The last time I wrote, I reported that I had a clean break in one of the ribs in my back which cancelled the trip. We started heading home while making some RV repairs along the way. I arrived back in Rochester on Thursday evening stopping at my sister's house. We had a nice talk and I decided to spend the night in the RV parked outside her home.
Little did I know how fortunate that decision would become. We will officially credit Gena for saving my life by answering her phone at 1:00 AM. I wasn't exactly sure what was going on, but I presented to ER (after an ambulance ride on railroad tracks - I swear!) with chest pain, stomach bloating and an inability to move in any direction. Apparently, my blood pressure had dropped to 50 over something. They couldn't find a vein to start an IV and had to use ultrasound to locate one. I remember most of what happened as I never lost consciousness. I even signed the consent form (just try and tie that signature to my handwriting, though). I remember the doctor saying we're going to the OR. Somebody responded that it would be ready in 10 minutes. He said FIVE. We don't have ten.
Well, I woke up hours later in the Mayo Clinics, St. Mary's Hospital ICU hooked up to every tube and wire imaginable. I won't go into all the details - probably couldn't do it anyway. I'll just give you a short run-down of what was discovered in surgery.
Four ribs were affected with a total of 6 clean fractures.
I had basically bled-out as they found 5 liters of blood, clots and fluids in my abdomen. Guess that explains a lot. My spleen had been shattered in the accident and had to be removed. Since I had been feeling OK, they believe that the spleen clotted after the accident, but gave way late Thursday night creating the need to dial 911.
They are not sure (still) why my feet have swelled but it could be volume redistribution and with all of the IVs running, I'm full of liquid even now. Hopefully, this will correct itself as I recover.
Recovery could be long. Ribs need healing, the 12+ inch scar down my stomach (looks like they created another belly button too) needs to do it's thing, and then all body functions have to be restored. Eating without becoming nauseous is a goal. Walking a distance exceeding the width of a living room is a goal. Just getting out of bed - and of course, putting on socks are goals.
I've been out of touch. I apologize. I would suspect that it may be a while before I'm back in the swing of things, so I apologize in advance. Have patience with me, please. I've put all thoughts of "what next" on hold. I just need to work through this stuff and reflect on what good will come of it.
This is certainly a time to be thankful. I have family who has dropped everything to be there. They care. They open their homes and take time off work. They drive great distances. They cook and they watch. They encourage and they push. And in all they do, they love. I hope I'm worthy.
It must have been difficult, but the EMT professionals managed to get me somewhat diagnosed and ready for transport in the tight confines of the RV. They manged to get me out the door. No idea how they did that! Thank you.
I was taken to one of the finest medical facilities in the world. And they too - cared. Not many knew what a Segway was, but they do now :-) I really never felt like I was just another patient. They must be very good at their jobs. Thank you!
My brother Bill reminds all of us in his Facebook posts to remember to appreciate family and friends - and tell them. He goes even further reminding us to tell those you know in the medical fields and in the first responding careers that we appreciate what they have chosen to do with their lives. They go to work every day doing what the professionals did for me last week. They save lives. Be proud of them.
There's no reason for the picture. I was just feeling like this post was turning out to be something more down than up. Although it's difficult to make this a humorous update, I don't want to leave you with anything approaching despair. So, looking at the bright side, I may not be looking at palm trees, but it isn't snowing either!
Thanking you all while remembering that every breath is a gift . . .