It has been Quite the Week. There was a more-or-less last-minute switch-about at work, which meant that I got to go to a conference in Montreal about HIV and housing, from Tuesday to Friday. Since I wasn’t going to be here for my son’s birthday, I switched his birthday dinner to Monday night.
We had just finished eating the birthday cake when the phone rang. It was my son’s father’s friend, telling me she was at the hospital with my son’s father (John). Something about a fall and a heart attack and it looked bad.
So GC and my son and I all raced over to the hospital, where we learned they didn’t actually know why he fell, but whatever precipitated the fall was the least pressing of his problems since he had broken his neck while falling down the stairs. (It’s funny how much more dramatic “he broke his neck” sounds than “he fractured two bones in his neck.”)
Anyway. We stayed with him and held his hand and lobbied for more and better painkillers until about 2:00 in the morning, after they had conducted all the imaging and neurological tests and were able to tell us more definitively what was happening.
The good news: he wasn’t paralyzed, and they didn’t seem to think he’d had a heart attack or a stroke.
However, the fractures were “unstable” which meant that if he moved the wrong way, he could end up paralyzed. So even though he was in a lot of pain and really wanted to change positions, he couldn’t. Secondly, there was bleeding in and around his brain. Not a huge amount, but enough that they wanted to keep a very close eye on him overnight. If nothing changed during the night, he wouldn’t need surgery. Instead, he’d be fitted with a big, heavy metal contraption called a halo, to keep his neck completely immobile for the next few months.So that’s what they did. Big metal halo. He’s still in the hospital and will be released once he can walk on his own. (I went to see him yesterday, and he said he had walked on his own the day before but nobody saw him so it didn’t count.) He’s still pretty uncomfortable and he seemed uncharacteristically cranky too.
I sometimes take other people’s crankiness personally, so I had to keep reminding myself that he’s in pain, he’s immobile, he’s stuck in the hospital, his head is stuck in a 7-pound metal trap, he’s got a wicked headache, and he can’t smoke or drink as much as he might like. (They’ve got him on a nicotine patch and they’re giving him a couple of cans of beer each day.) At any rate, he’s got plenty of good reasons to feel cranky. And even though I think he’s bloody lucky to be alive and not paralyzed, I guess he’s feeling pretty unlucky for breaking his neck in the first place, which is fair enough.
Anyway. In other news…
Montreal was great: the conference was interesting, the hotel bed was so comfortable I asked the concierge for the make and model (it’s a Serta), and I had a lovely dinner with my Dad and Merle on Thursday. On Wednesday night I went to see the Chihuly glass art exhibit, which I highly recommend. It’s there until October 20th. Here’s a couple of shots I took of it: