Wednesday, July 22
I’m setting up this post as a way to communicate with all the well-wishers for my husband, Roger. I will add updates at the bottom of this post as thing happen, and all are free to leave comments below, which I will relay.
Before I tell you the story, I’ll cut to the chase: Roger is OK. The accident was neither life-threatening nor life-altering. We hope to resume normal daily life in a month or so.
Remember that bachelor party I tweeted about? Roger, the best man, was looking for ideas for the man-friends of Blake, who had been best man at our wedding 14 years ago this month.
He decided on go kart racing.
Not 3 mph go karts like you see in amusement parks, but serious ones that require the driver to wear a helmet, neck brace, and fire suit. The kind with signs all over that say, “Drive at your own risk! This activity can result in severe injury or death!” Roger left for this part of the festivities in the early afternoon.
The groom called me around 3 pm. “Lori, Roger’s been in an accident.”
I got the kids to mom’s, grabbed some food (you should always grab some food before you go to an ER, or have someone do it for you) and drove to the ER that was closest to the go kart track.
I found Roger at Curtain 2E. He was quietly writhing in pain, despite some very good drugs. We were waiting on xrays, which later turned up a broken collarbone and 5 shattered ribs, all on the right side.
I must have been minimizing the situation at each turn because I was genuinely surprised when the doctor said Roger would not be attending the wedding on Friday. The groomsmen and I had been joking about getting him a David Byrne jacket over a sling to wear in lieu of a tuxedo.
Same as it ever was.
Next was a CT scan to see the condition of the lung. While waiting for the results, Roger was transferred from the ER to the surgical ward, around 9 pm.
Finally, the surgeon came in with a grim face and said, “It’s what I feared. That lung is pretty bruised up, and there’s a lot of blood pooling in there. We’ll need to go in with a chest tube to drain.”
Within minutes, the procedure was underway in Roger’s room. My sister, Tami, and I returned to the bedside immediately after the all clear. Inserted in between the broken ribs was a hose about an inch in diameter. The surgeon said he’ll have to keep the tube in until the fluid runs clear. Tami asked if that meant hours, days or weeks. The surgeon took the middle ground.
I had a hard time picturing what happened, so I tracked down a promotional video from the place the bachelor party was held.
[promotional video deleted, as the track has now gone online to accuse the bachelor party of loading a keg into their van. Completely unfounded as the bachelor party was a non-drinking one attended primarily by tea-totallers. And there was no van.]
Here’s the story I’ve pieced together from Roger’s friends (who are free to fill in and clarify). On lap 8 of 10, Roger began to pass Ian. Their wheels touched, and Roger’s kart rolled. Roger thinks the impact that caused the rib fractures came from hitting the ground rather than by being crushed by the vehicle, and that it was the helmet that broke his collarbone.
So there was Roger on the open track, karts zooming around a blind turn, HIS kart on top of him, bones broken, and gasoline raining on him.
Somehow, he pushed the kart off, ran off the track a grassy area, and collapsed.
(This is the part that freaks me out; the part that could too easily have had a different outcome).
Our friend, Mark, then came up on the scene in his go kart: an upturned vehicle, Roger running and collapsing. He thought, “this can’t be good,” called 911, and calmly took charge. The ambulance was there within minutes.
Roger says that the bumpy ride over the dirt field was excruciating. But he’s tough and he made it.
Thursday, July 23
Overnight, the Dilaudid pain medication began to make Roger nauseous. Tami’s husband Gino (who has the inside track on hospital stays) was first on the scene this morning. Gino advocated for a change in pain meds to Fentanyl and adding an anti-nausea drug.
The chest tube is still doing its job and the surgeon is pleased. The orthopedist says the collarbone won’t need surgery. The main risk now is pneumonia, and Roger has exercises to prevent this: 10 deep breaths an hour, where he has to move 1000 ml of air with each inhale,a s measured with a plastic doohickey. I am his Nurse Ratched on this.
We are sad we won’t be at Blake and Dana’s wedding tomorrow. Blake and his family have been very gracious and concerned, tying up some loose ends about the crash and checking in often, even though they are occupied with their own Big Event.
My parents, sisters, and aunt have been incredibly helpful in calming me, feeding me, caring for my kids, comforting them. Tessa and Reed visited Roger this afternoon and were sad and scared, but at least we are able to say, “Daddy will be OK.” They are, perhaps, flashing back to their only knowledge of hospitals, which is that when Gino went in, he didn’t come out for 7 months, and even then it was in a breath-controlled wheelchair.
I’d also like to thank my tweeps (Twitter friends, for those of you who aren’t on Twitter). While waiting in the ER, I tweeted our predicament, knowing there would be an outpouring of support. It was a gusher; I underestimated it. I am overwhelmed, and I send my love back to each one of you who sent 140 characters worth of healing, calming energy.
Roger is also overwhelmed and appreciative of the phone calls and well-wishes that are coming in.
Friday, July 24
Roger was able to walk down the hall today. Getting back in bed seems to be the worst part — the chest tube is the troublemaker.
I gave him a sponge bath. No, Blake, I did not wear an old-style nurse’s uniform . The hospital supplies these waterless shower caps — you put them on for 15 minutes, moosh them around your head and voila, you’re shampooed. Add in a toothbrushing and Roger is a new man.
This afternoon he is able to do the inhaling exercises that will prevent pneumonia at the level the surgeon set yesterday, 1000 ml. Today, that sadist the doctor wants 3000 ml!
No word yet on a release date. We’re waiting for the chest tube to stop draining blood, and for the pain level to become manageable at home.
I am so proud of my husband. He is facing this with exceeding grace and bravery.
Your thoughts and prayers and love continue to bolster us both. “Thanks” is such a weak word for what I feel for each of you.
I’ll post more when there’s more to post. Hugs all around.
Saturday, July 25 (click for update)