Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Not Exactly on the Bucketlist

"Have you ever hitchhiked before?" I threw the question over my shoulder then fixed my eyes on my bare feet, carefully choosing the path of least pebbles as we walked along Idaho's Highway 55.

Jack responded, "No, but it is on my bucket list."

I jabbed my outstretched thumb toward the road and waited as gorgeous Corvette after gorgeous Corvette sped past us, seemingly with nary a glance.  "They're never going to pick us up," Jack said as we discussed the many and varied reasons why.  We continued to walk, swimsuits dripping and bright yellow life jackets shining like a beacon in the afternoon sun.

Finally, we spotted a man in a Bob Marley t-shirt, coming toward us from an RV pulled into a turnout.  "Do you guys need some help?" he shouted.

"We just need a ride to Banks," I responded.  "My mom got injured on the river, and we need to get a car down here.  Hers is parked at the rafting put in at Banks."  He invited us into the RV, introduced us to his traveling companions and his dog, offered us a beer, and welcomed us to sit anywhere.  On the short drive, we filled him in on the most essential details.

Shortly into our morning's river run, we had stopped at a rope swing that hangs out over the river.  After many of us jumped, my mom decided she wanted to try, too.  She expressed a concern over having enough arm strength, but decided she would like to go for it anyway.  She later told me that standing there, she had wished she could have done things like that when we were younger, but she had always been too anemic.  So in spite of her fear of heights, she climbed the jumping rock, grasped the rope, and swung toward the river.

It almost seemed like slow motion, watching as her grip slipped slightly causing one foot to drag on the ground.  That force pried her hands from the rope and propelled her upper body forward.  She slid down the rocky bank, her body just barely reaching the shallow water.  My dad and Skye rushed to her side just as the water near her foot turned red, much like a scene from Jaws.  Skye turned immediately to Adam and Alex (and friend who was with us) saying, "It's bad.  Don't look."

I asked a nearby family if I could borrow the phone they'd been using to take pictures at the swing.  Kirk hadn't come on the river with us, so I hoped he could bring a car.  When he didn't answer, it was decided that Jack and I would swim across the river and hitchhike to Banks, the procurement of a car being the number one priority behind the t-shirt tourniquet that had already been tied around Mom's foot.

Jack and I returned with the car, amused to find that Suman had been sent to make certain we didn't pass the spot on the river.  Apparently some discussion had ensued after our departure regarding the fact that they had sent the two least observant people on the errand.  Skye and my dad carried Mom up the river bank to the car, then continued to discuss whether it would be better to take her up the road to Garden Valley or down the road to Boise.  After one last gruesome look at the wound (we could see tendons and bones), the decision was unanimous.  Boise.

From there, it is hardly my story to tell, having heard it only second- or third-hand.  Mom went to St. Luke's on Eagle Road where they took her into the operating room to clean out the wound.  The doctors reported taking rocks and leaves out, but praised my dad for choosing to keep her wound in the cold river water as long as possible.  They equipped her with a wound vacuum, which constantly pulls the fluids away from the wound to reduce swelling and infection.  They assessed the damage and determined a transfer to the University of Utah Hospital would be necessary, because reparing the gaping hole in her foot was going to take the skills of a specialist.

She spent Sunday in the hospital bed, wondering whether the hospital would in fact be able to arrange for a portable wound vac.  With one, she could be loaded into her own car, and my dad would drive her to Salt Lake.  Without one, she would have to be flown; the risks of not having the vacuum on were too high.  At 4:53 on Sunday evening, in response to a brief "any news?" text from me, my dad reported, "Just arriving at hospital in 1 min."  The choice had been made, and my parents flew in to Salt Lake together.

At 10:31 on Monday morning, again in response to an inquisitive text, Mom responded, "I am out of surgery for today. I haven't seen the doctor yet, so I don't have any real information."  When I was able to get to the hospital last night to visit, however, she had been given a full projected timeline for her recovery, which she asked that I share here.

  • Thursday, July 30th - Grafting surgery #1 - This one involves moving some muscle and tissue into her foot.
  • FIVE DAYS of in hospital recovery with foot elevated 100% of the time
  • Wednesday, Aug 5th - Best case scenario release date
  • TWO TO THREE WEEKS of at home recovery in wheel chair with foot elevated nearly all the time.  She will be allowed to be in the school if she chooses, but will only be able to point at what needs to be done.  
  • Wednesday, Aug 19th - Best case scenario date for Grafting surgery #2 - This one involves covering the huge exterior hole in her foot.
  • FIVE DAYS of in hospital recovery with foot elevated 100% of the time
  • Tuesday, Aug 25th - Best case scenario release date
  • ONE MONTH of recovery - She will be able to put weight on her foot, but it will take about one month before she will be able to stand on it for an entire day.
  • Monday, September 28th - My birthday.  :)  And also maybe a good projection of about when she will be returning to normal.
Mom said, "Tell people I am okay, and that there is really nothing that anyone can do except maybe visit to keep me company.  It is going to be really boring."  If you want information about her room number, text or Facebook message me.  I can also send you really gross pictures if you're morbidly curious.  

I don't know if Mom will read this or not, but if she does:

I would just like you to know how excited each of us kids was, watching you conquer your fears just to do something fun (and maybe a little stupid) with us.  We're sad you didn't get to enjoy the rest of the river run, and I am really grateful you wanted us to continue on without you because we had a really great ride.  Thank you for being the kind of Grandma who, when Alex visited, expressed your desire that he not be afraid of rope swings in the future.  You have always been and continue to be an example of strength to each of us.  I know you are feeling a little stupid, having a two month recovery from a dumb rope swing.  But we are all just happy that you wanted to be with us.  Thanks for coming on the river.


Kris said...

Wow! I'm so sorry this all happened to her! Sounds like quite the recovery time but she's a strong woman and will do well.

Miss Megan said...

I'm so glad your mom is going to be ok! I was worried when I saw the hospital pics. It's awesome how much you all support and care for each other. What a blessing that so many of you were around to help out when it happened. Tell Jackie she is in my prayers!