Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Aaron Is Alive, Miracles Happen

UPDATE: Hi friends! Thank you for linking here. I will try to post weekly updates. Aren't the kiddos cute? Even yummier in person.

If you are new to my blog, my main topics are politics and health with lots of everything throw in for good measure. Like everyone, the Israel-Hezbollah war concerns me and I'm writing about it all the time. Check here, here, here, and here. A couple of favorite posts: Blackberry Addiction and my life in Pedometer hell.

Nearly three weeks ago now, a friend from my childhood years, Aaron Wiley, dove into a lake where he was swimming with his seven and five year old sons (he had scoped the dive area ahead of time but landed just past the part he scoped out) into four feet of water. He dove so hard his head was stuck in sand. The first cervical vertabrae, the Atlas, was shattered. And yet he pushed himself out, and with head hanging told his boys to run around the lake and "get help. This is an emergency."

One son stayed with his dad. The other ran for help. Aaron knew he had broken his neck. He said that when his head was stuck in the sand thoughts "raced through his head". "All I could think of was Rhonda and the boys," he said.

Help came. At the lake there were two nurses and an EMT. They took Aaron to deeper water, stabilized his body and waited for the ambulance. He then was carried precariously, over a narrow path to the ambulance. Before getting on the ambulance, he grabbed his brother-in-law's hand,"If something happens, take care of them." They both started crying.

Aaron is, as the Chief Neurologist flatly stated, a miracle. You can see from the pictures that he is indeed alive. His Atlas is still shattered, into many, many pieces characteristic of a Burst Fracture from the CAT scan I looked at, but he is alive. The bones are healing. A feeling of stunned awe still hangs at his house. Alive.

One move. One bone flying the wrong direction and he would be dead. All the wobbling and transferring and handling by untrained helpers and a nervous intern and others could have resulted in death. Not paralysis. Death. You see, the respiratory center is just at the level of the Atlas. One cut and the brainstem is damaged and you stop breathing. It could still happen. He's wearing a halo, as you can see, but if he falls or trips, he could die. That's not going to happen.

Lot's of little graces have filled his family's life. His employer is working with him, since he has no disability insurance, so he still has a job. His father-in-law sells beds that have lifts and can bend--you know those Craftmatics you see on infomercials. Face it. You know you laughed. Well, those are very nice beds to have with a neck injury. His wife can be with him. His church is feeding him. His friends love him and call him and encourage through letters.

To make him feel better, the other doc and I beat him at cards tonight. No mercy for the gimp, we said. Over the next nine weeks, there will be plenty of time for getting it back.

In a blink and an instant, my friend went from enjoying a swim on his family vacation to Virginia to nearly paralyzed, or worse, dead. A hair's breath from death. He is weeks away from his 39th birthday. A young man. A family man. And, I know him. A good man.

So today there is a family who needs prayers. They are all still trying to integrate the experience. It is tough. Remembering. Reliving the fear. The what ifs? The let down after the trauma passes. It's a lot and it's not easy. The boys witnessed their father nearly die. They helped save his life. They will never be the same.

And remember to thank God, too. Miracles happen. I played cards with one tonight.


vj said...

What a very, very touching story. I will share this with my two children and we will also pray for
Aaron's full recovery and for his family. If there is anything we can do, please let us know.

Anonymous said...

Knowing this man from his "hell-raisin" toddler days, I thank GOD for this miracle! I know GOD has more for him to do. Aaron and his wonderful family will remain in my prayers.

tammy said...

Aaron , I am so happy you are recovering well . we all love you here in michigan. Your picture with the halo made me cry it was painful to look at it , but I'm glad you have a smile and a great outlook. Love Ya Tammy

Anonymous said...

Dear Aaron and Family,
I am so sorry to hear what happened, I am so happy to hear that you are recovering one day at a time. My prayers will be with you. Try not to work too hard! You truly are a miracle and this will not only make you a stronger person but also bring you so much closer to your family/friends and God. You are here for a reason, stay strong.
With Love and Prayers,
Michele, Bill and Jordan