Thursday, June 30, 2011

Week of Hell ..

I say "week", but that isn't completely true. Sean's accident happened on June 17th and we're still dealing with it (hence the lack of posts), but things are 100x better than they were even a week ago. Since my last post was on the 19th, I may as well start there. There's a lot to tell so I'll just give a run-down of the important stuff (as I see it, at least).

Sean's surgery was Tuesday, the 21st, and it took FAR longer than we were expecting. The surgery started on time around 2pm, but he wasn't taken up to his new room in Ortho until almost 10:30pm. It was a VERY long day of sitting in the OR waiting room and trying to ignore Uncle John's comments. I'm always glad to see Carol, Sean's godmother, but her showing up in the waiting room that night was a blessing of huge proportions. I love my uncle, but he can get to be a bit much at times. Larry, Carol's husband and a plastic surgeon who does a LOT of his surgeries at St V's, stopped by and waited with us after he got off for the day. His presence may have caused Uncle John to repeat stories that I've heard millions of times, but I was thankful to have him there when Dr Patel finally came out to talk to us. It wasn't exactly a surprise, but I didn't appreciate Dr Patel focusing on how the surgery was more difficult because of Sean's weight (and fat). I refrained from asking if Sean's fat was such a problem because Patel is this tiny indian guy with no upper-body strength. I tried to stick clear of the over-protective big-sister mode, but that pushed some buttons.

Anyway, Sean had 2 incisions and 3 plates screwed into his pelvis. Patel said the pelvis lined back up very cleanly, but they wanted to watch Sean really closely for a couple days because they had to move the siatic (sp?) nerve out of the way to work on the bone and they fit a bleeder early on in the surgery. I guess moving the nerve risks Sean getting ballerina-toe (not the scientific name, but you get the idea) and his toes were a little pointed when he first came out of surgery. The bleeder turned out to not be a big deal. He lost less than he does when he donates blood, and they were able to recycle it straight back into him, so he never got extra blood. It was all well, in the end.

I won't go too far into what happened once they got Sean upstairs other than to say Uncle John and Larry were a little tired and slap-happy and were a BIT loud. I made a comment about how we don't need to act like smart-asses and get ourselves kicked out of Sean's room less than an hour after he gets moved to this unit. Uncle John didn't care for my comment, apparently. I don't care.

I had wanted to wait until after Sean's surgery to worry about picking up the bike, and luckily the next morning was when the Sheriff's deputy was going to be back on duty. So, I was up at 6am and calling the sheriff's office about picking up the tow release. Long story greatly simplified. Deputy forgot to put my name on the tow release so they had to call him out in the field and get his ok to change it. I drove down to BG to pick it up. Called the tow company. Was told to call the insurance company. After a round of phone tag with our insurance person and Progressive, was told to just go get the bike and tell the tow company to go to hell. Had Skip and Pat go with me (well, it's more of they forced their help on me, but it was greatly appreciated in the end). The bike DID roll onto the trailer, despite what I was told by the tow company (dad thinks the jerk didn't realize the bike was still in gear). I got a better look at it once we got it home and put the trailer into the back garage. The frame and forks are still in really good condition, but the handlebars themselves are trashed. The gas tank is scraped all to hell and has a puncture in it (we know it goes all the way into the reservoir because dad spilled gas when we were unloading it from the trailer the other night) and the front fender is trashed. The saddle bags are a bit scuffed and the seat has a could tears in it, but dad says those are fixable. We'll have to wait and see what the insurance adjuster says. He's meeting dad to look over the bike tonight.

Back to Sean, he was on bedrest for longer than we had originally been told. He was still on his back until Sunday night. But, he was in much better hands down in the ortho unit. The nurses were over-all nicer and more attentive, even with a smaller staff than upstairs. That floor used to be the maternity floor, so Sean was in a large corner room with a table, rocker, AND recliner. It was great when there were more than one of us visiting him at a time. He could ALMOST see the sky in the reflection of the window across the atrium. lol.

You have absolutely no idea how glad I was to see my parents when I pulled up to the curb at the airport Friday night. I think this is the first time in my life I’ve been this excited to NOT have the house to myself anymore. And I was doubly glad that they just let me drive and talk the whole way home (mom sat in the backseat so I couldn’t see if she was gripping onto anything, but I’m sure she was. She always does). I felt like I was going to explode with everything I had to tell them. We’ve all been sending them emails every day and they’ve called home several times, but it’s just easier to have them home and be able to go sit down and go through everything with them.
In the words of Mother Teresa, "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." I could be taking this completely the wrong way, but I hear that quote and I think it describes how I got through this whole ordeal. I focused on one day or task at a time and it helped me get through the time until mom and dad got home and could take over for me. Dad keeps saying how much he appreciates everything I did while they were gone, but I don't know any other way to handle crises like that. If I don't focus on individual tasks, I would completely break (like I almost did the first night in the ER). And thank God for Carol. There were times I just didn't know how to handle what was going on and she was there as much as she could be. There were so many days where I just kept myself as focused as possible and didn't realize how tense I was all day until I got home and passed out at soon as I sat down on the couch. I'm pretty sure I lost a couple pounds just from the stress and forgetting to eat.
Since the parents have been home, Sean has been progressing at a good rate. His elbow stitches have been taken out (several days after the trauma nurse said they were going to). As soon as he was able to sit up for several hours with the back brace on, St V's was ready to kick him out to a physical rehab unit. Of course, they pushed for St Charles since it's still in the Mercy system, but that just isn't an option for us with how far away it is. We managed to get him into UTMC's physical rehab unit, which is on our university's hospital campus. He's really close, which is great for him and us. It isn't exactly out of mom's or my way to stop there on our way home from main campus. Actually, I spent my senior year of undergrad living in the apartments right next to the hospital. It's right down the road from both of our other campuses. He started rehab yesterday and they already have him up and using a walker to get down the hallway. They're teaching him how to do normal things like how to dress himself with the back brace. He was sore, and he's going to be, but it's progress.
I haven't been up to see him since he got moved to the physical rehab unit, but I'm stopping by this afternoon before I go for a run. Since mom and dad have been home, I've been hitting the metroparks pretty much every day for runs. Being on the trails is therapy for me, and BOY have I needed it. I don't care if I run or walk, but I just need to be out in nature.
"We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope." - Wallace Stegner

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