09 January 2009

II of IV

{The Accident}
My dad was making a delivery to a local restaurant that shall remain nameless. The restaurant did not have a designated location for deliveries, so my dad had to park the truck out front... on the side of the road of a busy main street. It was just before 6am. My dad and his coworker, Dave, walked around the back of the truck, opened the doors, and got to work. Dave hopped into the back and started handing stuff down to my dad while he stacked it up next to the truck to be taken inside. Dave turns to hand my dad another box and sees a car speeding down the road... headed straight for their truck. He yells at my dad to jump out of the way, but it was too late. The car slammed into my dad and then into the back of the truck, pinning him. The force of the impact was so much that Dave was thrown out of the truck and into the car windshield. The man driving the car restarted it and started to back up. Dave got off the hood and pulled the guy out of the car... stopping him from leaving the scene of the accident. My dad now laid lifeless on the street.

We went from a "possible broken femur" to "with the extent of his injuries, he will not make it through the night."

Speechless. The life was literally sucked out of my body. We had to see him. Now.

We walked up to the TICU. As soon as I saw my dad, I tried not to cry... but I couldn't hold it in any more. He was wearing a neck brace and was so banged up with open wounds all over his head, face, and body. He was awake. He smiled as soon as he saw us and I just wanted to give him the biggest hug ever, but I couldn't. The doctor pulled us outside and listed his injuries. The initial tests indicated that he had bleeding in his brain, punctured lungs, and had broken his back, all of his ribs, his leg, and his ankle. The doctors told us that they were going to induce a coma and put him on a ventilator so that the bleed in his brain and his lungs could start to heal. We went back in to talk to my dad and let them know what was going on. We explained that the coma would hopefully stop the bleeding in his brain, which was their top priority at the moment. I think it's a lot easier to hear it from us, then from the doctors. He was then put into a coma sometime before noon. Honestly, I thought it was the last time I would see my dad awake.

We didn't leave the hospital until almost midnight. We knew that it would be a long night and that it was so critical that the bleeding stop. My mom called the hospital every hour throughout the night for updates. By 6am the next morning, we finally heard the news we had so desperately been waiting for: the bleeding stopped. They woke my dad up from the coma (thankfully!!!!) but he still needed to remain on the ventilator. We took a big notebook and pen up to the hospital the next day so that my dad could "talk" to us. I still have that notebook to this day.

My mom headed up to the hospital the next day with her best friend, while Kristi and I stayed behind. Kacy's boat was docking this morning and we had to attempt to call her. Before we made that horrible call, Kristi took care of Kacy's travel arrangements, switching the day, time, and location of her flight home so that she'd land right in NYC (which was just across the bridge from the hospital.) We then called Kacy. Of course, she was shocked and devastated, but we were happy that we could at least tell her that the bleeding and swelling in dad's brain had stopped and was now shrinking.

Over the next week, my dad remained on the ventilator due to his punctured lungs. He also remained in a neck brace. At the time, we were not sure why the neck brace wasn't removed, but all the doctors kept saying that it simply needed to remain on him. We wanted to transfer him to Thomas Jefferson Hospital, which is one of the best trauma hospital's in Philadelphia, but he needed to be off the ventilator first. With a lot of hard work and even more "luck", he was off by Friday (1 week after the accident) and was medivacced from Jersey City Medical Center to Jefferson. Our 2 hour commute to the hospital (one way) everyday, was now cut down to just 15 minutes. We were so happy to have him back "home."


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