“I appreciate your sense of humour” – that is what my Dad replied to me dryly when I wished him a happy Father’s Day last month.
Normally, he would have stoop up, said ‘thank you’ and kissed me on the head, but he couldn’t even lift his head. He would have opened the envelope and admired 1920’s inspired card I bought for him to then put it away safely in his bedside drawer, but he could only move one arm. He would have looked at the fancy dark chocolate bar I got him as a treat and perhaps tried it straight away. But his neck was trapped in a tight cervical collar, one of his eyes swollen shut; the other one staring motionlessly at the greyish white paint of the hospital ceiling.
My Dad has been a mountain biker and a cyclist for so many years now, having roamed thousands of miles of Austrian and Czech roads on two wheels safely, I have crossed out the word ‘accident’ out of my dictionary a long time ago. Turns out, the risk never quite goes away, no matter how experienced you may be…
When a weary older man, most likely driving back from work on a blazing afternoon, is (apparently) blinded by the sun and doesn’t see the cyclist in front of him. When he takes a swerve and hits the bike and the man riding it directly. When the man is your father, who has been protecting you all your life but now lies in front of you, more vulnerable than you have ever been.
Nothing prepares you for it.
For so much blood and pain, so many stitches and bandages, constantly beeping machines, IV’s and the nauseating smell of hospital sanitisers. It’s not Dr. House anymore, it’s real life.
Hopefully, I myself will never be in a situation where someone else’s rushed, reckless decision makes the death brush my skin by seconds. I don’t know how it feels, but I can see. And God, it’s true what they say. It makes you appreciate every second so much more.
Every breath, as he struggles so much to take one with five broken ribs, a shattered sternum and a punctured lung. Every step, as he most likely won’t be able to make even one for months.It makes you appreciate friends and family too, as you finally truly see how much they care.
How many times a day they call to check on you, and how many walls they will tear down, how many strings they will pull, just to get you a better surgeon, a quicker rehabilitation and less unnecessary suffering, which you’ve had so much of already.
I wish I had a Time Turner, so I could make him stay at home and drink wine with me that evening instead of going for a leisurely ride. I wish I had Skele-Gro, so his bones would heel quicker. I wish I had a Dementor for the man, who did this and doesn’t care about my Dad enough to find out if he is okay.
But I am just a pathetic Muggle, and life goes on as it is. Love, laughter, silly gifts are the only magical items I can give.
I am too paralised with sadness, anger and fear to move yet, sometimes even to breathe – but he told me to use the youth and the health I have got. So I shall.
Get well Dad.