25 December 2010

The dangers of working on Christmas

Most of my family members work on holidays - myself included (when I worked outside the home).  My mother (who works at a hospital) was scheduled to work today as well.

At 5:45 this morning she was walking from her car to the hospital to start her shift.  The guy running the snowplow didn't see her in time, and backed up into her, striking her right side.  The impact lifted her off the ground and she landed hard on her left side, skidding several feet across the pavement.  The landing broke the upper bone in her left arm.

My mother being who she is, her recitation of the accident was full of humorous observations and macabre jokes.  But I could still hear the pain in her voice, and I knew she had taken meds that just weren't making a dent in the pain.  Her Christmas this year isn't going to be very joyous.

After I got off the phone, I realized that I could have very easily lost my mother today.  If that guy had been driving the plow slower, the impact wouldn't have sent her flying - rather, it would have knocked her down, right in front of the tires - and probably killed her.

I know the driver is probably a good guy - Mom said he was very concerned and helpful - but why didn't he have the beeper on when he was backing up?  Mom heard no noise to let her know the plow was backing up in her direction - just a split second where she saw it coming before it struck her.

But as Mom pointed out, he probably feels horrible for not turning on the beeper - and even worse that he struck her in the first place.  On top of that, he's probably terrified that he's going to be fired - and in this economy, wouldn't be able to find another job right away.  Trust my mother to think about this guy, and worry more about him than about herself!  But that's the kind of woman my mother is.

This is one of those times when I sincerely wish I lived closer to my family.  I don't work, and normally would be in the perfect position to come over and help her out.  But my hometown is a five hour drive away, and I don't own a car...and even if I did, I don't have the money for such a trip.

My only wish this Christmas is that I could go see my mother with my own eyes, and know that she is truly okay.

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