“Wait and See” two of the most hated words to hear when your loved one is lying in the hospital with injuries that nobody really knows what the final outcome will be. The first 72 hours I was told were the most crucial and just the beginning of the waiting game. That first day was just so surreal when I think back to it and even at the time it seemed surreal. People talk about and write about having “out of body” experiences and it may sound so hokey pokey but there really is no other way to describe it. Unless you have gone through something so traumatic you can’t possibly understand it but it really was like watching someone else’s life or watching it all happen on TV. It was several hours before I was even allowed to see Shawn in the ICU. It had taken such a long time for them to stabilize him enough in the OR where he had multiple broken ribs, scleenectomy, thoracotomy and laporatomy. For those, like me, before all this happened that need a little medical lesson:
Spleenectomy – removal of the spleen, the spleen helps to filter and clean blood as well as fight infection.
Thoracotemy – incision to the chest and in Shawn’s case it was done to gain access to his heart.
Laporatomy – large incision through the abdominal wall so surgeon can gain access to the abdomen cavity. In Shawn’s case it extends from his chest around to his back.
While Shawn was on the operating table his heart did stop for approximately 4 minutes (did receive some conflicting times of how long exactly). This was all happening and I still was in some kind of denial about how serious it all was. I was left waiting in this small private room with the kids, my brother and my mom and getting small amounts of information. It wasn’t until I was told I could see him that everything came crashing down. I remember walking into the ICU room with my brother, there was probably close to to 6 or 7 doctors plus another 3 or so nurses hurrying around and there he was lying on the bed. I don’t even think I thought they had the right person and there he was looking like he was asleep with a neck collar on and not a scrape or bruise on him that I could see. Doctors were giving me all these details and the room just started spinning and I started to feel like I was having a panic attack. I just didn’t want to believe this was happening and if I acknowledged them then it was real and it was Shawn in that bed. There was female doctor there that basically explained to me in a non-chalant way that there was just so much bleeding and that they are trying to control it so he had been “stuffed” with gauze-like material and he had been left open until they can control it and remove the gauze. She then explained to me that his chances weren’t good and he probably wasn’t going to make it. I thought I was going to faint. I must have looked like I was going to pass out because my brother quickly grabbed me and I sat down in a chair just outside his room. When I think back I can remember looking around and just repeating constantly to myself “this isn’t happening, this isn’t happening…”. We were only allowed to stay with Shawn for that brief moment and then we were lead back to our waiting room and as soon as I got there I just broke down. This was the first time I cried since I got there because it think it was a combination of shock and disbelief about how serious it really was. I mean things like this just don’t happen to people that are so madly in love and we both had waited such a long time to meet each other, soul mates. Our lives may not have been perfect but we found it perfect and were so crazy in love and looking forward to the next chapter in our lives. Just 2 days prior to Shawn’s accident we found out we were going to have a baby. We had 2 older children from my 1st marriage but this was our 1st child together. Shawn was so happy when he found out and I remember he was rubbing my belly already, even though there was no baby bump at all. The morning of his accident he went to meet with an old colleague from the hotel industry who wanted him to manager his own hotel. Normally Shawn worked a 9-5 shift but that morning he switched his shift to a 1-9 so that he could meet for the interview. It had been his dream to be a general manager of his own hotel but he had given up that dream and left the hotel business because there just didn’t seem to be many job opportunities in our area, and then this came up. We debated whether he should go for the interview for about a week prior because he really was quite happy in the current profession and didn’t know if he wanted to go back to the hotel industry again, then we found out I was pregnant. Shawn gave it a lot of thought and we both agreed this management position would give him job security, salary was good and the hours were great and he could be home for dinner every night and even have the flexibility to attend all of my prenatal appointments. After the interview he was pretty excited about the job and was basically told the job was his, so we were flying high that day. He came home for lunch after that interview and then he left the house for work and that was that for our perfect life…….