Tuesday, October 30, 2012
SLICE OF LIFE
Two weeks ago. Saturday night. I am almost asleep when the text comes. It is from my oldest son. The one in Phoenix. Nine hundred miles away.
"Hurt my knee. On crutches on the sidelines."
"Bad?" I text back.
"Naw. Hyperextended it. Just need to rest. It'll be awright."
Later he texts me that a trainer has driven him to his apartment. He has ice on it. The next day he tells me it is a little bit better. I feel relieved.
Until Monday. When he tells me he will be having an MRI on Thursday.
And Thursday. When he tells me he will be having ACL surgery the following week.
He wants to give up. "I only came to school to play football," he says. "And now I can't do that." I might as well just come home." I talk him off the ledge. Call a semi-sympathetic coach. Get him to talk to my son.
I want to go. To be there. To take care of him.
But in the meantime, Son #2 has made a stupid stupid stupid 5 second teenager decision that has potential for huge, life changing legal ramifications. And I cannot leave the state. Because I have to take care of Son #2 and his issues.
I have to settle for phone calls with coaches and the athletic trainer.
The surgery is Friday. We talk every day. I try to explain that he needs to go to the grocery store ahead of time. Stock up. Prepare. He spends $20 at 7-11.
Thursday night. "You scared?"
"Naw. It'll be awright."
I talk to him in the waiting room on Friday. He is still calm. Or at least he sounds calm on the phone.
The surgery is supposed to be at 7. He is supposed to be done by ten. Home by noon.
The coach texts and tells me he has dropped Son off. He will call when the surgery is over.
12:00 passes. 12:30. 1:00. 1:30.
I cannot stand it anymore. I call the coach. He tells me that the surgery did not start until after ten. I imagine my baby sitting in a waiting room by himself for three hours. I am sure he did not take a book.
He is waiting for my son to come out of surgery.
Two hours later, I get a call. My son is home. He is groggy but ok. The coach has picked up his prescriptions. His roommate, 18, talks to me. Reads the directions off the pill bottles.
"I'll take care of him," he assures me. And again, I so want to be there.
Saturday, my son, who never misses a practice, never complains after a game, never stays home sick, tells me his knee hurts. A lot.
I have never heard him say anything hurts. Even when he dislocated his thumb. Or ruptured his eardrum. Never. And I know it hurts. A lot.
And I so want to be there. To take care of him. To remind him to do the knee machine. To give him pills at the right time. To make ice bags. To feed him.
And now we are ten days out. The boys lived, for a week, I think, on pizza, Seven-Eleven nachos and Chinese delivery. But he is a little better. Or at least he tells me he is. And I so want to be there.
He will start physical therapy soon. Insurance only pays for part of it. I will need to find another $400 a month. I wonder what else I can cut out of our budget.
And he has missed a week of school. And he was never a strong student. I wonder what his grades will look like. Whether he will be able to go back next semester.
Whether he will want to go back.
What he will do if he doesn't.
What he will do if he can't play football again.
And I so want to be there.