Thursday, January 9, 2014

The good news

Well, I guess the good news is life has returned to normal enough that I am able to get back on my blog.  I have thought about it the last couple days but it feels so overwhelming to journal the last few months I have been putting it off.  But it's time.
I have been thinking about the accident a lot today and it is still a little painful to touch.  About 3 weeks after school started I was just starting to think how bored I was going to be having the days to myself and Soran.  And then I came home from the crosswalk on Friday the 13th with a huge to-do list and ready to head back out the door when I saw a message on the phone.  I almost didn't listen to it I was in such a hurry.  It was a social worker from the hospital calling regarding my husband and to please call her back.  I started calling her back before it sunk in what was happening.  I had the wrong number and had to listen to the message over and try again and by that time I was in a panic.  I felt I was falling into a dark pit because I just knew Scott was dead.  Why else would a social worker from the hospital call?  She told me he had been in an accident and broken his femur but that he was conscious and that was a really good sign.  She asked if I could come to the hospital?  Was I okay to drive?  And did I need anyone to come with me?
I told her I'd be there and grabbed Soran.  I have to admit I screamed a little and cried a lot on the way there.  I knew he was hurt badly and this would be life-changing.  Soran curled up in a ball on the seat next to me and just looked at me.  When I pulled into the ER parking lot the policeman came up to me and asked me for insurance information.  He told me how lucky Scott was and how he flew 40-50 feet.  When I got inside there were a few firefighters and paramedics still there.

 His head went through her windshield
 His poor scooter

 Here's where his bike landed...
And here's where Scott landed (his gloves and part of his jeans are lying on the road)

The social worker told me he was back getting scans to find out exactly what was wrong.  She took us to a room and gave me Scott's phone to call people.  She was so kind to Soran and gave her juice and Oreos.  I called his work first, knowing that he would want them to know first.  I told his boss he'd been in an accident and he choked up and I was crying.  We got a lot of visitors from his work that day.  The nurses commented a few times, "so, here's the wife with 5 children who let her husband ride a scooter to work."  I replied he wouldn't be doing it anymore.
Chelsea came for Soran and Nick got there at the same time.  He asked what I needed and I said to just hold me up when we went in to see Scott.  When we walked in he was totally covered in blankets and had a neck brace on.  I went over to him and told him he was so lucky he wasn't dead because I would have killed him.  He asked what happened and said it hurt so bad and "I'm so sorry."  He said those three things over and over the next couple hours.  His Dad and Nick gave him a blessing and told him he would live.  Then Holly and Scott's mom showed up and we took pictures to start documenting.  While we were looking at his foot I realized he had road rash on one of them.  I realized that one of his shoes had flown off, that's how hard he was hit.  Ben actually found it on the sidewalk across the street from the accident while looking for Scott's laptop, which he had started asking for.
The scariest part of the whole thing was when one nurse asked the other why they weren't giving him more pain meds and she said they couldn't because his blood pressure was too low.  It was about that point when it dropped to 67 over 30 and a lot of people came in.  They had his bed tilted up and the lights on him and there were probably 5 nurses working on him at the same time, trying to pump blood into him as fast as they could.  They gave him 4 bags of blood and 2 bags of plasma before he stabilized.
But then he started feeling the pain.  We found out he had a compound fracture on his femur, a broken pelvis and a broken toe, and a punctured lung along with various bumps and bruises.  We were waiting for an operating room to open up so they could fix him, but it was taking so long.  They couldn't move him to another room because he was too unstable.  Finally, after 3 hours, one opened up but no one was coming to get him, so the ER nurse finally pulled the plugs and started pushing his bed and I took the other end and we wheeled him into the OR.  I went to the waiting room and we waited for 3 1/2 hours.  Ben and Cami came and took me to lunch and the bishop showed up while we were there.  It was amazing how quickly the news spread and people came to help.  The RS president called me in the ER and had heard from Scott's coworker's friend.  Crazy!
Dr. Barker came out and showed us pictures of his bone and rod.  He said Scott had an impressive wound on his other leg and he had closed it and was hoping it wouldn't need a skin graft.  They would wait to do the broken pelvis.  He also said something was probably wrong with his knee because when they lifted his leg it was all loose but they would take care of that after everything else.  They took us up to the ICU and he seemed in really good spirits.  He had a brace wrapped around his hips to hold his pelvis together.  After a few visits by family I left around 9 with assurances that they would call if anything happened (they didn't allow people to sleep at the hospital).  I went grocery shopping as we had no food.  I had called the kids to talk to them but didn't see them.  When I talked to Christian he was crying and told me he was worried Dad would be different now.  I assured him that while he wouldn't be able to walk for awhile, Daddy would be the same.  When I got home they were already asleep and when I got into bed that night I laid there not sleeping and my legs hurt.  I think it was sympathy pains, but they were so real and I cried thinking about how much pain he was in.

I fed the kids the next day and took them to the primary program practice and headed to the hospital.  They had given him 2 more bags of blood and he looked pretty good.  He wasn't allowed food so I spent the day giving him ice chips.  They were hoping his internal bleeding would stop so they could do the pelvis surgery the next day, it was too risky to do while he was bleeding so much.  People stopped by to visit and I called a lot of people while he rested.  He became obsessed with finding his laptop.  I was like, you are almost dead here, let's worry about that later, but he kept asking people about it.  They couldn't find it amid the wreckage of the scooter.  Holly said she would get it for him and that calmed him down.  He was in so much pain every time he'd move or cough his pelvis shifted.  We tightened the brace as much as we could but it was still loose.
I didn't want to leave that night but the nurse told me I could call any time, so I went home.  I called at about 2:30 to check on him.  She said he was getting some sleep.  The next day I went in and they said they were going ahead with surgery.  He wasn't feeling well and laid with a wet towel over his face most of the morning.  It was the day of the primary program and we missed it.  We watched Brian Regan's emergency room that made us laugh and cry and they finally came to get him.  The doctor said it should take between 3 and 4 hours.   A lot of family gathered in the waiting room this time.  I did okay until about hour 5 and then I was sure something was wrong but no one wanted to come out and tell me.  I walked down to the chapel and broke down.  How was I going to manage the kids and taking care of Scott?  Was he going to be okay?  And I just ached for all he was going through.  And then I felt this great comfort and had inspiration to let one of the older kids come and be with him in the afternoons so I could go home and be with the rest of them.  I came out and he still wasn't out of surgery.  I couldn't take it anymore and went into the OR and asked the nurse.  She said they were still working and that the doctor was being really careful and taking lots of x-rays while they worked.  She also gave me a nurse robe thing I wore the rest of the week.  It was warm and brought me comfort.
After 6 hours Dr. Barker brought pictures of all the screws now in place.  He told us Scott couldn't walk for 3 months and that he would probably need rehab after that.  I cried some more.  By that time most people had gone so his mom and I went to see him.  He had been shivering during the surgery and so they gave him a muscle relaxant which slowed the anesthesia from leaving his body.  He was really loopy.  And his body was so cold.  We covered him in blankets and they gave him a lot of pain meds.  That was when he would stop breathing.  He would stop for about a minute.  I would yell at him to breath and he'd wake up enough to do that and then fall back asleep.  The nurse came in and the jerky PA told me not to worry about it, they would tell me when something was wrong.  So every time he'd stop I'd go out in the hall so I didn't freak out.  It was scary to watch.  But he never completely stopped, so I guess they were right.  The next day he didn't feel good.  They had given him 2 more bags of blood.  He sat with a rag over his head and rested most of the day.

The awesome news was Holly completed her mission and found his laptop!  He was able to relax a little more when he realized it still worked.  His mom showed up and told me to go home and rest so I went him and saw the kids for the first time in a few days.  He got to eat on Tuesday and the first thing he had was cream of wheat and a grilled cheeser.  They took him down to get an MRI on his knee.  It took a really long time.  We got the results and they said he didn't have any ligaments attached in his knee.  And he had torn his IT band, which the doctor had never seen before.  So they set another surgery for Sunday.
Wednesday is a blur.  Although I'm pretty sure it was Wednesday that Scott started insisting he wanted to work, and someone needed to give him clearance to do that.  I argued that no doctor was going to while he was on so many drugs.  The nurse looked at us and said he'd be back, and in walked a social worker.  She sat down and told Scott he needed to trust people at his work and let them carry some of the load for him right now.  At least until he was out of ICU.  It was kind of funny that we had to have intervention, but he was being so adamant about it!  The PA that said he wouldn't approve Scott for work asked if he was mad, and I said he was mad at both of us.  But he got over it quick.
Thursday he was doing well enough that they moved him down to the Ortho floor.  It was a depressing move.  His ICU room was huge with lots of windows.  The 5th floor had a tiny window that faced a brick wall and was very small.  I left early and went back later that night.  Friday we planned on having a "date" night and thinking about anything but what was going on.  I rented "The Great Gatsby" and we started watching when Brother Coffman and the bishop showed up to give Scott a blessing.  And then his parents showed up.  The bishop asked how Scott felt about the possibility of a calling as High Priest group leader.  Scott looked at me and started crying.  He had felt like he was going to get that calling about a month before the accident.  He felt something big was going to happen and kept mentioning it to me, almost every day.  When the accident happened, we assumed that this was it.  But we realized that it was going to happen, despite everything else.  Then Scott gave me a blessing.  I have read the expression "face wet with tears" but never experienced it until that moment.  Tears weren't streaming down my face but I was very overcome.
I had felt a burden since Scott was gone from our home, and realized what a responsibility it is to provide, protect and ultimately care for a family.  And I had felt a lack of the priesthood as well, which I had never experienced before and taken for granted.  Even with his frail body I felt such strength from him.  He could barely hold his arms up over the side of the bed, but he was so strong.  Right after everyone left we got a call from the CFO of his company.  He called to say that many of the employees had come to him saying they needed to do something for Scott.  So they gave him enough time off to cover his time in the hospital.  And they gave us some extra money to help cover expenses.  More crying.  Needless to say we never finished the movie.
Saturday they put him back on a liquid diet as he was having surgery the next day.  It was a long day and I don't remember anything remarkable about it.  Sunday we headed down and chatted with the anesthesiologist and assistants and doctor.  We were getting used to the routine.  We figured after the other surgeries this one would be a piece of cake.  But we started worrying when the anesthesiologist started talking about giving him a nerve block for the pain.  Little did we know.  They expected the surgery to be about 4 hours.  It turned out to be 6 1/2 and that was with 2 surgeons working at the same time.  But Dr. Larsen came out and said it went very well and the other doctor had said he thought it was the best surgery they'd ever done.  Scott didn't feel that way.  He was in so much pain.  Video following.  It's pretty funny.

They kept telling us once they got on top of the pain it would be okay, it just took awhile to get on top of it.  It took about 5 hours before he got comfortable enough he could sleep and I left.
The cool thing about this surgery was they used cadaver tendons to repair his knee and put a cadaver patch over his IT band.  The cadaver patch is a piece of skin from a cadaver that will turn into whatever part of the body you put it on.  If you put it on a heart, it will turn into heart.  If you put it on a muscle, it will turn into muscle.  As the doctor had never repaired an IT band before, he pulled it together as close as he could and just threw a patch on it, hoping it would repair the space between.  Alivia thought the idea was pretty cool and her next few journal entries for school mentioned how her dad was part zombie and had dead parts in him, along with a picture of a nurse carrying a box of body parts.  We now refer to Scott as the bionic zombie.
The next couple days were spent rotating legs to try and get comfortable.  And using bed pans (he hated).  And sponge baths.  And the physical therapists wanting him to sit up.  I felt they were pushing him too hard but he loved it.  By Wednesday they felt he was doing well enough to transfer to a rehab center, so that night I dressed up and brought ice cream to celebrate.  But when I got there they had given him some more blood and said they wanted him to stay one more day just to be on the safe side.  It was kind of depressing, but I was so nervous about him leaving the hospital it was okay. I wanted nurses around all the time.  Thursday was spent hanging out and waiting.

Friday afternoon the ambulance guys showed up and loaded him onto a gurney.

It took 2 big guys, an ambulance and a van to move him to Orem Rehab where we'd be for the next 2 weeks.  And we were out of there!


JS Tomb said...

Wow, I am so choked up right now I don't know what else to say except I just pray that you never have to go through anything like this ever again. Will write more later.

JS Tomb said...

Between you and me I had to stop writing after reading the first
paragraph of your blog, my eyes started leaking a little after
reading what you went through, I wish I could have helped in
some way, I used to be a pretty good babysitter when I was 13.
I must say that when this first happened I was as worried about
you as I was about Scott, one can only imagine how terrible it
is to get that call from the hospital.
I can imagine you walking into the OR and saying okay, what is
happening and expressing your concern. I can't believe anyone
could go through that many surgeries in such a short amount of
time but they must have felt that he was strong enough to handle
it. The stopping breathing part would have scared me to death
and I would have continued to yell at him to breath, no jerky
PA would get me to stop.
Some time when things are settled more and you have nothing
to do, ha, ha you or Scott can write me as to what a High
Priest group leader does. It is a burden being left to you
to do everything that the two of you used to do. It has to be
hard to jugle everything that's happening but so nice to have
him back home and to realize that you made it though it and that
your life from here on out will only get better.
This letter really put the accident into perspective as to what
both of you went through, I thoughly got into reading every
word a couple of times, thank you for sharing this and I know
it had to be hard for you to re-visit.
I just hope that those pant weren't his favorites, I don't
think you can fix them.

MarenDille said...

I'm so glad you documented this, Sara. You're one of the bravest people I know, and I love your honesty. What a blessing for Scott's health and recovery. Thank you for sharing such an incredible story.

The Jeppson Family said...

I am glad you are sharing this, and can't believe I didn't know while it was going on. What a miracle your family has experienced. I continue to offer my prayers that your family will continue to move forward with strength and grace. Love ya Sara!