On Thursday evening, my little brother was involved in a serious car accident.
I don’t think anyone can prepare you for that phone call. You can imagine what it would be like to be in a car crash, have someone you know in a car crash, and the “If this was an episode of Casualty…” game has, somewhat ironically, always been a favourite of mine and my brother’s, but anything you might imagine you would feel is multiplied by ten when your dad calls you and tells you that there’s been a crash, and “he’s going to be okay” – but they’re cutting him out of the car and the ambulance is taking him not to the hospital ten minutes down the road, but to Coventry, an hour away, because “they have specialists there.”
As it happens, he is going to be okay. And in some ways, he’s already okay. In between drug-induced naps (which are frequent) he’s exactly the same person he was three days ago, making sarcastic comments and demanding attention and visitors. But the list of broken bones is as long as my arm (from small skull fracture to a broken femur, with the neck, sternum, collarbone and several ribs along the way) and until he can get an MRI (which is apparently literally not a possibility over the weekend, the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard) we don’t even know what the full extent of the damage might be – hopefully, obviously, no more than we already know. And he’s an hour away in a hospital bed when he should be enjoying the summer of his life before uni in September, and when he should have been at his year 13 prom on Friday night (for what it’s worth, he was named Prom King, which he’s clearly loving.)
His crash was sheer bad luck and nothing else. It was wet and the road was slippery and he drives a tiny Ford Ka. It was bad luck – the worst luck – but he, and we, are also extremely lucky that he’s even alive, let alone that he can talk and joke with us and make us list over and over again the endless reams of lovely lovely people wishing him well and sending him love.
The internship/part-time job hunt has been temporarily put on hold in favour of days spent driving to and from the hospital and sitting around my brother’s hospital bed like it’s our living room, because he can’t do anything but lie flat and immobile in a neck brace and all we can do is act like it’s normal.