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Derek's Den


Derek's Accident
Aug 10, 2000

Written by his mom, Marsha Steed


10 pm. The phone rings.
"Is this Derek's mother?"...
my stomache sinks, one always, always dreads such calls.
My fears are well founded it seems, "This is Sutter Memorial, we have
your son in the Trama unit." Oh no, is he alive? Is he alright,
is he going to be alright, what happened? "There has been an accident."
What was he driving? Was he driving... my car is still in the front yard. Who was with him,
how are they? Questions come faster than they can be answered.
Answers are vauge, unsatisfying.

We fly out the door, noticing nothing but our destination. "Why...
What.." Going through our minds. The sight of the strong fiesty 17 year
old stretched out on a board, with his neck in a collar and tubes
running in and out of him is sobering. He is lucid, or nearly. He
repeats over and over the same questions, "What time is it? Is Katie
alright? Am I OK? Really, is Katie alright? I really like her. What
time is it? Am I grounded? Are you mad? "

The doctor comes in, first we were told that it was 'some abraisions'...
now it seems that there is internal bleeding. Probably a ruptured
spleen. His stomache is filled with blood and he has a gash about a
foot long and about an inch wide on his right calf, to the bone.
Sutured, surgery are the next words... then recovery, a week.

Plans now change, funny how life stops on a dime and everything shifts.
Family is thought of, but as of yet, no one is called. We wait to
hear. Talk to the young girlfriend. She is lucid, she says her foot
hurts, but she seems more shaken than anything. I pray for her safety.

What do you tell a child in such a state? Knowing it was his own
inexperience and cockiness that put him where he is? Indestructable, he
believes himself unfallible, capable of handling things. Then the
worries begin, a hug, and I am disolved. Decisions, papers to sign... a
life to contemplate, gratitude for what *didn't* happen. Gratitude for
those who invented seat-belts, for the drilling that resulted in him
wearing it that night. Gratitude for a future that could have
evaporated, and yet... concern.
A streetlight that the city will now bill us for. A friends '97 car
that is now totaled. A young girl whose life was in danger, her parents
wrath and pain. Driving with passengers on a restricted juvenille license.
Unsafe speed. New cloths ruined... will these things matter?
Will they be reflected upon?
Will he learn anything?
Worry. Surgery.
A surgeon, anetheseoligist who explains in too much
detail what could happen. An old nurse with no compassion drilling
us and him with questions. An internest with a ready smile and excellent
bedside manner, nurses working tirelessly, professionally, and still
with humor and a sparkle in their eye that speaks of thier caring...
their love of what it is they have chosen to do with their lives.
Wonder. Will he now choose something that will make his eyes sparkle,
will he repay all of those who have supported him?

Phone calls. Family members awoken from sleep. Tears from a sister
just moved across country within the week. Grandparents arriving,
friends coming with sleepy parents who are supportive and kind. So much
to be grateful for, so much to see in the true interworkings of this
existance we call life. Threads what sparkle through the mundane to
show what parts of our lives we have woven that have mattered. Those
golden ones that hold everything else together. Family traveling
distances just to come and be supportive. Will he see it? Will he see
his family, or will only his friends matter? How do we teach him.

Then... what now. Do we try tough love, and remove his privaledges, do
we call it inexperience and not recklessness? Do we make him pay for
his damages, robing him of his freedom, or did he do that himself?
Natural consequence. Pain... will that make him understand?

Waiting. Waiting. Friends come and we chat. Joke, tell stories. What
else is there when there is an under current of fear, of 'that could be
me'... Youth sobered, grateful that it wasn't worse. Finally the doctor
comes back. Too soon, he is an hour too soon... more instant dread.
Comforting words from a very straightforward surgeon. They can't be
emotional. Fixing bodies is what they do, like fixing cars, or
repairing elelctrical faults. Technical terms, a lifetime of elbows
length gloves of other peoples blood. Can he know of my gratitude for
his years of study, for his dedication to his craft, that he can do what
I am helpless to do? He will be paid, and yet... there is something
magical about all of it, mysterious and awesome. The news is good. He
will be fine. They had to remove the spleen, infection is now a much
greater risk, a lifetime of innoculations and pnenomia fear. Still, he
is alive and limpid, coming out feisty.

We visit with him. He is thirsty.
Onery. Loving, fearful, grateful, tender.
He kisses my hand and apologizes. I am flooded with gratitude
and love for him. He is like a little boy. My little boy. He thanks
his friends for coming, apologizes for worring them. They let another
come in. There is a heart monitor attatched to his right arm, on his
index finger is a red light... his friend enters, and he lifts up his
finger... touches Jeremy's belly... "ET phone home..."

He is going to be alright.

Marsha Steed 8/10/2000

Mrs. Steed - 

Hi! It is me Heather. I wanted to thank you for sending me that  email. It made me cry. I went to visit him earlier today.He was joking  around a little bit with my little sister. whom he doesn't like very much. I  hope he learns from this. He is my best friend, I don't know what I would  have done if he didn't make it. I have never had to go through something  like that before. It really scared me. I can only imagine how you felt.After  I got home from the hospital..I laid in bed for a long time just thinking 
about Derek and all that we have shared together. I never went back to sleep  because I was afraid something else might happen. If you ever need anything  or need me to do something..Im only a phone call away. k? Luv ya Lots!!! 

From his Friends... 

Well, since this is the list I got from one of the emails Derek sent me, I figured this is his contact list. As some of you already know, Derek Steed and his girlfriend Katie Smith (I think that is her last name), were involved in a car accident in my car late Thursday night. Katie was reported to be fine, with some minor foot problems (I have yet to talk to her). Derek on the other hand is another story. 

Derek was not as lucky as Katie was. After hitting a telephone pole at 45 MPH, he was rushed to Sutter Roseville Hospital Emergency Room in an ambulance where he "successfully" went through exploratory surgery. Doctors hurried to repair the splene, but found it necessary to remove it. Derek also suffered some major and SEVERAL minor wounds to his legs. Derek's arms seemed to have very few cuts and bruises. The pillow his head rested on had blood stains and it is reported that he has suffered a concussion. 

Derek is recovering from surgery tonight and will be home in approximately one week. With the exception of some scars and his splene, Derek is expected to make a complete and full recovery (hopefully). Now I ask of you to remember Derek and his family in your prayers and thoughts. Thank you for your time and hospitality. 

Derek's Friend, 
Jerame Stout

Dear Mrs.Steed 
I'm a friend of Derek's and my name is Christina. I was shocked and scared when Heather called and left a message that Derek had an car accident. I prayed that derek was all right and i was relived to hear that he was. tell him that me and my sister jennifer 
is all praying that he gets well and calls us. 


CLick Photo to see larger more gorey version

These are the skid marks
This is my 'zipper' OUCH! My #7 ouchie
Skid Marks into the Infamous Pole
This is my 'Zipper'
The staples in my leg


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Aren't I handsome ? 

The Planes I wanted to fly. . . before my accident.  No spleen... no fly. . .