Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I never imagined continued...

     I never imagined I would wake up in a hospital ICU room with no memory of what brought me to that point.  Several weeks ago Barry and I visited with the police officer who was first on the scene.  Barry and I have talked multiple times about the events that had transpired that morning.  Bryce (Barry's dad) had spoken to him many times while we were in the hospital and we had learned quite a bit about what happened.  We apparently had passed a van that was going below the speed limit.  Barry generally sets his cruise around 5 miles an hour above the speed limit.  So we were heading North on the highway.  It was such a dark night.  I remember talking to Barry at some point that morning about how dark it was - it seemed like there weren't even any stars out.  We had picked up Emma a few minutes before and we were on our way home.  The plan was to go home and I would get ready for work - some of the kids had spent the night at Bryce and Sherry's (the boys) and we had left the girls sleeping at home.  Barry was going to hang out with the kids that day, including Emma, (so Judy could go to work) and then after work we were going to head up to my parents home in New Dale to a Brown family Thanksgiving dessert party.  I had made some pies the night before.  barry loves my homemade bananna cream pie and I had made that plus a coconut cream (since I love that).  It was fun to have Breanna at the house and we talked about the trip she was making for Thanksgiving weekend.  We talked about how it wasn't going to be exactly like she had planned but that it would still be fun and she was excited about going. 
     The police officer said that just after we passed the van a Semi pulled behind us apparently intending to pass us after we pulled back into the other lane ahead of the van.  Barry remembers seeing something in the lane ahead of us, and saying to me - "thats weird that vehicle doesn't have any tail lights".  Just moments later he realized that it wasn't tail lights he was looking at it was the front of a pickup coming towards us in our lane.  He remembers trying to swerve off the road to miss the truck - but it was too late.  Thank goodness he tried to turn because that is most likely what saved our lives (that and our gaurdian angels).  If Barry hadn't swerved the two vehicles would have hit directly head on - causing them to come to a stop and the semi would then have ran right over us.  As it was, the police officer said that as our cars parted -the force now pushing them to opposite sides of the highway - the semi went right between them; with no time or space to spare.  It really is amazing that no one was killed. 
     The police officer said that as he hurried to our car he was sure there would be noone alive inside it.  He came up on the car on my side and saw that I was up out of my seat with my head partway thru the windsheild.  He said as he watched I twisted my head kind of funny, pulling it out of the windsheild and sat back down in my seat.  He said I had my legs crossed with my right leg over the left.  That didn't really surprise us because I often sit in the passenger seat - with my legs crossed - so I could lean over the seats and hold Barry's hand while he drives.  Anyway the police officer said that both Barry and I were awake - Barry was having great difficulty breathing - he had after all just bent the steering wheel with his chest.  Barry had 6 broken ribs and either the steering wheel or his ribs had made a laceration on his liver.  Barry says he remembers this and the pain that his body was in at that point.  He said he felt like he couldn't get a breath.  He remembers telling the police officer who we were and that his feet really hurt (both were horribly broken) and that he should talk to his wife.  I apparently was pretty happy to talk to the police officer.  I too told him who we were.  I knew who Emma was but couldn't remember why she would be in the car with us.  Emma was pretty much not hurt and even told the police officer that her name was "Emma Holman" - (really shes Emma Lowder).  It truly is a small world and one of the firefighters on the scene knew Emma and her family.  But in the mean time the police officer needs information on how to get ahold of someone to help with Emma since she was very much a minor.  I gave him my phone and told him how to get a hold of my mom.  He told her that he couldn't tell her much but that Barry and I had been in an accident and that we would be transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC) in Idaho Falls - with broken bones.  My mom then made phone calls to both our family members and got the them all heading towards us. 
     In the meantime the police officer said I was pretty much happy to chat with him.  As I mentioned he said my legs were crossed and he could see the bone sticking out of my right femur pretty far.  Dr. Lee later said it was one of the worst compound femur fractures he had ever seen.  The police officer said that the large wound on my head as well as my femur were both bleeding pretty profusely.   He also said my right wrist was broken and dislocated.  He said it was pretty disturbing to look at.  And there I was chatting it up as if it were a traffic stop or something.  He said he knew I was pretty badly broken in other places too.  He said he really didn't have any faith that I would live.  He said that Barry although Barry was struggling to breath that he figured he would be ok with medical help. He figured he had some broken ribs and that his feet were messed up somehow but didn't think he was past saving at all.  He said the were able to get Barry out of the car fairly easily as his door swung all the way open.  My door was stuck and the had to use a crowbar to get it opened.  He said the dash was up agaisnt my legs and that I couldn't move.  They couldn't get a board in the car to get me out.  They pushed a blanket under me and like 4 of them proceeded to lift me out.  He said when the lifted me up I screamed for them to stop.  He said I told them to leave me alone - leave me in the car.  I can only imagine how much it hurt at that point.  I have always been told that a femur fracture is the most painful break to have.  I'm sure my wrist hut and besides that my pelvis was broken along with multiple fractures in my left leg.  He said he told me that they couldn't leave me in the car and since they couldn't leave me then the only choice was to get me out.  He said he was sorry and he knew that it hurt but they had to get me out.  He said I agreed and closed my eyes.  He said I didn't say anything else until they had me in the ambulance.  Where I apparently chatted my way to the hospital. 

     My little brother Jason was the first person to reach EIRMC and he said he came in the ER and asked the front desk about us. I heard him, recognized his voice, and said - "I'm back here Jason". Kind of crazy that I don't have any memory of that at all. Jason said I talked to him and would ask him the same few questions over and over again. I would ask about Barry and Emma and then ask him to "make my leg straight". He would tell me he was sorry he couldn't do that and I would look at him with a sad face and say, "please brother just make it straight." It makes me cry to think of how hard that much have been for him. When they took me away to surgery he went over and held Barry's hand until other family got there. Sherry (Barry's mom) said it is a sweet memory for her when she walked into the ER and came over to Barry's bed and Jason took Barry's hand and placed it into hers. Barry also remembers being in the ER and having to wait and wait until I was out of surgery to be taken care of. I don't have any memory of this time at all - except a fuzzy one of calling Jason's name to the ER - but I'm not sure if that is a memory or just what I have been told happened. It amazes me that our minds are so powerful. How could I go thru something like that - be consious - and not remember any of it? Its a strange thing to have a gap in my memory like that - although I would guess Barry sometimes wishes he could forget.
    The hospital is a pretty bitter/sweet memory for me.  I have such precious memories of my husband coming in my room and holding my hand when my pain was out of control.  I have sweet memories of friends and family putting their lives on hold so we would be taken care of.  I loved having company - it gives you something to think about other then your body hurting.  I have memories of my sisters/brothers and friends spending nights with me - I didn't like being alone at night.  I have not so sweet memories of hurting.  Even less sweet memories of my husband hurting.  Barry is a pretty tough person and when he has tears coming out of his eyes because of pain I know hes hurting pretty bad.  One evening we had lots of visitors.  My room was full, and the hallway was full.  There were several from Barry's work and family and friends from the ward.  Barry had been out in the hallway visiting and I was visiting in my room.  Up to this point i really had pretty much no feeling of or ability to move my left leg.  After a while the coworks left and Barry goes into his room with his parents, after getting him settled on the bed they come and close the door.  I could tell when he went in that he was hurting but I did not like it when they closed that door.  In my mind that meant something was wrong and I didn't like it.  Those in my room tried to take my mind off of it.  I remember asking to be helped out of the bed and let me get in his room.  I wanted to know what was going on and I wanted to offer Barry some of the same comfort that he had offered to me on many occasions already -  but I couldn't.  Eventually his mom and dad came out and said that Barry's abdomen was really hurting - as a result of his body trying to reabsorb the blood that had spilled into his belly from his liver.  Barry has said many times that his pain was more painful then anything else, more painful then his broken ribs or his broken feet.  My heart still aches when I think about the amount of pain he endured and how much he still endures due to his feet today.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I never imagined

    The last few months have been strange.  Our life seems divided between before the accident and after the accident.  Normal life isn't quite the same normal as it was 7 months ago.  A few months ago (before the accident) my sister Bonnie wrote on facebook something about life not turning out quite the way she had planned.  She wasn't complaining per say just commenting that the life she had planned out for mentally herself  years earlier hasn't quite turned out like she thought.  Several people commented and agreed with her that theirs hadn't either.  I remember almost laughing to myself because my life sure hadn't either.  I never imagined I would marry outside of the temple(the first time around), I had hoped and planned for and prayed for a baby and still never imagined what a great experience being a mother would be.  I never imagined I would be divorced.  Never imagined I would go to college, let alone as a single mother of 4 without a job or any source of income other then child support (which didn't often come).  I never imagined that I would find myself enjoying school (at least some of the time - which I really never imagined), never imagined I would actually get good grades, never imagined I could get into nursing school, never imagined that I would graduate as a nurse.  Every semester I was certain that I would fail - every week  I would be certain that this would be it, this would be the test that kicked me out of the program.  I never imagined in a million years that I would pass the nursing boards.  Honestly when I walked out of the testing center in Boise that morning I was certain, I knew I had failed.  But hoped that if I took it enough times I would pass someday.  As I waited the 3 days to find out my result I tried to have a good time at my sister Mary's and put all that out of my mind.  I was out of school!  I had no homework and for a few days no real responsibility.  That morning I couldn't make myself look, I had Mary do it.  When she said I had passed I didn't beleive her I had to go look for myself and to my utter surprise and amazement I had passed.  What a great day.  Going back a couple of years I never in any dream would have believed anyone if they had told me I would someday marry Barry Holman.  When I was at a real low point after my divorce I asked my dad over mothers day weekend to give me a blessing.  I was so lonely - my dad promised me in the blessing that the Lord was preparing someone for me - I just needed to be patient.  As soon as the blessing was finished I asked my Dad how long he thought I would have to be patient - he laughed and said that wasn't being patient at all. 
     Little did I know that that same weekend Barry's family was fasting and praying for him to find a friend so he wouldn 't be so lonely after his divorce.  I certainly never imagined that we would meet or maybe remeet online thru a LDS dating site.  When I went to Barry's brother Ricks house to watch a movie with him and his children, that first night I never imagined that it would be so good.  I had such a good time.  We talked and talked thru two movies.  He made nacho chips with cheese for his kids and for me (I certainly never imagned what a staple that would turn out to be in our house! or that we would have a nacho cheese fountain at our wedding!!).  That very first night when I got home (at like 2am) I knelt down and prayed that if it wasn't meant to be that he simply woldn't call again.  It was so fun and felt so right - I honestly think somewhere I knew that we would be married one day - but I never imagined it would really happen.  Dating Barry was so much fun.  We really enjoyed being around each other and it was fun to hang out both with and without our combined 9 children.  I never imagined before dating Barry that I would be brave enough to climb to the top of a rock wall, or go snow boarding or fall off a rope swing into the water, or ride a dirt bike, or many other things he helped me learn to do.  I did imagine Barry proposing but never imagined it would be at Kelly Canyon on the ski lift.  He was so sweet and so romantic.  I love our engagement story - so much. As many times as I imagined what it might be like to be Barry's wife I never really imagined how great it would actually be.  True there have been rough spots that I never imagined, but it has been a really really good 5 years. 
     All my life I have had reoccuring dreams of a car accident.  In my dreams I would be traveling pretty fast and the brakes would stop working - I wouldn't be able to stop it and then I would put my foot out (like a flinestone car).  Of course it never worked and I always woke up before the impact happened.  Still never in my wildest imaginations could I have ever imagined our car crash.  About a week or so before the accident we had family pictures taken.  It was such a crazy day.  We had been trying to get family pictures done for a couple of months but it always seemed that somebody wouldn't be there.  And family pictures just aren't family pictures if all your kids aren't there.  Finally we had this Sunday afternoon planned and of course it started raining that morning. It rained and rained.  After church Barry and Britni (sis in law) were like,
"nope we are doing it rain or shine".  I truly didn't imagine that the day would go well, but it did.  We got up to St. Anthony where we were going to take the pictures and it stopped raining - we spent a good hour or more taking pictures and just as we finished it started raining again.  Our pictures turned out so much better then I could have imagined they would have.  I didn't get to see them until I was in the hospital and Britni made a little album for me.  I will have to post some pictures tomorrow.
     Anyway that morning when we left the house with Breanna I never would have imagined how that day would turn out.  The night before I made some yummy pies for the Thanksgiving dessert party my mom was hosting the evening of the 23rd.  I was so excited for it.  I love Thanksgiving and Christmas and the gathering of family.  I love it.  I never imagined when I left work of the evening of the 22nd that I wouldn't step into the office again for weeks.  If I had I would have left my desk a lot less of a mess!  And maybe told Andrea where a few things could be found.  I never imagined in the days before the crash when I was trying to figure out how to get Barry's kids to my family's party that none of us would be going because it would never happen.  I'm sure we never imagined when we left our house that morning that it would be more then a month before we lived there again.  I'm sure when we dropped Breanna off at the airport she never imagined that her next call from home would be to tell her about our crash. 
     I honestly don't remember anything about the accident.  I have foggy memories of leaving that morning.  I remember getting up (half asleep) when the alarm went off and pulling my favorite BYU Idaho sweat shirt on and slipping on some PJ pants (I think of Barry's).  I remember having talked with Breanna about her trip the night before.  I have a memory of trying to decide which lane we should be in to get to the airport and a strange memory of  the gate at the airport going up for us.  I remember getting to Judy's house and Judy laying Emma in the backseat.  And thats if for that entire morning. The next thing I remember is waking up in the ICU and having no idea why I was there. For weeks I actually assumed I had slept the entire way down and back (I often fall asleep in the car).  I finally said something to Barry about being asleep and he said no we had talked the entire way there and back.  We even walked with Breanna into the airport - I don't remember it at all.   I have foggy memories of being told I'm (sure over and over) that I had been in a car accident.  I remember thinking (I think) for days that it was a crazy dream.  I remember the kids coming to visit and how happy I was to see them.  Rachel had been sick and I was glad to hear she was feeling better.  Savannah was so sad - I didn't know that before the other little girls came in that they were told if they cried they would have to leave so they tried to act happy instead of sad.  We have a picture of Savannah the first time she came and her face is so so sad and red and swollen from crying.  I remember the first time they brought Barry into my room and being so glad that he was truly ok - I wasn't sure people were being honest with me about him.  I remember reaching out to to touch his hand as they wheeled his bed next to mine and it being a chore for them to get his bed in there.  I remember as I reached for him thinking "I hope it doesn't hurt my hand"  and I don't think it did.  I remember Dr. Hopkin coming in with his wife Candy and him helping my Dad give me a blessing.  They tell me that I apologized for not coming to work that morning and also telling them "I'm sorry but I don't think I will be there tomorrow either."  LOL I remember not being able to get the pain undercontrol and that I hurt more then I had ever hurt before.   I remember one night in the ICU having a male nurse.  I was supposed to have a bed bath and there must not have been a female nurse available to do it because I ended up being bathed by 3 male nurses.  I remember taking the rag that they had put on my forehead and pulling it down over my eyes - and telling them to do whatever they needed to do I would just pretend they weren't there.  I know that we spent 5 days in the ICU and that Barry had 3 and I had 4 major operations during that time.  I only remember one - the last one on Monday the 28th.  The one to repair my pelvis.  I remember going down to the operating room and without contacts not being able to clearly see anyone.  I remember the blurry lights going by in the hallway above me.  I remember getting in the OR and that Dr. West had told me that i would be lying on my stomach for the surgery.  For whatever reason I remember thinking that being turned over and laying on my broken legs upside down would really be painful.  Dr. West had promised that I would be asleep before they turned me over.  When we arrived in the room I remember reminding the Dr. that he said I wouldn't remember being turned over - several times.  I remember taking the oxygen mask off several times to remind him.  I honestly remember Dr. West carefully replacing the mask - looking right into my eyes and telling me "If you don't lay down and be a good girl we are going to call you dad in here to spank you"!  Seriously.  I also remember telling him, if he they were going to do that could they please spank me on the right side because the left would hurt way too much.  I'm sure they all laughed but the next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room.  I remember waking up and reminding myself - Karin you were in a car accident - it's ok - you are in the hospital.  I have a real hazy memory of the second surgery - I feel like I remember screaming and screaming. I don't know if that is a real memory or not I have been told it isn't but I didn't want that to happen again.  And I was so glad to wake up and finally wake up knowing where I was.   I have a few other memories of the time spent in ICU but not alot.  I remember a good share of the 3rd floor.  I remember them bringing Barry into my room on the 3rd floor before they took him away for surgery.  I was so glad to spend more then a few minutes with him.  All too soon the nurses came to take him away for his last surgery.  I was so sad and didn't want him to go.  I cried and cried and cried.  The nurses felt so bad that they rearranged other patients and moved us down the hall across the way from each other so we could see into each others rooms.  How sweet they were to me.  I really don't think they were quite as sweet or good to Barry as they were to me - but I really was well taken care of by both the doctors and my nurses.
     It is getting late and I wasn't planning on writing this long post but I think I will close for now and go to bed and finish it over the next few days.  Here are some pictures from the crash. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Other Blog

I had completely forgotten that some sweet person had created this blog when Barry and I were in the hospital and would copy and paste facebook updates here.  I though instead of going back and trying to do a huge - this is our story about our accident - I would just send this one over.  It hasn't been updated in a while. But I thought even for future reference for myself it would be good.  I am working (ok I haven't started but I am thinking about) on a statement I have to read for the person who hit us when we go to court.  Its something called the "victim's impact statement"   - honestly I have no idea where to start.  If any of you have any ideas that could easily be written down I would love to hear them.  We are supposed to tell her how the accident has changed our lives.  Court is supposed to be next thursday and I seriously need all the help I can get.