I write from the seventh-floor room of a local and highly regarded hospital as my husband of less than three months lies in bed with a cheesy hospital gown, one of two neck braces he alternates throughout the day, and an IV attached to his arm. (We’ve affectionately nicknamed the IV “Car-rrrl” after the kid on The Walking Dead. “Where’s Car-rrrl?!”)
I’d rather hoped I’d get to enjoy several more years of marital bliss before having a scare like this, but here we are, about to spend our fifth night in the hospital.
The man broke his dang neck. His neck! The year wasn’t eventful enough with our getting married. No, he had to go and break his neck. And by some miracle — and that’s exactly what it is, a miracle — he is going to be OK. For one, he managed to swerve into the grass, thus avoiding the asphalt. For another, he wore a helmet. This helmet:
He had had a normal ride and was heading home. And then something darted in his path. He thinks it was a small lizard or something. Instinctively he braked. Hard. Flipped over the handlebars and right on his head. All six feet four inches of him. On his head. Those cracks on that helmet could very well have been in his skull. One of the nurses saw his helmet and said, “Whoa. That thing saved your life, dude.”
It wasn’t the call I’d expected to get as I made my way home, him telling me he had had an accident and the ambulance was coming. And of course nothing prepares you for stuff like this. I thought he would have some scrapes and bruises, so that wasn’t too much of a surprise. But when the doctor came out after the first CT scan and said he’d fractured his neck … well, you fear the worse immediately.
Thankfully there’s no danger to his spinal cord. Just (heh … “just”) a fracture to his C1, with a side order of bone fragment disrupting the merry flow of blood to his brain. It’s that fucking fragment that has kept him in the hospital for the last four — soon to be five — nights. Until the blood thinners have his blood in the acceptable range, he stays.
And so I stay. Because I can’t sleep in our bed knowing he’s here in this room alone. He doesn’t need my help, really. He gets up and walks the halls even while I’m sound asleep. But I need to be here. He is my world, and if it weren’t for grace — and that amazing helmet — my world would be gone, taking me with it.