Instead of starting at the beginning of our trip, I will write about the last part - Andrew's story.
During the spring break we left on a 2 week road trip driving through 5 different states in a rented RV.
By last Friday we had been through four states and had spent three days exploring the grand landscape of Utah. We met up with Adam's brother and his family during the last part of the trip in Utah. We had a great time spending time with them and going on gorgeous hikes. Our plan was to part ways on Saturday morning with our family going on to Colorado. On Friday night we had a hard time finding a place to park our RVs and ended up way outside of town, in the middle of no-where in a cow field - but it was a beautiful field under the numerous stars and the mountains in the distance. There were a number of other RVs parked there, all brave drivers who drove along a narrow, gravel road in order to get to the camp site. That night we decided to have a camp fire and climbed up these huge rocks that were all lumped together. It seemed like the perfect spot to have a campfire, away from the wind and it didn't even seem that high compared to the major canyons and mountains we had seen so far. While we were roasting our marshmallows and hotdogs around the fire, our oldest nephew came running to us holding a very limp and bloodied Andrew. Some of the kids had heard him scream and found him. Andrew doesn't remember if he stumbled down the rock which was about 10ft or if he was climbing up the side and fell down but as soon as we got him we knew that this was serious.
During the months we were planning for this trip, I had continual nightmares of our boys falling into a deep canyon and during the two weeks on the road my nightmares continued except they were worse. The canyons were much deeper than I'd imagined and during the nights my nightmares haunted me. When we first saw Andrew and realized how serious this was, I kept on thinking, my nightmare had come true.
We carried Andrew back to the RV while my sister-in-law assessed him and called 911. We quickly packed the kids up and flew down the road we had so cautiously driven on before. Soon we met up with the sheriff and he led the way until we met up with the ambulance. I jumped in the back of the ambulance with Andrew and it was a race to the hospital. The sheriff was kind and continued to lead Adam in the RV until he reached the hospital.
During this time Andrew moaned and was in obvious pain. Blood continued to drain from his ear but he never lost consciousness. When we got to the hospital there were Dr's and nurses waiting for him. When Andrew's vitals were more stable they did a cat scan and this revealed that there was a possible fracture in his skull. Through out this time, there was a nurse that took really good care of us. She was already three hours past her 12 hour shift but she did not leave our side.
The doctor decided it would be best for Andrew to be airlifted to a children's hospital where he could receive better care. I really don't care for flying and now we would be flying on a little 5 seater plane just over the mountains into snowy Colorado. I was in a complete fog, just trying to remain positive and comforting for Andrew so I tried not to think about this airflight we would be taking. The airplane ride was none too smooth and got hit with some bouts of turbulence while crossing over the mountainous border.
I do remember the paramedics trying hard to keep Andrew awake. I heard them ask, "Andrew, do you have any siblings?" Andrew replied with a nod and then said, "Four brothers."
There was silence and then they tried again, "Andrew, do you have any siblings?" "Yes" Andrew said, "four brothers." Silence again. By then I had their attention and nodded that Andrew was right. He had four brothers.
When we arrived in Denver, Colorado we landed in a small private airport. It was pitch black outside except for the ambulance lights turning at the end of the runway. When I got off of the plane, I felt like I was walking on a movie set with the snow swirling around us. It was so surreal!
Once again we were back on the ambulance, this time headed for the children's hospital. When we reached the hospital there was a whole team of doctors and nurses waiting for us in the trauma unit. It was unbelievable. By this time it was in the middle of the night, Andrew was exhausted and this nightmare feeling just kept on pressing. In the meantime Adam spent the night driving the RV with the rest of the boys through the rocky mountains to meet us in Denver.
We finally got some test results and Andrew had fractured parts of his skull, broke his ear drum, had a concussion, and broke some of the bones in his ear. We were not sure where the bleeding was coming from but they gave him a vaccine for meningitis in case he had cerebral fluid draining. The doctors gave me worse case scenarios of how this could effect his learning, his hearing, his movements and his memory. Through out this tense time, Andrew and I had some very tender moments together. I also got in a chuckle when he asked the Dr. if he had broken his hammer bone in his ear. I think he wanted that bone to be the broken one.
All day Saturday, Andrew threw up and was extremely nauseated. This was a very hard day for him. The only thing that would help comfort him was singing to him. Adam had reached Colorado safely but was unable to come into the hospital because the other boys were not allowed in. This was a long day for both of us and I felt like I was plopped in a strange city with a very sick boy, all alone. But through all of this God had sent the right people at the right time and He continued to do so. My parents had acquaintances, Mark and Jody, living just outside of Denver. When Mark called me, I just felt huge relief. They offered to pick up our boys and do whatever it took to help. After church on Sunday, Adam came to the hospital with the boys and we met in the family room. The boys were so happy to see one another especially since it had been traumatizing for the boys to watch their brother suffering and their parents fighting the urge to panic. Andrew managed to talk a little with them but it was too hard for him to stay sitting, he needed to lay down. The boys headed off to Mark and Jody's for an Easter dinner and spent the night there. It was a huge relief to have Adam near by, for both me and Andrew.
By Monday Andrew was feeling that much better and was determined to get out of the hospital. He still couldn't walk but could sit for longer periods of time and was starting to show interest in food again. The doctors told us healing would just take a lot of time and that was something we could do at home. We had airplane tickets to leave out of Denver for the next day. The doctors also said that air pressure could possibly aid in the recovery. That was good because we had two stop-overs on our way home.
On Tuesday we began the long journey home and it took forever. We were so eager to be in our own home, surrounded by family and friends. When we landed my parents were waiting for us and I just felt the biggest, best relief. Andrew broke out into a wide grin and the boys were ready for some good hugging. When we got home at midnight, we walked into the door and were blown away. Welcome home posters covered the walls, balloons strung up, and a "home sweet home" sign sat on my counter. That saying is so true! Our home seemed huge, clean, and wonderful after living in the RV and hospital room for two weeks. We were so thankful to be back home.
Yesterday, Andrew started walking again. He is making remarkable recovery every day. We have some appointments booked with the doctor for his ear. His ear and brain will need time to heal. He is a happy, cheerful boy to have around so we don't mind that he is here at home and not in school while he continues to heal. We are just all so happy and I haven't stopped smiling. This accident could have been so much worse. Instead God saved Andrew's life. God provided for us through every step of the accident. When Mark and Jody opened their home to four boys for the weekend and took such good care of them, God provided. Mark told me that when you are part of Christ's family, this would be something anyone would do, but I think there are times we know what is right and choose not to do it. They chose to obey and they went the second mile for our family. God also showed me that he would take us through something we fear the most. He would be our Jehovah Jirah- our Provider. We had a great team of doctors and nurses in the children's hospital and received top notch care. We were flooded with calls, texts, emails from our family and friends and just marveled at the love and care they shared with our family. Today Andrew received a huge card from his classmates and the staff at our school. He just smiled and smiled. I hope this smiling keeps up when we have to tell him over and over again to take it easy and continue resting!
The boys were thrilled to see Andrew again after his fall. Andrew was happy at first but then wanted to lay down.
Talking on the phone with his friends, Johnny and Olivia cheered Andrew up.
So happy to be home again!