On the morning of November 14th, significant other and I were awakened in the wee hours in Phoenix by a phone call from an Emergency Room in Chicago. Her son was there. He had been stabbed multiple times.
We diverted to Chicago. By the time we got there, the brilliant surgeons at Illinois Masonic Medical Center – one of four Level I trauma hospitals in the city – had done their magic. The attacker’s blade had pierced both spleen and diaphragm. He had lost so much blood the paramedics thought they were going to lose him in the ambulance, but new glue-like technology allowed the medicos to stanch the hemorrhage from the spleen without removing the organ. (My surgeon friends have long told me that trying to sew up solid abdominal viscera, liver or spleen, is like trying to suture Jello. You can live without your spleen, but your quality of life goes down thereafter.) They pretty much had to disembowel him to do the reconstruction and then re-pack everything into an incision that went from sternum to pubis, but they put him back together pretty damn well.
He went home last night, after eight days in what has – rightfully, I have to attest – been named one of the best hospitals in the United States. Being necessarily disassembled and reassembled in this fashion caused a “shock to the bowels” and it took a while for the digestive system to get back up and running. The young man is looking at eight weeks of serious convalescence, and probably 18 months to two years before he gets back to normal.
The attack took place outside an upscale restaurant/tavern in a nice neighborhood on the Northwest Side. So much for the shibboleth that “if you just stay away from bad places, nothing bad will ever happen to you.” Of course, in Chicago, ordinary people aren’t allowed carry anything to defend themselves against a lethal weapon assault.
Given Chicago’s level of violent crime today, the city’s undermanned, underequipped, and overburdened police department is doing a good job with the investigation. They believe they’ve identified the suspect. I anticipate an arrest soon.
A week at that hospital with the victim’s mom makes me (and the mom, and the victim’s lovely young wife, and their three fine sons) a little more in tune with the national Giving of Thanks that is scheduled this week. It ain’t just about turkey and cranberry sauce, is it?
I wish all of you reading this a wonderful Thanksgiving week. Don’t let celebration get in the way of remembering the name, and the meaning, of the holiday.
I can only tell you that on this end, we have much to give thanks for this coming Thursday.