Life In An Instant
Do you know how sometimes in life things happen in an instant and all of a sudden it changes your world? It could be winning the lottery or it could be a bad accident.
Long story short—my husband fell backwards from the bow of a small boat onto a rocky beach. He had a cornea transplant the week before and his vision and depth perception were impaired. He was airlifted off the island of Orcas to a hospital on the mainland of Washington State where they performed a craniotomy to stop the bleeding from a subdural hematoma. I didn’t know this terminology two weeks ago but now I could draw the brain and show you exactly where they operated.
Our friends Blake and David had taken us to see the wildflowers on Yellow Island for my Birthday (I was laid off last year on my Birthday. I’m thinking I might change the date.) It happened so fast—yet in slow motion. Blake was the one who called the clinic and the Doctor gave us signs to look for—severe headache and vomiting. Within 30 minutes they were happening. Within 5 hours they had his skull open to stop the bleeding.
During the operation in the middle of the night I was in a small dark waiting room by myself. You know how your mind is all over the place in situations like this trying to cope with possibilities? He could live and be fine, he could live and have brain damage or he could die. Of course I was voting for the first one, but any one of them could have happened.
After 8 days in ICU and 60 staples in his head he’s home now and it’s amazing how the incision has almost healed. He sometimes can’t get the words that are in his mind out of his mouth, but everyone says that will improve with time and he’ll be fine.
I’m passing this story on because head injuries can be mysterious and sometimes don’t appear to be serious. There might not be an exterior wound and the person seems fine. This is the risky part. If there is internal swelling and bleeding and you don’t get medical attention right away it can be fatal. It’s so sad that Natasha Richardson didn’t get help in a timelier manner after she was injured. She might have been saved.
Husband drawing detail in ICU/Photo by spope