Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Emergency Room #11…

Sometime around 4pm Monday…today or actually now it was yesterday…my brother Bill vaulted from the back seat of the van he was riding in and jumped from that same moving vehicle out onto the road.

The car was traveling between 20 and 25 miles per hour in traffic.

Bill hit the pavement hard on his right side head first.

The van stopped…the police were called followed by an ambulance…then Bill was taken to the hospital.

My phone rang and life stood still.

I was on the way home from going to the market and I don’t remember how I got home…don’t remember calling my friend Jeff or what I said. But I knew that I couldn't drive out there...just couldn't do it. I remember that Jeff and his partner came over so quickly that they must have dropped everything and just walked out the door.

And I remember being so grateful to have friends who live close and can understand freaked the hell out and about to lose control Shark-Fu.

We left for the hospital, which was way out in the county and I live in the city so…yeah, it was the longest drive of my life.

I don’t remember walking into the hospital…don’t remember going back to the room…and Lawd only knows what I said to the staff.

But for as long as I live I will remember looking into Emergency Room #11 and seeing Bill.


Totally fucked up, but alive.

He was asking for pizza and a soda pop.


Bill is autistic, so he wasn’t going to explain why he jumped out of a moving car…but he was firm that he wanted some pizza and a damned soda pop.


The nurses and doctors at DePaul Hospital were amazing. They explained everything to Bill before doing anything…they immediately acknowledged my role as a guardian (C-Money, bless her, is out of town on bitness) and they adjusted when we asked that someone be allowed to accompany Bill when he went for his CAT scans.

And somehow Bill managed to jump out of a moving van and hit his head and not fracture his scull…no broken bones…no internal injuries.

His face is fucked up, he has evidence of where flesh met road all over his body, and his lip is a full on Raging Bull…but that’s it.

We left the hospital after several hours with a prescription for the pain and for an ointment.

I left that hospital with my beloved brother.

And we took his ass for a burger, some fries and a damned cone of soft serve.

And now I sitting here trying to put into words what the last few hours were like and how hard it was to tuck him into bed and leave until tomorrow.

I’m frustrated because I lack the skill to express what it feels like to not be able to ask him what the hell he was thinking…ask him why he jumped out of a fucking moving vehicle...or make him promise to never, ever do it again.

And I am so terrified that he will do it again and that we won’t be lucky the next time…that our inability to find the key that will allow us to fully communicate with him may come at a cost to high to even consider yet so close to the surface that it makes me want to weep at the thought of it even as I deny it and deny it and oh God, oh God…oh my God.

Please, have mercy.

But there's nothing to do but work the new problem.

So, tomorrow I’ll wake up and begin the process of trying to address Bill’s new “behavior”…and the glorious non-joy of trying to find funding for the additional staff they need at Bill’s center, the training that staff requires, the programs that will enhance his life, the job coach that would make it possible for him to work and the adjustments that will most likely need to be made to that fucking van so that Bill isn’t isolated and home bound in the name of his personal safety for the rest of his van jumping life.

But first I’ll give thanks for friends who drop everything and come over to drive a freaking out bitch to the hospital then drive back to tend to her dawgs.

I love y'all.

I’ll give thanks to the fantabulous folks who work at the Emergency Room at DePaul Hospital.

You were and are amazing.

And I’ll give thanks that I left Emergency Room #11 tonight with my brother Bill.

My mind is blown and this blessing has been gratefully received...


Kismet Nuñez said...


My prayers and good thoughts go out to your family. I am very glad he was safe.

lilalia said...

Blessings, prayers, deep reflection, compassion, and sympathy. All going you way and to Bill. It is also a blessing to have those friends that just jump into a car and take you to where you have to go. You are both blessed and deserving of much admiration.

woodsba said...

I am so glad that Bill is okay. Different circumstance but same fear in driving to the hospital after Jack was injured.

Know that you and Bill are in my thoughts and prayers.

berdawn said...

It's good to know that your brother is "safe" and that you are recuperating from the universe throwing this blessing at you. Talk about it being hard to tell the good from the bad some days!

words of cheer: SF is hoping to rename their sewage plant after George Bush!

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness.

I'm so happy he's all right.

I don't know what to say except all my good thoughts and wishes for dealing with this and hoping it doesn't happen again.

Anonymous said...

Nothing more stressful than getting those calls. Thank god for friends who understand. And for brother's who are amazingly resilient (and here's hoping you can make him understand.)

Hang in there.

Unknown said...

If the van or car transporting your brother doesn't have "child locks" on the doors they need to be installed. They make it impossible for doors to be opened without the drivers master lock being used.

Anonymous said...

OMG. That is so awful for both of you.

BTW, I had a head injury many years ago--be alert for possible sequelae:
increased sleeping, fatigue, and sudden anger are common follow-up problems to a closed head injury.

I'm so glad he's (relatively) ok.

Shark-Fu said...

Thanks to you all.

The van does have child locks...and Bill knows that so we think that's why he jumped to the front passenger seat then jumped out.

Anyone who knows anything about a front door passenger lock system please let this bitch know!

Anonymous said...

(big big big big big big big hug)

Let me mull aloud on the door lock issue. I assume it's a newer van with electronic door locks? ANY electrical component can have a bypass/killswitch wired in; open the interior door panel, add a bypass that would interrupt the "unlock" command unless a toggle is flipped, then run a wire and put the toggle somewhere where the driver controls it. That's not a perfect solution (in an emergency there would be the same problem as with back-door child locks... getting the damn thing open in a hurry) but it would be simple as a stopgap. Any independent mechanic or car alarm installation place should be able to wire this up in about an hour and a half.

Nick said...

...de-lurking momentarily to send some good vibes your- and Bill's- way...

Jo said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I don't comment very often, but I read all the time, and I'm glad to hear that your brother is, for the most part, safe and okay.

Anonymous said...

Bill was just trying to get his Jason Bourne on!

Unknown said...

Oh my! Thinking of you, Bill and your family. Sorry I am clueless on locking systems.

GayProf said...

I was really sorry to read about this, but glad that your brother is mostly okay. I'll keep a good thought for you both.

Anonymous said...

Nothing like a leap into traffic to put the rest of the world into perspective, I guess.

Silver linings, silver linings.

Thank goodness he wasn't badly hurt. This shit can't be good for your blood pressure.

Unknown said...

I am SO happy he is ok. I am SO happy YOU are ok--before you said he was alive, I almost almost doing the big ugly cry.

Hug everybody close for me. know that I'm thinking of you all.


midwesterntransport said...

i'm so, so glad he's alright.

how scary.

Shark-Fu said...

I knew it was a mistake to let Bill watch that Bourne movie!


FYI - when people jump up and keep running after jumping out of a car in a movie that shit is bullshit...trust.

Mercy one more time.

Anonymous said...

thank the deities for good luck and good friends. my thoughts and sorta pagan prayers are with you both.

jaxx said...

i am so touched by this, especially as i just recently read the post about how you came to accept your brother as he is, over time. he is so lucky to have you. i'm glad he came through OK.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Just adding to the chorus, but whew! This post made my heart jump into my throat. So very glad Bill is okay. I can't imagine how panicked you must have been.

Deep breath and a vodka cran!

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say. Well, I never know what to say when you post about Bill because you say it all.

I'm so glad he's okay and hey! Why burgers and not pizza!? You have some explaining to do, there. I think you owe him and you owe him BIG. As for locks, I think my 2000 Odyssey doesn't allow the front passenger out when it's locked and in a drive gear. I can't say for sure, though. I'm sure my kids would be willing to test it (insert eyeroll here.)

DePaul *is* "way out in the county." Though I am reminded of the tuckpointers we hired who got lost and then called my husband and said: "Sorry, we usually don't do work so far out in the county."

We live in University City thankyouverymuch. Ahem.

E. Bunny said...

Bless your's and Bill's hearts. You guys are in my prayers.

I don't know if this will help, but my daughter tried to jump out of a friend's moving suburban because she saw a one of those big waterbug roaches crawling in the back.

We had to have a talk about crawly things in the car, and I think it worked because she screamed but didn't jump out of the parked park last week when she discovered an ugly little lizard in the back seat(,but I sure as hell did).

Is there something crawly that Bill is afraid of?

Shark-Fu said...

Thanks to all y'all. Thank you so very much!

I don't think Bill is afraid of much or at least not bugs & such.

I'll ask around though!

Anonymous said...

Coming out of lurking to say that I'm so happy that your brother is okay. My older brother is autistic as well and has pulled some rather horrifying stunts in the past. I always worry that one day he won't come out of the other end okay. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you and your brother. I cannot imagine what this must have been like. My heart goes out to both of you.

Unknown said...

Shark Fu...you found the words to describe this situation so well it left me crying, first out of fear and then out of happiness that your beloved brother is alive and breathing. He is a little worse for wear, but it's you that took the brunt of the emotional injuries.

Please God, Please God, Please God, keep him safe, for his sake as well as his sisters. Thank you, amen.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Glad all is well now and most of all that you have such wonderful friends who would drop all and roll to your assistance. What a blessing.

Britt said...

hi i just found your blog. i'm glad your bro is okay. i have worked with autistic adults for 7 years, and while i can't say i know how you feel as his loved one, i know the feeling of wishing for the magic answer to get through to someone who is autistic and how to allow them to get through to you. and i know of the frustrations of staff turn-over and lack of funding.
and for what its worth, i know what its like to drive around a guy who wants nothing more than to jump from a moving vehicle and be the only one stopping a skull from the avement at 45 miles an hour.

hope he heals up quickly and next time they pull over for ice cream instead.

Anonymous said...

Another blogger here who just found your blog.

I'm so glad your brother is okay, so terrifying for all of you.

My 3yo is autistic and we've had to remove the door mechanism from inside her car door because she'd open it and then try to reach out of the car to close the door. Very scary in peak hour traffic.

I'm thankful you and your brother had a happy ending to such a terrifying ordeal.

Anonymous said...

Oh man that's scary and my heart just stopped reading this. I'm so glad he's okay.

emily said...

So glad to hear he's okay--I'm a lurker who loves the blog and your attitude.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god...I'm glad he's okay! Wow.

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