A Pastor friend left a note on my Facebook page referring to this time in our lives as a journey. She is so right. This is not a moment, this is not a day, there is a destination but it is afar off at this point. We are journeying day by day through pathways that seem cruel on the surface.
We rest on His promise that He is with us....we have made memorials in our hearts and minds to all of the miracles that had to happen "just so" to keep our Chadd here.
He has no memory of the accident at this point.
But he is trying so hard to remember that we never know at what moment it might come flooding back. Our wish for him right now is that he get stronger.
On Thursday evening Warren got the call from a fire fighter friend who was on scene.
Warren called me just as I walked into Musser's Grocery store in Buck, Pa.
He told me Chadd had been air lifted to the hospital from a horrible accident.
My knees buckled and I found myself on the floor, holding onto the shopping cart I had just offered to return to the store for a woman wearing a Black Rock Retreat T-shirt.
Funny the details you remember.
But Black Rock was the wedding venue that had been tops on Chelsea's list before we found the one they are actually going to use. On the day Chelsea and Chadd got engaged we had gone out to look at it.
Anyway, as I hung onto the cart, my heart was beating so hard that I thought it might
just come right out of my chest.
An employee was in my periphery asking if she could help.
The news from Warren was just so shocking that I couldn't respond to her immediately.
She got her managers and they took me to their office.
That kind of snapped me out of it because there were two tall men,
looking quite uncomfortable and helpless just staring at me.
I was thankful for their kindness in offering me a spot to recover.
I told them I needed to do two things.
Use the restroom and get to the hospital.
What I knew was that Chelsea was headed to the hospital not knowing that Chadd had been air lifted
and I was not ready for her to walk into that situation alone.
I jumped into the van....knowing that I probably shouldn't be driving and could possibly need
an ambulance myself because of the shock and my heart's reaction to it.
However, the mother in me would have none of that delay.
I headed up Route 272 only to run into massive traffic and flashing lights.
I momentarily thought that Warren must have gotten the details wrong.
But why would Chadd have been on 272?
I was detoured.
Calling Warren, who was sitting in Willow Street by now waiting for Chelsea to meet him,
since he found out that she could not get up Route 222.
These highways run parallel and are the main North/South arteries.
I told him that she wasn't going to get up 272 either, which was where he had told her to go.
Now I was in a real panic, because I could just picture her caught in that awful line of traffic
just like me and neither of us could get to the hospital.
Finally Warren and I agreed that I would go home and that Chelsea should meet me there.
We would go up May Post Office Road.
And so I headed home.
Alas, as I was about to turn onto the road above our development there was yet another road closure.
This time due to road work.
Yet another delay and detour.
I threw my hands into the air and laughed telling God that I got it.
Obviously I was not meant to be at the hospital yet.
Finally upon getting home, telling Jonathan what I knew and arranging for him
to take over some of my responsibilities Warren called back and said that Chelsea had already headed up to Strasburg. He had instructed her to stop at Sight and Sound and wait for me.
This was the best thing that could have happened.
Her co-workers ministered to her in such a blessed way.
And Grandma Ruth was working there so I was able to get through to her
and explain the gravity of the
situation that Chelsea only suspected but did not yet know for sure.
On my drive up May Post Office road I spoke with my dear friend, Melissa,
and we went over the possibilities. I expressed concern about whether they had been
able to contact Chadd's mother. She confirmed my desire to stop by her house to see.
Now, from the time we received the news and tried to get to the hospital....
what should have taken 30 minutes from each of our places....
it had now been at least an hour and a half.
As I was leaving Sight and Sound with Chelsea we were able to confirm from
Warren, who was now at the hospital that Chadd's mother had not been notified and the hospital needed her consent for surgery. That settled it. We headed to see if she was home.
There was a very definite feeling of dread for having to share that news.
I knew the blow it had been to me and I am not his birth mother.
However, I also knew this was not news Robin should receive over the phone.
We pulled up to her neighborhood and Chelsea saw her car.
We knew she was home.
What we would find out later was that she had been home for mere minutes.
We rushed to the door and knocked.
She came and smiled in greeting.
I remember that smile because I knew I was about to wipe it off her face and hated every second that came after that.
We were quickly back in the car and on the way to the hospital.
I have to say that Robin took it better, physically, than I did.
Her shock was most likely another layer deeper.
The rest of the evening was spent with friends and family as we waited for Chadd to go through his first surgery to repair a torn artery in his leg which threatened the ability to even keep that foot.
He was fighting for his life due to the blood loss.
I've told you that God had a woman named Shelley on scene who is a nurse midwife and she
kept pressure on his wounds or he would not be here today.
She also helped him stay calm and prayed with him.
I've also found out that two of my friends were also on scene.
One involved to the point of giving water out of her car and then standing on the road
praying out loud...all the while not knowing Chadd's connection to us.
The other in the traffic jam...also praying.
Isn't our God amazing????
How can we not trust?
Even as I type that the fear remains. I am not perfectly able to rest....
but I'm doing my best. And I know without a doubt that whatever happens it will be within His will and He will help us through.
But in any case, we were surrounded on all sides with love and prayer as we waited for the initial
life saving surgery to be completed.
He made it through.
His leg and foot intact.
The extent of his injuries were unknown to us still at this point. We got bits and pieces from each doctor and it was amazing how they were putting him back together.
So...that was day one.
Friday morning we came into his room.
We expected a day of healing and comfort for him.
|Friday morning before surgery number two was even a possibility in our minds.|
However, I noticed Chadd's nurse, Jason standing at the foot of his bed
just staring at the monitors and thinking.
He mentioned a concern and it wasn't too long after that they were rushing Chadd back to surgery.
This time for a situation in his pelvic area.
I am so thankful for the knowledge and intuition of these medical professionals.
They make a difference.
The surgeon explained that signs pointed to trouble and he wasn't willing to wait
for symptoms to confirm it because that would be too dangerous.
This doctor is now on my top ten fav's list with Shelley and nurse Jason.
As God would have it Chelsea and Chadd's closest friends were there.
Kevin having just worked an overnight shift.
This is how I found them.....I couldn't resist taking the photo.
I want Chelsea and Chadd to have a record of the special moments from these dark days.
As we waited through the surgery another co-worker showed up and was the God supplied
Grandpa Chelsea needed just then.
Both of hers are with Jesus.
Henry read and prayed.
He has a very thick accent and it is so special to hear him read, pray and encourage
in a nearly circular manner where you wonder how in the world he is even able to breathe.
Chadd made it through that surgery where the bowel perforation was confirmed and repaired.
A couple of extra procedures made it take much longer than we anticipated but we were thankful
that the doctor went ahead with them because it was necessary.
Chadd rests and Chelsea oversees.
This was a hard day for me emotionally and physically.
The exhaustion settled in and there were some ruffled feathers that needed to be
smoothed. I will tell you that the Chaplain had some good words for me and that Chelsea stepped up to be a peacemaker and all is good.
The strength that God has been growing in Chelsea over these years she has
been fighting Anorexia are serving her very well in this battle.
She is a very determined and courageous young lady!
And while we are touching on the subject of her eating I just have to tell you that the
hospital food host has taken to Chelsea.
He has offered her, and only her, a tray for lunch and dinner.
We are so touched.
Yesterday....we waited again.
For Chadd to have a rod put in his left leg.
There is much of that to be done.
We do it with books, chatter, rest, some news on the television, Kindle, friends and family.
Emily and Mikey have been so WITH us.
Jonathan has been holding down the fort here and scolding us when we forget to keep him in the loop.
Yesterday was Chelsea's hardest day yet. I'm glad I had mine a day earlier and was feeling better yesterday or we would have been quite a mess together.
Finally the surgery was complete and declared a success. I will spare you all the details but this young man is one day going to be a walking miracle. At the moment he is a lying in a hospital bed miracle. We don't know all that God is doing through this but He is doing BIG stuff that we do know about and cannot yet share. Trust me! He is at work!!
|Preparing an iPod for Chadd so he can listen to music. Here they are making it impossible for him to get to the internet on that device.|
Our next big hurdle, as far as we know, is for Chadd's family to tell him about the accident
and the resulting passing of the other driver.
I can barely type those words as I know how that is going to impact him.
We have a wonderful counselor on standby to help us through.
Thankfully we have great friends who care enough to get involved and make the recommendation.
The legal stuff lies ahead.
It scares us to death.
However, we know that God didn't save Chadd's life to not do something
powerful with it.
We know beyond a doubt that what is yet to come will not be easy.
We simply pray,
"Thy will be done and please give us the strength to cope."
Our family grieves with the Kunkle family.
Mrs. Kunkle was 78.
Had just celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary.
We didn't know her but she lived just miles away.
She was loved.
Her life mattered.
We grieve unreservedly.
We have no idea how this accident occurred and Chadd has no memory of it yet.
But we are all so very, very sad for her passing and their loss.
There is not a moment that goes by when they are not in our thoughts and prayers.
Maybe one day we will meet and they can know how very deeply we all care.
These things are touchy and we want to be sensitive.
When Chadd finds out it will, without a doubt, be the darkest day of his life.
He is such a tender compassionate man.
His first question after waking up was to want to know if anyone else was hurt.
We have put him off until he is not so critical.
Any day now it will have to be revealed to him and he will never be the same again.
No matter what the final investigation reveals about the circumstances
he will carry this.
That is just who he is.
But again, the counselor is ready and willing to walk this journey with us
and is reminding us that these dark days will get brighter.