I've been putting off this blog post. I can't really ignore the last week, but I have no idea how to lay this all out. So I'm just going to write and get it over with, and maybe that will ease my uneasiness and allow me to resume blogging about food and babies and happier things.
My dad loves to have fun. He is also a bit of a risk taker / thrill seeker / envelope pusher / entrepreneur / self-starter / lifelong learner. Always up for a new adventure. Early last week, he stopped by to say hi to the kids and I before nap time. We were playing in the front room, and after noticing that I couldn't see his car from our front window, I asked him how he got here. He evaded my question and asked me if I liked his new winter coat. Um, I guess it's ok? (It was sort of blah and my dad's not one to discuss fashion or new clothes with me!) He made me touch it, which was weird (he's really into this coat)... until I felt something hard underneath the material in the elbows and shoulders. And then I knew, even before I saw the taillight of the Harley tucked up close in our driveway doing its best to stay hidden, that my dad had bought a motorcycle.
I think I squeaked out an unconvincing "Oh my gosh!" before I started to cry. And I could not stop. I blamed the pregnancy hormones, and the lack of sleep from the last few nights of being up with the kids. But we all knew that I was just scared of the thought of him being on a bike. (Which is why I was the last in the family to know... 3 weeks after he had purchased it.) A few weeks ago as we were leaving church, there was a man on his back in the middle of the 4 lane highway in front of our church who had been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. Through my tears as my dad explained to me that he'd taken every precaution and had the best protective equipment, I couldn't help but envision him on the side of the road like that man I saw a few weekends ago.
I know, I am a total buzz-kill. :)
5 days later, this past Saturday, my mom and sister and I were spending a few hours together shopping. My mom took a phone call that my dad had been in an accident on his motorcycle and was at the hospital. Mom convinced us to stay and shop, after having been told that his elbow was scraped up. We made her promise to call us with the whole story and update us as soon as she got to dad. Of course it was worse than she had been told on the phone, and after hearing that, my sister and I drove over as well.
I walked into the ER to find my dad in a neck brace, totally shaken up, and the extent of his injuries still unknown. He listed off the areas that hurt or were swelling - I think he named every major body part except his head, neck, back and hip (praise God). The 2 men who were riding with him explained that they were on a country road going about 60mph, and as dad went around a curve his tires caught gravel and he lost control of the bike. He went off the road, was thrown from the motorcycle and tumbled for a while before coming to a stop.
Hours of exams, x-rays and scans showed no broken bones - that evening his elbow wound (road rash and a deep gaping puncture) was stitched up and he was sent home with orders to follow up with an Orthopedic doctor. Although he had to be admitted to the hospital again on Monday night with a growing infection in his elbow, and went into surgery to remove the remaining gravel sooner than was initially scheduled, overall he is so blessed to be alive and not to have suffered any broken bones or internal injuries.
Our family is so thankful that God spared his life and health. It's a reminder that our days are numbered, and our time together won't go on forever. I have accepted that we all have varying degrees of risk that we are willing to take in this life, and that we are all given the opportunity to determine that for ourselves. I love my family and am definitely the kind of person who is tempted to do anything to protect their health and safety. But I have to let some of that go, too - if I leave it unchecked, I start to think that I actually have control over things like our health and safety, when the reality is... God does. Yes, we have the opportunity to lessen the risk of illness and injury by the choices we make. But ultimately? It's a matter of the sovereignty of God. And that is something that is tough for me to learn. Also... holding those that I love with an open hand? Not easy. Lord, teach me to trust you completely.
(My dad is still in the hospital today as they aggressively treat the infection that won't leave his elbow. The doctor had to open up the wound further to get all of the gravel that was packed in under the skin. He chose to leave the wound open instead of stitching it closed, and will pack it daily with fresh antibiotics. The idea is that the wound will drain, the infection will go away, and the area will close itself up from the inside out as it heals. We are praying that this is all it takes to rid his body of the infection. Infection is obviously serious on its own, but for my dad it's complicated by the fact that he had hip replacement surgery about 2 years ago, and infection anywhere could trigger his body to begin to reject his artificial hip. Thank you for praying with us - to say we appreciate it and have been encouraged by your prayers would be an understatement.)
Psalm 139: 16
"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."