It was 2:30 a.m. when I got a call from my brother Bee. He asked me if I was already sleeping and I said no, I had just laid down. He said well Rob has been in a really bad accident and he’s at the hospital and it’s pretty bad. He said I am going to get mom and you can get Mandy. I said I don’t know where they live but Boo does if you can get her to then I’ll get to the hospital so he won’t be alone. Okay.
So when I got to the hospital, they sent me back to his room. And there he was in a gnarled up mess. Arms broken, legs broken, both feet crushed, sternum broken, both clavicles broken, shoulder out of place, hip broken, feet broken, ribs broken. On oxygen with a collapsed lung so he had to have a chest tube put in. He was awake and talking and alert.
I talked to him for a bit and then they had me go to the waiting room so they could sedate him and try to set his bones. The nurse came and got me and took me out to smoke and explain to me what all had happened to him and how he was. With the collapsed lung that made it all more difficult for him.
And to boot? Someone that was with him didn’t survive the accident. Either his best friend or the girl that his best friend was trying to get to know. And no one knew which.
Apparently the two had picked her up and went for a ride. Only problem was the truck wouldn’t stop. No brakes. They went off the end of the road into a ravine burying the truck three feet into the ground.
Here is my little brother in the bed, talking to me, telling me that he’s okay and he’s ready to go home.
I’m like uh, I don’t think that’s going to happen yet.
It was a while before the other family made it to the hospital. The nurse said she’d try to find out who was airlifted and who didn’t make it. She told me that he is a fighter because she didn’t think he was going to pull through when they brought him in.
They couldn’t set his hip so they decided to transfer him to another local hospital to see if they could do it. Off we went. About 3 hours later, they said they couldn’t do it and decided to send him to a much larger trauma center in the city.
I sat with him there while they came in and tried to get him more stable. The broken hip had now become life threatening and surgery was emergent.
And that’s when he thought he was going to die.
He said he was sorry for how he had been in the past and didn’t ever want to be the same again. Everyone came and encouraged him that he would make it through even though we had no idea if he would. He didn’t want anyone to leave while he was in surgery. Understandable. They said they were going to put him on the ventilator due to the circumstances of his injuries and because the surgery to fix everything was going to be at least 11 hours long. The lung wasn’t doing well and they were concerned that with it being collapsed that he would have a hard time making it through the surgery.
I love my little brother to pieces and seeing him the way he was really broke my heart. I can’t imagine the pain of having so many broken bones. And here he was all tough and though in extreme pain, he was making it through.
They took him into surgery around 1 o’clock. Told us that he’d be out around 10 or 11 p.m.
Most of us ran home to shower and nap and his wife stayed at the hospital. The whole time she badmouthed him for getting hurt so badly but she still stayed with him.
We were all there when he woke up. All six of his brothers and sisters. Well – one wasn’t because she didn’t want to come back to the hospital, but the rest of us were there. He had made it through the first 48 hours. They took him off the vent. By the next day, they took the chest tube out. Therapy came and began doing things with him to help. Respiratory therapy came and help him with his breathing and lungs.
And surprise! Within 8 days, they said he could go home.
Problem? No ramp at his house to get in. Well that’s doable – we’ll build you one.
Not going to matter. Why? Because his best friend was killed in the accident. He didn’t know yet. The nurse told me that it was the girl who was med-flighted to the hospital and the male died at the scene. We got confirmation but decided to wait til after the next surgery to tell him so he’d still have the motivation to fight. He kept asking if we heard anything about his friend and we just said we hadn’t heard yet.
I began to feel like we should tell him since it had been 2 days and the next surgery had gotten push away because he had a hemorrhage and needed a blood transfusion but his wife insisted that we continue to wait a little longer. So when I came back in from the cafeteria that day – his wife opened the door saying, he just blurted out that he killed his friend and told him he was a murderer and now he doesn’t want to live anymore.
One of their mutual friends Joe was angry and came up and told Rob that he killed Randall in the crash. He also told him that the family was very angry.
So guess what? On the day that he was going to get to go home – my other brother calls and says he can’t go to his house so the only place to bring him to is your house. Why? Because all of the family that lives out there is upset and threatening to kill my little brother.
So, he came home to live with me.
Being in the medical field for over 20 years, I have experience with dealing with people who can’t use their arms or legs. But 24-hour care is something I am not used to. And I don’t think I’m cut out for it.
It’s been a month now since the accident. He is still here with me. He’s had five surgeries so far. Is in a wheelchair still. Has some use of his arms but that’s about it. There are small victories like getting the shower for the first time. Pooping on the potty in the bathroom instead of the port a-potty. Eating with spoon and fork without help.
All of this past month just really makes me think about life. Things can change so fast in a blink of an eye. Here’s a guy who was constantly going, doing for everyone, doing everything. The one I ride motorcycles and dune buggies with. And now he does good to wheel himself outside. It’s heartbreaking.
Take time to enjoy life people. Everything – good and bad. Cause you don’t know when it’s going to change. No matter how bad things are – it can always be worse. Love every moment of every day even if it sucks. And love your friends and family. Cause as I sat there and saw how broken he was – I really worried that those would be our last moments together and I am so thankful that they were not. Just take time to live and love.
It’s going to be probably January or February before we can start the process of learning to walk again. In the meantime, they got kicked out of there house. So we are trying to find them a new place. It was illegal for them to be evicted the way they were – but no one wants to fight against it so it is what it is.
Life happens when you aren’t looking and it happens fast.
Savor every single moment. It wasn’t even my accident and its changed my life forever and how I think.
Thanks for reading. I’ll keep updating and hopefully have some good progressive news soon.