Monday, July 7, 2008

son in hospital

My son is in the hospital following a gun accident. One of his friends carelessly handled a gun in his presence and the gun went off. One bullet did extensive damage to his right hand, then traveled through his right thigh. He had surgery to repair the hand last night, which (for now) has saved the two fingers that were affected, though one will never bend again. Today he was moved to ICU because the blend of narcotics was causing his breathing to be sporadic. He is now hooked up to a machine that monitors his breaths and emotes a loud BEEP if he doesn't breathe, which startles him into breathing. They are working on the drug combination to try to get it right.

Having not slept for 72 hours, I came home for a nap. Since the plan is to move him back to the regular ward after they get the drug combination figured out, we thought I better take advantage of the close supervision he is getting in ICU and get a few hours of sleep. I am headed back to the hospital now.

I'm so angry about this accident. The young man who shot him and another friend were competing to see who could disassemble and assemble guns the fastest. The first rule of gun safety is to remove the clip and check the chamber for a bullet. He did not do the latter. My son was standing nearby and is now paying the price for his friend's carelessness. The irony is that my son doesn't even like guns and thinks the friends are overly obsessed with their guns. But Sam is an equal opportunity friend and has friends from many different backgrounds. They have a wide variety of interests.

There is nothing quite as horrible for parents than to see their child in excrutiating pain and not be able to do a thing about it. That is how things felt very early this morning when he began to feel pain after the conclusion of the surgery. It was quite terrible.

This morning when Sam's breathing was still not under control (before he was moved to ICU), I was sitting with my hand on his chest. When he didn't take a breath, I tapped him on the chest with my fingers to startle him into breathing. He looked at me and said, "Mom, if I die, please cremate me and put my ashes in the ocean." I agreed to do that, but added, "But you are NOT going to die, because I won't LET you die. I am right here and I am not going anywhere until they get you to a safe place." The fact that he was contemplating his own death at the age of 21 told me that he was frightened beyond what he was showing. And that made me weep.

I will have more details later.

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