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Yesterday started out early.  My nephew and my niece both had baseball games.  Zach's was at 8am at Tinsley Park.  Marissa's was at 9:30am at a different, but nearby park.  Zach had his second game at 11:30am.  My sister had to work today, and my brother in law is an assistant coach for Zach's team.  So I was up and out early to watch a bit of his first game, then I took Marissa to her scrimmage.  Then back to watch Zach's second game.  My sister decided to cook out tonight, and my brother came over after work.  All three of us were together when we got the call.

My parents and my younger sister live in northeast AR/southeast MO, within about 10 miles of each other.  My sister had a fight with her husband this afternoon, and drove off in a fit of anger.  She went too fast down gravel roads, in a town so small that they've only got one paved road.  Okay, that might be an exaggeration.  Or not.  But that's how it's been described to me.

Never drive when you are angry.  NEVER.  My sister (Beth) spun out and flipped her car multiple times.  It took thirty minutes for her to be extracted.  She was flown to the nearest trauma hospital, in Cape Girardeau, MO.  That's about 97 miles from Cooter, MO, where she lives.  She's now en route to Barnes*Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, which is a level 1 trauma hospital.

She has a grade 1 liver laceration.  Translation: a small cut on her liver that will heal just fine on its own.

She has a laceration on her head that required 12 staples.  Because of that, they're keeping her on minimal painkillers.  They have to monitor her and make sure there are no brain injuries that take time to present.

She has numerous scrapes and contusions. 

Those are the minor injuries.

She also has multiple fractures on her pelvis, which is why she's being relocated to Barnes*Jewish.  Apparently no one likes messing with the pelvis.  She has an acetabellum fracture.  That's apparently a fracture on the ball that goes into the pelvis.  She has several thoracic compression fractures, in T8, T10, and T12.  She also has a burst fracture at L1, and it's impinging on her spinal cord.

Good news: she's neurologically intact, hemodynamically stable, and breathing on her own.  What that means is she's not gushing blood from anywhere and she can move her fingers and toes.  But the trauma surgeon has kept her in the C-Collar and on the backboard until she can be taken in for surgery on that burst fracture and get those bones away from her spinal cord.  Surgery on the pelvis is scheduled for tomorrow.  Surgery on her back is for later this week, I believe.

By all rights, my sister should be dead.  It's a miracle that she's not.  That girl has always had some pretty powerful guardian angels watching over her.

It's going to be a very long time before she's healed.  Our older sister, Katie, is a nurse practitioner.  She's the one who lives here.  She says that Beth will be in the hospital for several weeks, and probably be in a wheelchair for a while after she's released.

My dad is scheduled to have knee replacement surgery this week.  It's going to be in Memphis.  Beth will still be in St. Louis.  My poor mother needs a clone.

I think I'm a little in shock still.  My mom told Katie not to call our aunts and uncles.  That bothered me a lot.  I struggled with it for several hours...then considered how I'd feel if something happened to any of my nieces, or either of my nephews.  I called my aunts and uncle on my dad's side of the family.  I called my mom's brother.  The rest of her side of the family are nut jobs.  I'll let me uncle figure out when to tell my grandparents. Grandpa just came home from the hospital this week, so his health is fragile enough. 

I want to go home.  I want to spend this week with my family, so my mom won't feel like she's abandoning her husband, or her daughter.  I want to see my sister alive.  I can't go, though.  I don't have vacation time or pay at work.  I don't have money to make up for the lost time at work.  The only thing I DO have is Spring Break from school.

Maybe I'll do a hell-or-high-water trip home next weekend, for Easter.  I have a day off work, whether I want it or not. 

I don't suppose I really need to blog about this, but I need to write it out.  I need to work through the shock and fear.  I need to see, in black and white, the words that she's going to be fine. 

I want to send thank you cards to the paramedics who got her out.  If they'd been less skilled, less careful, she'd be paralyzed.  I want to thank the old woman who called in the accident and stayed with my sister until the paramedics arrived. 

Guardian angels sometimes are as human as you and me.

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gypsyanna

June 2012

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