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“Name please?” Bill hears from the secretary at the desk as he takes a deep breath.
“Bill Elliott,” he states. “I’m here to see Chase Elliott. I was called by a doctor saying that he was admitted here.”
The older gentleman was trying to remain calm, but had to admit that he was nervous. It wasn’t like he had much information to go thus far with regards to how his son was doing.
Sitting at home with Cindy, watching a movie, the pair weren’t set to be up to much for the day as there was nothing on the agenda. Considering that there was a good movie or two on TCM, might as well make a relaxing day out of it.
However, every bit of relaxation was removed when he received the phone call.
“Hello?” He answered the phone after hearing it ring.
“Hello,” he heard a serious voice on the other end. “Is this Bill Elliott, speaking?”
“This is. Can I help you?”
“I am calling to tell you that your son, Chase Elliott, has been admitted to Athens Regional Medical Center as a result of a plane crash. I can tell you that he was unconscious initially on the scene, but is conscious and was speaking to hospital officials upon arrival. I’m sorry but there is nothing else that I can tell you with regards to his condition at this time.”
“I’ll be there right away.”
Bill remembered the immediate pit that formed in his stomach upon hearing those words. He remembered the instant worry that flooded through his mind in wondering about how his son was, the extent of the injuries, and what had happened. It wasn’t that long of a flight. Was there a mechanical failure? Was there weather-related issues? Did Chase forget to check something? The concerns of what had happened immediately erased his mind, though, as he rather focused on the worry about Chase’s condition, as well as Sarina’s.
The only thing that he knew was that Chase was knocked out but conscious now, and knew nothing about Sarina. What did that mean? How serious was the crash?
The pit in his stomach had just continued to grow larger when he repeated the words for Cindy, remembering the tears that streamed down her face as she immediately worried about her son.
It was only an hour and 15 minute drive from Dawsonville to the hospital, however it felt like it was taking forever. Why hadn’t they received a phone call with any update? Why wasn’t there anymore information? The entire drive was pure silence as they both worried.
“You can head down through those doors,” the secretary said, snapping Bill out of his thoughts. “Mr. Elliott can be found in room 104.” There was a positive – they were allowed to go see him immediately, and without a doctor consult first. It had to mean something positive, right?
“Thank you,” he simply says before going through the doors with Cindy in toe.
The pair walked down the short hallway, glancing at each other before walking into the room. They noticed the lights had been toned down immediately, which only helped to enhance the concerns. Their eyes immediately fell upon the first bed as they walked into the room, noticing the young man bundled up underneath the blankets. His eyes were closed, lost in their own thoughts, though slowly opened to look at them both directly.
“Mom…” Chase lets out as he sits up a little bit. “Dad…” The pair of them walk over, immediately wrapping their arms around him to pull him into a hug together. Being able to hug him, and seeing him speaking to them without a bunch of monitors, wires, or body restraints gave them easy relief. There was also relief in seeing how Sarina was laying in her bed, loosely. “Easy…please…” The pair immediately let go upon his comment.
“How are you, sweetie?” Cindy asks, concern laced in her voice as Chase takes a deep breath, laying back once again.
“Sore,” he tells her, knowing that the next question would be pertaining to his condition. “I’ve got a concussion, headache, feel a little dizzy still….” He then takes a deep breath, blinking his eyes, as he tries to get the dizziness to calm a little bit before continuing. “…cracked a couple ribs on my left side, and got bruises all down my side, too. Sarina is alright. She’s just got some bruises. They have us both here for 24 hours and want to wak-”
“…wake you up every three to four hours for precautionary measures.” Cindy then glances back over her shoulder at Bill, before returning her eyes back to Chase. “I’ve been through that with your dad so I know.” She then brushes a bit of stray hair out of his face. “At least you’re going to be okay, and it wasn’t more serious. Just relax and take care of yourself…” She then leans down and kisses his forehead. “Just take it easy, okay? I’m glad you’re okay. You gave us quite a scare.”
“I’m sorry. I should’ve gotten them to call you, or cal-”
“Don’t fret about it. Just focus on getting better.” Cindy then takes a seat in the chair beside his bed as Bill looks over at Sarina, who has her eyes locked on them. He could a possible bit of loneliness in her eyes, combined with the fear and the pain of what happened.
“Is there anybody that I can call for you, or anything that I can get for you?” Bill asks as he walks over to her and she shakes her head no.
“I’m fine, Bill,” she assures him as she lets out a sigh. “I’m just focused on Chase and making sure that he gets better.” Bill then gives her a quick hug.
“You also take care of yourself, okay?” She shakes her head yes.
Bill then pulls the chair that was between the beds, sitting down in it himself as he looks between the pair. It was certainly a relief to know that they were both okay. That was the main thing on his mind at the moment, certainly after the initial worry that he felt.
“I wish I knew what caused it,” Chase lets out, catching everybody’s attention. “I can’t figure it out. We heard a bang. I started going through the checklist and she was looking for a place for us to land. Next thing according to her as I don’t remember – the engines cut out and we crashed. I can’t figure it out…” Cindy grabs his hand with her own, rubbing the back of it.
“Focus on getting better,” she tells him once again, “That’s the main thing. We can worry about what happened later. Besides, there are people that deal with investigating crashes and those things.” Bill shook his head in agreement, already guessing that the NTSB was on scene with the log books in hand, going through everything.
“Did you go through your normal pre-flight checklist properly?” Bill asks and Chase looks over, shaking his head yes. “Log books are in the plane, right?” Chase shakes his head yes, again. “It could be a mechanical failure, or something else.” Sarina felt her own breath hitch in hearing the words something else. She couldn’t imagine what would happen if this was connected with her, and the anger/wrath that would come her way.
“Bill, he needs to focus on getting bett-”
“He likes me, Cindy. He’s quiet, but he’s thinking about what happened. I was just trying to ease those worries.” Bill then looks over at Chase. “With that said, young man, your mother is right. Focus on getting better as we’ll figure the rest out on our own. The best thing that you can do is relax and let everything heal. If you continue to worry, you’ll just stress yourself out and that won’t help in easing that headache.”
“Yes, sir,” Chase replies as he takes a couple deep breathes, going through the breathing exercises that he was given for his ribs.
It was a lot to take in with the injuries, the pain, and knowing the time that was going to come in waiting for everything to simply heal once again. It was even more to take in contemplating what happened, getting checked on every four hours by the nurses, and remembering to do the breathing techniques after couple hours to avoid issues due to his ribs.
Though with his parents there, he instantly felt at ease. There was someone there to help take care of him, remind him of certain things, and answer the questions that he may have.