Our next community outreach project for the Thumbstall Quilt Guild will be a Quilt of Valor for a local Central New York resident who was severely injured in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan. I’ve been in touch with his mother who is probably one of the most upbeat people that I’ve ever talked with. We spent well over an hour on the phone as she told me about her son and some of what they’ve been through She had me crying and laughing at the same time. Her positive outlook, I’m sure, has played an integral part in everyone getting through the ordeal the family has faced since the incident.
She and her husband went to Germany as soon as they were notified of her son’s accident. Among his other serious injuries his eyes had been seriously damaged and were heavily bandaged.
The German hospital was in an area where no one spoke English, but the Army had provided an English speaking liaison to help them. Upon arrival, they were able to visit with their son for a only a short time before being whisked away to their hotel.
It would take more than an hour and a half to get to the hotel via the Audubon where cars travel at about 80 mph and they drive on the ‘wrong’ (left) side of the road. It must be an experience in itself.
The further they went, the more she felt that she was being separated needlessly from her son. Spying a Marriott she asked the liaison to drop both her and her husband there. She was told that the Army would not pay for the lodging – but knowing that staying there would mean that she would be just that much closer to her son she told him that she didn’t care. She just needed to be with him as much as possible. In addition to his injuries he was entirely helpless. No one at the hospital spoke English so he wasn’t able to make his simplest needs known.
The liaison reluctantly left them off at the hotel and promised to be back in the morning. Her husband was looking forward to some much needed sleep after the long journey. In addition, before they left the States, he had been scheduled for knee surgery but postponed it when they heard about their son’s accident.
However she had something different in mind. As she as peaking though the peephole watching he liaison leave, their conversation went something like this,
“You aren’t planning on going back to the hospital are you?”
“Yes, we have to. I was paying attention as we drove and I know how to get there.”
“Know how to get there? You can’t even find your way around Marcellus!”
So began their 4-hour walking journey to the hospital, walking in dark unfamiliar territory where they couldn’t ask for directions. Often during the trip she would say, “This looks familiar, I think we should go this way.” “You THINK??” he would say in desperation.
Looking for a the familiar “H” that she thought was the universal worldwide symbol for a hospital proved futile. Finally they stopped at a store and through frantic charade jesters (rubbing her stomach as though she was ill etc.) they were able to get the much needed directions. They eventually came across a sign that said Klinik (prononced clinic). From the German classes she had taken in school, she remembered that was the word for a hospital. Her husband wasn’t convinced and sure it was just a sign for a clinic
When they finally arrived at the hospital they were taken through some long dark tunnels and finally to their son’s hospital room. When they got to his room he said. “You’re back Mom. I wasn’t sure why you left in such a hurry. I need your help. I can’t even ask for a glass of water here, because no one here speaks English.”
A mother just knows!There is always time to quilt!