My son has a steel pin through his knee that is hooked on to a rope that loops over a high metal rod and is anchored by twenty-five pounds of steel weights. His bare leg and foot rest on a small stack of pillows and I wonder how he is not screaming in frustration. He can’t move. He can’t go anywhere, he can’t go to work or play ball. The next time he is upright, he will be in crutches, a walker. My unruly son, with his wild hair and wilder beard, will be walking in a walker, up and down a hall somewhere for days or weeks.
Tonight he eats chocolate pudding brought to him by his girlfriend, the person who knows him better than his mother, she knows he wants a thick layer of whipped cream. I would have left it off, never thought of it. Pudding by itself seems indulgence enough. But she knows this thing and many others about him and it is her eyes he seeks when the pain soars. Unless she’s not there and then it’s mine.
I am so grateful for this. That my son has this person who knows about the whipped cream, who can talk to him in close, perfect whispers. She smooths his rough beard with her hands and I cross my hands over my chest and I’m grateful and relieved. He belongs to someone else.
He is having surgery to repair his shattered pelvis tomorrow. When the doctors told him he would be receiving a blood transfusion during surgery, I wondered about his blood type. Was he A+ like me? If he is I thought, I could donate my own blood and then we would have some biology in common. I could do that, have my blood in my adopted son. It seemed silly and sophomoric like when my best friend in 4th grade and I became blood sisters by pricking our fingers and mixing our blood. So I put the idea away. We aren’t going to be any more related than we are already. We’re done with forging a bond. This is what we have.
I am so grateful for this and for him surviving a terrible car crash and for the five homeless men who pulled him out of a burning car and for the doctors and nurses who cut off his jeans and his underwear to tend to his wounds and who gave him medicine to stop his incredible pain and, hopefully, have figured out how to make him right again.