Thursday, November 18, 2010
An emotional week
I don't want to scare you with the title of this post -- all is well with the baby and with me. We had an good visit with our doctor this week and everything looks good, strong heartbeat, continued growth and all that good stuff.
But, it has been a tremendously difficult week for me and Greg as we found out Sunday night that my 18-year-old nephew, Nathan, (that's him in the picture above when he visited us here in Louisiana over the summer)was in a very serious car accident and was life-flighted to Duke University Hospital for treatment. He is recovering now and is showing signs of improvement, despite a few set backs. But he remains a broken boy with a long road ahead of him.
We got the call on Sunday night as we were eating dinner. Greg talked with my niece and she gave him what little information she had. I knew it was bad news from the tone of Greg's voice and the questions he was asking. My first thought was that my mom was sick again, but Greg mouthed to me "Nathan," and my heart just sunk. I asked "is he OK?" and Greg just shook his head, "no." When he hung up the phone and I heard the words "life flight" I just lost it. I immediately went to our room to pray. It's times like these when being so far away from home is most difficult. There is no fast way to get from Northwest Louisiana to central North Carolina at that time of night. You could drive to Dallas to catch a flight, but the drive alone is about 3 hours. You could hit the road headed east on I-20, but you wouldn't even see the NC state line for about 13 hours and then you'd have another three hours to go. It is just too far. Not to mention the fact that I'm too pregnant to do any flying or driving of that sort.
So all I could do is wrap my nephew up in prayer. I thought of my sister. Nathan is her first born. How on earth was she holding herself together on the drive up to Durham while her son was fighting for his life?
In the hours that followed, the reports came in from texts and calls and I learned that Nathan had bleeding in his brain, a bruised lung, a lacerated liver, a broken wrist and a broken femur. He was unconcious and would remain so because doctors were keeping him sedated.
A neurologist studied scans of Nathan's brain and decided he couldn't allow him to have surgery to repair the broken bones until he was certain of the nature of the brain injury. Another scan in the wee hours of the morning on Monday gave surgeons the all clear. On Monday, Nathan uderwent more than six hours of surgery. We got the good news that he was responding to questions by squeezing the doctor's hand and holding up fingers. Almost my entire family was there that evening in hopes that Nathan would wake up. But, after several hours he was still asleep in the ICU and it was time for everyone to head home. My sister left Nathan's side to tell everyone goodbye and wouldn't you know my nephew woke up and in fear and anger (not understanding where he was or what had happened to him) he managed to pull out his breathing tube, stomach tube and all his IVs, despite the fact that he has a broken wrist on one hand and the other had was restrained to the bed.
Now, this was scary and it's a blessing that he didn't cause himself futher injury, but to an aunt who knows exactly how strong-willed and stubborn and defiant this boy has always been, hearing that he pulled those tubes out was a sign that somewhere in the fog, that hard-headed boy remained in tact.
He's off the ventilator now and physical therapists had him standing up and taking baby steps yesterday. During the night, he suffered from severe headaches which prompted doctors to do more scans of his brain. They can't find the cause of the pain. He's still in much pain, still groggy from all the meds and the trauma. But on Tuesday I got to hear his voice as he responded to my message. "I love you, too," he said. What a beautiful sound!
So if you pray, or think positive thoughts or what have you, please keep my nephew in mind. He is such a special person and there is so much life unfinished.