Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Lucky to Be Alive: Dad's Accident (Part 1)

There's really no nice way to transition into this, so let's just get down to it.

On October 18th I got a phone call from my mom. This in itself is a bit of a rarity, and I have frequently told her she needs to call more often, because she seems to only call with bad news. I need to be reconditioned not to expect negative things when she calls. (You know, like how you take your dog for car rides so he doesn't automatically assume car = vet.) But I got blindsided on this one. First, she called from my dad's phone, and my dad is a billion times more likely to call me for something random (like to tell me he's 20 minutes from my house, and would I mind if he stopped by). Second, she started the conversation so normally that I suspected nothing. (Sneaky woman, she is...)

And then she hit me with it.

My dad was in a motorcycle accident on the night of October 17th. He was on his way home from a softball game (he plays in a Fall Ball league when he's able) and was worried about hitting wet leaves on the street he normally uses to get home. Instead, he went one street down, nicked the median (we think), and went down. 
The table was still set for Monday's
dinner when I arrived on Wednesday night.
My mom had been waiting at home for him. Over an hour after he should have been home for dinner, the hospital called my mom to let her know Dad was there. After explaining that his injuries were serious, but non-life-threatening, she got off the phone and headed straight to the hospital.

It wasn't until late Tuesday morning that my mom called to tell me. I immediately requested the next two days off from work, planning to go to Madison as soon as possible. I ended up spending Wednesday doing chores to get caught up at my house and then headed to Madison that night so I could spend Thursday at the hospital with my parents.

Wednesday night, Mom filled me in on the details of his accident, including the laundry list of injuries he sustained. Both bones in his left leg were broken, which included a compound fracture (bone came through the skin). His left thumb was partially dislocated (subluxation) and two of his fingers were broken. He broke his sternum and 20 ribs (he likes to boast that he was going for the record). The bridge of his nose was broken, leading to some nice bruising that made it look like he was rocking purple eyeliner. He had some relatively minor road rash, as well as some other bumps and bruises. And he hit his forehead enough to need some stitches and have a mild concussion. Seeing as he wasn't wearing a helmet, he is insanely lucky that was the extent of the damage to his head (and that he's here to tell the tale). 

As for the accident itself, the details were - and still are - pretty sketchy. We know he was making a left turn when he went down, and was less than two miles from home when it happened. Other than that... We're just not sure. There were a few witnesses who gave statements (one said she saw a car run him over, but the others didn't mention anything about that), and Dad has some flashes of memory from the accident (he thinks he remembers seeing the bike sliding away from him). Mostly he remembers a woman who sat with him while they waited for the ambulance. He says she was wonderful. She made sure someone called 911 and she stayed calm through the whole ordeal. He has no idea who she was (he couldn't really turn his head or body to look at her as she sat with him), but he'd love to thank her. So would I. 

There's a LONG road to recovery ahead of us. I'll share some details of that journey later. For now, just know that he's going to be OK. That's the only part that matters.