First Bus Jump

by kfrego

Uncle Bob and Aunt Ida’s son Tommy became old enough to start school while living near Youngstown. (See my post of April 19 2013: Speech n Music) Tommy was very excited about attending school and meeting many other children. Aunt Ida desperately wanted Tommy to be normal like other children, but she was very tentative about having Tommy in school and away all day. Tommy had a tracheotomy tube at the base of his throat, just above the collar bone. It took several trips to school to meet with the teachers, nurses, and bus drivers so they could meet Tommy and learn how to assist him should he need help. Aunt Ida taught Tommy how to maintain his tube properly. Being Tommy’s only way to breathe, he knew when to remove the inner metal trachea tube, clear his outer tube, clean the inner tube, and properly re-install it. If Tommy’s outer metal tube became obstructed, he wouldn’t be able to breathe. Tommy had lived with his restrictions from a very early age. He knew his capabilities. He couldn’t wait to get on that bus and go to school. His first day of school was a memorable adventure for me.

The big day arrived and the whole family was up early to see Tommy off to school. My presence was needed so Aunt Ida would have somebody to babysit the younger children if Aunt Ida was called to the school. Tommy got on the bus in front of the house while his Mom shed a few tears. Every time the phone rang you could see the color drain out of Aunt Ida’s face. The day passed without incident. The bus dropped Tommy across the road from the house.

Tommy had enjoyed a great day at school. He kissed his Mom and was taking off his jacket when Aunt Ida asked where his inner tube was. Tommy put his hand to his throat and shrugged. He had cleaned and re-installed his inner tube just before leaving school. He was sure he had it in on the bus. Aunt Ida was scared to death. She questioned Tommy and he was sure he didn’t leave it anywhere. He had all his cleaning supplies with him. Aunt Ida decided to go check across the road where Tommy got off the bus. Sure enough, when Tommy jumped off the bottom step of the bus, his tube popped out from the impact with the ground. She picked it up and clasped it in her hand. From that day on Tommy held his tube with one hand when jumping off the bus.

Tommy was hindered by his tracheotomy………………..but he had extraordinary determination and heart.