(Let me open with my son is fine. I don’t want anyone to go through the freak-out that I did…)
My 16 year old son approached us early in the week, wanting to go up to Payson, Arizona for a camping trip with two of his friends, and the parents of one of his buddies.
Francy was opposed, worried about him driving on twisty mountain roads, something he had never experienced in his 10 whole months of driving experience.
I on the other had, caved to his incessant whining. He’s 16, going on 34, and of course knows more now than his old man has ever known. He is, in his mind, an invincible teenager, and one whose driving skills rival those of Dale Earnhardt (rest his soul).
So I convinced Francy to acquiesce, and young James — after getting both the mother and father versions of “The Lecture” — headed off to Payson. He’s a responsible kid, and a good driver. Of course I worry every time he heads out on his own, but I’m trying to realize that at some point you have to let them grow up, and you have to let them go…
He sent us a text message from Payson that all was well, and they were headed up into the woods to the camping area, at which point he would be out of cell phone range.
A couple of hours later, the phone rings. Caller ID was an area code I didn’t recognize. So I answer, and am treated to this conversation:
“Is this James Thompson’s father?”
“Yes, why, what’s wrong?”
“This is the Payson Regional Medical Center Emergency Room. I’m calling to get permission to treat your son.”
I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. About all I could stammer out was, “Treat him for what?”
“He’s been involved in a motor vehicle accident.”
OK, so now it feels like the truck that just hit me threw it in reverse and backed over me. The adrenaline rush I experienced about made my heart and head explode.
I think all I got out was, “What?!??!”
And this dips**t at the Emergency Room just repeats himself, “Your son has been in an accident. His car is totaled, and I need your permission to treat him.”
I don’t have the vocabulary to express what was going through my head. I had instant flashbacks of James from birth through yesterday, and I envisioned him lying in some ER, hooked up to God knows what, paralyzed, in a coma, and about any other medical disaster that ripped through my spinning head. I wanted to throw up. All I knew was he was alive, or this guy wouldn’t be asking for permission to treat him.
I finally managed to squeak out, “Do whatever you have to do. Is he OK?”
“Oh yeah, he’s fine. Just a little banged up.”
OK, the heart rate decelerates just a bit. This is good, as I was a bit concerned I might need to visit the Emergency Room myself.
Why the hell they couldn’t have started the conversation with “He’s fine” is beyond me.
After hearing that James had cuts, scrapes and bruises and was complaining of knee pain, my heart rate and blood pressure began approaching normal. The roller coaster ride took another dive when they mentioned cuts on his head, but this time they quickly followed up with “there are no other signs of head trauma”.
Thanks to various and sundry laws, I could get no information about either of James’ passengers. That had to wait until I could finally talk to James about an hour later. They are both also banged up but OK.
We haven’t seen the car yet, but it does not sound good. James hit some mud, spun off the road at about 30MPH (likely over-corrected) and hit an apparently very sturdy and large pine tree. Fortunately all the kids were wearing seat belts. We suspect the car is a complete loss, but the important thing is everyone is OK. If you’re ever involved in a truck accident, this article from lawsremedies.com explains the important steps you need to take after being involved in a truck accident.
It could have been much worse. A few more miles per hour, a foot here or there and who knows what the results could have been. And I’m pretty sure this is just one of the reasons to call a car accident lawyer.
This parenting thing is rough. You’d think after almost 17 years it would get easier.
I think it gets harder.