But I'm not grumbling, so much as grateful to have come through it relatively unscathed and with family intact.
We started innocently enough with a migraine/ickiness Monday, with work delayed being completed Tuesday. I knew that there was a big production job coming up at the end of the week, and so had to gear up for it. I ended up with a 2 hour hole in the end of the Tuesday because 'Ted' who I'd got to know recently, 'down on his luck', needed transport to go to the nearest branch of his building society for money.
Tuesday night I'd just got home when it transpired that Ted had been ejected from the house where he was living, and needed help. We desperately tried to find emergency accommodation, only to fail, & eventually decide to put him up in a motel for the night. It was when we collected him that we had some suspicions confirmed that things weren't quite as they'd been portrayed, and it became a little ugly, though not fisticuffs at least.
Cut a long story short, after a couple of nights being put up in different places, no help was forthcoming from local authorities because it couldn't be demonstrated that he was truly homeless. On top of that, a local Christian organisation recognised there were probably deeper issues, and offered help that was rejected. As the main contact I then had to inform Ted that we were no longer able to support him and he was 'on his own'. This went against some of my deepest beliefs, yet at the same time we were not equipped to deal with his issues and his presence would likely have torn our home apart.
Once the call was made I felt the first peace that I'd had for days. Even though the subsequent calls & texts tried to play on various emotions, the worst had passed.
Against this background I worked until 12.35am Wednesday and Thursday, and was pretty much expecting to do the same Friday. During Friday late afternoon my phone kept getting calls from an unknown number that I assumed was Ted trying to negotiate further, no voicemail being left. Finally around 4.50pm a message WAS left, telling me that Ben had been in a motorcycle accident, was not in a life-threatening condition, and was being taken to the John Radcliff hospital.
Turned out he'd lost the bike on a bend on the way home, and with a great sense of timing, had managed to slide both machine and his left leg under a van coming in the opposite direction. His left femur was broken mid-way, both tibia and fibula broken just above the ankle and right wrist also had a minor fracture. There were deep lacerations to his leg and heavy internal bleeding in his thigh. However apart from some minor scuffs and a badly bruised bottom there was no other serious damage, for which were were enormously grateful.
He was however in serious pain (9 out of 10, with 10 being the worst pain he'd ever known, even on repeated morphine shots) and was pale from blood loss, and around 10pm they took him away for around 3 hours of surgery, pinning the femur, sorting out the ankle and cleaning & closing some of the leg wounds.
We went home, made Chris a sandwich so she could go back again. I ate & then returned to work. Chris stayed until he was out of theatre, getting home around 4ish. Fuelled by Chris's fruitcake I then worked until 6.20am, having finished
the production process and cleaned & washed up the equipment. After 40min sleep we were back out collecting Ben's past and probably future girlfriend to go back.
Ben was looking better & in less pain. We stayed for a couple of hours, took Laura home, slept a couple, then returned with her again (and were really grateful to Sue & Ian coming to see us there & show us their love). Eventually we had to leave to pick up a friend from Canada returning after visiting her family for a funeral. It was really great to see Janet again, and despite the crazy, crazy stress of everything, having her there was like a little piece of normality and relief in the middle of all the fuss. Some good friends from the church had blessed us with a meal too, and we really appreciated not having to cook after all that. Hit the sack at 9.30pm.
And so today.
We took Janet to the bus station for 9am & saw her on the bus, dropped off the laptop at the chapel with the song list and words ready to go, went to the lab & worked 4 hours, then headed home & ate before popping into Bicester to collect my mum so she could see Ben (if we'd stopped, we'd have been lost at this point). Spent a couple of hours there, then back to Bicester, then back to the lab for a final clear up & floor wash (sucrose solution is VERY sticky when partially dry) finally home for dinner and down time. Today Ben was much better, but two of the wounds from surgery on his thigh were weeping profusely enough to have made the bed sheet & pillow damp after a couple of hours.
Chris is now in bed, and I'm going to follow.
Tomorrow (Monday) he should be having skin & tissue grafts to his leg. This will enable the other wounds to be closed and reduce risks of infection, plus hopefully also reduce scarring and deeper damage.
It's interesting to consider some conversations I've had recently, about Ben on a motorcycle. I've been able to say that I trust that God IS in charge, that He does protect us, and that whether Ben was on a bike, in a car or even safely tucked up in his bedroom, if God has decided it's time for him to die then he will die. It's not a blind fatalism - a life tossed on the whim of a capricious god - but a recognition that no man can add a day to his life by worrying about it. But having said that, I would not mind if the boy didn't ride a bike again.
And tomorrow is another day, this time with more wee.