Monday, March 31, 2008

My sister Julie took some pictues of the accident site and wrote a letter with her early visits and recollections of January 2008.

My sister Julie and brother-in-law David

Jule locates something.

Some tinted glass that broke out of the window.

Julie overviews the accident path.

She walks down into the path.

The tall grass was smashed down as our Van rolled over it.

The final resting spot by the frontage road. Note the fence we had broken threw.

My sister walking away from our final resting spot, she has quite the grim look as she contemplates what happened here.

The van we rolled in was towed to a wrecking yard in Kanash, by Meadow.

To David from Julie

All my experiences regarding your experience.

January 11, 2008

On the night before my birthday I was at my home with my children who had taken me out to dinner and a movie for my birthday. We were just about to move onto cake when the phone rang. It was mom and she had the unmistakable tone that said something terrible had happened. “Your brother has been in a terrible accident,” she said. “He was life-flighted to SLC and is going into surgery soon.” Mom was terribly upset. I told her I would talk to Barbara and get more info to her. Barbara was at the hospital in the waiting room and confirmed that he was indeed in surgery but that he seemed to have no internal injuries and no head injuries. She was hopeful that all would go well. She was calm and happy that she had been able to talk to you when she arrived at the hospital. It turned out that that was the last conversation she or any of us would have with you for over a week. I called mom back, reassured her and told her to try to sleep.

January 12, 2008

I headed up to the hospital on Saturday arriving just before noon. You were not in the room and the nurses informed me you would be out for another half hour or so. I went to the cafeteria and had lunch. You were back when I returned and you looked bad. There were tubes and hanging bags and machines surrounding you, pumping stuff in and out, monitoring you, reducing your pain and basically keeping you alive. You were on a ventilator, one side of your face was swollen and badly scrapped, and your lower left leg was huge, like a bloated football and oozing blood. You were not conscious or at least had no apparent awareness of anyone’s presence. I just stood by you and held your hand and spoke soothingly. A bit later Nicole came in. Shortly after one of the surgeons came in to look at you and check your charts. He told us the surgery went well but you were so weakened and badly shaken from the accident and would have to be sedated for awhile. Also, you were not able to breath on your own. Nicole was so sweet. She talked to you, rubbed your forehead and fielded the comments and information from the doctors and nurses and asked questions like a pro. White faced and rosy-cheeked Mary came in for her first visit with her dad. A few minutes after she got there the nurse brought her a chair and told her to sit down. Mary obediently did. Then the nurse commented on how hard it must be to see her dad look like that. Again Mary politely agreed. Finally the nurse brought her a juice and said, you look rather pale and I thought you might need this. Mary, holding the juice box in her hand, looked rather blankly at her and said, “I always look like this.” We all got a kick out of that. After Mary arrived Nicole went to your side leaned in and said, “Dad, did you know that three of your favorite women are here right now?” At that you got a little smile on his face and just a very tine bit, shrugged your shoulders. Nicole and Mary both exclaimed delightedly over this. It was quite comforting to both of them who had any interaction from their dad since the accident. Mary only stayed for a short visit, as she had to go to work. The next person to come in was the orthopedic surgeon. He was a very nice man, very forthcoming with what needed to be said and in hind sight I realize he was trying to gently prepare everyone for what might happen. He said he was quite pleased with the surgery and that there a strong pulse could be measured in the foot meaning there was good blood flow occurring. He said everything went as well as they could have hoped. Than he told us how just as the brain can only go so long without oxygen before damage occurs, so it is with the limbs. He said that after six hours without blood flow the limbs begin to die. He then said it had been nine full hours from the time of the accident until they had measurable blood flowing in the leg. But then he said, “only time will tell what is going to happen with David.”

A little later Jack Parry and his temple buddy came in and gave you a blessing where he stated that you would be blessed with the strength to recover and return to your family. Also, Grant Parry stopped in briefly.

Once the nurse asked you some questions and your eyelids fluttered a bit. Also, the respiratory nurse came in and tried to turn down the level of breathing assistance (I am rather clueless at proper medical terms) from the respirator and you began to struggle so she turned it back up. Those two things and the shrugged shoulders were the only responses I saw from you on that first day after the accident. Barbara came in about 7pm and I left shortly after.

On the way home I called mom who was ready to head right out to Utah. I suggested she wait until you were out of ICU. That was not an easy environment to be in and there wasn’t much one could do to help.

January 13

While I had been in the hospital Nicole had received a call from Ken, one of your co-workers, who mentioned the city where they had towed the wrecked van. It was near Fillmore. Since I was traveling down to Page and passing right by there I decided I would stop and take some pictures of the van for you. I pulled off at a station and filling up right beside me was a policeman. I walked over to him and inquired about the next few towns, he listed the one (I can’t remember it just now) and told me how to get there. I told him my brother had been in an accident a few days previous and I wanted to see the car. I went into the station and when I came out the officer waved me over. He then told me he had been the third person on the scene and asked if I wanted to see his video of that time period. As he rewound and searched for the exact spot he told me a few things. He said that the first person to stop had been an off duty paramedic. I am not sure if that was also the person who was driving right behind the car and stopped of if these were two separate people. But one of these persons, seeing the distress David was in due to the seat belt, took out a knife and cut the belt. Officer Ponton told me that it was quite fortunate that the off duty paramedic stopped as he was able to begin administering life saving duties almost immediately after the accident. He arrived about 15 minutes after the car went off the road and just after the first ambulance, the one that carried you to Fillmore hospital, arrived. He walked up to the car and said that you were suspended, not fully upside down (at least not at that point) but sort of sideways and with your bottom actually halfway out of the window and that you were struggling to climb get out on your own. The officer told him that you should just relax and that they were there to do all the work. As he was working and pulling you you reached over and grasped your hand to help. He said he was surprised at how firm you were able to grasp and how the thought went through his mind that you were surprisingly strong for a man who had just been in a serious car accident. He said that you were complaining that your leg was really hurting. The officer said they got you out of the car and on the ground and at that point he went to help remove the driver from the car. From his perspective at the scene it appeared that the person who was badly hurt was the driver, I imagine because of a lot of superficial wounds and also because the car was crushed around him. The video turned out to be so small and distant that I could not clearly see what was occurring but I was able to make out the paramedics carry and load you into the ambulance, shut the doors and drive away. The time was about 2:10pm. The officer’s name was Don Ponton and he is a Deputy Sheriff there in Fillmore. He gave me a card with his name written on it over a scribbled out name. He said he had recently transferred there.

Next I drove to the little town where Ken (again co-worker) and his wife had just pulled up to take pictures. We looked on at the crushed vehicle, the gaping door where you had been jostled half way out (with seat belt still attached). I saw the cut seat belt in the car and took a shot of that.

January 24

I came home from Page and went up for another day with you. As soon as I walked in the door you said, “can you get me some warm water.” As I mentioned before, I am not medically savvy and I thought, sure. So I ran some warm water in a cup and went out to the nurses station to ask for a straw. “Oh, you can’t give him anything to eat or drink,” they told me. I was walking sadly back into the room when they told me I could feed you some ice chips. Yea! The brought me a small cup half way full. I started feeing them slowly to you. You closed your eyes savoring each bite and quickly opened your mouth for more. After a few minutes of this you opened your eyes and looked at me with rapt sincerity and said, “this is decadent.” You also asked me later if it was chocolate flavored ice. I rubbed your head and arms and hands. You really liked that.

This was a most interesting visit with my brother. You were awake but I would say, not actually lucid. The effects of 13 days of drugs had you really wacky. I hate to be flippant at your expense but you were completely entertaining. You told me that this was your third rollover accident and then went on to describe the other two. You said that in one you rolled over and over and in the other a car swerved from the other lane and hit you. You asked me if I wanted you to give me the tour of the sixth and seventh floors. Once you looked imploringly at me and said, “take me up to the 20th floor now.” You asked me a question about your appearance and then said, “that is the effects of being chased by the animal farmer.” When a machine was beeping for some reason and the nurse came in to check it out you said to her, “the doctor is in!” You were dozing at one point and I was sitting on the chair reading. You woke and told me there was a place here that you liked to go and hide. I asked you where it was and you said somewhere high up. You had to climb up into it. “Does anyone go up there with you?” I asked. “Dad,” you said, “dad is hiding with me.”

On the intercom out in the hall someone named Nancy Brown was paged (I hadn’t even noticed it, Barbara was in the room by then and she had to tell me what you were talking about) and you exclaimed excitedly, “Yes, Nancy Brown.” At this point we were on the 11th floor as they had moved you out of ICU. It was a much nicer room and you were much happier with the accommodations. Although, you kept asking us to open the door as they were going to move him to the 20th floor. You were concerned that it would be able to open wide enough to fit the bed. (Funny, they had just rolled you in there not an hour earlier.) You were really preoccupied with this thought and sort of agitated. We finally convinced you that you had just been moved to this nice new room and would be staying here for awhile. When ever a nurse would come in you would warmly say, “Helllllooo.” Twice you looked over at Barbara and I and Linda who was now with us and said, “It is just part of the game.” Barbara reported to us that you said to her a couple of days previously, “Do you know where that wheelchair is that we have at home? If you can’t find it, bring the wheelbarrow here and take me home.” You also randomly asked her if she brought her calculator and once spoke up saying the words, “they are very, very worried.” (Barbara thought this was particularly interesting as the doctors had used those works in the room in the days before the amputation but you had not seemed to be aware or awake at all.) You also told her you did not want Nurse Ratchet again. And you also saw a cat in the corner of the room a few times.

A hospital staff brought in a tray and asked if anyone wanted to eat. Barbara and I were both hungry so we shared it. You looked over at us a few times and finally asked what was on the tray. Boy did that make me feel guilty. At that time you had been on a feeding tube for 12 days. I told him vegetables. “What kind”, you asked? Carrots, I said, “Cooked?” “Yes.” “Oh,” this with a disinterested tone. Barbara said quietly, good answer, he does not like cooked carrots.

It was time for me to head back to Provo. It was dark and snowing. I went over to the side of your bed. You looked up at me and in a very serious voice you said, “I am so sad that Turkey Lurkey died.” I was doing everything I could not to bust up over that one when you said, “could you please put Henny Penny right here,” and indicated your tray. There was an ice pack on the table so I picked it up and hesitatingly asked, “Is this Henny Penny?” “No, that’s a bag.” “Oh.” “But it is for Henny Penny. Could you just set it right there for her.” I obliged. I kissed him than and said goodbye. As I was leaving you said to me, “We had a good run, Julie.”

January 26

I returned to visit this time with David, Thomas and Adrienne. On this day you went from seeming all there to obvious fantasizing. One moment you were telling us of the Aurora Borealis effect that you could see right from your hospital window and the next you were asking Thomas about his interview with Dish. You even remembered the names of the principle people in the company. But then the weirdness would come out again. You indicated the amputated leg and told us they were doing some experiments on that leg and were sending shocks into your foot. We only stayed for about an hour, probably too long. You were so tired.

Well, that is pretty much all I have to share. I am looking forward to seeing you again soon and being able to really talk to you.

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