Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Update on Brandilyn
"It was a bright winter day and the sky was blue, up over a hill a snowmobile flew, then another and another and then ... not another".
This is Brandilyn's husband, Mark, reporting to you from behind the master's computer while my world class author and all around great wife is on an undercover assignment in the local hospital gathering insights for her next novel and, while she is at it, recovering from some rather major foot surgery. Here's a synopsis.
Friday evening our son Brandon called and suggested that we do an outing Sunday afternoon. We left it up to him to decide exactly what it would be. Saturday he called to say that he had arranged for the "snowmobiling outing of a lifetime" in the beautiful North Idaho mountains. Some of his friends were planning a trip, had extra snowmobiles and invited us to join in. I was eager and Brandilyn was, let's say, thoughtful. She is not a cold weather person and does not revel in winter sports—especially ones that involve speed and heights. Brandon and I suggested to her that snowmobiles can be driven slowly and that heights are simply not as issue. She relented and actually got into the idea. Then she learned that one of the gals going on the trip is a "Seatbelt Suspense" fan and was delighted at the prospect of meeting Brandilyn. Well this "cemented" the deal as we argued that she had an obligation to her fan to join in. The stage was set.
Sunday arrived and the weather was beautiful. Brandon's friends were very nice. Our group included six people, riding five snowmobiles. Brandilyn and I rode tandem. All was going well and Brandilyn was getting into the swing of it. When we stopped for a rest, our son Brandon offered to double up with his girl friend and let Brandilyn ride by herself—something she accepted without reservation. We took off again and Brandilyn was scooting along at a very respectable pace and handling the snowmobile quite nicely. We stopped for lunch and enjoyed the spectacular scenery. Afterwards, our host and guide suggested that we take a particular trail. It rapidly turned out to be one that was very narrow and un-groomed. We were in single file with a number of sleds in front and Brandilyn and I towards the rear. Here comes the inciting incident....
We came upon some very steep little hills that were so close together that as soon as you get to the bottom of one, you have to start climbing the next. It was in the "saddle" between two hills that Brandilyn leaned in the wrong direction, accelerated by mistake and rolled over her entire snowmobile, throwing herself completely off and into the snow—a perfect five point landing if I do say so myself. Being right behind, I quickly ran to her and found that she had hurt her foot while departing from the sled. I kept my cool, however, and took her picture so she can relive the moment years from now.
She was in pain—and I mean real pain. The process of digging her out while not touching her foot and then getting the snowmobile free took quite a long time. Then the trip out took two hours as she had to be driven very slowly to minimize the pain caused by bumps on the trail. Once back in the car, pulling her boot off caused screams of pain only second to what I observed when she was giving birth to our kids.
We were in complete denial that anything was terribly wrong. We were saying that this "sprained" ankle would be on the mend in no time—in spite of the fact that she was in constant pain and the ankle was the size of a large melon. Once home, we called a neighbor who is a retired ER doc and asked him to check it out. While waiting for him to arrive, she was flat on her back sounding like nothing was wrong and carrying on a conversation with her sister, whose daughter had just been married that very day. Our doc friend arrives and took one look at her foot and told us to get to the hospital immediately—things were not looking promising.
At the hospital, she was quickly diagnosed as being very badly hurt—a broken fibula (about a centimeter distance between the two pieces) and torn ligaments on her tibia. Not the kind of injury that can be treated with a splint. They performed surgery last night and I arrived home after tending to her as she came out of anesthesia—about 10:30 pm. The surgery was a complete success. She is still in a great deal of pain and managing it with medication. I expect that they will discharge her tomorrow or the next day. Recovery will take 4-6 weeks before she can put full weight on the foot, and we don't know how long before she can run again. But when she does, we are expecting great things as she now has a bionic foot.
Needless to say this was all a very traumatic event for Brandilyn. Her spirits were extraordinary. She maintained a great sense of humor and continuously asked questions of the folks at the hospital. I watched her as she scanned the environment, taking in details that would some day appear in one of her novels. Of course, today after surgery, she was not taking much of anything in.
We have no idea how God will use this event in our lives, but I am sure it will be for some good. Perhaps I will have the opportunity to post the next blog and I may share with you other stories about how Brandilyn's loving husband is coping with feeling like a real horse's behind for ever letting her go out there and hurt herself in the first place.
Read Part 3