12 March 2007: Day of bad news...

Category: General
Posted by: erin
It was on this day that I got the phone call from Ruth. My side went something like this. "What? Really? You're joking." I couldn't get my head around this. Dad? Hurt? At work? I am told, "We don't know what happened, only that it happened at work, he's been life-flighted to a hospital in Memphis, and is in critical condition."

We hang up. I go into hysterics. I didn't really know there was such a thing as hysteria until right then. Uncontrollable sobbing and panic. I was totally dysfunctional. I manage to call Chris, "Dad is hurt" - he must have been able to tell I wasn't really all together, because he just said "be right there," and we hung up.

Ruth calls back, we try to get organized about getting to Memphis the fastest way possible. My head is throbbing, I try to look up flights, but it's like thinking through cobwebs that keep regenerating themselves. Ruthie comments that she's proud of me for keeping it together. She doesn't realize that I'm only barely managing not to sob uncontrollably into the phone. We hang up again, and I continue to cry my eyeballs out while trying to look up flight information.

Somewhere in there we figured out he was hit by a "tow motor" - neither of us knew what that was, of course. And we still didn't know where the impact occurred. We did manage to figure out that a tow motor is a type of forklift. Oh. He was hit by a forklift. That's better than being squashed by some ginormous press (in my mind). That was the graphic image in my head - Dad mashed by one of the stamping presses into a mangled, brain-damaged, paralized version of Dad. Still, we didn't know what part was run over - he could still be all of those things.

Chris gets home, and we decide to call his mom, since I am completely unable to concentrate for long enough to figure out how to get a flight that will get us to Memphis early the next morning. That proved to be a good move.

Somewhere in here I also manage to send a note out to the volleyball teams I was supposed to start captaining - we had our first practices that Monday and Tuesday, and the new season was supposed to start - funny how the brain works, I was in hysterics and panicked, and it somehow insisted that I think of that. weird.

So. Ruth calls back. We now have figured out that his leg was run over. "His leg? Just his leg." "yes." "really - just his leg. Not his head or his chest or anything - just his leg." "yes." Relief. Profound relief. It's serious, yes. Critical condition, lots of important blood circulators in the leg. But it is just a leg. Ok. Breathe.

Chris and I manage to get tickets together, call our friends to take the dog, throw some clothes in a backpack, and figure out what else we need to carry along. We go to sleep (which I could actually do - my eyes were totally red and raw and sore and my head was throbbing from crying so much).
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