That's Okay

By E Walk

(Copyrighted by the Author)

Edited By Radio Rancher

Chapter 20 - Please Say It Isn't So

Bill and I raced after Kent as he took us to the scene where the accident happened. The Emergency Squad and the Police were already there. The EMTs were checking Darrin and carefully placing him on a gurney.

The police officers were talking to a young couple with two dogs, "Can you tell us what you saw please?"

The young man began, "We were walking our dogs and these two young men saw us and the first young man got off of his bike and started to walk toward us on the grass so we could go by. The second young man did the same. We were just about even with the first young man when a black van swerved across the curb and it started toward the young man. The lady driving the vehicle was laughing as the young man went flying through the air."

The young woman continued, "The lady didn't even stop, but backed up and sped up as she went toward the south. I know that her license plate started with a QV and end with a 96. She was driving a black Toyota van of some sort."

Bill spoke up, "Officers, the injured young man is Darrin Phillips. The woman who hit Darrin is Mrs. Virginia Witmer She is Darrin maternal grandmother. She came to the Phillip's house today and threatened Darrin and even struck him on the side of the face. She was driving a black Toyota Sequoia van with the license plate QVC-696. She lives in Barstow."

The EMTs loaded Darrin into the van and Bill pushed me, "Go with Darrin. I'll be at the hospital as soon as I can make sure the other boys are okay. I don't trust that woman at all now. I don't know how she could have done something like this to a nine year old."

My mind was a blur as we were making our way to the hospital with the sounds of blaring sirens. I thought to myself, `If only I had said no.'

When we got to the hospital, we were met by a medical team, and I was taken to the information desk while Darrin disappeared into the examination area. After I had filled out the admission forms, a nurse came and got me. "Mr. Phillips, the Doctors will come talk to you shortly. They have taken your son for x-rays."

It seemed like hours that I had been sitting in the examination room where they had undressed Darrin. I was surprised and thankful that there were no signs of blood. Doctor Reynolds came in and introduced himself, "Mr. Phillips, it is amazing that your son doesn't seem to have any broken bones. He is not responding to any stimuli. We are going to do a CAT scan, a MRI and a series of ultra sound tests to determine what damage he may have suffered. I suggest that you go home. He will be undergoing tests for the next three hours at least."

"Why don't you get someone to come pick you up and take you home. We'll call you if there are any significant changes."

Bill had arrived as Doctor Reynolds was talking to me. He took charge, "Doctor, I'm going to take Mr. Phillips home so he can talk to his other three sons. They are beside themselves. We need to make sure that they are safe from the woman who did this to Darrin. Please call us if there is any change or something that we need to know or decide."

I started to argue, "Bill, I can't leave Darrin alone here. What if he wakes up and starts asking for us?"

Bill put his arm around me, "Les, the Doctor said that Darrin wasn't responding to any stimuli. Your other sons need to be reassured that everything will be okay and Kent is frantic. He's blaming himself for what happened."

Bill spoke directly to Doctor Reynolds, "Please call Mr. Phillips' house if there is the slightest change. We can be here in fifteen minutes. We need to get some food into Mr. Phillips. It's going to be a long night."

When we arrived at the house, we were greeted by the three boys plus Kent, Mother Archer and Doctor Jacobs.

Bill took charge, "Everyone, we don't know anything yet. The doctors and the hospital staff are doing all sorts of tests to determine what is wrong. He doesn't seem to have any broken bones which is a miracle in itself. Darrin, isn't responding to anything right now."

Kent started to sob, "This is all my fault. I wanted to go riding and Darrin wanted to stay here and play and then that wicked witch came. Mr. Phillips, I'm so sorry. I wish it could have been me instead of Darrin."

That rocked my shoes. I grabbed Kent, "Son, just think, if it had been you, who would be here to take care of your Mother? Why don't you go home and check on her? We'll call you if there is any news about Darrin."

Bill and I hugged Kent as he went out the door. Mrs. Archer fixed us each a sandwich and we got the other three boys ready for bed. We were just coming down the stairs when the phone rang. My heart jumped and I could hardly breathe. Mom Archer answered. "Les, that was the police. They have Mrs. Witmer in custody and are charging her with attempted homicide."

I took a deep breath and thought, `Well at least the other three boys are safe for the time being.'

Bill and I left for the hospital and Darrin was just being taken to a room in the Intensive Care Unit when we arrived. Dr. Reynolds came in to visit with us. "Gentlemen, the tests show that there has been no major damage to Darrin`s internal organs. It appears that his body has had such a shock that his brain has gone into shut down."

Bill and I were sitting in the room with Darrin when Mr. Witmer came in, "Les, I'm so sorry. I have brought a friend of mine along. He's a leading trauma specialist at the University Medical Center. Les and Father Archer, this is Doctor Roy Anderson. He will be working with the staff here at the hospital. I'm going to arrange for nurses to be with Darrin twenty four hours a day. My insurance will cover the expenses of Darrin's stay in the hospital and all medical expenses. Father Archer, you need to pray for God's help in all of this."

Dr Anderson stood, "I want to visit with the doctors here at the hospital. I'll be back shortly."

It was deathly silent until Mr. Witmer said, "Les, I should have realized that something was wrong when Virginia wouldn't go to church with me this morning. She has been hitting the bottle pretty hard since Lisa's death. When I came home from church, her van was gone but I didn't think anything of it until the state police called me to tell me that she had been arrested for attempted murder."

"The police told me what had happened and I called Roy and asked him to come and check Darrin. Roy is one of the best in the field of trauma; Les, you need to worry about your other three sons. They are probably going to be suffering as much as you. You need to get on with your life. The hospital will call if there is any change in Darrin's condition. The twenty four hour nurses will be starting first thing in the morning."

Doctor Anderson came in, "People, there is no medical reason for Darrin to not be responding. I suggest that whenever someone is with him they talk to him and hold his hand. Let me show you why I'm telling you to do that."

Doctor Anderson put two fingers on Darrin's hand and started to talk. "Darrin, you need to get better so you can go back to school."

Darrin's open hand closed around Doctor Anderson's fingers. Doctor Anderson turned to us, "Gentlemen, this proves that Darrin's brain is still functioning. It's just shut down. Be patient and have all of the visitors hold his hand and talk to him. He may not always respond because his mind needs time to recuperate from the trauma that his body has suffered."

Everyone left Darrin's room except Bill and me. Bill looked at me "Les, tell Darrin you love him and that you will see him tomorrow. Remember to hold his hand while your talking to him."

I did as Bill suggested and Darrin squeezed my hand and that was about all I could take. Bill practically pushed me out of the room and led me to his car.

When we arrived at the house, we were attacked by the other three boys, "Dads, how is Darrin?"

Bill answered, "He's responding when someone talks to him. Make sure you hold his hand when you talk to him. Now it seems like it is past your bedtime. I need to get your Daddy to bed. I think he is exhausted."

David was concerned, "Dads, what will happen if Darrin wakes up and someone isn't there?"

Bill held David, "David, the hospital will call us if there is a change. Darrin is in the intensive care unit and is just be behind the nurses station so he will be well taken care of. They will call us if there is any change. Now go to bed. You have school in the morning."

Bill practically pushed me up the stairs and undressed me and pushed me into the shower. I guess I mechanically brushed my teeth and crawled into bed without anything on. Bill crawled in behind me but he was wearing briefs.

Bill handed me a glass, "Here, drink this. It will help you to relax. You need to get your rest."

The next thing I remember was waking up and looking at the alarm and it said 7:45. I quickly got dressed and went downstairs. There was no one there. There was a note. `Les, Mother has taken the boys to school and I have gone to the hospital to check on Darrin. I'll call you at work with the latest update. Mom, is going to sit with him this morning and Doctor Jacobs, will be sitting with him this afternoon. Go to work and take care of business. The doctors and the Lord are doing all they can for him. He just needs time to heal.'

I just sat there and started to cry and kept thinking, `If only I hadn't said okay when the boys asked to go riding.'

When I got to the hospital after work which hadn't been very productive, I found that Darrin had been relocated to a private room because he had his own private nurses twenty four hours a day. When I saw him he was hooked up with all kinds of tubes that led to a machine and a monitor that kept flashing numbers and kept making beeping sounds. I looked at the nurse who was on duty and asked, "What do all those numbers on the monitor mean?"

She explained the numbers to me, so I assumed that they had everything under control. I looked around the room and there were all sorts of balloons and flowers. I had a difficult time even looking at who had sent them. The flowers were from church members and the balloons and toys were from

school friends.

Doctor Anderson came in and looked at me, "Mr. Phillips, you can't let Darrin know that you're upset. You need to convey to him that you are confident that he is going to recover. I'll stop by again tomorrow night and check on him. Please don't let yourself doubt that Darrin will make it through this ordeal. He's a very strong young man to have made it this far."

I took Darrin's hand and started to talk to him but was interrupted when Hank and Peter came in. Hank crawled on the bed and kissed Darrin, "Mr. Darrin, you gotta get well. The people at the mission need you. Pete and I need you."

Darrin tried to move his hand as if he wanted to touch Hank but he was in restraints so he couldn't remove any of the tubes or the equipment that was attached to him, accidentally. Hank looked at me, "Mr. Phillips make them take those tie things off of Darren's wrists so he can move. He needs to be free so he can move . Please, make the Doctors make him better."

Bill ushered the two boys out and came back and held me. I just wanted to scream. `Why me, Lord? What have I done that was so bad that you allowed this to happen?'

Bill whispered, "Les, go home and eat and talk to the boys and get them ready for bed. I'll stay here until visiting hours are over."

The boys came and talked to me while I was eating. They had stopped in to see Darrin on their way home from school. David informed me, "Darrin responded when we talked to him and held his hand. The Doctor talked to us and said that Darrin's brain was just resting."

Danny wanted to know, "Daddy, why do they have Darrin's hands tied to the bed?"

"Danny, they want to keep Darrin from accidentally pulling out some of the tubes."

Denny asked, "Dad, how does Darrin go to the bathroom? Does he just wet the bed?"

"Denny, they have diapers on him. Once he has passed all of the solids in his stomach they will probably put a tube in his penis so he will be able to pee when has to and it will go into a bottle."

I watched as the boys got ready for bed and I prayed, `Dear Lord, please don't let anything happen to these three boys, too.'

When Bill got home, he made me take another of those pills that turned me into a zombie. Bill woke me early the next morning and we drove to check on Darrin before we went back to the house to eat breakfast with Mrs. Archer and the other three boys. There was a young male nurse with Darrin when we arrived. His name was Todd Snide.

Todd informed us, "I will be working the evening shift starting tomorrow. The agency is still trying to find at least one more nurse who has experience working with trauma patients. Mr. Phillips and Father Archer, Mr. Witmer has insisted that only the most qualified people be hired. I usually work in the Trauma Center at The University Medical Center but am taking a two week vacation to attend to Darrin."

"Mr. Phillips, we'll call you if there is any change at all. You can stop worrying because worrying isn't going to help Darrin. You all need to have a positive attitude so that Darrin get positive vibes from you."

Bill looked at Todd, "Todd, why would you take a vacation away from your primary place of employment for a private job? It looks as if you are married."

Todd was very honest, "I had to take vacation or lose it. Look at it this way; I am getting paid twice for working during my vacation. My wife and I have a set of seven year old twin boys and this will allow us to give them some extra things. Besides, when I was about Darrin's age, I fell off a horse and was in a coma for seven days. So I have great empathy for Darrin."

On the way back to the house for breakfast, Bill looked at me, "Les, we can't ignore what has happened to Darrin, but you can't let it consume your life either. Darrin, of all people, would not appreciate it if you didn't go about your business."

We were eating breakfast when the doorbell rang, David went to answer it and came back with Grandma Hattie. She didn't waste any words, "Les, I came home as soon as I heard what happened to Darrin. I'll take a turn sitting and talking to him each day. I'll go in the morning so Barbara can get the children to school. I'll arrange a schedule to have someone with him and talking to him all day long. You and Father Archer can take care of the evenings from seven until they throw you out, but don't forget your other three wonderful sons."

At lunch time, I stopped by the hospital and talked to Darrin. Doctor Jacobs left the room and went to get a cup of coffee while I was there. Todd looked at me, "Mr. Phillips, you and your sons have a lot of good friends."

I was able to get a lot of work done after I suddenly realized that there wasn't anything that I could do to help Darrin that wasn't already being done. I left the office at 4:15 and stopped by the hospital and Mike and Cory were sitting talking to Darrin.

Mike looked at me, "The senior high youth group will spend the afternoons from 4:00-5:30 with Darrin. We are going to be relieved tonight by the Madsens with Pete and Hank. Grandma Hattie has it all worked out."

When I got home, Mrs. Archer was the only person there, "Where are the boys."

She laughed, "They're mowing a lawn of course, and Kent is helping them. They got a late start because they wanted to stop and see Darrin after school."

The boys came in about 5:15 and I sat and talked with them and checked their school work until Bill got home. We talked at the dinner table but no one mentioned Darrin. It was as if they were warned not to. I was to find out that Todd talked to the boys when they were at the hospital and suggested that they not talk about Darrin except when they were asked a question or at the hospital.

Bill and I hugged the guys and left for the hospital. We arrived just before seven. The Madsens were sitting there with Hank and Pete and the boys were taking turns telling Darrin everything that happened. After the Madsens and the two boys left, an older lady introduced herself, "Mr. Phillips and Father Archer, I'm Vivian Skelley. After today, I'll be on duty overnights. They finally found a qualified nurse for the days so we'll get back to the shifts we normally work. Dr. Anderson just left. He asked me to tell you that everyone was doing the correct thing. He wanted me to remind you that Darrin's mind needs to rest and will shut down from time to time and he may not respond. He was rather active when Hank and Pete were here."

Darrin was indeed shut down while Bill and I were there. It was not until we told him that we were leaving that he responded.

Wednesday and Thursday were pretty much the same routine and I never knew who would be sitting talking to Darrin when I went in. There were people I recognized but I didn't know some of their names.

When I woke up on Friday morning I had an uneasy feeling. Bill and I went to the hospital and found that Mr. Witmer was already sitting there talking to Darrin. He looked at Bill and me, "Just thought you would like to know, Lisa's mother is being charged this morning for premeditated attempted murder and the district attorney is requesting that her request to be out on bail be denied."

I'll stay with Darrin until Grandma Hattie gets here.

When I got to the office, Linda greeted me, "Happy Friday the 13th boss. How was Darrin this morning?"

I told her about the visit with Mr. Witmer and all she said was, "Good."

She handed me some papers and the schedule. Thankfully it looked to be rather normal and the day settled down to the same routine. I made my usual visits to the hospital. I was getting to know the staff quite well. When Bill and I got to the hospital just before seven, Kent and his Mother were sitting talking to Darrin. Kent looked at us, "Mr. Phillips, Darren isn't responding right now. He seems very tired."

Todd answered, "Kent, the day nurse said he was extremely restless all day. His brain is probably just resting."

Kent's mother, Shay Dillon, spoke, "Kent, let's get home. My leg is starting ache and you are going to be mowing lawns in the morning. Les and Bill, I'll talk to you later. Thanks for coming into our lives. Things are looking up again."

Kent and his Mother had just left when Darrin's monitors stopped blipping and blinking and there was a shrill siren sound. Todd pushed Bill and me away from the bed. "The crash team is on its way. Please don't interfere. It might be better if you left the room."

I fell against Bill and I wanted to scream.

Author's Note: If you would like to read more of this story or other interesting stories, you might wish to visit


Editor's Notes: OH YOU BAD BAD author!!!! How dare you leave us hanging from this sheer dangerous cliff this way? It is a very good thing that I already have the next chapter in my possession right now, or I would be making a trip to see one E Walk and let him know just how unhappy I am to see him leave us with such a devastating situation. But I do have the next chapter, which I assure you I will be reading as soon as I finish with this editor's note.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher