“This is an emergency,” she said. “You have to come right now.”
I ran to my car and backed down the driveway but I live on a busy street and the traffic was relentless.
Panic rose in my chest and I screamed at my car windows.
When I finally reached the school, The Mayor was sitting in his teachers lap sobbing.
“He was running on the playground,” she told me. “He fell and his friend fell on top of him. His arm is hurt, but I can’t see it through his shirt and he won’t let anyone touch it.”
My panic, visibly increasing, led another teacher to take me by the arm and, in her most serious and stern voice, say,
“You need to stay calm.”
I took a deep breath and righted myself.
The teachers helped me get The Mayor into the car and I headed for the emergency room.
Every time the car went over a bump or I slowed down for a traffic light he wailed in agony.
“Please, Mama! Please make it stop hurting!”
I had to self-park in the ER parking deck (WTF?!!) and carry him to the elevator. He sobbed and sobbed.
Every movement I made hurt him.
Why hadn’t I asked the school to call an ambulance?
When I reached the check in desk with my arms full the attendant said,
“Sign in, please.”
“Wait here please.”
Finally, FINALLY, they took him to triage and gave him some mild pain medication and eventually morphine.
The x-rays almost made me throw up.
The bone in his upper arm was snapped clean apart just above his elbow.
“He’ll need surgery,” they said.
Hours later, The Mayor was pieced back together with two steel pins and a cast from his shoulder to his swollen fingertips.
Once we had The Mayor home and settled K and I held each other in a state of profound humility and gratefulness. Together, we silently acknowledged the perspective that spending any time at a children’s hospital will provide.
As awful as it was to see The Mayor in such pain and to feel so helpless, he will heal.
In response, an astounding number of people shared very personal stories with me. Some left their stories in the post's comments, but far more sent me a private e-mail.
I feel like I have a responsibility to acknowledge and appreciate the leap of faith that so many of you took in sharing your experiences with me.
I promise to hold your words in trust.