Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It Only Takes Two Seconds, And Your Future Is Changed Forever

“Do you remember that guy with the bottle up his behind?” one of the doctors said, to a chorus of laughter. “And the best part is always the explanation. They were cleaning, naked, and happened to back into something, or in the sauna and just happened to sit down on the bottle and it just slid right it.”

At this point we were all laughing, doctors and nurses talking all at once, sharing their stories about embarrassing patient visits.

“Once while I was still studying to be a doctor, I was working as a gynecologist and one woman came in with a perch up her vagina.”

“Maybe the fish tail felt just right against her lady parts.”

More laughter.

“Okay, enough with the vagina talk, lets start the meeting.”

It was a good meeting; the entire department was in a good mood. And then I saw my mother through the glass door, standing outside. She was waving to me, motioning for me to come.

My curiosity peaked, I left my mug of hot chocolate on the table and left the room.

“Your brother’s had an accident. Apparently his moped was hit by a car.”

It’s the kind of thing you sometimes worry about happening, but mostly you just quickly put it out of your mind, maybe knock on wood, or your own head if you happen to be out of wood. It’s the kind of moment when you forget everything else, and your only priority becomes making sure your little brother is okay.

The call mom received was by Anton’s friend. The only thing she said was that Anton was lying in the street, not moving and that the medical helicopter had arrived on scene. We jumped into my car and I drove to the scene of the accident. As we came closer we saw the lights. Brilliant blue lights, flashing in the distance. The lights that are supposed to tell you that you’re safe, help is here. But I just saw the flashing lights, chilling proof of the very thing I had hoped would never happen. First we saw the fire truck. Then the police car. Then the ambulance and the helicopter. And when we saw the people standing in clusters, whispering, we knew it was bad.

Anton was rushed to the emergency room, but mom and I had to drive there in my car. I still have no idea how I kept the car on the road, but we made it there not long after Anton had arrived.

A thorough examination revealed that the only thing badly hurt was his leg. It seemed almost impossible that he had been that lucky. And then the surgeries started. The first one happened that same night. His leg was crushed, and they didn’t know if they would be able to save it.

Fortunately, they were.

Several surgeries, several days in the intensive care and a couple of weeks in the surgical ward later, Anton is finally home again and the entire family can breathe again. His leg will never be what it was, and he has a long road to recovery ahead of him.

But he’s alive.

And today I value that fact a lot more than I did just a few weeks ago. You never know when will be the last time you tell someone goodbye.

Never leave a conversation angry.

Never leave without saying goodbye.

Never take someone for granted.

They’re all clich├ęs, said too many times to really stay in your mind. But when the flashing blue lights appear in the distance, you realize how important they are.