Monday, October 28, 2013

"Becky, I've got this." The Motorcycle Accident.

The Phone Call

It was the phone call you never want to get. “Your husband’s been in a motorcycle accident. Can you come to the hospital?” Not knowing whether he’d skinned his knee or lost his legs, I gathered my sweatshirt and purse over my arm and told the kids I’d call when I got there.

In that moment, I felt as though God reached down and gripped me in His arms with a strong, full-bodied bear-hug, saying,

“Becky, I’ve got this.”

Not that it was all going to be ok, but just that He had it under control. On the drive to the hospital, I talked to Him, explaining that He had to live up to the verse that promised that in my weakness, He’d be strong, because I didn’t feel very strong.

The Crash

Lee had been in the left lane of 465 when a car pulled in front of him. As he slowed, he experienced something called a “tank slapper” or “death wobble” on his new tires that ripped his handle bars out of his grip. At this moment, he said, “I’m going to die.”

Then he blacked out, but witnesses say he was thrown from his bike, bounced twice on his head before his helmet flew off, chin strap still attached, landed again on his head, spun around, and sailed down the road, burning through his motorcycle jacket. His bike was 30 yards ahead of him. 

A semi-truck, seeing he was in trouble, slowed down and blocked three lanes of traffic so he wouldn’t be hit by other vehicles. A pastor from another town was immediately on the scene and prayed over him while he was on the road. The medical team arrived and he was still unconscious. He woke up a little in the ambulance, and they said he was very concerned about what shift day it was and who was transporting him. They did a great job with his care, and he arrived swiftly to the ER at St. Vincent’s.

While he was unconscious, Lee went to a dance party, with lights flashing and people moving to the music. He didn’t see faces, but he felt completely at peace. Content. Without pain. It’s as though God said, “Come over here for a few minutes while something tragic happens.”

The Hospital

When I walked into the waiting room, I was greeted by the pastor, who prayed with me and explained what had happened to the best of his knowledge. It was as though God had showed up personally to say, “I’m here with you, Becky. Remember, I’ve got this.”

Going back to see Lee, I felt complete peace. He kept saying, “I can’t believe I’m alive.” As visitors flooded the ER and asked how I was doing, my only response was “thankful.” So thankful that God spared his life.

Lee didn’t break any bones except for a small orbital fracture. He had road rash down the left side of his body, which would take some time to heal. He wasn’t experiencing any negative side effects mentally from the concussion, though he did receive around six staples in the back of his head and a few more stitches around his eye. The vision in his left eye was blurred, but we’d find out later that it was blood on his retina that should eventually clear up. That first evening, he could even walk to the bathroom.

Our week in the hospital was full of ups and downs. Lee tried to leave us a couple of times, partly due to his O2 saturation with some of the narcotics, even causing more damage to his leg and wounds, but God kept him around. Lee’s mom, Rita, and I worked to stay on top of it, fighting for the best care.

The Love

Although I could sense God’s strong presence around me, He made His love physical in the lives of the people around us. In fact, we had so many visitors and friends and fire fighters that they had to ask us to keep people away! They put a note on the door that read:

“No visitors. Yes, that means you.” 

Even so, I was very thankful for the many sweet friends who stopped in or texted or wrote encouraging words on Facebook or sent cards. We were showered with love from all sides.

The Lessons

You can’t go through an experience like this without life changes. We’re both still processing what is in store for us. Neither of us wants to waste a moment of this trial.

Speaking only for myself, I’ve already learned two very important truths, and I know this is only the beginning.
  1. God’s grace is perfect in our weakness. I have faith that regardless of what is in our future, I know He will be there. We’ve been through trials before, and I know they’ll come again, and I’m just not afraid anymore. I don’t know of another way to explain it. I told Him, “God, if you can be there for me like that again, then why wouldn’t I trust you?” It isn’t just because Lee was ok. It was because God was there.
  2. God shows us His love through His people He created. Honestly, I’d been getting really frustrated lately with the policies and procedures at church. In this, God reminded me that His church is His people – wherever they are. And though this includes our friends around the world, I also could not imagine having gone through this without the sweet faces I see every Sunday at our local church. The history, the stories, the community – College Park, I love every single one of you, and I can’t imagine not doing life without you by our side.

A word of thanks:

To all of you, along with the hundreds of people who posted encouragement on Facebook – a GIANT THANK YOU! We love you!

Here are a few specifics:
  • I’m thankful that Lee’s mom, Rita, was there with me to stay on top of the staff and fight for his care. She came every morning and stayed all day. Her life of nursing skills was extremely helpful as together, we made sure he was getting everything he needed to have the best possible outcome.
  • My brother and sister-in-law Jack and Andi, with help from our friends the Morans, kept our kids the entire week we were in the hospital. My kids had so much fun, they called it a vacation.
  • Our wound care team, with Hedy and Nancy in the lead, went above and beyond to care for Lee’s wounds. They’d answer my texts late at night and spend hours at his bedside, not only doing their job, but instructing me in how I should continue at home.
  • Kate and Jared were my caregivers in the hospital while I was caring for Lee. Making sure I was fed, clothed, and rested – they even took turns staying awake at night so I could get a little sleep.
  • My parents took care of our new puppy for us, as well as making sure I had what I needed. 
  • Lee’s sister and brother-in-law were there, offering their medical advice and overseeing some of the charts. 
  • Lee’s dad and step-mom visited often, and I was so thankful for that green smoothie after eating hospital food! 
  • Our neighbors and friends the Schweibolds got our mail, did our laundry, and picked up the bike from the lot. 
  • Our friends the Johnsons waited with the kids, folded our laundry, and trimmed our bushes.
  • Our other neighbors, the Manns, mowed our lawn. 
  • Lee’s Fire Chief Griffin and fire fighter Kennedy helped my parents bring us a refrigerator and get the bed ready for Lee to come home. 
  • Three different pastors from church visited and prayed with us. 
  • Numerous friends stopped by with thoughts and gifts. 
  • The dozens of people who brought meals for the entire month of October.
  • Mostly, I’m so thankful for all of the prayers. I believe that God heard you, and Lee is recovering well. The entire wound care team has said they’re amazed at how fast his body is recovering. We serve a big God.
The Photos

Of course I took photos of the entire journey, and here are just a few from our story. (I'll spare you the gruesome pictures!) 

One of our favorite nurses.
Kate taking the night shift in ICU.

Unbelievably, the bike still runs.
Leaving the hospital! Hooray!

The adorable banner the kids made.

Our friends, the Patricks, got him this shirt because he flew through the air without breaking any bones.
One of his out-patient appointments was at the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital wing. LOL

So thanks again to all of you, and to our Great God.  

Through His son Jesus, our biggest problem in life – our sin – has been taken care of by His death on the cross. And in His resurrection, we are guaranteed an everlasting life if we believe in Him!  

I pray that our lives will continue to point to Him in all we do. 

And I’m thankful that Lee is still by my side,
so we can do this together.


Karen J said...

Thank you, Becky, for sharing your heart. Your story blesses us and we are so grateful for Lee's recovery! You deserve a Super Woman shirt!

Pjean said...

Fabulous. Thanking God for his mercy and kindness.

Jen Zink said...

Ditto the Super Woman shirt. :) God loves and speaks through you. . .thank you for being the amazing wife and mother you are!! You have reminded me to never take a moment with my husband for granted. Wow. Big hugs and prayers to all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post, Becky. I didn't realize how traumatic and miraculous Lee's accident was. I will pray and thank God for Lee's continued healing.

Steve Z.

Hope said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! Your story is such a clear testimony of God's love, grace, and protection for us.

Jaime Whitlock said...

Beautiful. Praising Jesus with you for Lee's outcome and recovery!

Lindsay said...

Becky, just came across your blog today. I got a few random texts from my mom about the accident and that he was in the hospital, even emailed you to tell you I was praying, but I had no idea how bad it was! Wow. I'm so glad Lee is okay. (((hugs)))

BeckyE said...

Giant thanks to everyone for their prayers and words of support!