Thursday, August 23, 2012

Love part two

Continuing yesterday's post on Joey's semi-truck accident...

Joey was moved from the Emergency Room to a surgery floor private room about 45 minutes after I got there.  By now, it was around midnight.  I wanted to stay overnight in his tiny room, but my mom suggested we go to a nearby hotel and try to get some real sleep instead.  I hated leaving him again after being so terrified of losing him but he had been under a pain-medication induced sleep for about an hour now and would probably not wake up during the night.  Also, nurses were supposed to come in during the night to take blood tests.

So my mom and I and Joey's parents (Joey's dad got to the hospital about 10 minutes after us-he drove 85-95 miles an hour to get there!) went to a nearby Holiday Inn.  We got settled into the room about 1 am and I set my alarm for 5:45 am.  I wanted to be back at the hospital as soon as I could in the morning.  I didn't sleep much, my mind kept replaying all that could have happened as well as creating frightening new scenarios about what could happen to him overnight without me by his side.  I woke my mom up early and we headed back to the hospital around 6:30 am.  Joey was awake when we got there and starting to feel hungry.  My mom picked up a bunch of food from the hospital cafeteria.  He was having a tough time eating because his jaw was so sore from where he hit his head when the truck flipped and I could barely eat still from being so nervous and shaky.  After a few hours, his parents arrived and the nurses asked if he could try walking around a little.  A few doctors came to check on him and go over his x-rays and CT scans.  He had suffered a concussion and bruising on his bones on his left shoulder and arm from the impact and his CT scans showed a little bleeding on the brain, but besides a lot of pain, a nasty black eye, and scrapes from broken glass, he was otherwise healthy.  Just in a lot of pain, and looked pretty beat up.

My mom and I left to go buy Joey some clothes to go home in since his clothes had been cut off his body.  She made me eat some lunch since I had not eaten since lunch the previous day.  The president of the board at the library called me to let me know that she had called the two other librarians to fill in for me for Monday and Tuesday so I didn't have to worry about being at work.  Friends called and asked what kind of casseroles we liked to eat and what they could do to help.

After a few more hours in the hospital, I helped Joey gingerly put on his new pajama pants and Cardinals t-shirt and we took a little stroll around the halls.  They released him in the afternoon with a prescription for pain medicine and advised to make an appointment with his personal doctor in the next couple days to see how he was healing.  He was wheeled to the car in a wheelchair.  We hugged and said goodbye to his parents at the hospital and my mom drove us home (about an hour and 20 minutes from the hospital.)  I was so happy to be going home with my husband in one piece.

About 20 minutes from our house, we had to drive past the spot where the accident had happened, about 20 hours before.  We were pretty silent when we drove past, each retreating into our heads and hearts and thinking about what could have been.  The only evidence of the accident was a little bit of cattle feed piled by the side of the road.  We learned later that they were able to scoop up almost all the feed and put it into the other semi to deliver.  After we arrived home, a couple of our friends, Brian and Carri came over with a tuna noodle casserole and cupcakes.  We asked if they could hang out with Joey while my mom and I went to the pharmacy to pick up his prescription, get some groceries, and pick up my car from the train station.

Brian and Carri left to eat dinner with his parents, My mom stayed for dinner, and then got ready to drive back 3.5 hours to Naperville.  I hugged my Mom and thanked her for being there for me.  I don't know how I would have survived without her in those terrifying hours.

And then we were alone.  And I was so happy to be the two of us again, with our dogs, in our little house that we've made our home, so happy that this little world still existed.  And I knelt next to the couch he was laying on and sobbed into his chest.  We fell asleep around 9 pm that night and didn't wake up until 9:30 am the next morning. I reheated some casserole and we had a picnic in bed and watched episodes of Friends on my laptop and fell asleep again until 3:30 pm.

The next few days consisted of Jell-o, pajamas, watching three movies a day, and answering phone calls.  Joey had so many phone calls from friends and old fraternity brothers. I heard about the details of the accident over and over again.  And every time a little detail came to light, like learning that the paramedics had to break the windshield to drag him out of the wrecked truck, tears would spring to my eyes.  I could picture it in my head.

After the long weekend, we set up an appointment with a doctor closer to where we live.  He prescribed physical therapy for Joey's left arm and shoulder, which were still very painful and he was reluctant to move them.  Since then, he has seen the physical therapist four times and is doing exercises at home.  He is improving daily.  He still sports a little shiner and the blood vessels in his left eye are broken.  His arm is scabbed over. He went back to work yesterday because he was going stir-crazy sitting in the house (the dogs loved it, though!).  His arm is still painful, so he is taking it easy.

I am so grateful that he was not injured more than he was.  I am grateful for the support and help from our family and friends.  We have lived in our small town for a little over 2 years now and it is so nice to feel that we have made some amazing friends who are there for us in times of need.

So that's what is going on in our little world right now.  A little pain, a lot of kindness, much grace, and a better appreciation for the little things.  Thanks for listening, it was a hard story to tell.


  1. I hope that telling this story makes it a little easier. Best wishes for both of you!

  2. whitney - i'm so glad that joey is okay. it must have been so hard to re-live it again, but i'm so glad you shared that story and what you were feeling. i got teary eyed reading both stories. it's wonderful you have such loving family, friends, and neighbors. i'll be thinking of you both.

    many hugs

  3. My children and I have lived through some losses and near losses in the past couple of years. We now make sure we tell all our loved ones that we love them when we say goodbye, even if just running to the grocery store.

    I'm sorry that all of you had to go through something like this. I know what it is like to have to drive a distance to a hospital to see a loved one that was in an accident. It's one of the hardest things I have ever had to do - travel and not know what I would find when I got there.

    I'm glad Joey is okay and doing better.