If you don't regularly read this blog, you may have no idea what transpired in my life a year a go today. You can always check out this link and catch up (you'll have to backtrack to the beginning), but if you don't have time, I'll summarize.
One year ago today I was hanging out with the kids (August 2nd was a Thursday last year) and doing our normal 'lazy summer day' nothiningness. Marty - my husband - called and asked for the web address to my Family.com blog; he wanted to show off my work to the guys on one of their cell phones. I obliged and we hung up. Shortly after that, maybe half an hour or so, I got a call from his office manager, Sasha, that began, "We don't know the extent of the injuries yet ..." I think I went blank because, while I know the details of what was said, I can't remember exactly how it was spoken. All I knew was that my husband had fallen off of the roof he was working on and was being airlifted to a hospital. The height of the roof has changed a few times and it was finally found that he was 27 feet up - or 3 stories - when he fell. He suffered severe traumas and was not coherent, including being in a medically induced coma, for two weeks' time.
To say that he should not be here would be a gross understatement. To say that he is a miracle, would be closer to the truth. When I got to the hospital, instead of being greeted by a single doctor to have things explained to me, I was met by four doctors who questioned me repeatedly about whether Marty had a heart condition or not. He had some fluid around his heart as a result of the fall and his heart rate would not steady. He had several fractures to his pelvis, a severely broken right wrist, a suspected break to his right elbow (that turned out to be just a laceration), a large gash to his right cheek, severe bruising to his chest and right lung. Not two days after his fall, his lungs went into ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) and they nearly lost him. He had internal bleeding in his pelvis, which was found after many units of blood failed to bring his hemoglobin levels up. He had a fever, near kidney loss, bloating all over his body ... it was really horrible.
Marty was more than 60 miles away from us at Hahnemann University Hospital in center city Philadelphia. The trip there and back took 4 hours out of each day. I went almost daily and waited for him to wake up. It was 11 days after the fall that they were finally able to operate on his hip, so the wait for him to wake seemed interminable. He still has a long road ahead of him, his hip is still broken and he will most likely need surgery to correct it. He has short-term memory loss and we are now dealing with neurologists and neuropsychologists added to the mix of orthos we see on a regular basis. He's still in therapy 3 times a week and will be there for some time.
I would be remiss in all of this if I didn't acknowledge several individuals who helped to make this miracle happen or at least made the trauma more bearable for all of us.
Firstly there would be my brother, Bobby. As soon as I got the call (I was sitting at the computer, of course) I sent an IM to Bobby and asked him to pray. As God would so have it, Bobby was just blocks away from Hahnemann University Hospital and called to let me know he was on his way there. It would take me nearly two hours to get there, so he went ahead and got as much information as they would share with him. He called me often to update me on what was happening. That was so comforting to me to know that family was there when I couldn't be.
Secondly would be Katiepooh (Kate to the rest of the world) who saw my frantic post on Lots of Kids and called me immediately to find out what was happening. She would then relay messages to my friends at LOK and keep them updated. I loved having her on the phone, she was like the calm in the storm - just talking and being distracted helped me to keep from becoming overwhelmed. Unbeknownst to me at that time, she had set up a PayPal account for donations to help us. She's been there so often with her own children, especially her youngest, who has had numerous surgeries that kept Kate far from the rest of her family. She knew firsthand that it would take a lot of money to travel daily and keep things running. I am so grateful for that - it really did help. It didn't take any of the hurt away, but it eased the burden so much.
Third would be Sasha, the office manager for Allentown Applicators and wife of Marty's best friend, Lodi. She didn't blink an eye when it came to getting me to HUH. She came here and picked up the baby and me and drove us to Philly to be with Marty. I thought she was going to get the Worker's Comp stuff taken care of, but when I asked her if she was going in to talk to the nurses, she told me that she was just taking me there.
In no specific order are the men and women who were there for Marty from the start. The ambulance crew who picked him up, the helicopter crew who flew him to the hospital - these are the people that made all the difference in Martin staying alive. They stabilized him and got him where he needed to be quickly. I have no idea who they are, but plan to find out soon so I can let them know how much they mean to us.
The trauma doctors that took such amazingly good care of Marty - especially the one who "got it" when I showed him the photo of all the kids. Before that moment, he seemed brusque and uncaring, but when I showed him the kids and said, "Everything you're doing for him, you're also doing for them," he nodded and said, "I get it." He was my very favorite doctor from that moment on, and I have no idea what his name was.
Doctor Susan Harding. When you say her name at HUH, it's like the sky opens up and sunshine pours down as angels sing. I didn't understand at first what all the fuss was about. Now I do. When she did Marty's first surgery on his wrist, it was midnight that first night and she called me at 6 am when it was over and explained things so well that I had no questions at all for her. After she did the surgery on his hip, she was on the phone with me for 20 minutes to explain it all. No other doctor has EVER stayed on the phone with me that long - for anything. She has sat and talked to us for an hour during visits and she leaves no stone unturned when it comes to Marty's care. She and her entire team (especially Katie McGloughlin, her P.A.) are absolutely amazing. When I questioned Marty staying so far from home, I was told that Dr. Harding is only one of two doctors on the east coast of PA able to have handled his wrist injury. I don't think it's a mistake at all that Marty was flown to Hahnemann.
My mother-in-law, Pat. When I left that first day, I took the baby with me and the 6 other kids stayed home. When she got off of work, she came by and picked them up to take them to her home, and every day when she got off at 2 p.m., she would come and get them. I didn't doubt that my older girls could take care of the younger kids, but it helped me feel secure knowing that she was there with them.
Michelle and Molly at White Trash Mom. They put up a lovely post about everything going on and got the word out to others who may have wanted to help. I was working with them at Family.com, and it hadn't been very long at that point so I was so surprised to find that they had reached out.
The 'Constant Man'.
Kfarmer. That girl sent me gifts to help, one of which was a box full of apples from her orchard. It lifted our spirits in that dark time, and still lifts my sprits whenever I think about it. She is a real gem.
We had family from afar send cards and gifts - family we hadn't heard from for some time - and it was so nice to hear from them. It re-kindled old relationships and brought us all together again.
I think that's about it - I know it's a laundry list and this is a long post, but if you made it this far, add yourself to the list just for caring enough to read.