Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Price of a Priceless Life

Ahh Spring,
 new growth, the big changes that are in store~ 
 Earlier this week I was looking at our yard.  The grass in Texas really sucks.  Our grass really sucks.  I cant tell you how hard we (meaning Doug) have tried to make it 'pretty'...It just isn't the same as the grass in Washington State- it never will be.  My severe frustration drove me to call Doug at work.  I went off about the grass in our yard for a good 5 minutes.  'It is embarrassing... We need to fix it... blah blah blah'-   I went on and on and got Doug all worked up about it-  surely he would succumb to my annoying whining right?  After all isn't it just so important to have great grass?
Call me puddle.
Reality check. Bigger problems in the world.
Feb 15th Heather, a dear friend of mine, received a phone call around 9:30pm.  It wasn't good news.  Heather is a divorcee mother of 4.  Her X husband, Brent,  has parents with a ranch in middle of nowhere (hunting grounds) Texas.  Her sons love to go up and hunt with their Uncles, Grandparents, and friends.  Garrett, her 15 year old, has been driving on the family ranch grounds for some time.  It is legal on private property.  He was driving in his fathers Tahoe with his 13 year old brother and a friend from school. You don't need the details of the accident.  It was an overcompensation by an inexperienced driver.  The Tahoe flipped 3X and landed on Garrett who , after being bashed around inside the car, had been thrown from the car.  The accident occurred 4 miles away from the home, on the Ranch.  Braeden, the 13 year old, was banged up but heroically went for help.  There was a 2ft radius around the car with cell phone service, walking past the car on any side there wasn't any service for miles.  Jonah, the friend, used his phone to call Garrett's father in Austin.  Brent received a frantic screaming childs message.  He directed Jonah to sit Garrett up and not let him sleep among other things.  Garrett had broken every bone in his face and jaw.  He was bleeding out of his mouth, eyes, nose, and ears.  Even though Garrett was in unimaginable pain he was worried about everyone else.  He kept on asking if Braeden was back and apologizing for the accident, He was second guessing the decision to send Braedan for help.  o concerned that they had sent Braeden out in worse condition than they had thought, maybe he had passed out...
After waiting for over two hours the helicopter finally located them and was able to Medivac them to the nearest hospital.  Everything, although horribly bloody, was extremely optimistic.  No concerns other than broken bones.  A big phew right?
The accident happened on a Saturday night-  Things were going really well, they scheduled Garrett for surgery (they basically rebuilt his face and jaw) Wednesday.  They placed him in a drug induced coma to help his body deal with everything the best way possible.  They pushed the surgery back to Friday.  He was having trouble with the tube down his throat.  Garrett was in pain but such a trooper.  When not in the coma he wrote notes to his parent, he apologized about how much money this was going to cost them... he joked about things, he shared Ipod music with his nurse.  He was regular (just a smidgen banged up :) Garrett.  Garrett is incredibly athletic, funny, family loving, and very respectful-  he is a GREAT kid.  Girls adore him ( didn't mention he is very handsome) and boys love to call him their friend.
After surgery things seemed to be going well.  He on the road to full recovery.  His parents had called his HS soccer coach and relayed what had happened.  They said he would be there for the last game of the season.  They explained he couldn't play but would be suited on the bench for his team. 
After the surgery the medical staff instructed Garrett not to fidget or pull out the intubation tube.  He was well warned.  His mom was in the his room after a nurse came in to change the tube.  She changed a couple of  things and left the room.  After a few moments, Garrett started to throw his hand up to get his mothers attention, motioning to her that something was wrong with the tube- a motion that looked awful to her- she feverishly called the nurses in to fix whatever was going on...The nurse casually walked in and looked at the monitor.  She reassured Heather that the numbers looked fine...  while blood was coming out of Garrett's mouth.  After this continued for a minute more the nurse realized she had neglected to connect the hose to the other part of the hose- no oxygen was coming in.  He was suffocating.  After attaching the hose Garrett began to vomit all the blood that they had neglected to clear from his stomach-  Garrett coded.
Fortunately, they were able to bring him back.  The doctor that oversaw Garrett told Heather and Brent that he was not going to give Garrett a trachea- otomy  because he had never trache' d (sp?) a child before... He was not a pediatric surgeon.  This was concerning to Heather and Brent, after all the tubes had been problematic since the beginning.  But Doctors know best, even in Hicksville Texas right?
A few days later Heather was sitting bedside.  She saw Garrett's tied down arms bounce up and down off the bed.  She saw his white knuckles as he grasped the bedsheets.  He was arching his back.  He knew better than to touch the hose.  He had been warned.  Heather screamed for the nurses.  They filled the room quickly,  they struggled for over 5 minutes to try to fix his tube-  when they couldn't they escorted Heather out of the room and closed the door.  They continued to try to fix the tube, ultimately, after 10 minutes, they preformed an emergency trachea- otomy.  Once again he coded, Once again they brought him back.  This time it wasn't the same. Things will never be the same again.
Garrett has since been awake yet non responsive.  Because of the lack of oxygen he now has an Anoxic Brain Injury.  He cannot control his body.  People are exponentially less likely to recover from an Anoxic Brain injury.  After so many tender mercies from our Heavenly Father how can the mistakes of his caregivers win in this battle?
My heart is broken.  I cannot quit thinking, racking my brain- how the heck can we help?  What can we do.  So many tears and prayers for this amazing boy and family.  Their struggle and journey is going to be so difficult.  I am so angry.  They have been robbed of their Garrett.  The world has been robbed of Garrett.  This should not have happened.  This wasn't supposed to happen.  How could those doctors and nurses screw up so horribly?
Times like this (and ONLY times like this ) I wish I were famous.  I wish I had the clout, money and big business support that philanthropists like Oprah and Ellen have.  If Ellen were my friend I know she would get her people to help- that is one of the first things my children said...'call Ellen'.  I wish I had people.  The hospital bills are already beyond the 6 digits and this is only the beginning.  They have to prepare a handicap accessible home for Garrett to come home to.  Disability takes 3 years.  How can a single mother of 4 (3,9,13,15) without a home of her own make this work?  I am baffled- I dont understand-  I told her to get a lawyer right away-  She is so calm and Christ like.  She explained she does not have any extra energy or time to give to anything outside Garrett and her kids right now.  How do you put a price on such an enormous tragedy? 
 I am going to open an Charity for Garrett.  I don't know the exact protocol yet but I will figure this out.  I hope and pray there will be many Angels in our midst.  I hope and pray we can help right his wrong the best we can.  When it comes down to it you don't have to be famous to make a difference.  If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.
Seeing Garrett for the first time since the accident the other day-  Looking into his beautiful eyes- was beyond heartbreaking.  It was as if he was trapped within himself, fighting, pleading for help.  I want to make a change outside the walls of my silly little yard.
Please Fast and Pray for Garrett and his family.


Easton Haslam said...

I can't believe all this is happening to Garrett. If you get a chance tell him I'm praying for him next time you see him and that I hope he feels better. My mom told me about this last night so I had to come read it and after crying while my mom hugged me and told me she loved me I cried again today just knowing what Garrett has to go through. I feel terrible for him and for Heather and hope that she stays strong and I know God will help her through this tragedy if she does. I love and miss all you guys.

Jennie said...

Was so excited to see that you posted to your blog! I love to hear from you any way that I can... but, was so sad to read all the details of Garret's accident and subsequent problems. You are so passionate, I'm sure you will find a way to best help this family. Love and miss you, Tiffany!