If I had remembered, I would have looked at the clock at about 3:40PM; 4 years ago Archie Emmanuel Ruiz failed to execute a turn to escape pursuing Phoenix P.D. and rocketed a stolen Silverado pick up truck into a bus stop in excess of 75mph. The police transcript records the police helicopter pilot's description of the aftermath of that shattering impact with dizzying understatement: “...we've got pedestrians down...”.
In varying ways, we have all asked ourselves the same thing ever since. It has been a nightmare of inexplicable proportions to experience the agony of a gravely injured child. We couldn’t have possibly understood what was meant by the initial prognosis – that it would take a minimum of 2 years for her leg to heal. It was a little longer. There was an open wound for almost 3 ½ years. One inspired head hospital trauma surgeon, two miracle “magic man” plastic surgeons who have our love and respect forever, about 10 different pediatric and surgical nurses, one amazing trauma counselor, two angel-sent home-bound school teachers and 14 major surgeries later, Asia is still with us. So is her leg.
After the shock and panic of the first 2 extended hospital stays (about 2 weeks long a month apart), Asia gradually began to accept the give and take of a very protracted surgical calendar with her name on it. Waking her up before dawn on the day of the surgery was the worst. Her little, sleepy face had that confused and blessed blankness for a few seconds, until she remembered what was happening, and where we were going. I would have given anything a hundred times over to be the one snapping on the hospital gown. Robin thought about this aspect of the Atonement winging her way across the continent to be here and join our bedside rotation, and think of fun things to do with Rachel. The whole five 1/2 hours flight she wished it was her leg instead. So did David. But that was not meant to be.
Bravery is only 14, 15, 16 and 17 years old, wearing a hairnet and waiting mostly cheerfully for hours in that special torture known as “pre-op”. It must mean something good that the infamous date innocently slipped away from us this year, totally unacknowledged by us all.