The Phone Call

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

My husband is okay but on September 17th, I received a phone call no one ever wants to get.

September 17th was a Tuesday. The two older kids were in school. The baby was in a Mom’s Day Out program that morning. I went to the doctor to have some annual bloodwork down. It was a typical day for the Silver family.

My husband usually comes home from work sometime between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. But there are occasions where he has to work late and sometimes he’s already an hour late coming home before he calls me to tell me he’s going to be late. So when the bus showed up at 4:15, dropping the kids off, I didn’t think anything of his absence. I fixed everyone dinner and then it was time for homework. I got so caught up in the afternoon/evening routine that I didn’t realize how late it was until the phone rang just after 6 pm.

“Mrs. Silver, I’m calling from the emergency room at Doctor’s Hospital. Has any contacted you regarding your husband?”

The kids were yelling at each other in the background and it was hard to hear him at first. I shut myself inside of the bedroom.

“There was a car accident earlier today. We don’t know much except that your husband was involved in a collision with another vehicle that was either a dump truck or a garbage truck.”

My heart stopped. I grabbed my chest. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t breath. 

“First, let me reassure you that your husband is okay. But he sustained a ruptured spleen and we had to perform a laparoscopic surgery to stop it from bleeding.”

My husband is okay but he had to have surgery? Surgery doesn’t imply that he’s okay. Surgery implies he was hurt. BAD!

“He also has a broken nose.”

The doctor continued speaking. It occured to me that maybe I should be writing this down. I mean, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do when someone calls with news like this?  I grabbed a notebook and a yellow highlighter – because that’s all I could find to write with.

“He’s going to be in the ICU for three for four days and will probably be in the hospital for a week. You should probably come to see him but please don’t rush. Take your time getting here. He’s in very good hands.”

The phone call ended. The kids were still trying to kill each other. I looked down at the notebook. By the end of the phone call I had written down my husband’s name which I obviously knew and the hospital he was at which was the same hospital that I gave birth to my five-year-old at. So basically, I wrote down the things I was never going to forget and didn’t write down anything regarding his injuries, the procedures they performed or where he would be at the hospital when I arrived.

I made two phone calls after I got off the phone with the hospital. I don’t remember the order. One phone call was to my best friend, asking her to come over and stay with the kids so I could go to the hospital. The next phone call was to one of my husband’s coworkers. My husband is in the Navy. And his command has everyone carry a small phone card in their wallet with all of the important command phone numbers. Over the course of our first year back in Georgia, we both knew that I needed to know these numbers as well, but we both kept forgetting to make sure I had this card. This past summer, my baby girl broke a bone in her foot and I needed to reach my husband at work. I didn’t have his number and the only person I knew who might have had the number never returned my phone call. After that incident, I went into my husband’s wallet, pulled out the card with the numbers and photographed it with my cell phone.

After I called my best friend, I pulled up the picture with this card and scanned it, looking for a familiar name because honestly, I had no idea who to call. 

Earlier this summer, we hosted a barbecue at our home and my husband invited a few of his coworkers. One of the coworkers who showed up had his name and cell phone number listed on this card. I called him. An hour later, he and his chief met me at the hospital emergency room.

I approached the desk and gave the woman sitting at it my husband’s name.

“He’s been discharged,” she said.

 

 

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Part 2 continues here.

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