Saturday, May 7th, 1:45 p.m... I got the worst phone call I could ever get.
It was my husband's aunt, asking if I was at home. Sensing that something is wrong, my first thought was; she's calling me about Mama A, Harley's mom. Crying through her words she said, "It's Harley... he's been in a bad wreck." WHOOSH!! In an instant, I felt the blood drain from my face and my legs turned to water. It was Mother's Day weekend and I already knew he had planned to ride his Glide up to Sylacauga that afternoon to take his mama out for lunch.
All I could say was "OMG... OMG!" Fear washed over me, and I felt panic set in. I questioned her almost angrily about his condition, but she had no information yet, other than the fact that he was being transported by ambulance to the trauma hospital in Montgomery. As I tried to sort out the compiling thoughts bouncing around in my head, I had to swallow hard to fight the sudden nausea that rolled in my churning stomach. I begged her find out the extent of his injuries and call me back. I told her, "I'm on my way home... right now!" I forced my panic to take a back seat while my mind raced, trying to figure out what to do next. You see, I was about to hostess the annual Kentucky Derby Party that was going to start in about 15 minutes... in Panama City, FL.
Talk about switching gears! I went from the excited anticipation of a festive afternoon with some awesome ladies to, the extreme fear that my life has just changed, and not for the better. My friends sprouted into action as they assured me they will handle the afternoon's activities for me. They also made sure I was calm enough to embark on my three and a half hour drive home to Montgomery. I knew I would be fine. I was on a mission... and that mission was to get home to Harley.
When something like this happens, it's a total interruption of life's momentum. Your world stops, disorients you, and throws you into a living nightmare. Questions without answers flood your brain, and leaves you feeling helpless and lost. About twenty five minutes had passed from the time Auntie M called me, before I got a phone call from an ER nurse at the hospital. I'll have to say, that 25 minute span of time was probably the worst 25 minutes I've experienced yet, in my entire life!
In spite of being in extreme pain, Harley had his senses about him enough to tell the nurse my cell phone number and asked her to call me. It wasn't until that moment that I learned he was stable and was going to live. I had to force back my tears of relief so I could take in what else she was saying. She explained, "So far we know he has four broke ribs, a bruised lung, and some road rash on his left shoulder and elbow." I was able to breath a little easier, but nervousness set in again when she said they were taking more x-rays and doing a CT scan so they could find out the extent of any internal injuries. The damage to his helmet led them to believe he may have suffered some head trauma. Those words alone made my nausea return... it felt like someone just punched me right in the stomach.
Hanging up my cell, there was no holding back my tears now. How bad could it be? He knew enough to ask her to call me... right? I needed to focus on driving... I still had a long way to go.
Running up that old familiar highway (Hwy. 231 north), a route we've done so many times we could practically ride it with our eyes closed, was agonizingly long that afternoon. Trying to go as fast as I could without getting a ticket was quite the challenge and when I needed to stop in Dothan for gas, well... I just wanted to hurry up and get back on the road. Unfortunately, the lack of concentration on my part resulted in my locking my keys in the truck when I went inside to use the facilities. What next?!?!
You can imagine my dismay when I came back out and realized what I had just done! This was NOT the time to be waiting on a locksmith to come open up my truck for my dumbass mistake! Feeling the panic rise up in my stomach again, I looked around as if an answer to my problem was going to come to me out of thin air. By the grace of God, it did! A gentlemen with his family was pumping gas at the unit right behind mine when he noticed I was distressed and asked if he could help me. I must have looked a bit wild eyed as I explained my dilemma, because he told me to calm down, that he may be able to help.
He went to his trunk and returned with a long vinyl wrapped pouch of tools. As he unwrapped this mysterious bundle, I noticed the words printed on the pouch... "Locksmith: Automotive Lockout Kit." It was filled with an assortment of flat bladed tools that I recognized as the right kind of tools to get into almost any vehicle. I cried with relief right then, as I just knew this was going to be the man who would me get back on the road again.
As he worked his magic, he told me he heard me praying while I was pumping gas so he figured I was in some sort of trouble. In my desperation, I hadn't realized I was speaking so loud, but I explained that I was trying to get home to my husband who's just had a motorcycle accident. He told me to keep the faith, that God was listening, and then he revealed to me that he was a deacon in his church. I hugged his neck and offered to pay him something, but he just made me promise to stay safe while I continued my journey to Montgomery. I was back on the road again within five minutes. Yes... God was listening.
Approximately 4 hours after receiving my jarring phone call, I walked into the ER of the hospital. Seeing my sweetheart of 31 plus years laying on a gurney with IV's in his arms and tubes up his nose delivered a mixture of emotions. I was glad he was alive, but my eyes kept darting over him trying to access the damage. His forehead was purple where his helmet dug in and left with him with a bad bruise and a big ol' goose egg, the backs of his hands were gouged and bloody and still covered in road grit, his elbow looked like the ashphalt took off several layers of skin, and he was moaning in pain. He opened his eyes when he heard my voice and said... "hey woman, I had a wreck."
Seven weeks ago... our path in life took a serious detour. I'm thankful that Harley's CT scan's came back normal, but he suffered a concussion, which delivered him a round of daily headaches and dizzy spells. In time, these should go away.
The good thing about time, is that it heals many wounds. A lot has healed since then... and a lot has not. Harley still can't remember the accident and the doctors tell him, he probably won't. According to the accident report, they are basically saying no fault on either party, but if you ask my opinion... Harley got the raw end of the deal.
I'm convinced that wearing a helmet saved my husband's life that day. Ribs can heal, bruises fade, and skin grows back. Your melon, on the other hand, once it goes "POP"... it's popped!
Having an accident might wreck your day... but it doesn't have to wreck your life.
Please... wear safe DOT approved helmets when riding. Someone in your life will be thankful.