Thursday, January 31, 2008

making our nests for the night

Ginny and I are making our nests for the night again. We (Ginny, Rob, Amy, David, and I) have all gotten to see Bob now. He responds a little, but is still so heavily sedated that he can't do much. Some blinking, hand-squeezing, arm movement, and faint mouth movement (as though he is speaking in his dreams.) They have added a feeding tube to waken his stomach a little, and tomorrow hopefully they'll let him be a little bit more alert. It just depends on his pain threshold, which is not very high from what I know! He'll endure, though, I've no doubt.

I do not know if we (or Ginny and someone else) will spend tomorrow night here at the hospital. This did just happen yesterday, and the trauma doctor said the first 48-72 hours are critical. Bob is headed in the right direction, though.

It amazes me when I consider the number of churches and individuals that are praying for Bob's recovery and healing. Well, it does and it doesn't amaze, you know? By our love ... that's how others know to whom we belong. Believe me, there are many other families in this waiting room as well -- more names than I can remember. All lost in their own private dramas, but we notice each other every now and again. A few stories get shared here, a few annoyances get shared there, like how we have to take EVERYTHING out of the waiting room at 8:30! But they are watching, and we are mindful of that. Let your prayers include open minds and hearts for all of us as we spend time at the hospital -- let us not become consumed with despair, for Bob will heal. Some of the people here don't have that hope or that expectation for their loved ones.

So many are praying -- and it must be making things go so well so far. Studies have shown that prayer improves patients' conditions even when they don't know they're being prayed for! And is he ever! Some of those praying for him:

~Mayfair Church of Christ -- Home to Bob & Ginny Cox, David, Amy, & Sarah Hunter
~Twickenham Church of Christ -- Home to Rob, Clarissa, Julianne, Joey, Abbie, & Chloe Cox
~Madison Academy -- Ginny teaches, Amy taught, 4 Coxes attend, Rob's beginning volunteer software work, Clarissa accompanies on occasion

~Lake Hills Church of Christ -- One of B & G's former churches. Thanks, Wes -- all of Chattanooga knows, and beyond!
~Otter Creek Church of Christ -- R & C's former church
~Friends to all/each of us, old and new, from all corners of the country
~Cookeville Community Bible Study -- Thank you, Jenn. I love you, too.

~Bob's family doctor; his gastroenterologist; Ginny's orthopaedist; an OB/GYN from Mayfair!
~The volunteer chaplain who came by early this morning.

~Some of Bob's former customers have even come by and said they'll be praying.
~Some of his fellow builders and/or laborers from the homebuilding community here in Huntsville.

~My Facebook friends. Thanks for updating there, Dave (my brother.)
~My Blogging friends, of course -- you've said as much in your comments!

~Coxes, Pelhams and Plemmons.
~Johnsons and Spurlins.
(There's something extra special about Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.)

I'm sure there are more. Add names/churches/groups to the comments section if you like. I'm going to preserve this chronicling for Bob to peruse when he is able; I want him to have a fresh awareness of how valued he and his family are. I have tried to write down the names of each and every one of you that has called, visited, left a message, sent an email, brought a gift, or prayed for us and him. I was gone for a few hours today but Ginny, Rob, and Amy helped piece together who came, called, etc. I will be gone much longer tomorrow, for Julianne has a temperature of 101 degrees or so and must stay home tomorrow; Rob must work a few hours, too. It will be juggle time, but there are reinforcements coming in from Chattanooga and Atlanta tomorrow; I guess things will go on without me for awhile.


We are a family richly blessed.

one surgery down; the children

Although we have not actually spoken with the surgeon this afternoon, the nurses assure us that Bob came through the surgery very well. He now has a metal rod in his right femur -- healing can begin there. I haven't seen him since the surgery, but Rob and Ginny say he looks much better -- more like he's resting, and less like a trauma patient. He is very swollen, but that is par for the course and will last for some time.

There have still been several visitors today -- thank you for all the goodies some of you have brought! However ... as long as Bob remains in the surgical ICU, we ask that you refrain from bringing anything else of bulk, because the room is cleared a few times each day and we have to remove all of our belongings. They don't want the room piling up and looking too cluttered, and we understand that. If you want to bring food, gift cards to local restaurants might be a better option. Parking garage tokens would be a good thing. Small things, but very helpful.

The ladies at Little Madison Academy, where Ginny teaches Kindergarten, put together bags full of groceries and gave them to Rob this morning when he dropped Chloe off for preschool. Those are at our house for us kids and grandkids. Others have offered to keep our children fed with cooked meals in the evenings for awhile. And the phone calls! There have been many phone calls from many states today.


Bob is a godly man; he is a man of his word. He cares for others and loves his family passionately -- especially the grandchildren. You grandparents out there understand, I'm sure. When I got to see him in the ER, he asked Ginny if he had hit another car; he was concerned someone else might be hurt. Then she told him I was there and he said, "How's Julianne?" Those of you who know her understand. Funny ... immediately after, he asked, "How's Sarah?" Oh, to be two years old and oblivious to his pain and suffering.

When my mother told our children yesterday afternoon about the accident, Julianne asked, "Is he dead?" Mother immediately assured her this was not the case! Both Julianne and Abbie cried for a little while, and the four of them prayed with Mother. Then they all went to get Sarah, and she had a big time with her cousins. She really doesn't know my mother, so we're impressed with how well she did.

Anyway. I'm tired of typing and there are more people here and I tell it better than anybody else.

good news first

Cindy Bradley came by this morning and said Bob's vitals were still stable this morning. Ginny and I just saw one of the orthopaedic surgeons, Dr. Bryant, who will repair Bob's leg "around lunchtime" today by putting a metal rod in to keep the upper part of the femur attached to the lower part. Once that is done they will be able to put him in traction to relieve some of the pressure on his pelvic fracture.

She said the leg fracture is not nearly as concerning as the pelvic fracture. He has acetablum fractures. She described the hip joint like a ball and a cup, with the acetablum (acetablam?) being the cup. The ball went through the cup and broke it into multiple pieces. Dr. Bryant said that Dr. Griffin (in the same orthopaedic practice) will probably do surgery on the pelvis in 4-5 days. He specializes in that type of fracture.

It is unlikely that Bob will leave the Surgical ICU (SICU) between surgeries, as he is still on a ventilator. They will probably want to keep a very close eye on him, and that's fine with us.

in a moment everything can change

As many of you have heard by now, Rob's dad, Robert (Bob) was in a bad car accident Wednesday morning. Many of you have also been offering up prayers in his behalf -- thank you! Please continue to do so -- he'll need it today especially. The accident occurred around 9:00 A.M. on Martin Road halfway between the Lake Forest development and Zeirdt Road. We don't know what caused his vehicle to veer off of the road to the right, and a friend and fellow builder who was driving right behind him does not know what happened either. One moment everything was fine, the next Bob smashed head-on into a concrete telephone pole. Both airbags deployed.

There was another wreck very close by a little earlier in the morning, and the possibility exists that there was black ice that caused both accidents, but we don't know that for certain. Bob can't remember what happened. He had a brief time of lucidity during transport to the hospital and after his arrival. He wanted to know if anyone else had been hurt and what had happened, so he clearly has no recollection of the accident as of yet. The medics at the scene said his shirt was drenched with perspiration -- odd since it was freezing outside and he is generally cold, anyway. A heart attack or any other cardiac event has been ruled out.

He sustained a very bad compound fracture of the right femur (front right thigh-bone, exposed break, if you've forgotten your science classes.) He also has several broken pelvic bones, some broken ribs, a bruised lung, and a bad gash on his forehead that is about four inches long and almost an inch deep. He lost a great deal of blood.

The doctors were hoping to do surgery on his leg during the afternoon, but his blood pressure dropped to dangerously low levels due to all the blood loss. They gave him 6 units of blood (the human body only holds about 8 units.) Also, he wasn't breathing well because the broken ribs were causing him so much pain, so they had to intubate him to get his oxygen level back where it needed to be. That means he is pretty deeply sedated now. He has been through a CT scan from head-to-toe, ultrasounds around all the breaks, and x-rays now from every angle of every break. He has been through a cistogram and a pelvic arteriogram and it has been determined that he is not losing blood anywhere now.

I am spending the night at Huntsville Main with Rob's mother, Ginny. She called up to check on things around midnight. The orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Griffin, says Bob is stable enough to have the surgery on his broken leg today (Thursday.) When Ginny and I visited Bob at 8:30, the nurse said he was technically still critical, but very stable; I assume that still applies. He remains intubated, has a central line for IV fluids/antibiotics, and has a tube on top of his right hand from which blood is easily drawn -- nice that they don't have to continually stick him for that. They're not only keeping a close eye on his blood pressure after it dropped so badly yesterday, but they're also monitoring his blood levels every four hours, so they are accessing the tube frequently. He was a little anemic. He was also going to need some plasma, she said.

Amy (Rob's sister), Ginny, and Rob arrived on the scene of the accident in time for Ginny to ride in the ambulance with Bob; then Rob met me while Amy took her daughter Sarah to preschool, and by the time we arrived at the hospital there were already 5-6 church members/family friends there. Amy's husband David met us there. There was a steady stream of visitors throughout the day with only a few breaks; several people took the time to pray with us. Ginny is understandably emotional, but strong. It will be better when he is out of ICU and in a room where she can be with him - that is where she wants to be. They've been married 39 years, but together for 45. They come as a set.