Don’t Tell Me Miracles Don’t Happen Today! (Part II)

Yesterday, I began the Tale of the accident that almost took the life of my beloved daughter, Ladybug, two years ago when she was 14.  I brought us to the point where she had successfully undergone the first of two surgeries to rebuild her shattered face, and was a day away from transfer from the Shock/Trauma ICU to a regular room in the Pediatric ward of Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

How, you may wonder,  could Ladybug have been thrown from the car and have it roll on top of her, with no injuries other than broken facial bones?  Yes, her injuries were serious, and she was admitted to the hospital in “guarded” condition, still, there was no brain damage or injury to her body below her collarbone, save for one nickel-sized bruise on her knee.  How?  The answer is simple:  the Hand of God.  He went to a lot of trouble to keep her with us and with her fantastic intellect intact, and for that I am forever grateful.  In the interest of brevity, I will simply list all the trouble God went through to spare my Ladybug.

  1. He made sure her best friend was there.  Remember yesterday, when I said that her arm was broken?  It turned out that she broke her arm in an effort to save Ladybug.  When Ladybug went flying, her best friend grabbed her and tried to bear-hug her.  She wasn’t able to hold on, but the effort contributed to saving my daughter’s life.  See below.
  2. While bear-hugging Ladybug, her best friend’s elbow went out the open window as the car rolled.  Her elbow jammed into the ground, and the car landed on top of the BF’s shoulder, causing the humerus to break and jamming the broken bone into her shoulder blade.  It was a nasty break, causing intricate surgery and about a 6-inch scar down the front of her left upper arm to repair.  Sadly, the plastic surgeons say they cannot minimize the scarring from the incision or the pins that protruded through her skin for the subsequent 8 weeks.  Still, the BF wears it as a badge of honor, andcontinues to wear the spaghetti strap tops she loves so.  She has found it to be a great conversation-starter!  Also fortunate was that it was her left arm–all she needed was some weight-training to play her bass trombone again.  The right arm operates the slide.
  3. Said resting of the car on the BF’s shoulder gave an inch or two of leeway off of Ladybug’s head–enough to keep her skull from being crushed.
  4. When the car flipped and Ladybug flew out, she did not land on the gravel road, or in the sun-baked culvert.  She landed in a hayfield.  Not just any hayfield, one that had been mown just that day.  If you don’t live in the country, new-mown hay is left in the sun for several days to dry before baling, lest you invite mold into your fodder.  Someone who went out to the crash scene the next day to look for my son’s glasses and anything else that was lost in the chaos said that walking in that field “was like walking on a pillow.”
  5. The Jeep had a luggage rack.  God went to the trouble to have Ladybug’s head just so that it was neatly and protectively inside a triangle formed by the forward edge of the luggage rack, the forward edge of the Jeep’s roof, and the ground.  An inch in any other direction would have likely killed her.
  6. God gave amazing strength to another friend.  This guy was a 3rd string linebacker on the football team anda friend of both my daughter and my oldest son.  He had always had a soft spot for my daughter, but we all knew she was too young for him, and, besides, she was not interested in anything more than friendship.  Still, when he came across the crash scene a few minutes after it happened, he didn’t hesitate.  There were already 4 or 5 fellas from the youth group trying to get the car off the girls, without success.  This pal went up single-handedly and power-lifted the car off of them.  He’s been like a son to me ever since, and has since graduated and is now serving in the Army when he could have easily gone home to his native Belize, as he had always planned.  Thanks, pal–on so many levels!
  7. There is normally not an ambulance stationed in that remote area, but at the time the call came in, a unit had gone to a nearby watering-hole for some (presumably non-alcoholic) refreshment on their way back from a call that did not require transport.  They were only 5 minutes away.

See what I mean?   God went to a lot of trouble to spare my ladybug!

Now we return to S/TICU.  Ladybug had been there for four days and had come through her first surgery with flying colors.  We had been told by Dr. Gadre to expect some swelling after surgery, for he had had to do a lot of work inside the keyhole cuts he had made under her gumline along her upper and lower lips.  This turned out to be an understatement, as Ladybug’s lips were reminiscent of Goldie Hawn’s in “The First Wives Club” after one plumping injection too many.  In fact, (as an illustration of Ladybug’s resiliency), she wrote on her whiteboard about her “AJ lips.”

“AJ lips?”  I responded?  “What do you mean by that”?

“Angelina Jolie.”

Wonder where Ladybug got her low-flying humor.  Really, I don’t know! (yeah, right!)  In truth, the nurses had initially made that joke, on one of those rare occasions when I wasn’t around.

Late that afternoon (a Sunday), we got word:  a room in the Pediatric ward was being prepared for Ladybug.  As soon as it was ready, she would be transferred!  We celebrated, but kept it extremely low-key, for in the adjacent bed was a young man in his late 20’s who had come in that afternoon after falling off a ladder.  The young man was brain dead, and they were keeping him on the machines just long enough for his family to come and say goodbye.  As joyous as we were at this first large step in Ladybug’s recovery, we just couldn’t be exuberant while the man in the bed next to her was dying much too soon and suddenly–like Ladybug almost did.  Even she kept her excitement levels down until she had been wheeled past the just-arrived family and the young man about to die.  When Charles Dickens wrote that “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” he had no idea.

While Ladybug had been in S/TICU, Hubby had been taking care of things outside the hospital.  He spent time with both boys, contacted the family and friends, and fielded offers of assistance from all over.  When it was discovered that there was an RV park a couple of miles away with a free shuttle, a family from church offered their RV to us, stocked with food, at no charge.  We paid just a few dollars a day for parking and hook-ups.  Others drove my parents from Cat Spring to downtown Houston so that they wouldn’t have to negotiate the anarchy that is Houston inside the Loop.  Still others took young Bear to the pool, the movies, or just to play.  My parents took my oldest to face the Justice of the Peace to address the charges against him.  Hubby was at the center of all that coordination.

In the midst of it, we reversed a long-held notion about text-messaging.  We had been dead-set against it until after the accident, when we were told that Ladybug would be unable to speak until 24 hours after her second surgery (if all went well) due to the trach tube that surgery required.  Her jaw would be wired shut for at least 6 weeks after that, causing another impediment to clear speaking.  Text-messaging was the logical solution, for it would at least allow direct communication between Ladybug andher friends–something crucial to conveying to all that yes, she is getting better.  As soon as Ladybug was settled in her new room, we gave her back her cell phone (the first thing found, for it was lighting up immediately after the wreck with an incoming call) and told her that her Daddy had enabled text messaging.

We knew there would be a flurry of texting to communicate with everyone, but we had no idea until after we got the phone bill, long after Ladybug had returned home–1,700 messages on her account that month, with 400 the first day alone (and she didn’t get her phone until early evening)!  Of course, we ragged her about the bill, but it was all good-natured ribbing.  We cheerfully paid that bill, but reminded her that the next month, those specal circumstances would no longer be existent.  Yeah, right–by August we were shelling out the little bit more for unlimited texting–cheaper than the overage charges by far!

Next time:  the 2nd surgery, 50 First Visits, and The Book (and you thought I’d forgotten!)


2 Responses to “Don’t Tell Me Miracles Don’t Happen Today! (Part II)”

  1. 1 Jennifer July 2, 2008 at 7:39 am

    I love this story! God really is amazing

  2. 2 Instinct July 4, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Wow, I didn’t know it had been that close for her. I am so glad that she came through with flying colors.

    Sorry I have been absent the past few weeks, I’ve just kinda felt like dropping off the radar a bit 🙂

    Happy Independence Day

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