Life

Stablized

It’s currently 10:27 in the evening. I’m sitting in an atrium at a hospital in Columbia. My mother-in-law is sitting with Kevin. Kevin is sleeping (or passed out – I can’t tell any more).

Where do I start?

These past few days have been surreal. I have so many thoughts raging through my head, I’m not sure where to start or what to say. I think it might be easier for me to start at the beginning.

Friday, April 16th

The phone rang. I allowed voice mail to pick it up. This is really nothing unusual – I rarely answer our home phone. Kevin had consolidated our personal phone calls with work phone calls just to try and make things more efficient for him. As a result, I’m nervous answering the phone because it could be a work-related question.

I remember not feeling any sense of urgency – most of the time, the phone rings and the person just hangs up. Still, the boys were in school and on the off chance that it was the school trying to get a hold of me, I checked messages.

Kevin has our system set up so that voice mails are automatically converted into a .wav file and then sent via email. So, I went to Kevin’s computer to see who had called.

I clicked on the .wav file and the first thing I heard was a man hesitantly speaking. My first thought was, “Oh, this is a work call” because most of the time, that’s how work calls start. People are unsure and hesitant.

I didn’t really start to pay attention to what was going on until I heard sirens. Several sirens in the background of the message.

And then I heard “your husband has been in an accident” and my heart stopped.

No, I mean literally paused.

I started paying attention, but the message was done. I replayed it. It was a man telling me that Kevin had been in an accident, that he appeared fine, he could move and he was conscious. He said that an ambulance was taking him to a nearby hospital.

I had been cleaning house. I have deemed Fridays as my clean house day. As a result, I looked like death – warm death. (Is that an oxymoron?). I didn’t have a stitch of makeup on and my clothes had holes and bleach stains. I looked a mess.

Kevin, on the other hand, looked great. He was meeting a few ladies from his work to have lunch with them. And since it was a nice day, he decided to take his motorcycle.

Mistake.

The accident happened at 11:26, approximately fifteen minutes after he left the house.

It was as if someone had stuck a live wire to my skin. I jumped and was suddenly in motion. I ran to my bedroom, pulled on a decent t-shirt, pulled on some jeans, stuck my feet into some ratty sneakers and I tore out of the house like bat out of hell.

I don’t remember driving to the hospital.

I was looking for a place to park, when my cell phone went off. Normally, I wouldn’t have answered it, (you all know how I feel about using cell phones and driving), but considering the circumstances, I answered.

It was the hospital chaplain wanting to know if I was there yet.

All I heard was “chaplain” and my heart froze in my chest.

I thought maybe he had died.

He assured me he was fine and told me where to find him.

I ran into the emergency room area and with a voice wobbling so badly that I could barely get the words out, I gave them Kevin’s name.

“Oh. The motorcycle accident,” the woman said.

I didn’t think it was a very good sign that the emergency room lady, who is probably privy to horrific accidents on a daily basis, knew what I was talking about without me having to elaborate.

But then again, he had probably just arrived, so I tried not to see too much into her acknowledgment.

I went into the ER and the chaplain caught up with me. He told me that he was having some xrays done and that I could wait in room 5, it would probably be a little while before they finished with him.

I took advantage of that time to call Kevin’s mother. I was crying and hiccuping so badly that I could barely get the words out. In fact, it took Kevin’s mom a few seconds to even know who was calling. But when she comprehended what was going on, she immediately went into action.

Kevin’s dad was the first to arrive. Then his sister and brother-in-law and finally, his mother came.

Together, we sat in a tight little huddle in emergency room 5 and talked in hushed whispers. Well, they talked, I silently cried and was so frozen with fear that I couldn’t even move.

They had his belongings in a bag. His very scratched up, banged up helmet was sitting on a table. His clothes, his t-shirt and favorite pair of jeans, were literally cut down the middle and stuffed into a bag, along with his hiking boots. His riding gloves were on top of his clothes, the right glove had a huge hole in the middle.

I continued to cry. And everyone continued to try and comfort me, which only made it worse. I hung on to the fact that every hospital personnel that came through that room assured me that he was okay, but pretty banged up.

That was my only salvation, the man was alive. But I still hadn’t seen him and I had no idea the extent of his injuries.

A police officer arrived. He had been the officer at the scene and he ran through the scenario with us.

At 11:26 a.m., a car going south bound crossed into my husband’s north bound path. The road narrowed, the accident happened on a bridge over a small creek. They had a head-on collision. The eye witness said that Kevin flew over the car, fell onto the concrete guard rail/bridge and landed on his back.

The woman then left the scene of the accident. She was 66 years old.

The woman went home, told her boyfriend what had happened and the boyfriend told a neighbor who called the police.

The police already had her in custody.

I hope this woman goes to jail.

Finally, after waiting for about 20 minutes, they wheeled him in. He was conscious but in pain.

Other than ugly scrapes lining the under side of each of his arms, he looked fine.

He was not fine. He had shattered his pelvic bone.

They moved him to an ICU room. They bent the rules of only allowing two people in at a time to allow me and the boys in to see him first.

The doctor showed me and the boys the xray of his pelvic. It was a mess. Both sides were significantly damaged. In fact, the doctor compared it to a bag of broken glass. He would likely need several surgeries.

Only, they didn’t have anyone at that facility to do the surgery, they would have to move him to a hospital in Columbia. That night.

Me and the boys went back home and threw some clothes into a duffel bag and my in-laws came over to pick us up. We drove to Columbia, we arrived around midnight.

He was already there and we were allowed to see him in the ER. We went back to his room, but he hadn’t arrived from xrays yet. However, the attending told us that they were going to have to drill a hole into his legs and insert a metal rod in that hole so they could put him into traction. It sounded gross, but it would actually help alleviate some of the intense pressure he was feeling. His femurs had been shoved into his hip sockets and putting him into traction would pull those femurs back out and into a semi-normal position.

In addition, pulling his legs back into position would move some of the jagged bones away from exposed veins and arteries, they didn’t want the bones to cut any of them and cause more problems.

We didn’t stick around for that procedure but went to the waiting room.

My father-in-law and the boys went back out to the van to get some sleep. My mother-in-law and I stayed in the waiting room to await news. Two o’clock rolled around and we made ourselves comfortable – I think I may have even fell asleep at some point, but it wasn’t for long because I remember waking up at 3:00 wondering why no one had contacted us. I asked about him, he had been moved to a room.

I woke my mother-in-law up and together we began searching for Kevin. Since it was the dead of night, there was hardly a soul to be seen and we wandered several floors before we caught up with a body. She looked Kevin up, told us where he was and how to get there and we finally found him.

We walked in to find him in bed, with a cast on his arm and metal rods in his legs. Apparently, after doing a full-body cat scan, they discovered that in addition to having a shattered pelvis, he had a fracture in his right wrist, his spine, a few ribs and a knee. Nothing too terribly major, but enough to cause problems.

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After a while, a bone resident came in and began constructing the traction device.

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My stomach turned when he added the weights.

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We stayed and kept him company for a few hours before leaving to eat dinner. When we came back, he was in a back brace:

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Apparently, they found a few suspicious looking lines around the spine fracture and they were taking precautions by making him wear a brace.

Kevin could now not only move, he couldn’t turn his head, he was forced to stare at a square on the ceiling.

Still, the man kept a sense of humor and kept us all laughing.

I should mention that he has the nurses wrapped around his little finger. The charmer. 🙂

He’s in a lot of pain. He was allowed one pain shot per hour. Shortly after they injected him, he pretty much passed out for about fifteen minutes until he roused himself awake again.

His breathing has been irregular and he was having trouble sleeping – he needed his cpap machine. Which was at home, in Springfield.

We made plans to take my boys back to Springfield and I would pack a few more things for Kevin. We left at 9:00 this morning and got back into Springfield by noon. We had exactly 2 1/2 hours to pack, take care of business, and shop for food for the boys – they would be staying in Springfield while me and my mother-in-law drove back to Columbia.

I felt it was better for them to go back to “normal.” It would help distract them from what was happening with their father.

My MIL and I got back into Columbia at exactly 6:30. He said that he slept all day. They had removed the brace (the doctor said he didn’t feel it was necessary after all), so he was a bit more comfortable, but still in a lot of pain. They set up a machine so that he could pump himself full of a pain reliever with a push of a button.

He finally agreed to some food, so we ordered him some chicken strips and vegetables for dinner. My MIL fed him tiny bites of chicken and carrots (remember, he’s lying down so we had to be careful that he didn’t choke on his food), while I massaged his foot – it was hurting him, probably because he was so far down his bed it was jammed next to the foot board. The nurse came in and lifted the weights enough for him to pull himself up toward the head of the bed to help alleviate the pressure on his foot.

He has a leg massager on his right leg to help his circulation. His left leg is in a brace to help sustain the fracture in his knee.

After dinner (which consisted of about four bites and two carrots – that’s all he could handle), I helped him brush his teeth and then I washed his hair and goatee with baby shampoo. It was beginning to smell. I massaged his scalp, he smiled.

I then helped him set up his cpap machine and he crashed shortly thereafter.

He’s stable.

He’s such a trooper.

We haven’t seen the doctors, but Kevin told us that he’s definitely scheduled for surgery tomorrow. The nurse told us she wasn’t sure of the time yet, but considering he’s been there for three days, she was certain he was one of the first ones listed. We’re hoping they come to get him at around 5:00 this morning to prep him for surgery at about 7:00 or 8:00.

We expect he’ll be in surgery for quite some time.

I’m really hoping that this surgery will help alleviate his pain and discomfort. Though I don’t expect him to sit up any time soon, I at least hope they can elevate him a bit.

Apparently, people who are flat on their back for a long length of time are more prone to develop pneumonia. So, I have to make sure that he uses a breathing contraption, he has to breathe in, like he’s sucking on a straw, about once an hour.

He’s not crazy about this contraption, but tough – I don’t want the man to develop pneumonia.

It’s now 11:19 and I’m starting to get tired. I’ve been running on adrenaline these past days and I think it’s starting to catch up with me. I’m expecting to stay up here until Thursday. Then I’ll drive home, do some laundry and drive the boys back up on Friday (they’re out of school Friday) to spend the weekend with Kevin.

I’ll be so glad when this first surgery is over.

Thank you all for your kind comments here, on Twitter and on Facebook. You can’t IMAGINE how much that helps – to know there are people out there that care.

I’m not alone. But as long as Kevin is in pain, I am alone.

I miss him.

11 thoughts on “Stablized”

  1. I am so sorry that this has happened to Kevin, and I am saying a prayer for his quick recovery. He sounds like he has a great attitude, which will carry him far through this horrible time. Hugs to you all!

  2. Karen, I’ve been following your tweets and posts. Can’t imagine what you are all going through, but keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. {{{hugs}}}

  3. You know I’ve been keeping you in my thoughts – what an awful thing to have to go through. I hope you get some sleep – you’ll need your strength this week. I’m not a terribly religious person, but I’ll be praying for your family anyway, just in case. ::hugs::

  4. OMG! I’m so sorry to hear that you have had to go thru all of this. I’m glad to hear he is doing ok. I’m sure this is going to be a long tough journey… but you are all strong and will pull thru. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. He sounds like a very strong trooper.

  5. Saw a tweet from Kat Armstrong to you and had to follow up. My sister was in a car accident about twenty years ago and all she did was crack her hips on both sides. She swung wide when getting on the freeway and hit the curb on the driver’s side, making the car spin to the right into gravel. She ended up heading back onto the freeway at 90 degrees to traffic when a Pontiac Fiero (doing 80) broadsided her Chevy Monza. If she hadn’t been driving a full frame car, I’m sure she would have sustained major injuries if not died. Of the three people in the car, not one of them got even a scratch, and her hips where the only injury.

    She was flat on her back for six months. I had to bring her home from the hospital in my car because mom had a pickup, needed the seat to recline. She had to relearn how to walk and used a walker for months. The doctors told her she would never have children naturally. She’s gone on to have three kids.

    I hope your husband has a speedy and uneventful recovery! All my best to him, you and your family.

    Fort

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