Word Count: 488
By Peg Scarano
It was Friday night of Memorial Day Weekend – no work and a sunny forecast for three days. The older girls had plans for the evening and Emily had gone to a friend’s birthday party. The phone call came around 8 p.m. “There has been an accident. Meet us at the ER!”
Rock and I were there in a matter of minutes. I had worked at the hospital my entire career and was confident whatever was wrong would be properly fixed and we would be headed home shortly. We were not allowed in her room right away. The dad of the birthday boy just said she was hit with a golf ball and kept offering apologies over and over. I was still confident Emily would be just fine.
We were finally allowed into her cubicle and I got to see her. Her face was covered in bandages and she tearlessly said she was OK. I gave her a confident smile and told her everything would be fine. Rock entered our little space and said I needed to speak with the doctor who was right there to whisk me away to a private area.
I was told Emily had a serious eye injury and would need to be transported to Cooperstown. An ophthalmologic surgeon had been called and was awaiting her arrival. The ambulance would be here momentarily. Julie rushed to the hospital and rode to Cooperstown with her dad while I rode in the ambulance.
The trip was a blur; the waiting interminable. Jenny arrived after Julie found her through a maze of mutual friends. Finally, sometime in the early morning hours, the surgeon emerged from the OR. I gave him a confident smile which was met with a somber façade followed by a tired sigh. He assured us Emily was resting comfortably and that he did all he could to help her. However, he was pessimistically optimistic about the recovery of her eyesight in her left eye.
Never in my wildest nightmares did I imagine the severity of her injury. A few stitches here and there and I figured she would be as good as new. For three days I clung to that optimism. However, on day three, after a thorough examination, the good doctor explained, “I am afraid Emily will never regain the sight in her left eye. The retina was severely damaged and the optic nerve was severed and cannot heal itself.” I reminded him it had only been three days – maybe she just needs more time. He very gently took one of my hands and one of Emily’s hands in his healing hands and said, “I can tell you now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, Emily’s eye has been damaged beyond repair.”
Emily never cried – not once over the last three days and not that day. She looked at me and my uncontrollable tears and softly said to me, “It will be OK, mom.”