Christmas 2007 I learned what is really important at Christmas time . . . .
It was the normal hustle and bustle of Christmas. I had Christmas Eve off and Patti was in town. We went off to do the last minute shopping and get all the fixings for our Christmas dinner.
Earlier that day, Charlie and Michael told me they were going to play football with friends. It was cold outside and I knew that the ground was frozen, in fact I was wondering where they were going to play because the ground was covered in snow. I found out later that one of the friends took a snow plow to the park to clean an area for football. I told them they shouldn't play, that someone would get hurt, but they went anyway.
Patti and I had run into some friends at the store and had just finished visiting when my cell phone rang. It was Michael. He said that Charlie had gotten hurt and they were taking him to Alta View Emergency Room. I thought he was just being funny and then realized he was being serious. I asked what was wrong . . . he had hurt his neck. I asked if he could move his fingers and toes . . . yes he could. I told them to go to Insta Care and I would meet them there. I was fuming! Why can't kids listen to what you tell them . . . they just have to learn for themselves.
I walked into the Insta Care and Charlie was siting on a chair holding his head very still. He was pale and I could tell he was hurting. I asked what had happened. One of his friends, the biggest guy there, had tackled him. When he went down, he landed on the back of his neck and slide on the ground.
I got him checked in and they called him back. I could hear the doctor asking what was wrong while she did a quick triage on him. She said he needed to go to the hospital. Now I was really mad! Christmas Eve, I needed to finish the preparations for the big day and now I needed to take him to the hospital. I told the doctor I would take him . . . At this point she said, "Your son had a bulge on the back of his neck. He needs to be on a back board and transported to the hospital for treatment." He needed to go to the new hospital in Murray about 15 minutes away.
My anger quickly left. I now knew this was pretty serious. They called an ambulance to transport him. Patti, Mike and I all followed in my car. We called Wade at work. He said he would meet us at the hospital. The snow had stated falling again and the roads were getting slick. The ambulance had arrived when we got there.
They immediately checked him over in the emergency room. He was sent for an x-ray. But before they left for that, Michael and Wade gave him a Priesthood blessing. Charlie laid on that backboard for 5 hours. He was hurting, but was a trooper. We had to wait for the doctor, so Mike and I went to get his car and I grabbed a couple of things at the grocery store. I met Mike at home and we returned to the hospital. They finally got a doctor who could read the x-ray. He had 3 fractures in his cervical spine! The doctor couldn't come into the hospital that night, but said he wanted him admitted for observation and they would decide in the morning if he needed surgery or not. The doctor said he would be in the next morning.
The male nurse who had been taking care of him came into see him before they moved him and told him that he was truly a Christmas Miracle. He could have been paralyzed or killed. As we left the hospital, I was so grateful that my son would be okay.
The next morning, we all decided to wait for Charlie to have our Christmas. We got cleaned up and ready to go to the hospital. The doctor had not come in yet, but Patti wanted to go be with Charlie so he wasn't alone on Christmas day. She is so sweet and she was worried about her brother. We were ready to leave for the hospital when Patti called. Charlie had been discharged and they were coming home!
We had our Christmas dinner and then opened gifts. The funny thing was, most of them were still in the bag from the store. But no one cared. We laughed at the wrappings. But enjoyed being together and celebrating this special season.
What did I learn about the meaning of Christmas in 2007? I learned that the important gifts are not store bought., Pretty paper and bows don't matter. What does matter is that we were all together as a family AND Charlie would get better! He had been given a Priesthood blessing and our Heavenly Father had other plans for this young man.
So as I reflect on Christmases past, I will never forget this special Christmas and realizing what really matters can not be bought or wrapped. Our Savior was a gift from God. the Wise Men brought gifts to the babe in a manger. But He was the greatest gift of all. He came to earth that we might all live again with our Heavenly Father.