Kids, I received a fairly worrisome phone call last night.

It was around 6:00, maybe a little after, when my phone rang. It was my cousin in Atlanta. We don’t often speak on the phone, so I chalked it up to a pleasant surprise. We’d texted recently about seeing It: Chapter Two. When I saw his name on the caller ID, I figured he wanted to discuss that in more detail.

So I answered and was pretty light with him. When he asked how I was doing, I joked, saying I was as good as could be expected for a guy working on coughing up a lung. But I really should have known from his tone of voice that this was not just a shoot the breeze kind of call.

He let me know that our aunt had sent a text message to the family, letting them know that my mother was being taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Let me back up. For months, my aunt and grandmother had been planning a weekend trip for my mom. The destination was a surprise, so the last few months have been filled with mom trying to deduce where she would be taken. Turns out, they took her to the Land of Oz in North Carolina.

I’ve seen plenty about this place on the internet in the past. I’m pretty sure it’s a defunct theme park that is only fixed up and open for one weekend per year. If you do a search, there are some pretty creepy pictures of the place when it was deserted and at its most run down.

I’m sure when people are there to take care of the upkeep, it’s a pretty neat place.

So after I got off the phone with my cousin, I called my aunt. She was able to let me know that as they were leaving the park, mom was riding in the back of a golf cart while my grandmother sat in the front. Suddenly, she started screaming in pain, saying she felt something pop in her chest.

Of course, the first thought everyone would have would be heart-related. But mom doesn’t have a history of heart problems. If it was her heart, it would be completely random.

Anyway, my aunt said that the EMTs did not think it was a cardiac event, but they were rushing her to the hospital for x-rays and blood work to make a proper diagnosis.

After a while, I got a text saying that the x-rays showed that mom’s sternum was broken.

How?! How does a person’s sternum just randomly break?!

I mean, I’d understand if mom had volunteered to be someone’s CPR dummy and the person performing the CPR got a little overzealous with the chest compressions. Or maybe if the golf cart they were riding in had completely flipped over. Maybe even if the golf cart had gone over a rough patch of the yellow brick road.

From what I’ve been told, it’s a completely random occurrence. I’ve known of people breaking ribs from having a bad cough. I mean, that’s happened to me before. But mom hasn’t been sick lately.

I’ve texted with mom a few times this morning. She’s in a lot of pain and she didn’t sleep very well last night. I doubt she’ll get a good night’s sleep at all for the next few weeks. The doctor that examined her said that this will take several weeks to heal.

In a sense, I’m glad I’m living in Roanoke now. Because I’ll be close if she needs anything. Between this and my stepfather’s bad back, it seems like they won’t be extremely mobile for a while. At the same time, I’m still dealing with this cold, which is still deep in a heavy cough phase. That’s something I definitely don’t want to pass along to someone with a broken sternum.

And then there’s another issue… Once I’m feeling better and can actually go over to the house to lend a helping hand, there’s the problem of my sense of humor. Look, I’m not gonna try and over-inflate my ego and claim to be the funniest guy in the room. But I do have a quick witted, dry humor. And I have a tendency to make my mom laugh. A lot. Often at her expense…

Sometimes, I can’t turn off the humor thing. It had crossed my mind that I shouldn’t try to make her laugh. But then, like an idiot, I still screwed up while texting her this morning. I asked how she broke her sternum… I asked if she was covering up for someone… I asked if my grandmother hit her.


Her next text came a few minutes later, telling me not to make her laugh.

I’m relieved that what happened turned out to not be a life threatening event. But I hate that she’s having to deal with as much pain as I’m sure she’s going through and will continue to experience in the weeks to come.

I’m praying that this will pass quickly and that she is back on her feet sooner than later.

Feature Photo by Harlie Raethel on Unsplash

6 thoughts on “Broken

  1. Holy wow! How indeed!! My husband pops his sternum on a regular basis just by stretching and it always freaks me out; chests should not make that kind of sound. But now I’m going to worry if one day he’ll actually break it!

    And although your mom probably didn’t appreciate your joke, I sure did. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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