Mom had her IV, patient control analgesia (pain drip), and epidural tubes removed this morning and was glad to be able to move more freely. The catheter should come out this afternoon and she can have her long-awaited shower!
Dad was the most awake we have seen him since the accident. He did not seem terribly achy or restless. He was awake and talking with us for about 15 minutes. He was able to speak briefly with his mother by cell phone. His facial injuries are healing and his swelling is going down. After holding hands with Mom for several minutes, he politely asked her to let go see he could stretch his arms and take a rest.
Dad was a little more agitated when we visited him this evening. Nonetheless he is being moved out of the Intensive Care Unit and into Intermediate Care. We are not sure if his pelvis surgery will be Monday or Tuesday of this week and will not find out until tomorrow (he is on standby).
Mom is also getting a room change due to her improved condition. Her recovery is proceeding ahead of schedule and she could possibly be discharged as early as Tuesday.
A doctor and family friend shared his thoughts with us about pevlic surgery:
"[...] Pelvic injuries are so painful because that's where all the muscles are, so each time you move at all, there is terrific pain. But once the surgery happens and the plates and screws are in place to hold it stable, the pain will be significantly better and rehab will follow almost immediately and there should be quick recovery then."We hope and pray that this will be the case for Dad.
Dad had a good night of sleep and slept soundly while we visited him this morning. His blood pressure was elevated yesterday due to his blood transfusion but returned to normal levels today. Sometime last night, he opened his good (right) eye and also talked with the nurses for 45 minutes. He is scheduled to be moved to Intermediate Care later today and we are glad he can leave Intensive Care for a bit. When we left the room he told us that he loved us.
Mom is getting solid food for lunch, the first solid food since her hospitalization. She is well enough that the nurses let us drive her wheelchair to Ron unaccompanied, and she also got back into her chair without help from the nurses. She enjoys lighthouse banter with Nurse Carrie.
Dad's pelvis surgery, currently planned for Tuesday, will involve the permanent installation of a plate and some screws. At this point I don't know exactly when the surgery will be nor the length of the rehabilitation. He is thankful for your continued thoughts and prayers.
I just read the Caring Bridge guestbook entries to Mom and they were very uplifting. We have wireless access in her room so she can see the entries any time. I will read them to Dad when he is more awake.
You can always post a message for Mom and/or Dad in their Caring Bridge guestbook: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/rndfreed/guestbook or on any of our Facebook pages.
We checked out of the rental house this morning and went to the hospital. Tonight we will be staying with an old family friend.
Mom was out of her bed and sitting in the chair when we came into her room. She spent five total hours in the chair before having to go to bed. She was able to comfortably twist and turn which is a new and positive sign of recovery. She walked out of room into the wheelchair and looked steady while walking. I believe we will have a hard time keeping her still over the next few days!
Dad is still in bed spending almost all his time asleep. They have reduced the dosage of his pain medication, but it still makes him very sleepy. He received a small blood transfusion this morning. He gets hot and fidgety from the bed, often trying to remove his gown or sheets. We arranged for him to get "dignity shorts" so that he can remove as much covering as possible without showing too much. He told the nurses that he was feeling DELICIOUS, which is his way of saying things are great. This was confusing for the nursing staff but wonderful news for our family.
His eye surgery has been moved back from Monday and has not been rescheduled. His pelvis surgery is still planned for Tuesday, and we will not know the exact time of surgery until that day. The doctors told us that his reaction to light with his bad (left) eye meant that despite all the damage, his eye-related nerves are likely intact. This is a hopeful indicator for recovery although it is still too early to be certain. His left eye is stitched shut and his right eye is closed with Vaseline for protection.
Last night we were driving to dinner. Harold and Sharon Gulley were in their car leading the way, the rest of the Freed/Gulleys were in the minivan following. We were in the leftmost northbound lane when very suddenly a pickup truck veered into our lane with great speed. All three vehicles veered left. The truck first struck the Gulley's car and then struck the minivan. The apparent cause of the accident was that the truck driver suffered a heart attack.
Harold was driving the first car and had only minor cuts. Sharon had a few more cuts, mostly from shattered glass, but after evaluation had no further damage. Josh was driving the minivan and had only a slight bruise. I was in the front passenger seat and suffered a seven inch laceration and several small glass cuts, the former of which was fixed with 16 staples. Cassidy sat in a car seat behind Josh and was not even scratched. Sadie sat in a car seat behind me and got one small glass-related cut which was repaired with a single stitch. Amy was in the leftmost back seat and was overwhelmed with shock but suffered no physical damage. In about three hours she was discharged from the hospital. Mom was in the middle backseat and complained of side pain. She underwent emergency surgery to remove her ruptured spleen and was recovering nicely this morning. Dad was in the rightmost backseat and suffered the most serious injuries. It appears that the greatest force struck in the vicinity of the wheel well and thus severely damaged his hip/pelvis. This will require a significant surgery. The force of the impact caused his face to collide with the seat in front of him, breaking some orbital bones and causing some damage to the eye. Right now I don't know the extent of the eye damage nor the prognosis, but the doctors are making his eye their primary focus after they determined last night that his brain was fine. He is in a lot of pain, on serious pain medication, and resting remarkably well. It will be a long week for him.
The marvels of modern engineering were quite apparent in the accident. I joked that the baby/toddler car seats must be made of space age material because they looked as good after the accident as before it. The minivan's crumple zone worked perfectly, taking the brunt of the damage. In fact both cars performed very well and are in all likelihood totaled.
The human spirit was strong as well. Witnesses to the accident gathered up the wounded, called 911, comforted babies and mothers, donated towels and shirts to assuage the bleeding, and provided first aid where it was needed most. Two town's worth of police and ambulances came and brought order and care. The EMTs were top notch both with our injuries and keeping the children calm. Triage was filled with Freeds and Gulleys and they got everyone where they needed to be. The doctors and surgeons were knowledgeable, calm, and direct. Cassidy, Sadie, Amy, Sharon, and myself were discharged in a few hours. Local friends helped provide transportation both to our rental house and to Walmart for a very late car seat run. The prayer chains started fast and furious. Family, friends, and co-workers were quick to offer any possible assistance.
Thanks again for all of your thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes.