It was March 18, 2015. I was walking out of the school and my mom called me after volleyball practice, I was laughing and talking with my friends and I debated on just sending it to voicemail as I saw her name come across my screen. Mainly because it was nothing unusual, she normally calls me to see how practice and school was. Little did I know she’d be calling me about something else.
“Hey bud, I’m in the back of an ambulance right now. Um, dad has been in a pretty bad accident causing him to break quite a few bones, he fell 30-feet onto the concrete floor at work and they’re taking him to the ER now.You can come up to the hospital with Grandma Joyce or Kristen can come by and get you.”
My mom semi yelled because she was trying to talk over the sirens that were blowing from outside of the ambulance. And when she spoke those words it honestly felt like everything had stopped. I couldn’t function, I was lost.
In that moment it felt as though everything had stopped: the world, my lungs, brain and body. I absolutely hated hospitals and I wasn’t about to go to the ER. Yes, I sound like a bad daughter but nothing good ever happens at hospitals when it comes to my family. I sat at the kitchen table with my phone in front of me in case I get a text message giving me an update on my dad. I got calls from my family seeing if I wanted a ride to the hospital which I turned down every time. I didn’t want to see what kind of condition he was in. I didn’t even want to think about what had happened.
My sister came home that night, but not my mom. Her eyes were red and puffy glistening from the tears that had fallen on her way home from the hospital. She said mom was going to stay up at the hospital to keep up with dad easier. We didn’t really have it in us to talk much about dad, it was just too hard. We both went to our rooms without another word spoken to the other.
For everyday my dad was in the hospital I would wear one of his shirts. I tried everything to try and ease my nerves and feel closer to my dad. His shirts were huge on me, but I wore it anyway. I walked into to school the day after the accident and was swarmed with people asking questions about what happened and if I was okay. I wanted to go home. I didn’t want to be around these people, I didn’t want anyone to know what happened because as soon as they knew they’d treat me differently they’d give me unwanted sympathy. But they gave it anyway.
Every day of the month I went up to the hospital after school, Every. Single. Day. I sat in the waiting room because they had him in the ICU and you could only visit him between certain hours of the day. I sat there and talked to my family. There were so many people I didn’t even know that came to bring us snack and drinks and that just came to talk. I didn’t know half of them. I got to meet family members I didn’t even know I had. This was a daily routine for everyday he was in the hospital. My mom never left, she stayed in that waiting room and didn’t come home for she was afraid something would happen to him and she wouldn't be there.
Now, this routine had become a daily thing. Going to school, going to volleyball practice, going to the hospital just to go home afterwards to sleep and repeat it the next day. Don’t get me wrong, I did love being there for my mom and dad everyday but sometimes it was tiring. I still had homework I had to accomplish by the next morning but it’s kind of hard when you have people coming to visit you and being able to see my dad. But I made it work.
Staring at my dad in the hospital bed that I had seen hundreds times was getting harder each day. Every day I went over the same mental breakdown; I didn’t want to believe it was my dad, but it was. He looked nothing like the man I had seen before he left the house that day. He was swollen all over his entire body and he was no longer his tan self; He had blue, black, and purple bruises covering his entire body. Having that gut fear that every time I left after seeing him, would be my last isn’t something any 15-year-old should have to feel about their dad.
At around two to three weeks, my dad woke up and got to talk. It was an emotional time - from the accident, to him coding blue for 20 minutes, to seeing him in such bad shape every single day, to being with my family so much more. I feared that he wouldn’t remember me since he was in a coma so long. “What if he doesn’t remember me?” I thought to myself. I started to get angry. "What if he is going to die from this?" I didn’t want him taken away from me. I needed him. I needed him to walk my sister down the aisle next summer, I needed him to be with my mom, but most of all I needed him to be with me through my next break up, if I had an accident, for my high school and college graduations. I needed him to walk me down the aisle just as a dad should.
After a time had passed I decided to walk into his room and when I walked in that ICU room and he said “Hey Bud”, I knew that everything was going to be okay and all of those fears I had before were gone. I had my dad back and those feelings were indescribable, although he wasn’t fully functioning he was still there and I was so grateful.
Throughout my story I realized that “Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish them. We take too much for granted and don’t take time to embrace everything. Embrace all of the ups and downs that happen in your life because without them, you wouldn’t be living.