Scott asked me to write my story of the accident...or rather the story from my perspective as I don't think there is much of a story of what I was doing. So here I am...
The night of the accident was a typical, normal night for our family of 3. We had gone to the Magic House for our first trip there ever with our son...we played and had fun. Scott left early from the Magic House as he was going out with his friends...I don't remember much about that night about putting H to bed or anything like that...I do remember when the phone rang at 10:15 PM I wasn't shocked...I thought it was a good friend calling to talk to me about Damages (the TV show we were all watching at the time). Once I realized it wasn't her and it was our friend Brian...things changed quickly.
I didn't cry or react -- I was pretty calm actually after it all went down. Got myself together and waited for my family to arrive (my Mom and Dad and my brother). Oddly enough I had called around to a few friends as I didn't even want to wake my parents -- I didn't have any idea if this was really serious or not...but slowly I think the tone of our friends voice made me realize it was serious. I called Scott's Dad and I don't remember what I said...but I called the few people who I needed to call and I waited to go to the hospital.
Once at the ER it's all kind of a blur -- it was late at night and I'm sure I was tired. I really didn't know about head injuries enough to be overly worried -- I was nervous and a little scared -- but somewhere I had blind hope leading me down the way that Scott would be fine. I know a lot more today and probably today I'd be more of a mess -- at the time I knew very little and just trusted the doctors and nurses and believed things would be OK.
The hours from about 3 AM - 6 AM were the longest for me. I was with Scott's Dad and my best friend waiting...the two of them managed to fall asleep on a table in the ICU waiting room and I was just sitting there. I was torn between wondering how Scott was doing -- wanting to see him - as I hadn't since the ER and we were now in ICU....wondering how H was doing. I knew my Mom had it under control and would take him to school....and I also remember wondering when I should call into work and let them know I wouldn't be in. The whole thing was surreal.
As that day progressed on...I think I was sent home to shower - and I probably did...but the crazy part is the people that came out of all parts of our lives that showed up in the waiting room. It was like a big old party. Scott would have loved all the hanging out that was going on. I felt guilty that we were laughing and smiling while I didn't know what was going on -- but that's how it happened and I always felt like it was part my job to remain positive for others. I'm pretty sure that we even got in trouble for being too loud -- but Scott had a lot of friends...they all wanted to make sure he was OK.
The 3 - 4 days in ICU remain a blur to me...in many ways it was the easiest time of it all -- simply because Scott had 24/7 care and if I needed to go home and shower that was fine. It all seemed fine...during that time...I could handle it. I didn't really start to realize the bigness of all this until one of the doctors said to me that I needed to start thinking of recovery in terms of months/years and not days/months. That overwhelmed me and I didn't get it. Scott was unconscious most of the time in ICU -- and when he did finally come through he was out of it...but it didn't hit me what was going on until that doctor said something. Naturally that doctor was right...but at the time I remember being so mad at him. I think by the last day in ICU I had gotten into my ICU groove and I was back to feeling OK about things...I knew my nurses...I knew the times, I knew the procedures...but as soon as that all happened -- it all changed and we were moved to a regular room in the hospital.
I was upset and freaked out -- I didn't want to move to another room. I didn't really understand how we could be going to a normal room when clearly Scott was not OK...but as I've learned -- his life wasn't in danger anymore...he was progressing -- which was good -- but I wasn't ready. As anyone that has been in the hospital knows -- they don't care if you are ready or not -- you are moving to the next step...which for us was a regular room.
The regular room we started in had a roommate...that few hours was awful...I realized that Scott needed someone with him 24/7 but the hospital couldn't take that responsibility...so somehow it was up to us to figure that out. The beauty of that was because we figured out a way to have people with Scott 24/7 we were allowed to have our own private room -- so the other patient didn't have deal with our changing of the guard and all that...which turned out to be a blessing.
The regular room was a time full of schedules...we had divided the time up between me, my best friend, Scott's Dad and a few other friends. Somehow I had begun to get into a schedule of hospital, working, being home with H for bedtime...I was clearly on some kind of auto-pilot handling all the freaking responsibilities that I have. I managed it fairly well I think...and I'll forever be grateful to our friends who endured that time with Scott. He was crazy during that time -- going between being docile and wanting everyone to cuddle with him to being mean and crazy. Scott is strong...so when would decide to do something it was hard to stop him...friends of our saw some crazy things during that time. We ended up having to have Scott wear mitts a lot of time (he did in ICU too) simply to keep him from messing with his various lines and tubes. He was just like a kid -- if we gave him an inch he was pulling a tube out...which meant major hassle in putting in back in. The most dramatic was the feeding tube they had put in -- but in the end it forced the swallow test to happen and he was able to eat on his own - which was great and scary at the same time.
Some of our funniest laughs happened during the hospital stay. He would say some of the craziest things you could imagine. Sometimes he'd like it was 1998....sometimes he'd be a flirt...sometimes he'd just sleep (for a very short time)...but just like ICU we got used to things there as well. Aside from a few nurses who weren't nice -- the entire stay at the hospital was good. Again just as before -- we were told we'd be moving to rehab really quickly. I remember thinking - what we aren't ready...they had prepared me for staying at the hospital for weeks...but overall Scott was progressing well...so we moved again to Rehab.
I'll write more about that experience later on - this is already a long post...but the crazy part is that I had to pick a rehab facility for him...and I didn't know anything. Both were about the same distance from our house...one was new and had private rooms -- which is why I ended up choosing it. I couldn't imagine Scott would play nice with any roommate...so that is how the decision was born. I loved our rehab facility -- loved the care that he got -- my only regret is that long after rehab -- Scott sort of cut off his relationship with these doctors...he didn't like them. I always have wondered if he would have done better at the other place with other doctors...but probably not. The long term effects...the life long changes...that's what would be helpful to have an expert to talk with -- but as I found out -- that doesn't really work that way. Starting with Rehab I slowly fumbled my way through recovery time...Scott was great and did what was needed of him (for the most part) but the process was not a straight line...and for me and the family/friends who were with us -- we navigated as best we could.