On Memorial Day, May 25th, my sister in law Ashley called me and told me she had some bad news.
My Dad had been in a pretty serious car accident. She didn't know many more details than that but paramedics had said he was lucky to be alive so we really didn't know how bad it was.
My Dad was traveling back from Arkansas. He had been camping with my brother's family. He was alone hauling the camper and my brother and his family were in their car hauling the boat. My Mom always goes with him, but she didn't on this particular weekend because she was in Tennessee watching my cousin graduate from High School.
Some pretty bad storms had come through on Memorial Day. When Dad was probably less than an hour away from home a huge gust of wind caught his camper and he started to swerve. He began to fish tail and then he ended up rolling over a time and a half. Praise the Lord that my Mom or my niece or nephew weren't in the truck with him and thankfully no one else was involved in the accident.
Some passer-byers stopped and helped get Dad out of the truck. They got a chair that had flown out of the camper and sat Dad down on it and one lady even stabilized his neck. While they were waiting for paramedics to arrive a few people even got knocked down by the wind. It was that strong. Dad was in pain but he was fine enough to be able to call Mom and tell her "Don't worry, but I've been in a car accident." Mom was boarding her flight to come back from Tennessee when she got the call.
They first took him to Lake Pointe, but they were not equipped for his injuries so they took him to Big Baylor downtown. All while they were transferring him, my Mom was still en route to Dallas because her flight was delayed because of the weather. A friend of theirs picked her up from the airport and took her to the hospital to meet up with Dad.
After all the doctors had seen him and tests had been run it was determined that he broke his sternum (chest bone), C2 vertebrae in his neck and his T7 & T9 vertebrae in his back. Needless to say he was in a lot of pain and on some pretty heavy narcotics. The doctor didn't think surgery was necessary and that it should be able to heal on its own with him in a neck and back brace for 3 months. He was to wear the neck brace 24/7 and the back brace any time he wasn't lying in bed.
We were able to come visit him in the hospital on Wednesday. They had just gotten his back brace fitted and he was able to get out of the bed and was starting to take some steps. He was still in pain but making good progress to come home. He didn't quite seem like himself because he was on lots of pain killers and I think he was a little down facing the reality of having to be in a back brace all summer. He had a plans to drive across the country on his Annual Power Tour car trip with his best friend, a trip to Lake Greeson with my brother's family, a trip to NYC for a mission trip, and of course a few trips to Tyler to come see us.
They were released from the hospital Friday afternoon. Friday night was a little rough for my parents trying to settle into their new normal, but Saturday was such a good day. They got his sleeping arrangements, potty arrangements, place for him to eat and sit to watch TV all figured out. Mom and Dad had even taken a (slow) walk around the block. I was in town for the day for a baby shower and a bachelorette party so I got to spend a few hours mid-day and then a few hours that evening with my parents. Dad was a little loopy, but still his funny self. I just knew things were already looking up and he was going to be just fine. Right before I headed back to Tyler around 7pm I walked outside with my parents and chatted with all of their neighbors. I gave my Dad and big hug and told him that I loved him before I headed home.
Little did I know that I would be turning right back around in the middle of the night because my Dad had had a stroke. I wish that the wreck was the worst of our problems but looking back. The wreck was really no big deal.
Here are some pictures of Dad's truck…...
This is what was left of the camper. It literally just all flew off and only left behind a flatbed trailer. The taller trailer in the back is not part of the camper. To give you an idea of how much of the camper was strewn about, it was a $6,000 towing bill to get it all cleaned up off the highway. Crazy huh?
I'll write more on his stroke later and our journey thus far on his road to recovery.