It was a red minivan, actually. We had just pulled into the driveway from picking Troy up from preschool. There were several neighbor kids walking home from school across the street. As all four of my kids and the two pups spilled out of our car, a couple of the kids asked if they could see the puppies. Jason and I walked across the street with the pups. I looked back towards the house and Derek and Troy had climbed the tree at the end of the driveway. Everyone seemed so safe.
While I was talking to one of the boys about the puppies and how big they had gotten, I saw Troy come out of the tree and head towards me. I watched him look both ways and pause. He then ran over next to me. Knowing how three-year-olds are, I knew Derek was next, so I kept watching him. Sure enough, he came out of the tree and headed for the street. He looked both ways, but he never paused. I saw the red minivan coming and tried to yell at Derek to stop, but nothing came out of my mouth. I heard the screech of the tires and then a horrible “thump” as the van ran over my son. My heart stopped cold. Without emotion or feeling, I ran around the van to see my baby.
He was lying on his side, whimpering and crying a little. I was a little relieved because that meant he was alive. I got closer and I saw his right leg twisted in a way I knew meant his leg was broken. Jason had broken his femur when he was two-and-a-half, so I knew what to do with a broken leg. I was a little more relieved. At that point I realized that he was conscious, so I started feeling even better. But then I saw his foot. I have never seen anything so gruesome in all my life. The same foot as the broken leg had a gash in it that was approximately 4 inches wide and 6 inches long. (Those measurements may be a little off, but not by much.) I could see his bones, and there was little tissue. And there was blood. Not a whole lot of blood, but enough to scare me half to death.
I scooped up my little boy, and ran to my own minivan. The poor woman that hit him came up behind me. I didn’t even know she was there at first. She asked how she could help, and I had no idea what to say. It was not her fault. She did all she could, so I told her that. The neighbor girls told me they would gather up the other kids and the dogs and take them inside and tell my husband. They offered to call 911. I asked, “Why? What would we need 911 for?” No one answered so I placed Derek into the van and drove off. I was obviously in shock. I was so scared. His foot was so bad. I thought he might lose it, or at best be permanently damaged. I was fighting back the tears because Derek was on the floor in the back of the van not crying. He was so brave and so strong, I had to do the same for him. About half way to the hospital, he says to me in a small, scared voice, “Mommy. I have aye on my foot.” (Aye = owie) That was the understatement of the decade.
When I started driving to the hospital, I was following all traffic laws, but I got behind a car going slightly under the speed limit and I got frustrated. All of a sudden I realized I had an excuse to break every law in the book, so I did. I went 90 mph in a 30. When I got to the stop light at a busy intersection, I panicked. I didn’t have time for this! I immediately turned into the parking lot on the left and drove through it, and then tried to get back onto the road. Cars were streaming by, and I was afraid I was going to have to wait out the light after all. All of a sudden, the traffic stopped, and I saw the woman that hit him in the middle of the intersection blocking traffic for me so I could go. I went. I swerved in and out of cars, speeding the whole way until I reached the hospital. I parked the car and scooped my baby boy up and carried him inside the emergency room. A woman saw me coming and took him from me. I thought she was a nurse, but later I learned she was a patient that saw him and wanted to help.
We got into the emergency trauma room lobby and they took us right into a room. No waiting. That actually scared me more. This must really be serious! They took him in and assessed him They gave him a CT scan and took X-Rays of his back and neck. Then they gave him some meds and called an ambulance to take him downtown to Children’s Mercy Hospital. He loved that ride! Once we got there, they took us in, and got us prepped for surgery.
Then we waited. For several hours, we waited for our turn in the OR. At 9pm they took my tiny toddler into the operating room, set his leg, and cleaned the wound in his foot.
They looked it over and assessed it. When they were finished, the surgeon came in and told me that his leg was broken in two places. The tibia and fibula of his right leg was broken in half, but they had set them. He then told me that his foot was not able to be closed. They were going to have to wait until there was enough tissue in there to cover the bone and tendons to put a skin graft over it, so he was going to need a few more surgeries to clean it and to wear a wound vac to stimulate tissue growth. That meant we were going to be in the hospital for 1 – 3 weeks because of this trauma!
A skin graft? I forgot to ask him if it was going to be donor skin or if they were going to take his skin. Darn it.
They then took me upstairs to our room and let me see my little man. He had just woken up from the anesthesia and was looking around for mommy. Still no tears. He is so tough and strong! His soft blonde curls were laying on the pillow, and his golden brown/hazel eyes looked up at me and my heart swelled. I saw his leg and foot all wrapped up with a tube sticking out of it. He had an IV attached to his hand, and little gadgets stuck to his chest to monitor his vitals. He had bumps and bruises and scratches all over his face and body. My poor baby.
This is a long story with many ups and downs. I will continue with more tomorrow. At this very moment, he is asleep in his own bed with a wound vac still attached to his foot. He is on pain meds, so he should sleep well tonight. I held back tears for so long, I am not sure I could cry now, but I want to. Things could have been so much worse. I thank God he only broke his leg and hurt his foot, but I still hurt for my son.
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