Friday, August 21, 2015

After the Fall

My Dad had a terrible accident this week. Monday morning he was working at Habitat for Humanity, something he does several days a week and loves doing. He was working on the outside of the house and was stepping from a ladder to some scaffolding when the ladder slipped. Dad fell 4 or 5 feet, landing with all his weight on his left ankle. He ended up with an open compound fracture of both leg bones. That means both of his leg bones were sticking out of his skin, a horrible and gruesome injury. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Wichita and admitted as a trauma patient.

Dad had surgery Monday afternoon to put plates and pins in his ankle and stabilize the leg bones. He has multiple fractures on the top and sides of his foot and his heel and a severed tendon. None of this can be repaired until the swelling goes down. So for now, we sit with Dad and we wait.
Somehow in the fall, Dad also broke his nose. It's a fairly minor thing, but it makes him look pretty bad.

It's been a long, hard week. It's always hard to see someone you love in pain and Dad is in pain all of the time. The medical maze of hospitals has been frustrating and confusing. His nurses have been wonderful and he is getting excellent care, but there are endless streams of doctors and therapists and nurses and techs through his room and all of them have different, and often conflicting, information. 
I have been driving the hour back and forth to the city to sit with him every day. My sister and Steve and I have taken turns staying the night. It's tiring, but I am glad that I can be there.
My mom has had a hard time dealing with it all, which is understandable. Part of my job this week has been finding ways to help her, too. The lines between parent and child, care giver and person in need of care have blurred and shifted this week. But that has been okay, too. Wednesday was really difficult, but yesterday was much better, We'll be alright, but this is going to be a long, long journey.
We have had lots of support from family and friends. My parents have a huge network of supporters and they have stepped in when we needed them. Pastor friends have come to pray and we have all been amused by the crucifix on the hospital room wall, because the Jesus has a little hand like Rachel's.

Steve and I are trying to keep life as normal as possible for our girls. We've spent time with them and kept to the routines and surrounded them with people who bring them comfort. They've handled the disruption and fear of the week amazingly well. I'm trying to practice good self care, getting sleep and exercise, and decent food. I know that for me, documenting what's happening in pictures and words is how I process things, so I'll keep blogging even through the hard parts.

I have been profoundly grateful for the modern miracles of cell phones and texts and Facebook this week. They have allowed me to stay in constant contact with family, to call on people for support no matter where I am, and to let huge groups of friends know what's going on in a single message. And the words and messages of friends has been immensely comforting to all of us. Please keep those prayers coming!

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