For the Record: The Timeline and Time
Jul 14, 2014 9:15 PM
The evening of Monday, July 7, 2014 was entirely normal at the Bosch house. Pam and I collaborated on a quick meal. Willi, Declan and I ate at the kitchen island, Pam puttered around us, and Zoe had snuck off to the den adjacent to the kitchen. After our meal and the typical associated banter that usually got me in trouble with Pam, the boys said they were going down the street to the neighbor’s house.
Mary was at her family cabin on Madeline Island in Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands. She stayed up at the Island with Angela and some friends while Willi drove back with Mark and Willi’s friend after a fun-filled weekend. Willi and his buddy were participating in the Hill-Murray Boys Summer Hockey Camp and Monday morning was their first on-ice practice.
Based on conversations and from Willi’s and my phone logs I pieced together this timeline of Willi’s injury on Monday, July 7, 2014:
After spending time at the neighbor’s house, Declan was called home and Willi decided to go long boarding on his normal route on a path that runs through Central Park and around the lake. He went alone.
8:25 pm: While long boarding Willi makes an outgoing call to a friend lasting 14 minutes through 8:39 pm.
8:40 pm: His friend texted “Did you fall???”
8:45 pm: Willi makes a call to Declan that lasts 2 minutes. He tells Declan he crashed, he’s hurt, and he wants Declan to come help and to bring water.
8:46 pm: While still speaking with Declan he misses a call from the friend he was speaking with at the time of his accident.
8:47 pm: Outgoing call to Declan that lasts 9 seconds. Declan spoke very briefly with his mom and was already leaving his house.
8:49 pm: Outgoing call to Declan that is canceled, presumably because they spot each other on Hamline Avenue, about 1.5 blocks from home.
The boys arrived home shortly thereafter.
We live in a two story house with the driveway, garage and an odd elementary school style courtyard at the same level as the basement. The basement door is almost always the way everyone other than first time visitors come in the house. The main room of the basement is where the vast majority of ‘hanging out’ occurs, usually on the couch facing the TV.
Declan immediately came upstairs to get me, telling me he thought Willi crashed his long board and hurt himself… “like, for real, I think he’s hurt.”
When I got to the basement Willi had already slipped off his Nikes and was sitting on the couch, cap in lap, rubbing his head. He couldn’t tell me what happened. He couldn’t identify anything that hurt. I asked him whether he thought he could slip his shoes on by himself. When he didn’t move right away, I asked him whether he could slip his foot in if I held them open. He reached down and picked up his shoes and stood up.
I immediately yelled up to Pam that I was taking Willi to the hospital and out we went. He vomited in the yard as I backed out the truck. I put him and Declan in the back seat and drove as quickly as I could to our go-to pediatric hospital, Children’s at United. Traffic laws were broken.
9:09 pm: I called Mary from the truck as I drove to the hospital. I told her what was going on, that I couldn’t really see any signs of significant trauma (blood, abrasions, bumps, or swelling), but at a minimum I thought he had a concussion based on his confusion, and that I was concerned. I also told her to wait until I got the report from a doctor whether it warranted an immediate return home from her vacation.
We arrived at Children’s / United Hospital shortly after that, maybe 9:15 pm or 9:20 pm.
Mary and I had two more phone conversations to discuss what was happening to Willi. At 10:02 we spoke again. A decision had to be made since the last ferry off the island leaves at 10:30 pm and the weather was deteriorating. I told her I felt she needed to drive home. I am pretty sure she was already packing.
10:10 pm: I sent this series of three texts to Pam:
– Head injury. ‘Small’ brain bleed. Transferring him to Regions.
– He’s belligerent.
– I’m scared.
We arrived at Gillette via ambulance sometime around 11 pm. Willi immediately underwent a second CT scan. By midnight, based on the findings of the CT scan and his deteriorating neurologic examination, Willi was prepped for surgery. By 12:30 am he was undergoing an emergency decompressive craniectomy.
When you live in a hospital for a week, scared, confused and intensely focused on one thing, you lose your ability to orient yourself to time.
On either day 2 or day 3 we had a very earnest discussion about whether we were at hour 24 or 48 of his initial 72 hours.
Without phone logs, regular meals, sleep, daily rituals, and seeing something called ‘the sun’, time is measured on different scales. Periods where the window shades are lighter or darker. The metallic clunk of the security doors is more or less frequent. There are more or less family members in Willi’s room. I see more or less people in the halls on my way for coffee.
Yes, there are clocks, but they are only markers of the next step, such as ‘the CT scan’ or ‘I’ll relieve you at 2 am’.
I wrote the notes above a couple days ago. Now that we are officially one week into this process, time is starting to be measurable again. Even the kid asked earlier today “what time is it?”