Saturday, May 18, 2013

Each day is a gift, not a right.

A lot can happen in a day.

Even in just an hour or two.

On April 13, 2013, my husband and one of his best friends went to go ride their motorcycles, and I went to go pick up some plants for my garden. I finished planting everything, and I had just walked inside when my phone rang, and it was his friend. I assumed Mark's phone had died, or he had broken it somehow.

Scott told me there had been an accident. Mark has been in one before,  didn't break a thing, barely had any injuries at all. I asked Scott if anything was broken, and all he would tell me was yes, and that I needed to get to the hospital, and that he would take care of notifying the chain of command. As I drove, I started to get a knot in my stomach. Why wouldn't he tell me anything? Had he broken a leg or his arm? Or even worse, his back?

I waited for HOURS in the ER, with Sgt. Means, his supervisor, before the hospital chaplain came. It took so long to come get me because they had been stabilizing him, and his wallet was missing, all they had was his military ID from his reflective vest. She got some more info, went to enter it in, then finally took me back to talk to the doctor.

Nothing, I mean, nothing, could have prepared me for the words I was about to hear.

"His leg was amputated from the middle of the knee down."

It was a miracle I didn't pass out. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think, all I could do was scream and cry. Sgt. Means was a champ, he got really pale, but managed to keep cool, which I was very grateful for. I finally got a grip on myself so they could take me to see him before they took him to surgery to clean up his leg. 

I wanted to vomit when I went in. There was blood on the floor, bandages, I was horrified. Icouldnt stop shaking. All Mark kept saying was that he thought he was going to die, and that Scott and God saved him. I was trying so hard not to just snap. 

I managed to call my mom and dad so they could come down, but I was too hysterical to call Marks parents. I just couldn't say the words again. Sgt. Means called them for me, and called the commanders and people who needed to know. I got to go to the pre-op room with him, and Scott finally came in before they took him back, he had been dealing with the police report and finding marks wallet, boot, etc. Mark and Scott talked for a second, then Mark went back. Scott gave me a huge hug for forever and we just cried. 

Words cannot describe how much I owe Scott. He used a tourniquet to keep Mark alive, he called 9-1-1, he handled everything, if he hasn't been there, Mark would not be here today. I will never be able to repay him for what he did. Scott is very much my hero.

My parents and my middle brother came, some officers came, and they all stayed with me until Mark was out of surgery. The accident was around 7, he got to the ER around 8, (he was way back in the trees so it took a while to get him out), and they took him back around 8:45. The surgery lasted until 3, and we went to a room around 4.  

In the end, they had to take the rest of his knee joint. His leg is about the same length as the other leg, from the hip to the knee. His arm, which was broken, has a plate and nine screws in it. He's able to use it again, just can't put weight on it just yet.

The military has sent us down to the Center for the Intrepid, in San Antonio, to fit him with a set of prosthetics, and to rehabilitate him. He desperately wants to stay active duty, but we won't know where that will go for several months. 
This last month has been excruciating. Nothing is more terrible than not being able to help your loved one when they're in pain. We have pulled through so far, though. It's hard, and it will get harder, but we are making it. His squadron has been just wonderful since the accident, and we are being well taken care of.

I'm posting this because I needed to. I am still struggling deeply with what's happened. It's been hard for me to come to terms with the fact that he may not be able to stay active duty. There is a lot of pain and a lot of heartbreak left to deal with, and I will be returning to blogging as part of my own personal therapy.

Hug your loved ones a little closer, and be grateful they're healthy and safe. 

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