I'm not sure where to begin, but I feel like getting some of this down will help me to process what has happened and clear my thoughts. A Tylenol PM and Adam's sister taking a night shift with him gave me about 7 hours of sleep at home in our bed. Yet, I still wake earlier than I wanted and find myself in a puddle of tears. Maybe sharing some of this will help me. On Wednesday, September 25, Adam experienced an accident on his mountain bike that has caused damage to his spinal cord. Its all happened so fast, yet it also feels like time has stopped.
The morning started out like any other with him already having done a variety of things. He had gone to See You At the Pole at one of our local high school and had prayed with students about their school, friends, our country. He had come home so that he could get Landon and drop him off for school. We had chatted about how there was a rather disappointing turnout. He saw it as more of a challenge to revive a campus ministry there because it had died down several years ago and needed some leadership to bring cohesion among the Christians that were at school because he was certain there were many more that could have been brought together. He then went into the church office and was doing some work. He had called me several times to verify information as he was filling out information for a new health insurance policy that we would be switching to in the month ahead.
Meanwhile, I was attempting to make applesauce as I was in the midst of a full-on kitchen undertaking. Pots boiling. Apples being peeled and cut . Putting them through a strainer. Jars being filled. I remember feeling a bit annoyed that he had made several calls to get information from me regarding the boys' heights/weights and he was interrupting me from what I was trying to do.
The apples themselves were a whole story as well. Just the night before we had been picking wild apples on the property where Adam hunts. That itself was an adventure. I had told Adam I wanted apples. Lots of apples. I wanted to can a crazy amount of applesauce this year. And since I'm so cheap/frugal/thrifty, I didn't really care where they came from. He said he found some old apple trees on the property where he has permission to hunt. He had brought a few pieces home to show me. I was happy with the size/quality/taste. I told him to find out if the owners would be OK if we picked them. And they were. We had a night open in our calendar to go pick them. I had never seen the property where he hunts. He insisted we'd have to find someone to watch the baby, but that they older boys could handle the walk to where the trees were. We trekked through tall weeds, cornfields, some small hills. It was probably only 1/3 of a mile, but it wasn't an easy walk. I'm enough of a country girl that I loved it though. I even commented that this made me want to live in the country and have some land like this, despite my typical desire to have sidewalks and neighbors. Pretty sure this made his heart soar as he would love to walk out his back door and be able to go hunting. The apple picking was sparse in areas and required Adam to carry a ladder. I was surprised by how many apples there were and with him standing on top of the ladder we were able to pick what I would estimate to be about 2 bushels of apples. But then we had to get the apples back out. We had brought sleds, crates, and backpacks. By the time we got back to the van, we were both sweating and feeling pretty.....awesome actually. We both love doing physical things. He knew this adventure and what we had obtained had made me happy. And that made him happy.
Ok. Sorry. That was a big sidestep. But I was in the midst of processing these apples. At this point, it was about 11:40. I was thinking about needing to get to a good "pause" moment so that I could go pick Tate up from preschool shortly. The phone rang. It was one of Adam's friends who was also a youth pastor. I wasn't really alarmed when I saw his name on my caller ID. I thought Adam was still at church. He fairly calmly said that there had been an accident while the two of them had been mountain biking. I kinda chuckled and thought, "I didn't know he was mountain biking today....but then again, I forgot to ask if he was going mountain biking so he didn't think to tell me." A bit of a joke we have between the two of us. It wasn't completely uncommon for him and Jory to go out to lunch and have an adventure like this together. Some guys have golf meetings with colleagues. These two had mountain biking meetings. His initial comments didn't freak me out at all. He then went on to say that he had already called 911 and an ambulance was on the way. This began to put me on guard as Adam was not one to succumb to such treatment. He then told me how he had gone over the handlebars and hit his head. I was certain he was wearing his helmet. He always assures me he does. But Jory went on to simply explain that Adam wasn't able to move. I still wasn't completely taking this in and was asking calm further questions. Even as I hung up with Jory, I was not completely freaked out or processing what he had said. I began to pace and feel the need to start cleaning up the kitchen. I called my best friend and frantically asked her to pray that everything was OK. I started making a few calls to find people to stay with the boys in case I needed to go to the hospital. I, for some reason, was not completely convinced that I would need to go yet. I had to leave to go pick up Tate from preschool. My heart was frantic, but I didn't want to run into the school acting like a maniac or alarm anyone. Tate was his usual meandering and joyful self. I tried to ask him to hurry and focus on getting back to the van. We got home and I attempted to begin cleaning up the huge mess of a kitchen and feeding the 2 boys lunch. I was waiting on an update from Jory. By this time, about an hour had passed. I texted Jory and asked for an update. He said the paramedics had just gotten there and that his vitals were good. Remember, he was mountain biking. This wasn't an easy spot to get paramedics to and from. I had made a call to Landon's school office to notify his teacher that there would be someone else at our bus stop to get him today. I had just handed off information to my friend who had come to be with the boys for a couple of hours until she would then hand them off to my neighbor. I was still thinking about the possibility that I might be back later that evening. As I threw my purse over my shoulder and told myself that I could handle driving downtown to get to the hospital (I hate driving downtown), one of our pastors called and asked if he could give me a ride. I said yes. At this point, I still had not gotten very upset. A few frantic tears and lots of heart racing and praying.
Even at the hospital, I hadn't fully processed what the next hours would be. I was doing my best at being calm and trusting God that this was all going to be OK. As a social worker and chaplain met with me, I was pretty pulled together. We had to wait for awhile in a conference room as Adam was still in the trauma room being handled. Even as they led me to the trauma room, I hadn't thought about the condition I would find Adam in. I saw a body laying flat on a stretcher. I came in down by his feet. I looked around and thought that this wasn't Adam and briefly scanned for another bed in the area with him sitting up in it. The room was rather large and there were many medical personnel standing a considerable distance away from him, now watching me. I walked up to him and looked at him and I smiled and quietly said, "hi." He looked at me and said, "I'm sorry."
As I think about that my heart breaks. Adam had never lost consciousness. He was fully aware of what had happened, what he had experienced up to this point. Everything was very clear. At this point, he had almost 2 hours to run things through in his mind. He had laid on the ground for an hour, face down, unable to move. He was aware of having to be carried out of the woods through rugged terrain. He had experienced the trauma team, all hands on deck, cutting his clothes off and fully examining him and treating him. While I was lining up details for childcare, attempting to somewhat clean up the kitchen, and still trying to process the very little information I had, he was fully aware that his body had experienced major trauma and that this was something that was going to drastically alter his life, but I believe it was more on his mind how this was going to affect me and the boys.
Next followed a lot of nervous waiting. I then realized I needed to make phone calls. Our families should know about the accident. I was still rather calm about the details as I explained things. We finally were placed in an ICU room. A lot of the next hours are blurry. I hadn't cried much yet. I was asked to step out of the room as they put in some riskier IV lines and it would take about 40 minutes. I had waited to call my mom. Everyone cries when they talk to their mom. I had wanted to wait until she was home from school. As I sat in the ICU waiting area around many others who were dealing with their own family situations, I blubbered the news to my mom. Strangers handed me tissues. I sat alone waiting for news that I could go back to Adam.
The rest blurs together at this point. I watched as doctors came in and periodically asked Adam to try moving different areas. Awaiting for MRI and further results. The next day meeting with the surgeon as he explained our options and risks. Sitting through the surgery. When I interact with Adam, and often, even with others, I've been fairly optimistic and together. Last night, as we experienced a room full of visitors, I remember my face actually hurting because I had been smiling and laughing so much.
We are optimistic and hopeful about all of this. He has shown some great signs. He is a strong guy with a lot of determination. This could have ended his life. His helmet was literally cracked into pieces. I have yet to see it as a trauma team member wanted to keep it to use as a teaching tool on the importance of wearing helmets. We have much to be thankful for.
Most importantly, we have a deep and knowing faith in God. Sure, human will is strong and can do much. But God is infinitely greater and can do unimaginably more. We know that there is purpose in this event. We know and trust this all happened for a reason. We fully intend and will strive to use this all for God's glory. Adam has communicated all of this to me and to others. This faith in God is going to be what carries us through in each moment.
And its the moments that we will need Him. This hasn't been easy. This won't be easy. This is all heartbreaking and life-altering. Its in moments when I'm alone that my mind goes to what this all means. My physically very strong and very active husband/best friend/partner/lover, who I rely on so very much and in so many ways, is drastically disabled right now. Watching his large and muscular frame have to be pushed, pulled, supported, rolled over and it being obvious that there is very, very little he can do right now is so hard to watch and think about. Knowing that some of the activities that he loves and enjoys are not going to be a part of his life anytime soon, or potentially ever, makes my heart ache and raw. Thinking about him not being able to feed himself, hold his baby, tie his son's shoes, hold me....it all just sends me over the edge emotionally.
This hurts so much. And it's scary.
Adam and I are both pretty independent people. This obviously won't get us very far in the days and months ahead. We'll need you. We'll need help. I'll try to make our needs known, but don't wait for us to ask. We're not good at it. Even if you don't know what to offer or do for us. Pray for us. This won't be a sprint. Stay with us for the long haul friends.