“I’m sorry to say that we need to transfer your son to a hospital with a trauma center as soon as possible. The MRI has revealed two skull fractures, with bleeding. He needs to be where a neurosurgeon is close by.” I was stunned. He seemed fine just an hour or so ago. He was walking and talking. Everyone thought he was okay. He wasn’t. After a harrowing drive to the local ER, he now lay on a gurney, barely responsive and suffering.
After he was transferred to UC Davis, I sat next to him in their trauma ER—numb. I had no cell service, no way to let people know what was going on. I was alone. Sometimes at my most vulnerable moments, my past indoctrination will kick in and old tapes will begin to play in my head. “I should pray’” I thought. I was desperate and I considered reaching out to the God I no longer believed in. Should I pray now and ask God to help us? I stopped, walked over and stroked my son’s arm—so strong, so tall, so good looking, so funny and full of life just hours ago. Fear gave way to anger and I prayed: “Really god? Really? Is this how you work? Nicely done!” My head cleared–the spell broken–there is no god.” My rational mind reminded me of a simple fact: Noah had an unfortunate accident; there was no god looking down on us, deciding that a tragedy would be the best way to bring us back to him. Suddenly I felt relieved. Things happen, some good things, some bad; this was not some sort of test or punishment. It was the luck of the draw and now Noah needed the best medical care available. He needed his mom to be strong for him. That’s when they walked into the room, like super heros to save the day– Noah’s trauma team.
I quickly came to the conclusion that these were the people I needed to put my faith in—a group of young, smart and hard working women and men who had sacrificed time and energy to finish medical school and dedicate their lives to helping someone like Noah. As they began to examine him, they were encouraged by what they saw. They explained the extent of his injuries and what to expect in the next few days. They were optimistic. I felt myself relax. There would be no miracle, no answered prayer that night, only talented doctors, medical staff and a very strong and healthy 15-year-old boy who would do the work. Without another prayer uttered, the bleeding stopped and surgery was avoided. Over the next few weeks, the love, support and positive energy of good friends and family would aid in Noah’s recovery and my physical and mental health as well.
While at the hospital, I posted what was going on, on my facebook wall. It was really my only way of communicating to the outside world, because I did not want leave ICU. My first communication said something like, “Noah is in ICU at UC Davis with a brain injury, we would appreciated your positive thoughts and prayers.” Yes, I said “prayers.” I had actually hesitated before using that word, but to me prayer means putting love and positive thoughts into the universe and I wanted as much of that as possible. I assumed that even my Christian friends, knowing what I believed and didn’t believe, would respect that. I should have known better. Some Christians saw it as a glimmer of hope that I was turning back to God and Jesus and because of some of their responses, I couldn’t take it anymore and I was forced to address the concept of prayer, most specifically Christian prayer and what I thought of it, and….well…. let’s just say things got ugly. Christians don’t want you to stand up for your beliefs unless they are in agreement with theirs, otherwise you are mean, hurtful and hateful. For now, I am just so grateful that Noah is very much on the mend and we got through our ordeal without a prayer chain, a pastor visit, or a mythical god doling out miracles when it suits his fancy. We got through it with the love, support and positivity of loved ones who came along side us in very tangible ways. I have more to say about that, but I will have to save it for my next blog post which I have tentatively entitled, “Jesus! Stop with the Prayers Already!