This morning I find myself sitting here in the quiet before the kids are awake. I sit in the quiet reflecting on how our lives have changed in the last year. On this day one year ago I got a phone call no wife wants to get, a phone call from a phone number I did not know. I don’t usually answer calls from unknown callers but something on that morning told me I needed to answer this call. I was busy getting my five and six year olds ready for their second week of school, it was the day after Labor Day. I answered this call and my life was suddenly sent into a tailspin.
“Is this Sarah Green?”
“My name is Chris, I got your number from your husband, he’s been in a motorcycle crash.”
From that moment on, nothing felt real. Chris went on to tell me that he didn’t know the extent of Lorne’s injuries, but that the EMT’s had said that he definitely had a broken leg, but that he was conscious and they were taking him to SAMMC.
I immediately called my friend Lindsey to see if she would take my kids to school because I had to get to the hospital. She, of course, agreed and I got them to her. On my way to her house I sat in traffic, that I knew was caused by Lorne’s accident. I watched helplessly as the ambulance I knew carried my husband went up an onramp to the highway. At that point, I was no longer going to wait in this traffic, I got in the shoulder and sped toward the highway myself.
I called Lorne’s parents and my mom to let them know what had happened, and told them what I had been told on the phone. “He definitely has a broken leg, but he hadn’t lost consciousness.” I was not prepared for what came next.
I got to the hospital and they put me in this room, they quickly handed over all of Lorne’s personal items–except his pants, they had to dispose of those due to all the blood. So I sit in this room with my one year old (who is in pajamas and has no shoes on, because I wasn’t planning on being at the hospital) with this garbage bag full of stuff. What they expected me to do with all this junk I have no idea, but I had it nonetheless.
They finally come and get me to take me to the trauma room to see Lorne. The baby couldn’t go in of course, so I hand him off to a nurse. This is when the full extent of what had happened hit me like a brick. I walk into this room and my husband is laying immobilized (because they weren’t sure if he had spinal injuries at this point), covered in blood. Doctors are trying to explain everything to me and I distinctly remember getting tunnel vision. I couldn’t tell you a word those Doctors said to me at this point. All I heard were the words emergency surgery for damage to his carotid artery and his knee and his muscle tissue.
I called Lorne’s dad again, to try to update him and I’m sure I was barely understandable at this point but he got the gist of it and said he would get Lorne’s mom there as soon as possible.
They wheel Lorne back to surgery. I sit in the waiting room. I sit. And sit. And sit some more. I sat in that waiting room for 7 hours waiting for an update on my husband. By myself. Numb to anything going on around me.
Thankfully, I have some amazing friends who without question came to my rescue. They came and got Karter from me, so I had one less thing to worry about, they brought me food, and they got my children from school.
After seven hours I finally would wait no more. I got on the phone and told the charge nurse that I had had no update on my husband who had crashed a motorcycle this morning for seven hours. Apparently, she thought someone had came to talk to me, and she came and got me to see Lorne.
At this point he was coming down from his anesthesia and was joking around (in true Lorne fashion) with the nurses. I thought things were okay. Little did I know, he would spend the next week in ICU, followed by 6 weeks in in-patient rehabilitation, and a would vac, and then at home rehabilitation, and skin grafts, and stem cell injections, and then on going out patient rehab, and then a bout with Necrotizing Fasciitis (flesh eating disease) where we thought he might lose his leg entirely, followed by another knee surgery, and more on going out patient rehab. Little did I know that the next 6 months of my life would revolve around an endless number of Doctors appointments, and having to help my previously very physically fit husband do literally everything because his muscles had atrophied and been damaged to the point where we didn’t know if he was going to have to retire from the Air Force.
Things have definitely calmed down, and we have every reason to believe that he is going to continue to rehabilitate. We took our trip to Disney World last month as a celebration of how far we’ve come, to celebrate life, to celebrate how amazing our kids were through all the garbage that life threw at them and our family the past year. We did it to say we conquered this.
Sure, there are people out there (some in our family) that think I handled the whole situation badly and they haven’t been afraid to tell me as much, to them I say you don’t know how you would react in this situation until you have lived it, you don’t know about the days I cried myself to sleep, I handled it the only way I knew how to. Maybe you would have done things differently and that’s okay, this is how I did it.
I want to say a special thank you to all of the wonderful people who helped us get through this year. Lindsey, April, Michelle, and Amy you were my rock through this whole situation. Thank you so much for organizing or dinners for all those weeks, it was so nice to not have to worry about that. To Michelle & Allen, thank you for keeping me company and for cleaning my house, and for doing anything I needed. To my amazing Mother who always takes my side, you are always the one I can turn to when things are out of control, I can never express how much it meant to me that you knew I needed to be taken care of too.
To Wounded Warrior Project, thank you for giving my husband hope that he was going to get through this. Your programs made him happy in a time that was so very difficult. To the Warrior and Family Support Center, thank you for taking amazing care of my little Karter, it was such a relief to be able to take him somewhere that I knew he was being well taken care of and not having to worry about arranging care for him daily when I couldn’t be there.
You might not know this, but his crash actually happened on our 8th wedding anniversary. That’s right. I’ve always believed that things happen when they happen for a reason and him crashing that day was significant to me. It made me segment our life into pre-crash and post-crash. Where we go from here in our post-crash life remains to be seen but to my husband, on this day I just want to say, I love you so much. It’s been a really, really hard year but we made it. We’re past the worst of it and things can only get better. Also, can we make this anniversary a little less eventful?