Picture this: A break in the scorching heat, (finally) birds chirping (imagine the scene from Enchanted but not as annoying, and a slight breeze. In other words a gorgeous Sunday morning for a drive.
We headed out from Ames for a family reunion at Ponca State Park which is in Nebraska. We stopped for breakfast in Jefferson, Iowa at the Uptown Cafe. There we dined on homemade biscuits and gravy, pancakes and crispy bacon. OK, so I may have cheated a little, but you know the kind; oh so bad for you and artery clogging. Very much comfort food through and through!
My husband had decided on an albeit longer route to get to our destination but with all the pretty scenery and cute little towns we drove through, it all seemed worth it! I enjoyed yelling out to the kids to look out their windows and check out all the cute farms. I probably called out my 5th cute Iowa farm, and one of the kids yelled back, "Yes Mom we know, a farm yes, chickens and cows great!"
Now, I"m pretty sure I haven't mentioned the fact that my husband was driving his Harley, while the kids and I followed in the Suburban. He got his bike in the Spring and mainly drove around town to work. So, I guess you could say this this was his first real long trek on his bike. Here he is shortly after picking up his bike and taking a quick night spin around the neighborhood. Note that he is fully geared up. Helmet, gloves, leather jacket, heavy duty jeans and boots.
So, on to my story. He had wanted to follow us as we drove but I liked the idea of having him right where the kids and I could see him. We made a quick stop in a little town for Jim to fill up his motorcycle and away we went.
Jim took off and managed to get through the light before us. I had my eye on him so no worries. I didn't like the idea of being too close to him but I definitely liked being able to see him at a distance. Now James my 12 year old on the other hand seemed a little anxious that we weren't right behind him. I remember pointing out a cool car then putting in a movie as a distraction so that helped.
Here is where that sweet little Sunday drive took a wrong turn. We were still a good 400 feet behind the motorcycle. My husband rounded a bend so he slowed his bike down to 40 mph. As he was taking the bend he noticed a wild turkey coming up out of the ditch heading towards him. His initial thought was, "oh cool I hope the kids can see this!" Then he thought, shit that sucker is heading straight for me. He ducked his head but lost sight of the rode. As he looked up he noticed his front tire hit some gravel. He tried to straighten it but overcompensated a little. At that point the bike threw him in the air and back down about 5 or 6 times. He ended up like a rag doll flying in the air.
As I approached the bend, all I could see was a dirt cloud and his bike resting between 2 pieces of an electrical box. At that point my heart dropped and I yelled, "Holy Shit!" I screamed at the kids to stay put and not to get out of the car. I guess I was running on adrenaline because I don't even remember putting the car in park or even shutting the door for that matter.
When I got to him, he was on his stomach. I remember gasping, but then I saw his hands reaching for his helmet. As he pulled it off he said, "Honey, I"m ok, I'm ok, but I'm pretty sure I broke my ankle!"
By that time my son ran up to us. The look on that poor kid's face was terrifying. Thankfully his Dad reassured him, he was ok!
Within minutes a car pulled up behind me and out pops a woman yelling, "I'm a nurse, I can help!" Seconds after that another car pulls up coming from the opposite direction yelling, "We're EMT's we can help!" I think that is when I finally exhaled knowing we had people who cared enough to stop and actually had medical training. How lucky were we? My husband then said, "Well I'm a trauma surgeon so we should be able to figure all this out! They helped him get onto his back and removed his jacket and his boot. They needed to make sure there wasn't any bleeding or worse yet, a bone sticking out!
Thank God for all his protective gear. He had scratches and cuts on his arm but lucky for us and his line of work, there was nothing wrong with his hands. Not a scratch on them. In no time the Sheriff was there and despite the turn of events she was such a hoot! Quite the comedian to be honest. She said, "Great, I was just getting off work and was going to head out on my Harley, but noooooo, you had to go and jinx it for me!"
In no time the ambulance appeared and did all the necessary work up. They put a neck brace on him and moved him to the back board. They loaded him up and headed to the hospital in Sioux City, Iowa. Someone wanted to then take that moment to talk about where they were bringing the bike but started to tell me that we were in Mapleton and where they were going to bring his bike. To be honest I didn't give a rats ass about that bike. I still had over an hours drive to get to the hospital and had no idea where I was going.
Despite my husbands appearance and attitude I think my gut was telling me that he still wasn't in the clear. They say the first hour is the most critical. We had no idea at that time whether or not he had any internal bleeding. I needed to get to the hospital to make sure. Oh my poor kiddos! I know they were so nervous so they were little chatterboxes. I remember telling them they had to shut up. I was trying to read road signs because I didn't really know where I was going!.
Once we got to the hospital and got in to see him he was dialing my cell phone to see where we were. Look at that arm.
They took an x-ray of his ankle and found out it was severely broken. His Talus bone was crushed. Sorry guys I'm trying to speed this story up but wow going over the events of this horrible day aren't easy!
Lets just say how fortunate we truly are that this is all that was broken.
My family was about 30 minutes away at that time so they came and took the kids on to Ponca. They were still able to have a couple of fun days with their cousins.
After spending 4 hours in the Sioux City Hospital we made the decision to drive back to Ames to see one of our surgeons. The drive home was painful, and long....for both of us. Jim was in so much pain and quite nauseous that I had to stop a few times. I am so grateful for the verbal warning so as to NOT get hit in the back of the head! Those 3 hours felt like an eternity. There was so much construction at the time I felt like I could run home faster then we were going. There was also a moment where I was driving down the highway and all of a sudden Jim rolled down his window and stuck his head out and screamed at the top of his lungs! "Holy Hell, I then screamed, because dang, I could have driven off the road, he scared me to death. He was trying to do anything to get his mind off the pain. I felt like I was getting whip lashed for as many times as he was beating the back of my head rest!
I believe we arrived in Ames at about 8:30. We discussed at what level his break was and then we were referred on to Des Moines. Jim told me to go home and get some rest and he took an ambulance to Des Moines. Once the Doctor saw him, he said it couldn't be operated on until the swelling went down, which probably wouldn't be until Wednesday.
(Gruesome pictures ahead!)
The day after surgery the kids made it back from Nebraska to see Jim. Boy were they sure happy to see their Daddy!
Tomorrow it will be 2 weeks since his accident. Life has sure changed around here. When you get married it says "For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health" Well, I think throughout most marriages there are good days and bad days. I think there are richer months and then poorer months and then there happens to be sickness. If you're lucky it will be your typical colds and flu here and there. Well, for us we are talking about real sickness. The kind where you realize how much you love one another and will do anything to help ease their pain. The kind that ignores his anger and mean tones because you are giving him a wedgie everytime you bring him into the bathroom. The kind that has you thinking about them before yourself. The kind that is there to help them into the bathroom and not give a second thought. The kind that is there at 2 o'clock in the morning fanning them and getting them a clean t-shirt because they've soaked the first one. This has been and will continue to be a true test of our marriage but one I know we will do well at!
For almost 10 years I've questioned why my mother passed away. After Jim's accident I truly believe that I now know the reason! I believe she died so she could be Jim's gaurdian angel and help spare his life for us. Thank you Mom!
Oh, its scary and a challenge but oh how blessed we truly are. I don't want to even imagine how much worse this could be. We are so amazingly lucky that he walked away so to speak from this accident. Recovery will be a long process but we will get through it, together!
(aka Florence Nightingale)