Today was my first travel trip with Zach for the beginning of hockey season. While I was looking forward to spending time with our hockey families, I wasn’t looking forward to our early departure this morning. We needed to get on the road before 8 a.m. so we could get to Philly in time for a 2 o’clock game. Early mornings do not excite me. The two hockey families who were traveling with me showed up at our house at 7:30 this morning. Lisa, her son Trey, and Coach Rob with his son Robbie loaded their stuff into the TRVLN ZU. We stopped at Wawa, filled up with gas, filled the boys bellies with food and pointed the ZU North.
The traffic was light. We made great time, arriving at the rink well before the coach’s rule of arriving one hour before the game. The boys unloaded their gear and went to warm up.
The pucked dropped at center ice and the game was on.
I spent the first minutes of the game texting Stan about the nastiness of the rink, the length of the periods and the size of the kids. The rink was about as nasty as I have ever seen. The roof leaked all over the benches, leaving everything soaking wet and mildewy. The rink was built around dirt and rocks, just to enclose the sheet of ice so there was dirt, rocks and boulders inside the rink. The periods were 20 minutes long, five minutes longer than our boys are used to. And the kids were heads and shoulders taller than most of our boys, except one…
One boy was smaller and he was on the ice for Zach’s first shift. Zach stepped out onto the ice and started to play his game. The smaller kid and Zach collided just the wrong way and the game was over for Zach. Zach’s coach, Scott, told me later he saw what was happening. He saw Zach at center ice with the puck. He said he watched as the small kid got Zach in his sights and went in for the hit. He wanted Zach off the puck. Scott said he watched Zach brace himself for the hit and was impressed as the kid just bounced off of Zach. He never imagined a hit seemingly so minor could cause an injury. I didn’t see what happened, all I knew was Zach was headed off the ice and into the locker room as soon as his first shift was over.
I was getting ready to head to the locker room to check on Zach. I knew something was wrong, Zach was moving slowly and cautiously ~ a way he never moves when he’s on skates. One of the dads sitting by me said not to worry. Zach probably just needed to adjust his jock…Yeah, right and I’m King Kong. He’s hurt and I know it but I wait.
I get the call to go into the locker room. I step into a firestorm from Zach. He’s mad. He’s hurt. He doesn’t want me in the room but it’s no use. I’m there. Zach is in pain and he tells me to leave. He yells at me to get out but I hold my ground.
I’m not usually the one who takes care of injuries. Stan is injury man, I do illness…it’s a written rule in our house. I don’t do injuries. I get lightheaded and dizzy at the sight of my kids with blood or broken bones so Stan takes care of the injuries. But Stan wasn’t there so Zach was stuck with me and I with him. (I find out later from Zach that he didn’t want me in the locker room with him because he was afraid of how I would handle his injury. But I have to say both of us did very well and I can take care of Zach and his injuries. He is a model patient…polite, respectful and jocular all while being in immense pain.)
Zach couldn’t move his shoulder. He was pale and shaky. He said his shoulder was dislocated. He was ready to pass out, or throw up, or both. I ran out to the ZU to get some ibuprofen and called Stan as I headed to the car. I said “I’m on my way to the ER with Zach. He hurt his shoulder and thinks it’s dislocated.” Stan’s response was “What the F—?” How could he be hurt? I had no idea. I didn’t know how he got hurt. I didn’t see the hit to his shoulder.
Lisa, God love her, volunteered to come with us to the emergency room so we headed out of the rink. I wasn’t sure Zach was going to make it to the car on two feet. He looked weak and woozy. Luckily, we got Zach into the car without him (or me) fainting. Zach begged me to drive gently, every minor bump sent jolts of pain searing through his body. Thank God for Lisa, she took care of the car while I got Zach into the ER.
Lisa parked the car as I navigated the security guards/cops at the hospital. We weren’t in the nicest part of Philly ~ in fact we were, maybe, one step above ghetto. The patients in the hospital were beyond sketchy. It was a scary, scary place. My first hint at the sketchiness of the place was when I saw a semi-crazy woman who was cuffed behind her back and was not happy about it. She cried out loudly that she was unfairly cuffed. She complained and shed tears and fussed, telling the officers they were wrong to put cuffs on her. Her words fell on deaf ears but she kept ranting. She grunted, growled, cried out in pain and made all manner of gutteral noises while she was restrained. The cops took her to the room next door and stood guard as she was treated for whatever ailment she had. Then there was the homeless, drunk man, passed out on the gurney across the hall from Zach’s room. He woke up from his drunken stupor intermittedly, looking for a nurse or his watch or whatever a drunk, homeless man looks for when he wakes up from a bender. I’ve never been exposed to a scene like we experienced in the ER but luckily, the security guards were out in force.
The doctor came in, examined Zach and gave us a diagnosis of a probable separated shoulder. X-rays were ordered so Zach waited. He was in pain but at least not nauseated…they gave him something for the nauseau. Zach was treated well and treated quickly. The hospital staff was, I think, happy to have someone on the “normal” spectrum to take care of. Zach was taken back for x-rays and we waited. The prognosis came back. Zach’s shoulder is separated, just midly, but it’s separated just the same. He’s out for at least two weeks, it could be longer, but we won’t find out until we see the orthopedic surgeon. Damn, why oh why, do we have to have an orthopedic guy on speed-dial?
As we were waiting in the ER, we were getting updates on the game…it was 0-3, badguys were winning, when we left for the ER. The score climbed and climbed and climbed ~ not in our favor! The final score was 0-14. Shit! So, Coach Rob, Robbie, Lisa, Trey, Zach and I traveled five hours in the TRVLN ZU to get our asses kicked and a separated shoulder. REALLY?! When I texted that to Stan he said…
“For the love of your children…”