the helicopter arrived. After the nurses lifted mom onto the stretcher, they rolled her out to the helicopter. As we were going outside, a nurse told me I could not go with her. I could not believe this was happening.

Mom was on the helicopter on the way to a different hospital. Grandma and I went home. My dad was going to come home early and then we would go to the hospital together so grandma would not have to drive to Joplin. Once I got home, to keep my mind distracted, I packed some things I thought mom might need or want during her stay in the hospital. Dad still was not home, so I started cleaning everything in sight. Then he finally showed up. After he was ready, we left for the hospital.

When we arrived at the hospital, mom was still in the emergency room waiting for the surgeon to come in. When he finally showed up, the decision was made to wait until Monday since the surgeon said she was stable. The surgery was an urgency not an emergency. When my sister got there she got really upset at this, and the doctor had to explain that since mom’s back was now stable and she still had movement in her legs, which he found hard to believe, it would be better to do it Monday when the doctors were fresh and not tonight when they were exhausted. This made sense and eased everyone’s mind to an extent. The doctor did not believe Mom when she told him she had walked to the house. He thought she was not coherent from the pain medicine, and we had to tell him that she was telling the truth.

We spent the weekend at the hospital, and it was amazing how many people came to see mom and pray with her. When Monday rolled around, she finally went in for her surgery. We got nervous when it took longer than expected. Finally, it was over, and we were allowed to see Mom in recovery. When she finally woke up in the recovery room, she immediately asked for prayer and dad said okay. She waited a few seconds and didn’t hear anything and told Dad again to pray. He said that he was, and she replied, “Out loud!” Dad prayed for her. This satisfied her, and she went back to sleep.

Mom stayed a total of ten days in the hospital, and the doctors were amazed at her recovery. She had to wear a back brace, and it took several months for her to recover, but she is back doing everything she used to do before her back surgery. She may not be as flexible now with a metal cage and screws in her back, but it unquestionably could have been so much worse.





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