Two days ago, I was out of town working and received a frantic phone call from my scared-out-of-her-mind wife who had just rolled her truck twice in the ditch. The doors wouldn’t open and she remained trapped and alone inside the bent cab until emergency workers arrived on scene, beating me by minutes. As I approached the flashing lights, there was an “emergency scene ahead” sign and pylons leading up to police, fire and ambulance vehicles. I briefly saw my terrified wife strapped to the stabilizer board inside the ambulance.
I met her at the hospital 15 minutes later and ultimately, after the confinement of that board and neck brace, the excruciating pain in her head, neck and lower back, and xrays and Cat scan, we were free to go. No broken bones, though almost unbearable pain plagued her and still does.
A couple days in now and the neck and back pain are still great. We switched painkillers today due to the originally prescribed batch making her vomit.
She’s rendered useless, and I mean that in the sweetest of ways. Because of the concussion, she is not ‘allowed’ to focus on anything and all she can do is rest, which is very difficult for her as she is a non-stop doer and she doesn’t take this ‘lying down’, pun intended.
Four paragraphs later, I’m getting to what I really feel I want to say.
Pleasantries. We all give them. “So sorry to hear” or “If I can help in any way…” or “Keep me updated”. People care for one another, especially close friends and family. That’s a given.
What ‘gets my goat’ is this… When one specifically makes it known, in a traumatic situation such as this, “If you want to help, here’s how” and given specifics like meals would be helpful or gift cards or anything small but oh so meaningful to ease this time of strain on not only my wife but myself.
I fully get it if you live far away. Then your sweet words are more than enough. But if you’re in the same neck of the woods and choose to offer generous and kind sentiments then why not put action behind it. And what’s the worst is when someone offers genuine condolences and not only offers to help, but makes a specific plan… then backs out.
I get it. I mean to a degree. But also, not in the least. It’s the same with people dealing with these ridiculous 7 month unpredictable Alberta winters. ‘Everybody’ dreads it and pokes fun at it (“If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes”) and complains and questions repeatedly why they live here… yet do nothing about it. I, my wife and my children also hate it and we are leaving Alberta before the next winter hits.
The world is far from perfect, and people let each other down. These are constants forever. But for goodness sake, I just wish there was more follow-through. More action behind empty words. It doesn’t taste good.