Tuesday, October 30, 2012


There are a few random memories in the days following the accident. The first was when they hauled me off the chopper and into the hospital. I'm thinking, whatever pain drugs they had given me had worn off. The vibration of the helicopter seeped into every bone I had. Pain radiated outward like tsunami waves crashing into the Japanese coastline. I remember light in my eyes as I transitioned from Lifelight to inside University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. 

In the meantime, poor Andrew, the lifesaver, had to ride all the way to San Antonio from Leakey, Texas by himself, and he lost his wallet. I'm sure he was moderately freaked out all the way there. I do know for a fact that Andrew is a prayer warrior. I also know that as word got out about my accident people all over the world were praying for me. Prayer requests were launched from my Longview Celebrate Recovery group, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. My mother is a member of several prayer networking clubs across the world. I was bathed in prayer. 

My wife, Lisa, and her sister Carol were in Pineville, Louisiana taking care of my Mother-in-law. They began  the long trek to San Antonio with a stop in Livingston to pick up Tara, my daughter. Lisa was understandably on the ragged edge of hysteria. The trauma nurse had told her exactly what was wrong with me. My parents, brother, and friends also took off for San Antonio to see how I was and to provide moral and prayer support.

The first memories of the hospital was the doctor rubbing the sole of my foot and asking me if I felt anything. It was a good sign that I did. I was pretty drugged up on some serious morphine. To be honest the entire stay there is a vague memory, dreamy. Snippets are what comes. I remember Lisa and my family were there. My mother helped me through what scared me the most. They had to insert a tube down into my stomach and through my nose. All the meds basically shut down my digestive system. I was throwing up all the time. Including on my wife.

The diagnosis was pretty grim at first. I had three burst fractures in my neck, and two in my back. I had a fractured skull and the right side occipital bone from where I face planted the guardrail (wear your helmet kiddies). The occipital bone is the one that surrounds your eye. My left shoulder and collar bone were broken and to top it off a few ribs on my right side. I told Andrew at the accident site that I was only doing like 20 or 25 miles an hour. His theory is that one of the bungees holding my gear down snapped loose while I was in the curve and that it scared me and I downshifted; you never downshift in a turn. The wind was up that morning and could have shoved me around, there could have been gravel, I could have unexpectedly dragged a peg or I could have target fixated. I have no memory whatsoever of what happened.

They thought I was going to need surgery. They were concerned I had bone fragments on my spinal cord that were causing swelling, they would need to be removed. God was good to me, prayers worked I didn't need it. The doctors fitted me with a lovely brace. It was a turtle shell of epic proportions. I was not allowed out of bed without it. The brace immobilized everything. Lisa had to learn to log roll me in and out of it. She was scared to death, but I had total faith in her. I trusted Lisa implicitly. Trust is a big factor in these things. One wrong move and your paralyzed. Speaking of miracles, I should be dead, or in a wheelchair. My doctor told me my neck broke in a natural laminectomy, a procedure where doctors will break someones neck to relieve pressure on a person's spinal column. The pressure from the accident was relieved. I would walk again. 

My friends and family were amazing. All in all, my dad, brother and his wife, aunts, all made the trek to San Antonio to see me in the Hospital. Andrew was there the whole time and my friends Jordan, Joe, and Marcus came to visit from Longview. They all got to visit the Alamo a must for northerners (Marcus is from Texas). My pastor and his wife came. More surprisingly Bobby Johnson, (the most awesome history prof ever) and his wife visited as well. Gary Ritchey and many more came to offer support and prayers. Sadly, I was so out of it from the accident I don't remember hardly any of it.

I was damaged but going to live. Thanks to God and the thousands of prayers and support from friends and family, Lisa and I were going to be ok. It was going to hurt like hell, but everything was going to be ok.

Next week, Hospital II


1 comment:

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