Category Archives: Scott

in a tiny town called Hope

“You know you don’t have to do this. You know you can go. I’ll understand if you can’t be here. We haven’t been together that long.”

***

Scott and I had been dating for about six weeks when he got a phone call that he tripped down the stairs for in a hurry to get to the phone. He picked it up just in time to hear a stranger’s voice asking him if he knew a Heidi Kroeker, his stomach sinking, his life turning over.

Scott and I met at a church, one we had been attending for less than a year. I had never really spoken to him even though we distantly traveled in the same circle. I knew him as quiet. He kept to himself. One evening we were at an event held at the church. There was an empty chair beside me and part way through the evening he filled it. As soon as he sat down I never wanted him to leave. I didn’t know this guy. I had said hello. We had exchanged pleasantries. We had friends in common, but I didn’t know him. Yet, if I had the strength or the stupidity I would have asked him to stay.

I found out through a mutual friend that he was interested in me after I had sworn off men at 23 when it is the job of twenty-somethings to make grand sweeping statements every other week. I had sworn off men and he was sneakily going through my friend’s address book to find my phone number.

Our friend, Natalie, told me he thought I was smart; he liked the way my mind worked. I don’t know if I ever told Scott that’s when he got me. That when he said I was smart it forced me to take a deep breath. My phone rang a week after Natalie played Cupid. It was Scott asking me to go for a walk.

He showed up at my front door wearing a sweater that I knew he especially put on for me. I hardly knew him, but I knew he wasn’t a sweater wearing sort of guy. It happened to be a warm spring evening, unusual for the lower mainland where April is marked with rain. We walked for a few blocks into town and decided to have a drink at a nearby restaurant. There we talked for a while and he told me he would like to be my friend. I don’t know where I got the nerve, but my mouth opened before I could think and quietly said I knew better. I knew he wanted more. I hadn’t dated a lot, but past hurts taught me I liked feelings where I could see them, all cards on the table. No pretenses.

We walked back to my parents’ house where I was living at the time, having moved back after living with a good friend of mine. He walked me back and I felt light with something new, with the hope of what could be.

We spent a lot of time together after that walk, our first date. We drove everywhere. We went to Whistler for the day, a gorgeous ski resort that every good BCer has been to many times. We drove to a town tucked into the mountains called Hope where Scott and I hiked through the rocks making our way to the river to soak in the beauty of what lay in front of us. Our futures were wide open and stretched out with no end in sight. In a tiny town called Hope we began to fall in love.

We didn’t spend every day together. We had money to earn and friends we didn’t want to ditch, but we spent hours talking getting to know each other at the lake, at parks, all over the lower mainland of BC. I learned I was dating someone that didn’t open doors for me. I was incredulous, “You don’t open doors for girls?” I had great male friends in my life that always opened the door for me. Even a couple of the schmucks I dated were nice enough to do that for me. His response was a sigh and a smirk, “Well, I’m open to training.” I hadn’t met someone like him before. His honesty and stillness intrigued me. At the age of 22 he was remarkably self aware. I was animated and opinionated and I quickly discovered we were opposites. I had dated someone that told me often I was too loud, too opinionated, too much. It took me a long time to recover from that, believing his words making myself smaller over what I knew to be true. Scott never shut me down, never made me feel less than and that was something I wanted to get closer to. We wanted the same things out of life even if we did come at them in different ways. Love was between us, but we were becoming fast friends too.

The first time we kissed we were on another one of our many walks. The sun was setting and we were about to head home when Scott stopped to turn towards me. He held my face gently as he pressed his lips to mine. We kissed and I was giddy with firsts. Our first kiss, my first love, the first time I felt like I was coming home.

***

“…you can go.”

He sat in the chair next to my bed among the tubes and whirring machines keeping me alive and held my hand.

*This post is out of order. I’ll continue where I left off the next time, but this was on my mind and I had to get it out of my head. 🙂 Also, I have changed the name of our mutual friend Cupid here.

meeting mr. kroeker

Written by Scott:

A nurse escorted Heidi’s father and I to a small examination room. We had only known each other for a few hours, having been introduced by Heidi’s mother in the emergency room at MSA Hospital, Abbotsford City’s local facility. We had become only slightly more familiar with each other during the forty five minute drive to the more advanced Vancouver General Hospital, trailing well behind the ambulance that had rushed Heidi toward a better chance at survival.

The examination room in VGH’s Emergency Unit consisted of nothing more than a blue curtain drawn across a five foot opening to hide us within three stark white walls. As we sat on the two plastic chairs pressed against the back of the tiny room, I absently gazed at dozens of dark marks on the side walls. These were undoubtedly the scuff marks left from countless childrens’ shoes as they took their own turn in these chairs. I imagined them kicking their feet forward and back in discomfort and nervous anticipation of the unknown, only to be scolded by their anxious mothers who rebuked them more out of habit than any real concern for the property. The only other features in the room were a short, rolling stool and a florescent overhead fixture which relentlessly pressed out its clear blue light, nobly contributing everything it had to the room’s sole purpose of illuminating the source of pain and fear.

There was nothing to say. No hopeful words of encouragement were applicable. We both knew we were going to receive tragic news. We were simply waiting to discover how bad it would be.

After several minutes, the curtain was drawn back and a young, kind looking Doctor took his place on the stool. He introduced himself and explained that he had been examining Heidi and was responsible for deciding what immediate action would give her the best chance of survival.

“Heidi has sustained incredible trauma to her body.” he began, “The back of her body has been burned from her shoulder blades down and the front from her lower abdomen down.”

This much we were prepared for. The Doctor in Abbotsford’s emergency facilities had already painted this picture.
“The swelling in Heidi’s legs was so severe that we were afraid it was cutting off her circulation. So we cut into her legs to relieve the pressure. What we discovered is Heidi’s left leg is severely damaged but may still be useful. However, her lower right leg is damaged beyond repair.” He stopped speaking to the both of us and turned all his attention to Heidi’s father. “We believe it is necessary to remove Heidi’s right foot and part of her leg below the knee, in order to give her a chance. And we need your permission to perform the surgery.”

Heidi’s father sighed deeply. He squeezed his hands together nervously as his eyes roamed around the room, his mind searching for the correct response. His heavy German accent broke the silence, “Are there any other tests you can do? Maybe there is something that can be done.”

The Doctor’s face was clearly compassionate as he spoke, “Mr. Kroeker, forgive me for being blunt, but Heidi’s right leg is literally cooked like a piece of meat. There is nothing that can be done to save it. If we don’t remove it, it will kill her.” After a moment, he looked down at his clip board in an effort to give Heidi’s father the space he needed to make the most difficult decision of his life.

Heidi’s father turned to me, “What do you think?” The Doctor’s gaze followed.

I responded, “If it’s like he says, I can’t imagine anything else that could be done. He’s the Doctor. If it were my decision, I would let him do whatever he thinks he should do to save her life.”

Heidi’s father thought for several more seconds. “Ok.” his focus returning to the doctor “Please do whatever you can to save her.”

“We are Mr. Kroeker. We’re doing everything we can.”

The doctor held the clipboard while Heidi’s father shakily scrawled his name on a piece of paper, signing away his daughters past and preparing the way for many surgeries to come.

ICU – scott’s story

This post that you’re about to read precedes my first memory, the previous post. This is written by Scott who was my boyfriend at the time of the car crash, but has since upgraded to my husband.

Heidi’s mom stood up as I entered the ICU family room. I had been trading shifts with her and other members of Heidi’s family at this post everyday for the past two weeks. She looked worried and had been crying, which wasn’t unexpected, that’s what people do in places like this. But something was different today. Her eyes conveyed a sense of urgency. There was a question in them.

“Heidi’s awake.”

“What?” I’d heard her but I needed a second to let the words sink in.

“Heidi’s awake and she won’t stop crying. They’d like you to go talk to her.”

“ok.”

This was the moment I’d been praying for. But the joy I was expecting didn’t arrive. There was no fear or anger. Just the cold reality of the conversation I knew was about to take place. But there was love. Only love could give me the strength to walk the path appearing before me.

“The doctors turned down the drugs that were keeping her asleep. Her Dad and I tried to talk to her but she just keeps crying.”

“ok.”

She doesn’t know anything. She’s been lying there, unconsciously fighting for her life for every second of every day for the past two weeks.

“I’ll tell the nurse you’d like to go in.”

“ok”

There’s so much to tell her. Where do you start? How do you tell somebody they’ve lost everything they thought they would have forever?

As Heidi’s mom left the room, I sat down on the small couch and stared at the floor. The family room wasn’t your typical hospital waiting room. This one felt like it had been given a little more thought in design. The other waiting rooms I had visited over the past two weeks all felt as though they’d been added to the building as an afterthought or the space had been reluctantly conceded by the other more important parts of the building. This one was equipped for people whom would be waiting a long time. The couches and chairs felt comfortable at first but quickly lost their charm as your muscles discovered the lack of support. During the night these couches pulled out into even less comfortable beds. Cheap prints of impressionist paintings hung on the walls overtop industrial strength wall paper and wall sconces cast their soft light up the wall to illuminate the t-bar ceiling. Meanwhile, a film of thin carpet attempted to conceal the hard concrete floor beneath. While the room was welcoming and warm, it ultimately failed in its efforts to conceal the fact that you were sitting in a place where death knocked often.

The door opened as Heidi’s mom returned with the nurse, “Hi Scott, come on in. Heidi’s awake and wants to see you.”

“ok”

As I stood up, I noticed the pile of paper cranes on the table across the family room had grown again since yesterday. Behind them, a middle aged Asian woman spoke quietly to a teenage girl as they both focused on the little birds forming in their hands. I followed the nurse out as she turned to lead me down the now familiar maze of hallways toward Heidi’s ICU room.