9 months ago my (then) 27 year old son was in a horrible car accident that landed him in Neurological and then Trauma ICUs at a major medical school hospital. We were told it was unlikely he’d ever get out of bed or have any significant brain function. A month later he was in the rehab hospital, learning how to walk again and proving every single doctor wrong.
Now, 9 months later, he’s driving, and talking to his former place of employment about returning to work in a much-reduced capacity. Formerly, he was a high-voltage industrial electrician. Now, likely he’ll be greasing machines and sweeping floors and possibly working in the stock room. They’re going to evaluate him and keep him busy and see how he does. He’ll also work 8 hours a day, day shift, instead of the 12-16 hours all times of day and night he was working previously.
But get this…the son I was told would be probably in a “persistent vegetative state” or “minimally functional” is driving and talking and going to work and chopping wood and fixing engines and…
Really the only thing that remains of his accident are a limp, some bodacious scars, and a somewhat reduced ability to talk. I say somewhat, because if you didn’t know him before you wouldln’t recognize it. However, his skull was significantly cracked and there was internal bleeding at Broca’s area in his brain. This is the part that allows you to get the right words out. He comprehends just fine, but has some trouble bringing up the right words. However, that is getting better and I am confident with practice he’ll get it all back. We are instructed to talk to him as if there was no deficit, and correct him when he uses the wrong words. And every day he is a little bit better.
He is absolute proof to me, that God exists and is intimately involved in our lives. He’s proof that doctors don’t know everything and that God is far more powerful than any sort of education or whatever. I know the doctors were basing their opinions on past experience. I am sure they’ve had people with less severe injuries recover with less enthusiasm than #3. I am certain part of his recovery happened because the doctor said he wouldn’t. The surest way to get him to do something was to tell him he wasn’t capable of it. He may have seemed unconcious when that neurologist stood by his bed and labeled him a turnip, but I know he heard it.
Not long ago he told me he’d experienced God’s presence when he was out…He said he knew his job isn’t done here and God has something in mind. None of us know what yet, but #3 is biding his time and waiting to know what he’s meant to do.
Also…my li’l turnip who was supposed to never be able to get out of the bed? He’s going back to work. Like, real work with a paycheck and a schedule and stuff and not as some sort of “favor for the impaired one” but because he has something to offer and can do it. Now, mind you, he’s not going back to work as the high-voltage industrial electrician (thank You, God), but…he’s going to get a paycheck and be doing something useful for the company he’s working for (the same company for whom he worked before his accident), and will feel like he’s contributing to the functioning of his household as a provider.
It has been a burden on him, feeling as if he wasn’t the Provider and Pater Familias but a burden or something. We all know he had healing to do and was no burden at all, but how do you tell someone that when all he can see is a comparison between working and not-working?
All I know is how delighted I am when he shows up here, wanting to chop wood, talk, eat bacon, and…you know…be ALIVE.
Like really LIVING alive. One of the thoughts I had soon after being told he’d never get out of bed was that I knew he’d rather be dead than in the bed permanently. His father was the same way. I remember thinking that when the doctor told me he’d never recover. That he’d rather be dead than in the bed, a burden on the people he loved.
Himself went a different path than #3, going to his Heavenly reward. #3’s business here isn’t done and even though I still get anxious about him, and sometimes when he struggles with his words or the weather is making his leg hurt, I mourn for what he used to be, but I also know that God saved his life for something and The Fella occasionally reminds me that I am being ungrateful. I suppose I am..,
But…he’s going back to work. He talks almost normally. His skills as a mechanic and electrician are intact. His reflexes are a little slow and he has to think about what he does instead of it coming smoothly and naturally but that will improve with time and practice.
My heart is full.