Twenty days ago, on the 7th, I headed out on that clear, beautiful day, on my road bike for a trip on my usual 24 mile trip around the country side.
From what I’ve been told of the events I cannot recall and from the route I usually take, I made a turn onto a narrow, one lane bridge. I must have not seen the oncoming traffic, or thought I could easily go on the right side of it.
But the result was not incident-free. A wreck resulted. I ended in the middle of the road with my head cracked open. Thankfully, the on-coming driver did not run over me. At least I haven’t found any tire marks on my body.
My body went into a coma and they trucked me to the ER. Shortly after, a police officer showed up on my doorstep and gave my wife news no spouse wants to hear. She rushed to the Reading Hospital. When she found me, she saw my body, with a few scratches on my face. Other than the breathing tubes coming out of my mouth, I looked like I was asleep.
She walked up to me and said “Hi, Hex, I’m here.” My priest, Father Gousettis, was with Alexis and he prayed over me.
Day 2: Alexis had the neighbors help with the kids while she went to the hospital to figure out what is going on with me. My parents were on their way to meet us in Pennsylvania from their home in Arkansas. They arrived late in the evening. A friend who is a hospice doctor came to visit and read to me. He also provided invaluable medical insight and guidance to Alexis.
For the first three days after my accident, the doctors watched over my body under controlled sedation. On the third day, they took me off sedation to watch my breathing as I fought the ET (Endotracheal) tube.
Alexis stayed with me again that night to watch over me an pray for me as I fought with the tube. At 9:30 on the fourth morning, on doctor’s orders, the respiratory therapist removed the breathing tube. With bated breath, everyone watched to see if I would be able to breathe on my own. I breathed, and everyone, including my wife, let out sigh of relief. The concern was that my bruised brain stem (which controls vital involuntary functions like breathing, heart beats, etc.) would impede my breathing.
The second hurdle had been cleared. Now, they waited for me to wake up and talk. Three hours after the tube came out, I opened my eyes and my wife leaned over and asked me to say her name.
“Alexis”, came my whisper and, as if exhausted, I fell back asleep.
An hour later, I woke up again and whispered to Alexis. She waved to Maria, a nurse, to come and listen. I whispered again.
“I am thirsty. I want water.”
Maria asked, “Mark, who is this person next to you?” I replied, “My wife.”
“What’s her name”
“Alexis,” I replied.
“Mark, what year is this?”
“2006” I replied.
“Mark, who is the president?”
“Obama” I replied.
Alexis tells me that after the ET tube was removed, my improvements increased exponentially. On the 11th day, I was transferred to rehab.
A whole body scan was done and that was when the pulmonary embolisms and en-flamed right lung were discovered. By midnight I was in desperate need of morphine.
Now I am back at the Reading Hospital Post Acute Rehabilitation. I am under constant supervision which bugs me… and makes me want to scream “I am an AMERICAN!” sometimes.
But I’m focused on the goal: returning home and resuming full time work. Hopefully I can reach it rapidly.