It has pretty much been snowing since Thursday. Like we were a toy snowglobe being shook up by some giant child.
Andrew had been looking forward to snowmobiling with his grandfather for years. Literally, years. Last year there was no snow. The year before, we didn’t think he was ready. He did his safety certification course, got a new helmet and some gear and his grandfather gave him his old sled. This was the year. This was the weekend.
Nina and I had gone to figure skating and hit the grocery store for the next snowstorm headed our way. When we got home and finally had our things put away, I distinctly remember a feeling of calm and I said to myself “There is something about being hunkered up at home on a snow day that makes me happy”.
Then the phone rang.
“He’s okay” my husband said and I took a breath and felt my stomach sink to my toes and a wave of panic go through my body like bolt of lightning. We didn’t know the extent of his injuries and until I could see him with my own eyes, that nausea would not go away.
Andrew had gotten into a snowmobile accident. His visor had iced up and snowdust from his grandfather’s sled ahead of him had caused him to lose visual of the trail. And trees don’t move. He hit the tree head on.
When my father in law saw he was no longer following behind, he turned around. He said he thought he saw Andrew walking in the woods and thought for some odd reason he was playing a trick on him. Then he saw him lying on the ground behind the sled and he ran to him. A man was there with him covering Andrew with a large, warm, wool blanket. He had somehow heard the crash and rushed to help.
A few minutes later three other riders pulled up. When they took off their helmets they realized they knew my father in law from a local Harley-Davidson group. They were a police officer, an EMT and a nurse.
It took paramedics a little over half an hour to reach him and then get him out of the woods safely.
The hospital they took him to was about an hour from me and it was snowy and icy. I couldn’t drive any faster than 40 m.p.h. It was one of the longest rides I’ve ever taken in my life.
Dan was there when I arrived and Andrew was lying in a bed, eyes closed, writhing around in obvious discomfort.
“How’s his head?” I asked.
“Well, he’s no dumber than he was this morning.” Dan, always the smart-ass.
Andrew opened his eyes and said “Hi Mom”. It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard come from his mouth.
He actually looked ok. The bridge of his nose was swollen and his mouth had a bit of dried blood in the corner. The physician thought he had possibly fractured his shoulder, knee, maybe broken ribs and a concussion. When he started complaining his stomach hurt, he was given an IV and taken in for a CT scan to ensure no internal injuries, like a ruptured spleen.
Once he was behind closed doors getting scans and x-rays, I allowed myself a slight meltdown and moment to thank God for keeping him safe from serious injury. Then I wiped my eyes and put on my brave Mom face so he couldn’t see how scared I was when he came out.
The doctor came in about twenty minutes later and said “I don’t know how, but he has no broken bones, no internal injuries, and I can’t even say for sure he has a concussion. I can tell you that his helmet saved his life. That is one lucky kid”.