I can only start this post with three words:
Dale is home.
On Friday I was in despair, full of self pity and missing our Friday night routine. I think it felt even worse because it was a beautiful evening, the Friday night we’d been waiting for since the stay at home advisory began in March.
In the midst of this, Dale’s sister Lisa called me to check in. She’s a nurse and as I explained to her that the hospital didn’t seem to be making maneuvers to get Dale able to come home she said, give me the number of the phone in his room, I want to talk to him. I had a phone call from her a little bit later and then one from Dale a little after that. And he was fired up and sounded, for the first time, like he was really ready to come home.
On Saturday morning I called Dale’s nurse and said, he wants to come home, what needs to happen for him to be able to do that? She said she would push for physical therapy to work with him and see what she could do. Dale and I exchanged a few phone calls back and forth and things started moving rapidly. At 4pm I got a text from Dale and it was a video. I guess you’d call it a selfie video and it showed him first giving me a thumb’s up and then he crooked his finger at me and said, come get me. Perhaps the best 3 words he’s ever said to me other than I love you.
With some help from others, I was able to pick him up and he was home by 7pm. His hair was a mess, he hadn’t shaved, and he smelled like a hospital, but I didn’t care because he was home.
Yesterday was a new day for us, a day where we learned how to maneuver him through the house, a day where I learned to wash his hair and help him in and out of clothing, a day where we tried lots of different pillows and props to keep him comfortable, and a day that ended in the most fabulous and epic car parade ever.
It was Hannah’s idea to set up this pandemic style car parade and it all fell together remarkably easily and quickly. Somewhere around 100 cars, along with a fire truck, several police cruisers, a few motorcycles, and a school bus filled the parking lot at the school near our home at 5pm. The kids helped and I pushed Dale in his wheelchair out to our corner, the corner where 6 days earlier he had been struck by a car. And as the vehicles started streaming out of the parking lot, as families and friends and coworkers drove by beeping and shouting, waving signs and cheering, playing music from Dale’s band, and dropping gifts, I felt a different kind of healing begin. A healing that had little to do with physical pain and everything to do with overcoming mental trauma. I was flooded with emotions and the horror that had hung over that corner for the past week was replaced with joy.
Thank you all for your comments and emails, your love and prayers, your concern and well wishes. We are buoyed up by all of it and, while we know there’s a lot to come, we also know it’s going to be okay because we are handling it together and we have all of you to help us.