Thursday, July 26, 2018

Recovery

I wanted to update my  blog with a few notes dealing with our recovery, for both Mary and I.  Despite the many stories, theories and bits and pieces of the facts, I will provide some medical insight.

 Friday June 29

Immediately following the accident Mary was helped out of the plane by a couple that was traveling on Route 611 . The gentleman that helped Mary came back and helped pull me out of the plane . I understand that it took a second man who jumped in to help pull me free of the cockpit .
Mary was amazing, with all the noise going on around me as I laid on the ground I could hear her taking command of the situation. My amazing bride directed people to the fire extinguisher and alerted the ground personnel (first responders) of full fuel tanks in each wing.

 Ocean City fire department was on scene almost immediately . Maryland State police and their helicopter was there just as fast . Mary's injuries were assessed and she was taken by ambulance to Peninsula regional medical center . My medical condition was assessed and I was immediately airlifted to Peninsula regional medical center .

What I remember is a lot of faces asking a lot of questions along with being poked and prodded while being shifted from stretcher to table .  I wanted to see Mary to make sure she was safe and the nurses finally wheeled her in to see me. Mary had fractured L1 in her back and was being put in a brace, along with some bruising and scrapes.  Yours truly had a back fracture in L3 and L4 , fractured sternum , three ribs , fractured skull at my sinus cavity and a fractured eye socket . I think I took about 45 stitches to close up all the cuts around my eye and forehead. My worst injury was a fractured tibia fibula in my right leg .
Mary's brother and sister-in-law were already on the road to come down to Ocean City to pick Mary up . The decision was made that I needed to be airlifted to a trauma center. Mary and I decided that that Christiana Medical Center would be best for transportation and she would be close to our families.

 Saturday, June 30

 I spent my first night in Christiana in a trauma unit .  Mind you I had nothing to eat since Thursday nights dinner except for some toothpaste and water Friday morning.  Christiana wanted me to prep for surgery so I couldn't even get ice chips let alone real food , okay , hospital food .  Mary along with my sister Denise sat with me well into the early morning hours . No sooner than they left I was moved up to the next trauma unit and had a room .  I was prepped for surgery and said goodbye to Mary as they wheeled me off . I honestly don't remember much once I got that first shot .  No idea how long surgery was but I was finally out and was moved in the trauma surgery step down unit.

 Sunday, July 1 - Monday July 9

 It was a long week of nurses and doctors along with roommates and all the hospital distractions one can imagine. Thankfully I was supported by my bride , family members , and friends . I settled into the routine of breakfast, physical torture, doctor visits, hospital lunch, the saving grace of visitors and hospital dinners. I was finally scheduled for release on Monday evening and was shipped out to health South in Salisbury Maryland.  Health South is an acute rehab center. Acute rehab means 3 to 4 hours of bust ass physical torture every day.

 Tuesday, July 10 to Tuesday July 17

Today it gets real . This place has a regiment and they follow it.  I will say for a hospital type facility the food is not bad. After breakfast it's time to clean up and then get to physical therapy or occupational therapy, as the schedule sometimes changes. It's a tough first day and my body hurts but the first ones in the book.

 Wednesday, July 18

Today starts out early with the meds dispensed and an early breakfast. Today I'm heading north to Middletown Delaware to have a follow-up with my surgeon that did my initial leg repairs . I'm transported via ambulance for two hours one way . Let me just say the roads in lower Delaware, suck !

 Mary cannot make the ride because of her back there's no way she could tolerate that . My brother Joe and his wife Janice were waiting for me when I got to the orthopedics office . Mary and I both were very appreciative of my brother and his wife being there to support me and hear what the doctor had to say . Janice has a medical background and she speaks all that medical-ease, always a big plus.
All the bandages were removed from what I call the elephant leg . Staples were removed, Steri-Strips were added and a new ace bandage covered everything back up . The doctor wanted me to start moving the ankle and bending at the knee . The news I dreaded hearing was delivered, I would need more surgery to further repair my broken leg . Not only was my heart broken to hear this but my spirit damaged as well.  I was devastated .

 Thursday, July 19

I think last night was my worst nights sleep . With the bulk of the pain coming from my Sternum, back and my ribs, last night my leg break let it be known that it was here to also annoy me.
A few new scares and a big dent
I talked with Mary, she has been my rock . Our friend Candy drove Mary over early this morning so that we can come up with a plan to manage the pain and deal with this new surgery .

 Candy and her husband Mark are friends of ours that we met through the beech aero club . We are so blessed to have such fantastic friends. Candy hopped a flight and has been here to help Mary.

The first week, Mary's sister-in-law, Lynn helped get Mary settled back at our house. Lynn provided meals, transportation and company that Mary needed to get back on her feet.

 The original surgeon handed off my case to a local orthopedic trauma surgeon located in Salisbury. My new doctor called to let me know I was headed for CT scans on Friday the 20th and set up our first visit for July 25 . As much as I hate to say it, or think it, I just want to get the surgery done .

 So recoveries continue for Mary and I as we work through this latest adventure , or is that misadventure . Mary has surgery scheduled for her L1 fracture August 3 . This procedure will clean out any loose fragments and be replaced with a cement type material .

 Special thanks to our friends Candy and Mark for all their help . Thanks to Mary's family and my family for the support, love and prayers.

Friday, July 20 - Sunday, July 22

 Friday and Saturday follow the typical routine meds , bath , PT and OT . I had to make up some time that I had missed while company was visiting so the schedule was extended on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

 Saturday was my toughest day since I got here . I did an extended PT session that included being assessed for my release date . This included extra weight on my leg reps, extended distance and walking with a walker and doing what I call the Bunny-hop . We also worked on transfers for the car, bed and extending my time to be able to stand up . Mary and Candy were here when I got back to the room Saturday and I have to tell you I was totally gassed . Once the therapy people got me back in bed I couldn't even lift my arms or my head I was that wiped out . That's a very scary feeling .  It was a restless night but I did manage to get some sleep .

 Sunday was also added PT and OT my schedule . PT was pretty much transfers in and out of bed by myself and trying to extend the range of doing my so-called Bunny-hop on the Walker. I think I made it to sixty foot, twice.  Following PT I went over to the occupational therapy for what I thought would be my typical upper body strengthening work . I was pleasantly surprised when they asked if I wanted to take a shower instead . The therapist helped get me set up by wrapping up my leg in a big bag and helping me get all my clothes and things needed to take a very nice hot shower even though it was sitting in a shower chair .  It felt good to be cleaned up again and back in bed to relax .

 My family came to visit, which made my day.  my brother Joe and his wife Janice along with my sister Denise and her husband Dave. Mary's first cousin Maureen and her daughter Lauren also stopped in to see me , it was a full house .  Everyone had headed out and buy 4 o'clock it was just me.  Mary and Candy had a busy day finishing up their errands in preparation for my coming home. They both came to visit me about 5:30, just in time for dinner.

 Mary's back was starting to bother her so her and Candy finally headed to the house. The countdown was on, I should be out of here Monday morning or early afternoon . Tentative target time 2 PM .

 More on my release and the trip home in my next blog entry .

Thank you for all the readers who have sent text messages , emails , phone calls and for all your Facebook posts that have kept me laughing .

 Special thanks to Mark  and Candy G from Texas , true friends that have taken on a big project. providing transportation, helping with our zoo, being there to listen  and making sure Mary and I follow the recovery plan.

5 comments:

Paul said...

We've never met but I'm a long time enjoyer of your blog and flying tales. So sorry to read about your accident and wishing you and Mary a very speedy recovery and hopefully back on the horse soon!

Paul

Gary said...

Thanks, Paul.

For now the plan is to heal. Sometime next year we will decided on owning another airplane or not.

Thanks for reading along, I hope there will be new adventures to write about in the future. Priority and perspective has changed....I’m working on a day to day battle. Happy to be alive and still have my Bride by my side.

Jim and Sandie said...

I so appreciate your taking the time to update us on your recovery. One day at a time with your bride by your side is the best way to get whole again. Sending lots of prayers for both you and Mary. I know you will keep up the rehab and do what the docs tell you to do. Thanks again for the update.

Steve said...

Considering all you've been through I think you are doing really well. Not that I speak from any experience but it's clear your head's in the right place and I know you two will pull through this stronger than before.

Continued best wishes and thoughts to you both!

Anonymous said...

I’m glad to hear you’re doing well. I struggle to put life in to perspective sometimes, but life, and it’s value, is one thing I always try to keep my grip on. You’ve been they a lot, and keep riding on...

Best,

Your nephew... Joe