An Update about Dominic

I’m taking the old blog out of mothballs in order to have a centralized place to let people know what happened to Dominic and how he’s doing. This post will explain all the basics, and I’ll provide updates here on the blog over the next few days and weeks.

What Happened

First of all, so that the opening doesn’t cause too much concern, let me say: Dominic is going to be OK.

This past Friday, May 17, he was hit by car. He was crossing the street coming home from school. A passing school bus stopped to let him cross, but there was another lane, and a car in that lane passing the school bus hit him. He lost consciousness, but only very briefly. He lost a shoe. His violin case was cracked, but the violin survived. His backpack has a hole in it. There were people nearby to call 911, and EMS was on the scene less than two minutes later.

This was just down the street from our house, so it wasn’t long at all before kids were knocking on my door. “Dominic got hit by a car!” How do you respond to that? You put on flip-flops so you can rush outside. A second later you think, “That was dumb, I can’t run in flip-flops.” Then it turns out that you can. He was awake and surrounded by people when I got there. “Is this really happening?” he moaned. Faster than I could process it, I was with him in the ambulance.

A side note for those who live in Alexandria: the accident occurred where Ancell St runs into Commonwealth Ave. If you live near there you probably realize how very many people cross at that exact point every single day. Let the mayor and city council know that it is long past due for that intersection to have a robust crosswalk.

Nothing will test your faith in humanity as much as riding shotgun in an active ambulance and seeing how many people do not even get the hell out of the way, or are stupid or oblivious in a thousand other annoying ways. But nothing will restore your faith in humanity as much as walking into the ER trauma room of a children’s hospital and seeing over a dozen people — nurses, med students, social workers, doctors of every possible specialization — standing at the ready to figure out exactly what your child needs to be OK, and give it to them.

How He’s Doing

The best news is what Dominic doesn’t have. He doesn’t have head or neck trauma. He doesn’t have bleeding or other internal injuries. What he does have is a broken right femur — a complete but relatively clean break, midway — and a hairline fracture of the left shoulder. Plus three stiches in his left knee, and a wide assortment of other cuts, scrapes, and bruises.

We’re at Children’s National Hospital in DC. Saturday afternoon he had a 3.5 hour surgery to set his leg, and it was completely successful. There’s a titanium rod in there to hold it in place, so he won’t even need a cast. The shoulder won’t require anything other than a sling to make sure he doesn’t use that arm much while it heals. But the combination of the two is a doozy, because he won’t be able to use crutches. Recovery is going to be tough.

Now it’s Sunday afternoon, and when he’s on pain meds he is in very good spirits. He’s making up for twelve years of limited screen time by watching as many movies as he possibly can. Because his blood levels are low after surgery, he’ll be kept here for a third night in case they need to give him blood. Still ahead: physical therapy, getting discharged (hopefully tomorrow), figuring out the logistics of living in recovery. It will be an interesting plus or minus six weeks.

Through it all, family, friends, and neighbors have been amazing with their encouragement, prayers, rides, and food (please hold off on more food — our fridge is full!). Ella hasn’t just handled herself well through it all — she has been our emotional support. Over and over we say, “It could have been so much worse.” And we say, “He’s going to be OK.” He’s going to be OK.