2005 April | House of Horne

Crash

Tricia and the kids were involved in a major car crash this past Wednesday (April 27). They were traveling in the minivan when a car pulled out in front of them, effectively blocking the street. The police drawing below more or less shows what happened. Tricia was traveling west-bound when the car pulled out, presumably to turn left. Apparently the driver didn’t see Tricia, because she pulled out directly in front of the minivan (the minivan is white, car is black).
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The minivan and the car collided as Tricia swerved hard to the left (to avoid T-boning the car). From the damage to the vehicles (and confirmed by the police report), it appears the minivan and car swung around, with the rear of the car slamming into the middle of the minivan, right next to Abigail, who was sitting in the middle row on the passenger side. The window next to Abigail exploded into a million tiny pieces, just as the safety glass is supposed to perform. At that point, Tricia no longer had firm control of the minivan, and it barreled over the raised median before crossing the other lane and slamming into a living wall made of small trees/huge shrubs.

The story on the other driver is sketchy but bad. Apparently, she ran off the road, went down an incline, and ended up in a ditch. Rescue personnel had to cut her out of her car, at which point she was taken by helicopter to the hospital. As far as we know, she remains in the hospital but is alive, and our family is praying for her well-being.

When the care-flight arrived, the police immediately began treating the entire scene as a potential criminal investigation, and proceeded to shut down the road entirely and video/photograph everything. Our car was impounded as evidence, and remains held by the police at the pound today (thus the picture below was taken from about 100 yards out behind the fence). We really don’t know yet how all this will resolve, though the copy of the police report I’ve seen clearly states the other driver failed to yield the right of way.
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There’s so much to say at this point, it is hard to know where to begin. Tricia called me immediately after the crash as the children screamed in the background. When I got to the scene, Tricia had extricated all three children from the minivan, though she was in incredible pain and the van was mostly buried in tree/shrub branches. All three children were alive and whole, though in much pain and in a whimpering sort of shock. Abigail’s nose was bleeding and her chest hurt quite badly (and has continued to hurt since), Nicolas had a laceration on his neck that was oozing blood, and Jonathan had about a third of his face swelling (now it has resolved nicely into a black eye). Basically, the children all looked and acted like they had fallen down a flight of stairs.

Tricia, however, hurt tremendously and ended up being taken to the hospital in an ambulance while I and my mother (who showed up shortly after I did) took the kids to the same emergency room by car. As it turns out, Tricia had a broken sternum, a sprained ankle, and several enormous, deep bruises, along with a bloody nose, bloody mouth, and more minor bruising on her face and body.

Additionally, all this time we were horrified by the prospect that the baby in Tricia’s womb was dead, but they detected a strong heart beat at the hospital. For this and for the protection of our other children we are enormously thankful to God, a strong shield in times of trouble. Everyone got checked out at the hospital and then we went home to begin sorting out what would come next. As it turns out, a broken sternum is one of those incredibly painful, debilitating injuries for which there is no real treatment other than the passage of time. That first day we began to realize that magnitude of the injuries to Tricia, as she was unable to anything on her own and remained in massive pain even when laying still… but I’ll let her post the details of her experience.

The next hurdle came late on Thursday, when Tricia stopped sensing any movement from the baby (17 weeks along). Friday afternoon found us at the OBGYN fearing the worst only to discover that the baby is doing great and that this next Horne is a boy! Talk about going from a low to a high.
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In all this, we have seen God’s provision. Though he providentially allowed the accident to take place, his provision since has been abundantly seen, particularly through the generosity of numerous people. Ruth (my mother) has spent each night and day with us since the wreck, a support that has been invaluable. Tonight she is spending a well-earned rest at her own home. Stephanie Clemmons has been a tremendous help in ways too numerous to mention (shopping, child-care, laundry, etc.). Our sister-in-law, Jamison Brunone, spent her day off on Friday helping us as well. Not to mention the many meals being provided by Abigail’s school and our church, the countless offers to help with the children (thank, Aguilars! Abigail had a great time this afternoon), and other mercies.

There is still much to come, as Tricia slowly heals, we find out the next steps the police are planning, we find out if our minivan will be totaled, we sort out all the insurance issues, and we try to return to normal life after experiencing how fleeting life can be. But praise God we are all alive and more or less whole to work through these issues together!

Update on our Patient

A few moments ago, I asked Jay if he thought I should post an update on his progress since surgery, since folks might be checking to see if we have any news for them. He answered by briefly opening his eyes to look at me quizzically; mumbled, “I think we’re ok, Honey”; and dropped back off into drug-induced rest. Such is the current state of our patient.

For those who do not already know, Jay underwent surgery on Friday to repair a complication from one of his previous six foot surgeries (but hey, who’s counting?). He has in the past had all his metatarsals on both feet broken and re-fused together, pins put everywhere, etc, etc, and in the midst of all this, one sad little toe healed in a curled-under fashion. For almost 4 years it has grown increasingly painful as it bends under, and the nail grows around the tip of his toe and presses into the ground every time he stands up. Graphic description aside, you get the picture, it equals pain! On Friday they rebroke the wayward toe, put it at a proper angle, and set a little pin through the end to hold the bones together as they heal again.

The surgery as a whole really went like clockwork. We arrived in the very early hours of the morning at the surgicare center, where amazingly enough you can park 15 feet from the front doors, and voila! inside the doors are the lobby and patient admitting area. So simple compared to previous experiences: all his earlier surgeries were deep within the recesses of large hospitals, so parking, walking, and finding appropriate places for patient admitting, recovery, etc, all took a lot of work. We were treated well, and the only hitch came when we were waiting to see the surgeon before we were discharged. Though we waited and waited, said surgeon did not show. As we’d dealt with this particular gentleman throughout all the previous surgeries and knew his routine for the most part, Jay felt comfortable opting to talk with him next week at his post-op appointment. So home we went.

Little Aside: I must mention one of the coolest parts of this particular surgery (for me) was that my brother Andrew, who deals with many different surgeons in several of the Dallas hospitals, was scheduled to be at our surgicare center that morning and not only did we get to visit with him prior to and after the surgery, but he took me to get breakfast and kept me company during the procedure, which was the best way I’ve ever spent the wait time during one of Jay’s surgeries. Thanks, Andrew!

Since arriving back home, there have been ups and downs. There is just always a fair amount of pain associated with post-surgical recovery, and Jay has certainly had some hard times in the past 48 hours. Last night he started running a fever which did not contribute to him feeling very well, and it was a rough night, full of feverish bad dreams, and little sleep. The drugs are interesting in that they deal somewhat with the pain, but do not necessarily allow for deep, refreshing sleep. So our patient is admittedly, fairly worn out, and drifts in and out of consciousness.

Earlier today he shaved and then braved the shower, caught some of the Masters’ Tournament on TV, greeted and visited with some family who came by, and even watched a little bit of Lassie Come Home with the rest of us on the couch. Such a full slate of activities wears him out at this stage, and back in bed he is now, resting.

Trying to be a good nurse to my patient, I have, for his pain and troubles, showered him with perks: lots of extra TLC; room service including Taco Bell, iced tea, iced cream; and a small collection of “guy” movies to watch in the comfort of his bed. The children are very sweet about asking how he is doing, and going back to “visit” him. But I sometimes wonder in this rather um, exuberant household, how much quiet he is really getting in order to rest up and heal. He is unquestionably a cheerful and good patient, all things considered.

For my part, I have certainly played nurse many times before, but not with three young children in the house to care for in addition to my patient, and another wee one on the way. Yes, well, this is an inauspicious way to break that little bit of news to our blog readers, but indeed, we are expecting another little Horne in very early October, and admittedly, I am still dealing with that first trimester exhaustion, which this time around has been stunningly debilitating. Despite my mentioning this, we are beyond ecstatic about the pregnancy, and truly grateful for this tiny life.

Many thanks to Grammy and Grandy and Aunt Sandra who between them hosted all three kids the night before the surgery, caring for them, and shuttling them to and from schools when we could not, to Grammy and Grandy and Andrew and Jamison for bringing food, and for the many calls and prayers and words of encouragement from so many others. Please do keep praying for Jay’s foot to heal exceedingly well. I would so love for him to not have this particular thorn to deal with anymore on top of other physical challenges he continues to face. We are very thankful he was able to have the procedure, and hopeful about the outcome. We’ll try to update you again in the near future on the patient’s progress. You might even get to hear from Jay himself, sometime, when we wean him off the narcotics!

He Thought He Was a Little Bird!

Monday night as I was finishing up preparations for our spaghetti supper, Abigail ran in from the backyard saying, “Nicolas is hurt!” I quickly rushed outside where I found little Nicolas lying on the ground near our little playfort (Dallas Morning News Classified Section special find!), wailing. Nicolas is pretty brave for two, so when he cries hard, I know he’s really hurt.

I scooped him up in my arms and held him. He kept cradling his arm and sobbing, “Mommy, I hurt!” Poor fellow. As he began to calm down, I asked him, “What happened?”. Pointing to the 2nd level of the playfort he explained, “I was twying to fwy!” Abigail confirmed that he had indeed jumped from the 2nd level. She hadn’t understood why until he explained it for us in his own way. I don’t think he’ll try flying again anytime soon!