We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Summer to Bring You Something Entirely Different
"Do not boast about tomorrow,
For You do not know what a day may bring forth."
Summer had been humming merrily along. Take last Wednesday, for example. I worked on lesson planning while Jonathan finished his two-day orientation at IU, registering for his fall freshman classes. (Calculus, computer science, Medieval Heroes, a history course about the mafia, plus a 1 hour jiu-jitsu class for fun.) Peter registered for a dual credit English Comp class from Ivy Tech, and I took Amanda to get her driver's license learner's permit. She and Faith also attended their Intro to Biology class at IU taught by their brother-in-law, Collin. Tim was engaged in a bidding war for a cute little fixer-upper house. (We eventually lost.) Later, Kara, Collin, and daughters came over for dinner and some blueberry picking. Busy, productive, relatively carefree.
Then came Thursday. It started as the quietest day of the summer. In fact, by late afternoon, I did something that I almost never do - I began to watch a movie. While I folded laundry and did some hand sewing I popped The King's Speech into my computer. Dinner was in the crock pot, and we were expecting Jonathan, who had gone mountain biking after finishing his work at WalMart, to bring home the friend he was biking with. And then came the phone call from Jonathan's friend.
"Jonathan's had a bike accident. He's conscious, and I've called 911."
|CT scan of a "Chance Fracture" spinemd.com|
First, we learned he had no internal injuries and that his head and neck were just fine. Praise God! The next report wasn't so good: Jonathan had cracked his T-8 vertebra in two places. It looked like there was some bleeding going on in the region. His particular injury is called a Chance Fracture after a Dr. Chance. (T stands for Thoracic, which means his injury is in the middle of his back. Far, far better than a cervical injury in the neck region, a more common mountain bike injury. After reading about mountain bike accidents, I've learned that spine injuries are not infrequent, and that helmets, while great for preventing brain injuries, are useless when it comes to neck and spine injuries, all too common when flipping over handlebars. Very sobering to this avid cyclist and mama to many cyclists.)
Throughout the process, we have seen the tender mercies of the Lord. One of the first beyond the fact that Jon wasn't paralyzed was that the ER doctor turned out to be a man Tim had met with a year ago to talk about homeschooling. (Believe it or not, Tim's plumber had been the one who hooked them up.) Once he knew who Tim was, the ER doctor's care went from purely professional to also kindly personal. Also, the neurosurgeon on call for the weekend "happened" to be "the very best," as we were told over and over from many sources.
Because of the extent of his injuries and trauma, Jonathan was admitted. The best remedy to stabilize the back would be surgery involving screws and pins placed into the vertebrae directly above and below the broken one, but because of the bleeding, that couldn't take place until Saturday. Surgery went well, though the doctor found the damage more extensive than the MRI and CT scans had shown. Eventually the three vertebrae will fuse together. Because of the location in the mid-back, Jonathan should lose virtually no flexibility. In fact, in 6-12 months, the doctor says Jon shouldn't be able to tell he even had the accident. (He will have a nice long scar down his back, though.)
Now for the funny (unless you are Peter) part. Sunday night Tim was bringing the kids in to see their brother. All were loaded in the van, but Peter remembered he had wanted to bring some board games. In his haste to return to the van, he leaped down the stairs, slamming his head into the bulkhead/ceiling at the bottom of the stairs, splitting his head wide open. I met Tim at the ER door, taking the other children upstairs while he stayed with Peter until he'd been cleaned up and put back together with eight staples. Until this week we'd made just two trips to the ER in 27 years of parenting, and then in just four days we doubled that. (Peter's biggest frustration is that the ER doc told him to lay off running for 4-5 days, which he immediately halved in his anxiety to return to his loved sport.)
We were able to come home on Monday. Jonathan is getting around moderately well, wearing a back brace any time he is up for more than 15 minutes. Every time I watch him walk, I am reminded of God's mercy to him and to us. He's still running a fever due to a condition called atelectasis, which means that he's having trouble breathing deeply enough to really fill his lungs. Jon's working hard with a spirometer to try to prevent a more serious problem from this, and we think he may be making progress. It's going to be a long process, and we would certainly appreciate your prayers for his recovery!