When we got to the hospital at 5 am, we were immediately ushered into a little room by two doctors. After introducing themselves and shaking hands with us, they explained that at around 1:00, Dante had been traveling down a dark two-lane highway, and had gone off the road in a construction area. He had traveled 700 feet in a roadside ditch, but other than the car having some body damage – the airbags hadn’t even gone off – he was probably ok at that point, other than some probable disorientation as a result of the experience. He got out of his car to flag down a passing vehicle, and was struck by it. The driver immediately called 911 and firemen from a nearby station were on the scene within minutes. Other than a broken tibia and a few scrapes and scratches, he appeared uninjured, but the back of his head had hit the windshield, and he had needed to be put on a ventilator.
Before we got to see him, we were told that although he looked like he was okay, it was extremely likely that he was not going to make it. His mother and sisters were still several hours away, and the staff expressed concerns that they might not get there in time. It seemed like a miracle that Dante’s vitals had stabilized by the time they arrived, although he remained unconscious.
Throughout the day, upwards of 25 friends and family members came to the hospital to provide emotional support in the lounge area, and one thoughtful person went to the store and bought snacks for everyone. People from different parts of my life who had never met before were talking together and comforting each other. My family has always been close, but everyone who was there was invested in hoping and praying for Dante. It was terrible and wonderful at the same time.
While waiting for results of further testing, my daughters, my ex and I alternated between spending time with Dante, and finding out as much as we could about the accident. All we knew was what the doctors had told us — no state troopers or police ever came to the hospital with further details. Some of my friends made phone calls and determined that Dante’s car had been towed to an impound lot. The accident was being investigated by state troopers, so they weren’t going to release the car to us. His wallet had been recovered from the scene, but his phone was missing, so we still had no clue as to why he had been out driving by himself late at night. People were trying to get through to the state troopers, but no one was returning their calls. It was not until later in the day that someone was finally located who would read us the police report over the phone, which ended up raising more questions instead of supplying us with answers.
Sometime during the afternoon, my friend Ross wondered aloud if maybe Dante should be moved to a different, larger hospital. He had a friend at the University of Michigan medical center in Ann Arbor, whom he called to get some advice on the idea, while my ex called her insurance company to see if they might cover that. Family members offered to cover the expenses if they didn’t, but it seemed like another miracle when not only did The U of M accept Dante as a patient, the insurance company authorized a helicopter transport.