Page 15: Another Accident

Christa thought about everything the nurse said on her drive back home.  She drove carefully along the winding roads that took her through the hills and valleys from Rochester to Elsmore, about a 30-minute drive.  The hillsides were all bright green with sprouts of corn and soybeans.  It was June, just as it had been when Tessie died.  

As she approached Harold Westerly’s farm, she remembered the day that Joe was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  Harold only had one eye–lost the other one in a farm accident.  He usually was pretty careful because he knew his vision was impaired, but for whatever reason he never saw Joe coming that day.  He pulled right out of the field with his tractor and Joe, going 55 miles per hour, didn’t have time to stop his Chevy S10 pickup.

Luckily, Harold was fine, but Joe got beat up pretty bad.  The front end of his truck told the story, and by the looks of it, it was a miracle that Joe only escaped with a broken jaw.

Christa received a call from the hospital emergency room, and by the time she got there, Joe was being released.  She barely recognized him, his face was so swollen and bruised.  The doctor said there was nothing wrong with him.  He had done an extensive evaluation and no broken bones or internal injuries. Thank goodness, Christa thought.

They got in the car, and Joe said he was hungry.  What else is new, Christa thought.  So they stopped and got a hamburger.  As they were walking to their table with the food, down went Joe to the floor, smacked his head good, out cold.  

Twice in one day, Joe was rushed by ambulance to the emergency room.  Only several hours after having left, a different ER doctor now determined that Joe was weak from the trauma of the accident, and that he had, in fact, broken his jaw.  He was in the hospital for three days.

Joe had months of physical therapy because of his broken jaw, but he wasn’t able to ever drink out of a glass again.  From then on, he always used a straw.   

As Christa reflected on those events that had happened three years earlier, she surmised that perhaps doctors are not always correct in their diagnosis–after all, the first attending physician didn’t notice that Joe’s jaw was broken. Maybe the nurse at the psychiatric ward was right.  Maybe Christa should tell them to stop the shock treatments.  Maybe Joe’s psychiatrist was wrong.  
FACTS:  Joe’s accident as recalled by his mother.  Joe always used a straw for drinking for many years after.
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