Saturday, June 8, 2013

When Mom slashes her shin, we siblings start texting

I could show you the picture my sister Susan shot of our mother's shin wound, and Mom would helpfully and happily point out where the doctor lifted the skin to show Mom the bone hiding in plain sight underneath.

The wound-causing accident occurred as Mom headed for the shower Saturday morning. She apparently brushed against the tile-and-wooden sign on a bookshelf and it fell off, hitting her poor little shin. (The sign, in a note of irony, said "Home Sweet Home." And I'm a bit mortified to realize, I gave it to her.)

Mom called Susan, calming saying, "We need to go somewhere," and Susan rushed over. I'll spare details of the crime -- I mean accident -- scene. Suffice to say there was a lot of the red stuff involved, and it wasn't pretty.

Susan drove our very calm mother to the emergency-care clinic nearby, and then the text messages between her, our sister Jeanne, brother Ben, and me began.

The first came after Susan took this picture of Mom. You can see how she's looking intently at what the technician is doing.

Susan: "Always smiling. Home Sweet Home sign fell on Mom's leg."

Ben: "Oh, no! Stitches?"

Susan: "No stitches. Open wound. Doc hasn't come in yet."

Me: "What does that mean, open wound? Don't they want to close it?"

Jeanne: "My head is between my knees. It's just as well I'm not there. I'd be the daughter in the next examining room with oxygen."

Me: "Haha and I'd be fighting you for the spigot."

Susan then sent us all the picture of the shin wound, which I will spare you (and me).

Susan: "Enjoy."

Me: "I'm going to put in stitches if no one else will. And then I'm going to throw up."

Susan: "Hahahaha. Maybe 'open wound' is the wrong term. Skin tear?"

Jeanne: "Hmm. Maybe worse."

Ben: "Looks like more of a scrape to me."

Me: "Artery rip?"

Susan: "Doctor said deep gash, some clots. Ugh. I want to go home."

Me: "Why did the doctor have to say CLOTS? I'm down for the count."

Susan: "It doesn't help that she takes a baby aspirin."

Ben: "Has Mom gotten the doctor's life story yet?"

Me: "He's coming over for Thanksgiving. And I'm going to purge the baby aspirin I just ate."

Susan: "Poor Mom. It hurts. She has no questions for the doctors, just kind comments."

Me: "Chuckles (my son Charlie) said, 'If we could incorporate Oma's personality to everyone in the world, there would be world peace.' "

Susan: "Tell Chuckles to button it. You can't imagine how deep the cut is. Scary."

There's a few more back and forth texts -- some silly, some not, including (for instance) TV doctors and neighborhood doctors, none of whom we've seen in decades, but all of whom 'each of us remembered with much amusement.

Susan: "Two docs are in there now. Mom's amazing. She's watching the whole thing. They can't sew it. The skin is 'ripping.' "

And then, "It's OK. Stitched. Just the top of the wound isn't holding together. She has to keep it elevated and iced."

You can see how the texts start out with one medical theory -- a scrape that can't be stitched -- and how that changes. Mostly though, what struck me as we were typing, and what strikes me now reading them again, is the comfort and camaraderie and amusement that comes with being a sibling in a tight-knit family. And yes, how very lucky I am. 

Not long after Susan's last text, Jeanne sent this photo to all of us.

It's Mom at the birthday party for Jeanne's grandson (Mom's great-grandson) Eli V.

She didn't stay there long -- just enough to have some cake and kiss the birthday boy. Oh yes, and to enthusiastically recount how the doctor lifted the skin on her shin, and she could see the bone at the base of the gash. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ghouling it

My son and his best friend ran a Zombie Race today. 

For the uninitiated, that's one of those crazy who-would-want-to-do-one-of-those? activities involving mud, obstacles, water, more mud and, oh yes, people dressed like zombies who chase you around trying to steal your three flags (i.e. red strips of fabric) and thus, render you dead. 

Did I mention there's mud?

Charlie spent Friday, the night before the race, with Luke. They woke at the crack of dawn and Lynne (Luke's mom and my dear friend) drove them and Laura, Luke's girlfriend, to the race site in Forney. 

A day or so earlier, Charlie had offhandedly asked if I wanted to go watch them run. I hemmed a bit and hawed a little more. Probably not, I finally said. Saturdays are my mornings to run and -- especially if I haven't been during the week, which this week I hadn't -- to go to yoga class.

"Oh, that's fine," he said. 

Friday around 6 though, I began reconsidering. True, maybe the glass of beer I had with a friend opened my spirits a bit and figured into my change of heart. Mostly though, skipping the chance to share this event with my son -- who was almost giddy at the idea of doing it -- gnawed at me.

In a day or a month or a year, I asked myself, which would I remember? Surprising Charlie by showing up, and then getting to watch him race? Or going to a yoga class that yes, though beloved, would probably blend with all the other yoga classes? (Unless, of course, this would be the one where I actually did go crashing to the ground instead of merely anticipating I would).

The answer was embarrassingly obvious.

Charlie and Luke signed up for the 8:30 wave (race lingo for a group that starts off together). When I saw them talking to Lynne and to Laura, I called Charlie's name. He turned, looked surprised and oh so happy to see me. He gave me his big smile, and hugged me hard. 

 He and Luke trotted off to the starting line. We took our places by the last mud pit and waited, amusing (and ooking out) ourselves by watching people crawl on their bellies like slime-encrusted reptiles through gnat-encircled muck. 

We finally saw Charlie and Luke a field away, running toward us.
They reached the mud, flopped down on all fours without hesitation, and made a valiant slosh through the final obstacle -- yeah, smiling even. Then they climbed a tower, slid down into a rather filthy water trough, were chased by a few more zombies, and got their well-earned medals. 

They didn't shower right away, instead recounting their journey and making plans for the next. Heck, Lynne and I got so caught up in the moment, we even started talking about doing one of these. 

We all stuck around for awhile, not wanting to leave this oasis of mirth and music. A giant screen showed a video of the Village People singing YMCA, so what choice did we have but to join in?

All this happened hours ago. I came home, swam some laps, relived the race some more with Charlie, ate too many pita chips, called my best friend, and haven't done much of anything else. 

But the precious few hours from this morning follow me like a happy shadow. Long after Charlie's washed that last bit of mud from his ear, they'll echo in my heart, as all good decisions should.