Tuesday, October 17, 2006

motorscooter madness

My husband bought a motorscooter recently because we knew it would save us on fuel, and I'd have the car available all the time. Plus he would love wicked cool.

Everything was going great until October 6.

Ben was riding the scooter to work and was preparing to make a right turn on red. He noticed the other cars slowing down, so he figured he was clear to turn. But a truck hit him. There weren't any skid marks on the street, so we don't think the truck saw Ben and never even slowed down.

I was at home waiting online for Ben to get on from work so we could flirt by instant messaging. Instead I heard a loud pounding at my front door and the doorbell was being rung constantly. I rushed downstairs, and asked who was at the door.


I hesitated opening the door because I didn't want it to be a rapist dressed like a cop. As soon as the door was open, the cop asked if Benjamin was my husband. I about fell over.


"Ma'am, your husband has been in an accident. I've been with him the whole time. (Here is where he reached out his arms to catch me.) He's ok, he just has a broken leg. He knew you would be on the computer and asked if I'd come and let you know which hospital he's at."

I thanked him profusely for coming by, packed up the kids, and rushed to the emergency room.

Now, I'm a hypocondriate. Always have been. I can get cramps during "that time of the month" and before I realize I'm about to start my period, I go from "maybe it's my period" to "I have stomach cancer, and it's spread to my BRAIN!"

Typically, I imagine things are ridiculously worse than they actually are.

But in Ben's case, reality was worse than I had thought.

He had a compound fracture which means his bone was sticking up out of his leg. His foot was just sort of dangling there. And I wasn't prepared for blood. Normally, when I picture in my mind a broken bone, I can imagine the awkward, unnatural body position, but I don't see blood. There was a lot of blood when I first saw Ben. And I found out that another bone in his leg was broken and that his opposite arm was broken as well.

Later that day after surgery, we found out that it was his tibia and fibia in his left leg that were broken and that his humerus in his right arm was shattered. It actually took the doc by surprise to see how broken up the bone in his arm was.

After two surgeries, one that Friday, and one on Sunday (Ben's birthday - poor guy), the bones were set.

To handle the pain, the hospital put Ben on morphine and the occasional Loritab.

Ben's system didn't handle it well, however. First, we noticed that when they took his catheter out, he couldn't urinate. They were giving him 4-5 catheters a day to empty his bladder. Then his colon became very swollen, so swollen that when you pressed on his torso, it was so firm you'd think there was a baby in there waiting to be born any second. Then he couldn't take a sip of water without throwing it up because the inflated colon squished his stomach, and it couldn't hold anything.

They ended up giving him some-sort-of-'scopy' to suck the air out of the colon to help deflate it some. It took a while, but as of the other morning, he's using number 1 and number 2 all by himself again. Yesterday morning, they let him start liquids and last night, he ate food for the first time in 4 days.

He also had to have two blood transfusions recently. When he arrived at the hospital, his hemoglobin was a 13. They gave him two transfusions during surgery. When they tested him later, he was a 9. And last Friday, he was a 6, which is extremely low. So he received two more. They couldn't find a source for the blood loss and even ran a test to see if he had a condition where your body actually attacks and destroys its own blood, but he doesn't have that. They've stopped looking for a source of the bleeding and don't seem concerned about it anymore. And they haven't been able to explain to me much about it, so I'm still concerned. I told them that if we get home, and he starts looking like rancid meat again, I'm bringing him back!

In this time, he has also learned how to get out of the bed fairly easily and has manuveured a wheelchair for a good distance. He's using his good arm to push and his good leg to steer.

He called this morning to say he thinks he's coming home today. And if not today, tomorrow. They had planned on transferring him to a rehab hospital until he could move around better, but I think Ben convinced them to rush the return home and have the rehab nurses come to our home because we have tickets this weekend to see a comedian that we like. At least he's got his priorities in the right place!

I'm a little stressed about him coming home. I imagine I will have to work as if there are a couple more toddlers running around. I have to keep our kids from running into his leg or arm. I have to get everything for Ben that he needs. And I believe we're just going to have a portable commode sitting in the living room next to him that will have to be emptied and cleaned twice an hour (at least that's how often he's needing it now). A lot of people have offered to come over and help. I can see the conversations now: "Hi there, guest. Can you help Ben wipe his behind?"

Of course, I would never ask that of a guest and Ben has been successful at doing that himself in the last day or so, thank you very much.

So I'm just awaiting the call to come bring him home - which is a chore in itself since we have stairs, lots of stairs.

Through all this stress, we've really felt little grief. We've been blessed with a large community of friends and family, and they've all rallied together to help us through this trying time. My mom and stepdad drove up from Houston the day of the accident and took both of our kiddos for a week to their house in Houston. And they drove them back up. (They are insane. They make the trip in one day! WOW.) The kids thought they were at Disneyland. This was a huge blessing for me because I was able to stay with Ben at the hospital overnight and was able to run around town getting all the necessary paperwork filed. We've had much financial help. I've had more $20 bills shoved into my hand in the last week than I've ever seen. We've had people bring meals and take me out to eat. I had another family play with our daughter on Sunday after church for several hours. I've had times of wonderful fellowship with friends where I felt comfortable expressing every raw emotion I was having and feeling loved and excepted and normal afterwards. We've felt saturated in prayer, and I have, at times, felt as if I wasn't even using my own legs, as if God was just carrying me through. It has also been a beautiful time of connecting with my husband through sweet sacrifices and expressions of gratitude and love and commitment.

I really feel blessed because not only did Ben keep his life, his injuries CAN and WILL heal. He will probably even regain his full mobility back over time. How remarkable!

So that's been our recent adventure. If you think about it, pray for continued healing and no further complications. Pray that the kiddos are angelic and patient during Ben's healing time at home. And pray that Ben is able to see how loved he is.

thank you.

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