Mike and Abby pushed her along as Gracie started crying and Derek and Lynn held her back as Emily tried to calm her down. Knowing what was happening, Vern and Ashley followed.
Sammy was terrified and couldn’t move except for Mike and Abby’s pushing and dragging. Vern was talking low to the security official as they went to the employee elevator and down to the bowels of the stadium. Vern’s phone went off as the exited the elevator and murmured things back into the phone as they were escorted to a car waiting for them
“What is happening with my husband?” Sammy sobbed to the official, “Please tell me!!”
Before he could answer, “Sammy, darling. That was Smitty. He has an update,” Vern said. The official nodded and let him continue.
“What’s going on Vern?” Abby asked tearfully as she held Mike and Sammy’s hands tightly.
“They are taking him to the hospital. It looks like a badly broken leg and they don’t know if he has a head injury or if it’s the pain, but he is in and out of consciousness,” He explained.
“Mrs. Doogan, we are taking you there now. Please get in the car. The ambulance just left,” the official urged.
Ashley shoved her in the back seat with Mike and Abby as Vern got in the front seat.
“Ashley, get in,” Vern said.
“There’s nowhere for me to sit, I’ll be there soon,” She said.
Vern growled, got out, pushed her in the front seat with him, climbed back in and ordered the driver, “MOVE your ASS!”
They sped off, Sammy not remembering anything about the drive, trying to filter the thoughts in her head, and doing a miserable job. They arrived 15 minutes later where a team medical official was waiting. Seeing Sammy was not in any shape to ask questions, he turned to Mike and talked. Ashely and Abby directed Sammy and the rest of the party to a private waiting room.
They waited for the doctor to come in as promised when Sammy looked up to Abby with wide eyes, “Oh God! Is Jake going to die? I can’t do it Abby if he dies! I can’t! I –“
Abby’s heart broke and pulled her close, “NO Sammy! That’s not going to happen!”
She prayed she was right and held her and rocked her as Ashley broke down in Vern’s arms and Mike just sat stoic. Finally a man in a white coat came in with some more team people.
“Sammy, Mike, I have info,” He said, pulling a chair in front of them. The team doctor did as well.
“My name is Nathan Ringo. I am the orthopedist on call and will be working on Jake. Jake has a broken left leg, severely broken. All three major bones are broken and will need pins and maybe a plate. The ACL that he partially tore 18 months ago is torn again as well. That will need to be repaired as well. I am prepping an OR as we speak. We are looking at a roughly four hour surgery and a good year of rehab.”
“Mike, Sammy, I agree with Dr. Ringo’s assessment. This is what Jake needs,” Steve Woods said.
“Is he conscious?” Abby asked.
“He has woken up. He is having an MRI right now just to be safe, but we don’t think there is any head trauma. We think he passed out from the pain, which is extensive. We have taken the edge off, but we are taking him straight to the surgery suite when they are done. I will have security take you to a private waiting room that is a little bigger where you can wait until the surgery is over,” Dr. Ringo explained.
“I’ll stay with you all and answer any questions you all might have,” Steve said.
Grateful for his help, Mike nodded and sat back exhaling for the first time in what felt like days. Dr. Ringo left and promised someone would be in to take them up to the bigger room. Sammy didn’t know what to do and just sat there while others asked questions to Steve. His phone kept going off giving updates to him.
Finally 20 minutes later a nurse and police officer came in and took them a back way since the press was camped out front, waiting for an update. Sammy was in shock at this point and just didn’t know what to think. She just needed to see Jake and touch him to know he was ok. That’s all she needed and right now was the only thing she couldn’t have.
Just as they were settled, the rest of the family came in. Gracie was wrapped around Derek and had tears running over her face. Vern filled them in and they sat, waiting. Kevin came running in after the game, hair still wet from the shower he took after the game. The coach, Smitty and the owner came in and sat with them.
The minutes ticked on endlessly and Sammy felt the pain in her breasts as she knew that Aiden would need to eat. She knew she would have to do something soon and started crying when she realized that her son would have to eat.
“Sammy, honey what’s wrong?” Ashley asked.
“Aiden will need to eat soon…” She sobbed.
Understanding what she was saying, she sent a text to Kate giving her an update and telling her to give Aiden a bottle. Then she got up and went out to talk with a nurse.
Abby moved closer to her and took her hand and rubbed it in a soothing manner. Peaches came in carrying a tray of drinks and snacks and asked Gracie to help her give people something to eat. Gracie handed out the items and giggled as the others tried to distract her. Sammy ate nothing, but sipped on a ginger ale. Ashley came back with a nurse and box of items.
She handed Sammy a breast pump and directed her to the attached bathroom and pumped and dumped the milk, thankful for the relief. Sammy came back out to see Gracie doing a puzzle with Emily, the Coach and Vern. Grateful for the distraction for her daughter, Sammy sat back down and closed her eyes, praying harder than she had since her mom was sick.
The hours ticked past and finally Dr. Ringo came in, swiping the cap off his head and gave a weak smile, “He’s in recovery. The surgery went well. He…”
Sammy stopped listening after that. She heard all she needed to hear. No matter what happened as long as he was ok, that’s all she cared about. They could handle anything else. Soon Dr. Ringo was leaving and the family started asking Steve questions.
“…I’m just not sure. With the damage as extensive as Dr. Ringo said, I’m just not sure if he can play anymore. Six screws and a metal plate is a big deal, plus MCL damage? I’m just not sure Mike…”
That sparked Sammy’s ears. Not play anymore? Wow…That could be a hard pill for Jake to swallow when the choice wasn’t his. She sighed as the others still talked, trying to understand what was happening. She just wanted to see him, to touch him and know that he was real and alive.
“When can I see him Steve?” Sammy asked not caring who she interrupted.
“The nurse will come and get us when he is settled in a private room; maybe another 15-20 minutes,” He assured her.
Gracie had fallen asleep in Vern’s arms and hoped she didn’t wake up. Sammy was impatient and just needed to pace. Mike and Abby just watched as she stalked around the room, waiting.
35 minutes later, the nurse came in and showed them to the private floor and showed them the room, reminding them that he was still groggy and on quite a bit of pain medication and probably wouldn’t wake much or remember much tomorrow.
Sammy never felt the tears run down her cheeks as she viewed the man she had loved for so long laying on the bed, looking pale and too still. Jake never slept on his back; he slept on his side or stomach. It was odd to see him like that and she couldn’t believe that they were there. His leg was up in a traction type device covered in bandages and all you could see was his toes. It was odd to see him like that and Sammy just hoped that he didn’t feel any pain.
Mike went over and touched his arm and Jake’s eyes fluttered some and opened a little to see his dad and smiled a little, “Hey Dad…”
“Hey Jake, how ya feeling?” He asked gently.
“Where’s Sammy?” He asked, never answering the question.
“I’m here Jake,” She said sitting in the chair by the bed and taking his hand.
“Hi Baby…” He said, smiling a little, then closing his eyes again.
She looked at Steve who nodded, not seeming worried about what was going on. She took a deep breath and slowly let it out, trying not to lose it again. Then all of a sudden she was exhausted, bone numbingly exhausted.
Abby noticed her change, “Jake is in good hands, I think we let him rest and we go home and get some rest too. You ok with that Sammy?”
Sammy nodded and stood up, feeling Emily stand next to her, “Sammy, do you want me to come and stay with you? Help with Aiden?”
Sammy nodded, grateful for her offer. The group left after Steve made sure that they had the appropriate emergency numbers and then they left in the private SUVs that the owner had arranged. The Coach had to get back, but Steve was going to stay at a hotel right by the hospital, just in case.
The ride back was quiet. Vern rode in their car since Gracie was still sound asleep and he knew she was going to be too heavy for Sammy to carry. Kate met them at the house with Aiden, already sleeping in the bassinet in the Master bedroom. Sammy gave Emily a pair of shorts and a t-shirt to sleep in after she wrestled Gracie into her pajamas, never waking up. Sammy changed, climbed into bed and put her head on the pillow and closed her eyes. She was instantly out.