Sunday, November 20, 2011

My daddy ♥

Well my dad had a hunting accident last Monday was life flighted to a trauma center, which is approx 95 miles from his home.  It was so scary.  My neighbor (it was actually my dad's neighbor) called me Monday morning while I was at work.  I had this terrible gut feeling the minute I felt my phone vibrate and seen that he was calling because he normally doesn't call me.  I answered the phone with fear in my voice.  He told me that my dad had accidently shot himself in the leg with a .270 deer rifle while trying to get it unjammed and that he would be getting flown to a hospital here in the City.  I was hysterical because I didn't really know what exactly was going on.  They told me he was conscious, but I didn't know how "stable" he was.  I know what kind of impact a deer rifle has on an object after being shot at close range, so I didn't know if he would even have a leg left.  All kinds of terrible thoughts were running through my head.  I tried to stay positive, but it was very hard.  My boss drove me right over to the hospital and we got there about 5 minutes before the hellicopter landed.  I waited at the door as they wheeled him into the doors on the gurney.  I grabbed his hand and let him know that I was there and that I loved him.  He was strapped down to a back board with a neck brace.  It was kinda scary watching the life flight crew take him out of the chopper and bring him into the hospital.  He told me later that he couldn't see me as they brought him in, but that he could hear my voice.  He was covered in blood and his right pant leg was cut open to his upper thigh.  His right knee had a compression bandage over it and was splinted.  I could tell he was in pain.  A trauma team was waiting at the door for him and took him on back to the ER for a better evaluation.  They wouldn't let me go back just yet and told me to wait out in the waiting room, that a physician or nurse would be out shortly to let me know what was going on.  The life flight nurse came back out and told me he had pulses and feeling in his foot and that his vitals had been fine on the way up.  That was somewhat reassuring.

About 15 minutes went by, but it seemed like a lot longer.  Finally a nurse came out and told me that I could go back to the trauma room and see him.  Several doctors came in and out of the room.  An anesthesiologisy, a ortho surgeon, a general surgeon and a "medical" doctor.  He was awake and able to answer the questions they were asking.  They told us they would be taking him into surgery very soon to clean the wound and asses the damage.  From the xrays and CAT scans they had already done they were able to tell us that he had completely shot out his entire knee and shattered the bottom portion of his femur.  There were a lot of bone fragments that would need to be moved as well.  He just about blew his entire leg off at the knee, yet missed all the arteries and etc.  I believe he had a guardian angel looking over him that morning.  He says he had 2. ♥  I have absolutly no doubt in my mind that both Raelyn and my Momma was with him.  I sobbed as they took him back to the OR.  I knew he would probably be "ok", but I didn't want him to have to lose a leg or something to go wrong during surgery, God forbid.  The unknown can be a really scary thing and I am not ready to lose my daddy.  He is all I have left (as far as parents). 

I waited the rest of that evening in the ICU surgery waiting room.  That really felt like an eternity.  12 turned into 1, 1 turned into 2 and so forth.  Finally at around 5 they told me that he was finally out of surgery and would be spending the night in the ICU for observation.  He looked pretty good considering what he had been through that day.  The doctor said that things went well during that surgery and that they would take him back to the OR in a couple days.  Because of the injury they were not able to completly close the wound.  He said they were able to pull the wound closed more than they thought, but that there was still about a tennis ball sized area which was "open".  He said he was very lucky to still have his leg, but that there was still a very high chance he could end up losing it due to the wound and risk for infection.  They showed me the pictures of what his knee looked like and it was just unbelievable.  A gunshot wound anywhere can be fatal and I was just so thankful that my dad was doing alright after this horrible accident. They put an external fixator on, which is a long metal titanium rode that is anchored into the top of his leg and lower shin, to hold his leg together and prevent movement. 

The next day they moved him out of the ICU and to the ortho/medical floor.  He had lost a lot of blood so he received 4 units of blood.  He went back to surgery on Wednesday.  The doc said that surgery went as expected also.  He said that it was still a pretty nasty looking wound but that it didn't look any worse.  His next surgery will be this coming Tuesday and they will do some skin grafting to cover the "open" wound.  His recovery is going to be a very long, rough one.  The doc said that his injury was a very unique one which has been challenging for the surgeons, but that we would continue to take it day to day.  He said that there is no written instructions on how to do this, such as there wasn't a do a first, then b, etc.  After the skin grafting heals he will have another surgery which will replace his knee and bottom portion of his femur with a cadaver bone.  Dad has nothing left to reconstruct of his "own", so will have to use either donor bones or prosthetic ones.  We have opted to try the donor bones since they are "real" bones and will hopefully heal to his bones better.  There hasn't really been any talk about when he will be able to go home, but they have mentioned that he will most likely need to either go to a nursing home or rehab for skilled therapy.  Hopefully we will be able to progress through this without any further complications. 

They started doing therapy earlier this week.  He will be totally non weight bearing for the next 12 weeks on his right leg and has been learning to use a walker.  They have also been teaching him how to do his activities of daily living around the external fixator on his leg (it's a very inconvient and uncomfortable contraption, but I know it is "necessary").  He has been doing really well with the addaptive devices they have given him to use so hopefully that will mean he can get out of here faster.  He has pretty much been totally dependent on someone to help him do anything so it is good to see him be more "independent" with the assistive devices therapy has provided him with. 

Like I said, I know it is going to be a very long road to recovery but I am just so thankful to still have my daddy here with me.  I have been at the hospital with him every chance that I can.  We have had some really awesome nurses and some that aren't so good.  The surgeons have been great and I have a lot of confidence that they will be able to "fix" his leg the best they can.  Please continue to pray for strength as he starts this bumpy journey to recovery.