This blog is a continuation in a series I am writing about my husband’s brain injury. If you wish to read the story in order, go back in my archives and find Begin at the Beginning…all the ones in the category brain injury tell my story. Some are longer than others…they come in chunks of time…sometimes quickly and others much slower. Thanks for taking the time to read and being patient as I walk through the one of the toughest parts of my life again with new eyes to see how God used the broken pieces to create something beautiful.
I have never liked waiting. Maybe it is my genetic predisposition…I am, after all, Mike Hunter’s daughter. Or maybe it is just that I get bored easily. Whatever causes it, my impatience is part of my personality. I want things done quickly, and I am not one to relax when delayed. It seems to me that this flaw of mine is one that has been specifically targeted by God for reworking. If you know anything about my life you know that there has always been this theme of waiting as a thread that runs through. Limbo-land is one of my most dreaded places…the place I feel the most helpless. In my life, I feel I have been in limbo more than I have been out of it.
Phase 2 began…surgery. Waiting for Bill’s nose surgery to be over was excruciatingly slow. I don’t know how long it took, but it seemed to me a snail could have done it faster. His septum was broken in half, the bridge of his nose was crushed and there was stuff…pieces of bone probably…imbedded deep in his sinuses. To rebuild them so he could breathe through his nose was top priority. While I waited, I made the rounds from lobby family/friends to “our” room on the surgical unit where another small crowd gathered. I was pacing plain and simple, never pausing longer for more than a few phrases.
Dad returned. He had been to retrieve items from the wreckage. He said he had tried to get Bill’s shoes but that his arm would not fit down the hole where Bill’s legs had been. He told me that under no circumstances was I to go see the van. It would be too upsetting. He shook his head. There was blood everywhere. Even the little change holders in the console were filled with pools of blood and the spot where Bill had been trapped was crushed beyond recognition. I could tell he was shaken by the sight of it because he made me promise that if I needed anything that I would not go myself, but call him to do it. At a later date, my curiosity dragged me to the gate of the junkyard but my promise would not let me peek beyond the fence.
On one pass of the nurses’ station an older gentleman approached me that I didn’t recognize. He introduced himself as an insurance adjustor. He was tall, and kind. I remember that about him…kindness. He handed me a large check while giving me his condolences about Bill’s injuries. This is just DAYS after the accident…how long does it usually take for an insurance company to settle? I was stunned. The check made me cry. It was the beginning of a pattern of God sending me provision when I am in dire circumstances. That pattern continues to this day. The man was genuinely concerned by my tears and my lack of ability to speak because of them. His heart was breaking because mine was spilling out all over the place. I couldn’t stop it. He waited for me to get out a whispered thank you before he gave me a hug and made his exit. It was a two minute exchange in a hallway that bolstered my heart. I would not have to leave the hospital to go to work just yet.
Shortly after he left a friend of ours from church arrived looking as if he had seen a ghost. He was a big guy and the pallor of his pale skin intensified when I told him Bill was still in surgery. He could hardly speak. His visible discomfort was disheartening to me. I told him that Bill’s nose was a mess so it was taking longer than anticipated to repair it. He squeaked out…literally squeaked… “What about his…I mean how are his…Does he still have his…legs?” I assured him that Bill’s legs were not only still attached but not even broken. His face flooded with color and the sigh of relief was audible to anyone within 5 feet of the conversation.
It seems that he had come upon the accident immediately after it happened. Cars were stopped trying to help and someone flagged him down to go call 911. He had navigated around the demolition derby like roadway to get to the nearest pay phone. In his passing he saw the van, but did not recognize it. He called the authorities and went on his way. That night he heard Bill had been in an accident, but didn’t put the two together until days later. Once he remembered that we had a van, he had been afraid to ask anyone the status of Bill’s legs. He felt, based on what he had seen that there was no way Bill could have kept his legs. He kept asking me, “Are you sure? I mean there is no way…he has his legs? I am flabbergasted.” I remembered what Dad had said about not being able to reach the shoes. I was beginning to see that even though the immediate healing I wanted hadn’t happened, there were miracles all along this journey.
Bill returned from surgery looking like he had lost a heavy weight title fight. For the second time his eyes were swollen shut. His face was bruised and they had a big x taped on his face that held all the bandages in place. It was pitiful. He slept mostly the rest of the day and into the night. It seemed so peaceful to see him like that. You would never know his brain was still struggling to function.