After hanging up the phone, my wife and I got in the car and drove (at a highly suspect rate) to the hospital. Our conversation was strained with Beth wanting to know all the details of the call and my inability to answer them because I was not given much information over the phone.
We arrived at MCV Hospital and went right to the emergency room entrance. On our way in we asked a Para Med standing out side if he knew where our son was. Not only did he know, he was in the ambulance with him. He told us Robert was severely injured but the seatbelt helped save his life.
With that news, we ran through the doors of the hospital only to be stopped by officer Netherland. (I will use his name specifically because, in my opinion, his total incompetence and lack of concern for our son.) The first words out of his mouth were not ones of concern or care but of accusation against our son. He saw us, came over to us and asked our names. The next words out of his mouth were: “Your son was involved in an auto accident, I think it was his fault, he was probably speeding and did not have his seatbelt on.” Wow! The only response I had was, “We just me the Para Med who brought him in and he told us that the seatbelt saved his life.” Officer Netherland just said; “I don’t think so.” Unfortunately that would not be our last nasty encounter with him but that is a different part of the story.
We were ushered into the room where our son was. I just looked at him on the table all bloody and beat up with numerous wounds. Two things stood out to me the most. First, you could see a big red mark across his chest where the seatbelt had held him back in the accident. Second, the front of his head was open and they were working to save his life.
We helped hold him on the table as they were working on him. Robert was incoherent, struggling with the doctors and kept saying; “let me go, I need to get home”. The doctors could not give him pain-killing drugs because of the head injury so he felt everything that was being done to him. Hours later they were done with what they could do and we walked out of the room.
I stopped the doctor in the hall and asked him directly what he thought the prognosis was. I will never forget, he put his head down and said; “Most of these patients don’t make it.” I walked into the waiting room where Beth and Pastor Davis were and passed out.
Robert was moved to a room and the next several days were a whirlwind of procedures and operations. During Robert’s entire stay my wife and I never left his side. We both took turns staying in the hospital with him. We were told that he may not make it and if he does, he could be severely limited in his mental abilities.
During that time several people on the floor where he was passed away. I was speaking with a nurse approximately 2 in the morning and I mentioned to here that it seemed strange that several people had passed away. I will never forget her response. She said; “Mr. McCallum, this is where the serious cases are treated.”
For me that was the first time I truly grasped what we were dealing with and how our lives would be forever changed.