More hardships and Loving Support

Everyone’s life is hard to a degree; it’s how you handle it that decides how you live it.

On July 10th my sister Kim, called the school I graduated from to put me on the prayer chain. Russell, the very same man who came to my aid the night before, was in the office and overhearing the conversation said that he needed to tell my parents all that happened and what I had said, just in case. Russell came to the hospital later that week to speak to my parents, he told them all he did and what I said to him; my dad, through his tears said “Thank you for stepping in for me and holding her when I couldn’t “

The first couple weeks after my crash my family and friends filled up two waiting rooms to capacity, but only a very few of my friends got to actually come in and see me.   I wasn’t exactly presentable, you know what I mean. This picture was taken 9 days after my crash, my family’s faces still red from all the tears.

Waiting room photo (1)

The entire left side of my body received the most damage, from my eye down to my mangled foot.  The doctors didn’t address my broken bones for almost a week; they still didn’t think I was going to live. They kept my left leg stabilized, holding it down while keeping it stretched out, since in the crash six inches of my tibia just disappeared, and the engine completely crushed all the bones in my foot.

While I was fighting for my life in the hospital, my community of friends and family were rallying support for me. The Press Enterprise, our local newspaper, ran a couple of articles to promote the blood drive and channel 4 news came out and covered it.  The blood drive got so big that they had to move it to the Riverside Convention Center. They said that this one blood drive restocked the entire Inland Empire Blood supply when the blood banks were particularly low.  It blows me away, that I got so much support and love. Thank you friends and family!

Blood drive-1

The nurses worked day and night making sure I, in my fragile condition, would have no further complications but they didn’t realize what had already happened on the inside of my body.

When my seat belt failed causing my chest to hit the steering-wheel, the trauma and force of that impact caused my diaphragm to rupture; but it took almost a month to reveal itself.

The damage to my left leg was irreversible but they still had to keep it clean, about once a week they took me into surgery to get all of the dead skin off and to keep it healthy. Then one day the doctors noticed my heart rate and pulse were getting dangerously high and assumed the reason was my leg. They thought my leg went septic, even though they had just cleaned it the day before and it was fine. They called my parents down to sign the consent forms for the amputation.  My mom knew it wasn’t my leg but she still had to fight to the point of tears before she could get anyone to listen. She had been telling them for five days prior that I was showing signs of being in pain but she could get no one to listen. She didn’t want to sign the consent form that would allow them to take my leg if it wasn’t the leg causing my system this stress. The chief surgeon of the hospital had been on vacation and had just gotten home on that day; so the doctor who was in charge in his absence decided that he should call him. From what my mom told me it sounded like a one sided conversation, “ no, no, yes, no, no, yes sir”, and then they went and did what my mom had been asking them to do for almost the entire week, go back and look at my CT scans. That’s when they saw it; my intestines were crowding up into my chest cavity pushing on my already stressed heart and my bruised lungs.

The chief surgeon came in to preform emergency surgery and he got everything put back where it was supposed to be, but the scar from this surgery took months to heal. My already traumatized body was overtaxed with having to deal with so many injuries.

Our pastor, at that time, was awesome through this whole thing. Pastor Dennis, or Pastor D as we called him, sat and prayed with my parents every night.  My car crash interrupted not only my life, but my parent’s lives too. That fall they had planned to go to Italy for their anniversary, they would have to put that trip on hold, indefinitely.

A month later the doctors spoke to my family about my left leg and amputation. One of the doctors was very negative and told my mom, “ It doesn’t matter where I amputate her leg, she’s not going to wake up let alone walk again”. They said that I would most likely be blind and vegetative with no memory, ha ha, they don’t know my God.

If the bones in my foot had been only minimally damaged then they would have talked about bringing in a cadaver bone to replace the one that was missing but the doctors said, “If she can ever walk again, we can’t fix all of the bones in her foot, so she would drag that leg behind her.” It had to be done, but the decision was still excruciatingly hard for my family. I think my grandma had the hardest time with it; she said “what is a 24 year old young girl going to do with one leg?” You have to remember I was extremely active; I had my two horses, an ATC I loved to ride, my own five dogs, a salt water fish tank, an Iguana, a parrot, and the best part of my job at the animal shelter, rescuing dogs and cats from certain death. So the decision was made and on a hot day in August they took my leg. It wasn’t easy, the doctors wanted to take my leg above my knee; I thank the Lord for my mom and her willingness to fight for me because they left four inches below my knee. Thank God she had the foresight to demand those four inches. Walking is hard enough for me and I can’t imagine trying to walk with an above the knee prosthetic.

This verse is great, it offers hope.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

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9 thoughts on “More hardships and Loving Support

  1. pray2god

    Your Mom and entire family were amazing at that time Jenn. What an honor it was for Linda and I to sit with them night after night, crying, praying and laughing together. I’m so looking forward to the trip up here in May. Love you! HUGS!

    Reply
  2. Helen Petros

    Jen, as sad and devastating the accident was, reading your words are joyful and uplifting!! How can that be?! Something so awful brings about something so wonderful…your words, your heart…your soul. Reading your words leaves me looking forward to the next…you continue to inspire with each new posted entry. Thank you!! Helen

    Reply
  3. Leslie Holzrichter

    Dear Jen, I’ll keep following your posts, just like all those little dogs that you rescued followed you around the shelter. You are a very talented writer!

    Reply
  4. Jillian Spencer

    I remember seeing you the 3 rd day you were in the hospital. Your Mom and Dad were offering comfort to others when all around you was confusion and disbelief. I was blessed to be able to visit with you in a time of immense uncertainty. I thank God for your family. The love and faith they have in you is awe inspiring. I feel to this day that without the strength and perserverence of that Love you would have been at the mercy of ” professionals” who thought they knew what was best for you.

    Reply

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