A Bumpy Ride
posted by: Lori Holden
Before I tell you the following story, I’ll cut to the chase: Roger is OK. “Roger? Who’s Roger? Isn’t Lori’s husband named Rob?” you may be asking yourself. I’m going to confess. I’ve been using an alias for my husband’s name all this time, for purposes of protecting my children’s privacy. He’s not really a Rob; he’s a Roger.
Why am I revealing this now? Because I have shared some links on my blog, links that use his real name. We’re stepping out of the bloggy witness protection program into the sunshine.
What follows are snippets from our adventure over the last week 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.
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.
So how did this happen?
Here’s the story I’ve pieced together from Roger’s friends. On lap 8 of 10, Roger began to pass Ian. Their wheels touched, and Roger’s kart rolled. He 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.
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 Tami’s husband, 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.
We were held hostage by the “Ifs”…
If tomorrow’s xray shows a lifted lung, and if tomorrow’s drainage shows not too much more than 100 ml, the docs will clamp the tube for several hours (simulating the absence of the tube, without taking it out yet) to see how Roger’s body responds. Will his body reabsorb the fluid? Or will it begin collecting in the lung?
If the latter, he keeps the tube in another day.
If the former, they’ll pull out the tube (they say it’s painless), play Wait & See for a few hours, and then pack up all the stuff the room has accumulated and come home. With a lot of Percocet.
And maybe something for Roger, too.
On Friday the 31st, Roger gave himself a sponge bath, having fired me from that duty. He took a Percocet in anticipation of his first foray off the ward — we were having a date in the cafeteria. He looked very handsome in his gown and nearly full beard, and he was carrying his own lung bucket. I wore the shirt Lollipop Goldstein sent me from BlogHer09 that says, Born To (front) Blog (back).
It was one of our more memorable Date Nights.
This whole experience has been a bumpy ride. Roger’s road to recovery has had twists & turns and ups & downs, but all the while, we’ve been moving forward.