Thursday, August 19th
I get a call from work from my sister in law informing me that my father in law had fallen from his semi. He has had falls before, I was concerned, but not scared about what was going on. She asked me to let Dale know and told me her and my mother in law were headed to Springfield in thoughts of bringing him home from the hospital that day. I emailed Dale thinking we will just see what we needed to do after work.
Little did I know my SIL had called the school to let Dale know the real news once they arrived in Springfield. He was in ICU on life support and has head trauma along with a broken neck. I was shocked. He was shocked. Dale was angry to say the least.
Friday, August 20th
Dale left 1st thing with his aunt and uncle to go get my FIL's semi and bring it home before it was towed. They visited my FIL for awhile and met with some doctors. The news we got that day was unbelievable, seriously unbelievable. I worked that morning because I couldn't do much else, but soon found out that I couldn't be at work thinking about what was going on at home and where I could be helping out. I left around noon to go to Dale's grandma's house where his other aunt was also there trying to keep her nerves in check.
A storm quickly rolled in shortly after I arrived. Tornado and all. That was the last thing we needed is to have the houses blown away, but it gave our minds a break. Not much damage done, a few broken limbs and some clean up to do but no big deal.
Once that minor storm blew over the real one hit. We got the phone call with an update. It wasn't good. They were giving him the weekend to show improvement. If none was shown they would be making a decision on Monday to remove the vent. Meaning he would go for however long his own breathing would take him and that would be it. That would be the end. Ridiculous, unbelievable, heartbreaking, devastating news.
We all cried. I personally felt like throwing the kitchen table across the room and probably would have if I was in my own house. How in the world could this be the news we were getting. He had a fall. Not a stroke, not a heart attack, not something to do with his diabetes, nothing like that. A stupid f'in stumble and now this. It didn't seem fair. What about his grand boys? What about the new baby on the way? What about Dale? How is it fair to him to be losing his dad? How is it fair to Bill who works his ass off everyday of his life to support and do whatever his family needs? How is it fair to Linda to have to go through this with her husband? How is it fair to his mom to be losing her 1st born child before she goes? It's not fair and there doesn't seem to be a reason, but I think we all know the truth to that.
We made arrangements for the kids to be taken care of while Dale's sister and I headed to Springfield in the pouring rain that night. It was a long trip, but one that we had to make. I thought my biggest hurdle would be facing Dale. I knew this was killing him. God protected me from that though. Dale and I had a couple of conversations about stuff he needed me to get and he sounded ok. When we got to the hotel it was late and we were all exhausted so we all went to sleep.
Saturday, August 21st
Visiting hours started at 8. We were up and ready to head to the hospital. Dale was outside with his sister as I grabbed a few things from the room. It was a hard morning. We headed to the hospital to be greeted by his mom who was in great spirits. She had her fighting attitude on and lifted us all up. Saturday was a good day. He showed signs of movement in his legs and toes, the right leg especially. That was music to our ears.
There were visitors, text messages, facebook messages, loving words passed on from others. The support and love shown was amazing. Saturday was a good day.
Sunday, August 22nd
Not much improvement shown on this day. He has been conscious and aware of what has been happening since Saturday morning. He was answering us shaking his head yes or no and trying to mouth some words. That was frustrating at times. He remembered what happened and it wasn't anything medical, just a fall. We spent the day taking turns in and out of the room. Soaking in as much time as we could with him and watching for any more signs.
Monday, August 23rd
This was a hard day for me. There seemed to be some regression, not much movement. Easy to lose some hope on this day. This was my break down day. I was missing the boys, the big picture of this situation was slapping me in the face, and I realized this is the exact time two years ago when I was in the hospital for my miscarriage. I was ready to write August off for the rest of my life.
Bill was showing even less improvement this day and this was the reassessment day. He was faced with 3 options. 1. Keep the ventilator in through the mouth, but it would start to cause problems in his throat. Bill was ready to yank the thing out himself if he could. His mouth was sore and he was extremely uncomfortable. 2. Switch to a trach to keep the vent to keep monitoring his breathing abilities. 3. Take it all out and leave him on his own to see how long he lasted. The doctor said it wouldn't be long.
He didn't want to make the decision and he had told us before he didn't want the trach. He wanted to get it all off and have people leave him alone, but when it came to decision time he wouldn't make the call. Him and Dale spent some time together. Dale explained what each of them meant and that he would do what Bill wanted him to do, but it would have to be Bill that made the decision. He decided to go with the trach.
It was good news to all of us. More time to heal, more time to see what this is going to do with his body, more time to see what the future holds. Since I don't think I have gotten to the exact injury and condition I guess I should spell that out too.
- A badly bruised spinal cord at C-4
- A broken vertebra at C-7 and T-1
- Head trauma
- Paralyzed from mid chest down
- Breathing on his own 100% at this point
- Fluid seeping into his lungs - he has had a couple of bouts of fluid getting into his lungs and causing him to pretty much suffocate. This would be one huge risk of being off the ventilator and having paralysis. On the vent the machine can let us know this is happening. Off, there is no way to tell us. They quickly started giving him Lasiks to get the fluid off, which worked, but more signs he shows like this and until he gets stronger this is going to be our biggest obstacle in getting him off the vent.
There is no for sure recovery we are getting. Since the spinal cord is bruised some or most of that damage could dissipate once it heals more or he could continue to be in this state for the rest of his life.
Tuesday, August 24th - today, Friday, August 27th
Dale and I went home to work for a couple days and to spend some much needed time with our boys. They have been having a blast. They had a slumber party with their uncle Billy and spent some time with Nae Nae and Pa Pa.
Bill has been getting his surgery for his trach, the feeding tube in his stomach and a filter just below his heart to prevent blood clots. Linda has been here since day 1. She is tired and when Bill gets down she tries to pump him back up, but she hates it when he gets like that and it weakens her spirits even though she doesn't show Bill that. She is staying strong for him.
We came back last night for the weekend. He looks so much better with the trach and he can communicate a lot better or I should say we can understand him a lot better. He has been asking about his boys and that puts a smile on his face. He has also been asking for root beer and grape pop. He's getting it. Dale made a special run last night around the hospital to find his dad some grape pop. Of course he didn't disappoint. The doctor said today he can have whatever drink he wants and can also have some ice cream. I think this has been the best news to Bill in the last week!!! The doc also said that Bill can sit up enough without a collar (neck brace) as far as he can as long as the neck doesn't go forward. This has been some great news this morning. Last night he kept asking Linda to get him up.
So, we are here when we can be and the next steps are to find a rehab place and get him transferred. The 1st step is getting him off of the vent. 2nd step is the long road to his recovery. We need to keep hope, which from day to day can easily become a struggle as some days seem a lot better than others. And PRAY! Pray that God's will is done and that we praise him for the work he is performing in not only Bill, but everyone affected or touched by the situation. It really puts things into perspective. You never know what's waiting around the corner for you. Make the play date, eat the desert first, hug your kid an extra time, make that phone call, write that letter. Do it!
Bill is use to working hard. He has worked hard his entire life. No need to stop now. Just change the focus.
I can't thank everyone enough for all the support, prayers, hugs, offerings of help. It all makes such a huge difference to those that are going through some of the worst moments in their lives. I just say thank you and please, please, please keep the prayers coming.