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Thank You For Not Dying!

The Slide show video Max made for me a few years ago......

Today I want to share a special story about My husband Max!

It was the evening of March 16, 2005. I was impatiently waiting for Max to get home from looking at a dirt bike so we could go on a special date. We had been married exactly 5 months and during the first year, every month is pretty special. I was being stubborn about calling him because I was not yet a nagging wife like I am now. I finally gave in and called his phone ,but a stranger answered, asking me how I knew Max and telling me he had been in an accident. I had no idea at the moment how bad, but I was in hysterics and I'm still not quite sure how I got to that hospital. I had called my mom and had her spread the word so when I got to the hospital just about our whole family was there ahead of me. We had a hard time figuring out where he was at first until they said a John Doe had come in for a motor cycle accident and had us i.d. some of his I was really worried. We were told He was dead when the first responders came upon the scene. The e.m.t.s revived him once there and two more times shortly after that. We would find out later that he had been going about 75 miles an hour on the bike and hit into the drivers side of a truck near the front, pinning his right leg in between and then being thrown across the windshield and 70 feet into the air then stopped by a brick wall.

They took us into the dreaded special waiting room where they tell people bad news and the surgeon came into speak with us. He told us that Max's femoral artery had been badly severed and he was losing so much blood he didn't know if he would make it. If they could get the bleeding stopped then he would have a 50% chance of living. He went back into surgery and we immediately knelt down as a family and prayed for them to stop the bleeding. After what felt like hours, the Doctor came out and told us they were able to get the bleeding stopped but they had a lot more work to do on him. He had ruptured many of his organs, broken all the bones in his right leg and hip, punctured a lung, and had sheering on the brain. It was just one of the miracles that he came into the hospital during shift change so he had 14 doctors working on him at once.

There was so much swelling that after they repaired the organs and cleaned them, they couldn't fit everything back in his body. They had to put this strong plastic wrap around his torso and leave him open like that until about a week or two later when they could fit everything back in. I know that sounds crazy, but its true. He still wishes someone would've taken a picture of it so he could see, but that's the last thing we wanted to do. By the time we got to go in and take a look at him that night, he was about 3 times his usual size and hooked to every machine possible. They had put him into an induced coma so he couldn't do any further damage to his body if he woke up. The Doctor told us that if he could make it through the night his chances of living would be better. We had to go back in the waiting room and just keep praying that he could make it. Meanwhile, the news was reporting the accident on t.v. and saying the motorcyclist was not expected to live.

Over the next few weeks, the doctors continued to tell us he still wasn't out of the woods. The Trauma Centers waiting room became our home. There was always a group of family members and friends there during the day and after work that's where everyone came. We had so many amazing people helping us and praying for us all over the world, even a group of nuns across the country. A good friend of ours actually got permission from the city of Las Vegas, to park their camping trailer behind the hospital for me to stay in. I never had to spend one night by myself there. My older sisters would take turns staying over with me, along with extra girls in the family on some nights.

About 2 weeks after the accident, one of the doctors worriedly told us that Max's body was shutting down, his organs were failing. He had come so far from the first night so this was a horrible surprise to us. We immediately asked for all of the specific problems and prayed for each thing to correct itself. He was also given a blessing and shortly after that, the Doctor came back to tell us that he couldn't explain how, but the problems had dissipated and his bodies organs were working again. This was just one of the many miracles that the doctors couldn't explain.

After 2 1/2 weeks, It was time for them to bring Max out of the induced coma. They warned us that because of the damage to his brain, they didn't know if he would wake up or respond to them. We found out later that 90% of the people that have sheering on their brain end up vegetables and 10% end up just fine. I hadn't been this afraid since the first night. When it was time for the nurses to test his responses, we snuck outside of the Hospital and peeked through his window and I never thought I would be so excited to see someone wiggle a toe or move some fingers around. We all started cheering and then had to run so the nurses didn't see us, I think they knew we were there and pretended not to out of kindness.

Since he was on the ventilator to enable him to breathe and the tendons in his writing arm had been severed, I had one of my clients at the gym teach me sign language as quickly as possible so we could communicate easier. He had learned Sign language on his Mission in Canada. The first words he signed were "I am so blessed". After, a few days or so we ended up making a Board with letters on it for him to point to so he could communicate with everyone and so he didn't have to struggle through signing letters while I was listening and ended up forgetting the first letter by the time he finished the word and then have to start all over again.

One morning, I came back from working a few hours and found out that he had died a fourth time and they had worked on him for 45 minutes to bring him back. He had started throwing up into his ventilation tube and was choking on his own vomit and there was no nurse nearby so he decided pull the tube out. He said it was actually the most peaceful feeling until he was jolted back to life.

After 6 weeks in the Trauma hospital, he was finally "out of the woods" and they transferred him to a full care rehabilitation center. He had a lot of victories there like getting his neck brace remove that had given him more scars on his face and head than the actual accident did, Getting his tracheotomy removed from his throat, getting his catheter removed and being able to pee again on his own and the best of all... He got to eat real food again and not out of an iv bag! Can you imagine not being able to drink or eat for 2 months? I remember him trying to trick different people that would come in the room into giving him more water from the sponge because his mouth was so dry. It was also there that the physical therapists had to help him re-learn to use his muscles. His muscles were so weak that he couldn't sit up on his own. He had to learn how to walk again and it was not a fun experience for him to put it lightly. He had a love/hate relationship with those therapists but now it's all love.

He was then transferred to another rehab center and unfortunately his health went down hill there. I'm not sure why, but we were put in the mental health wing. Let me just say, we heard a lot of random profanity yelled out and had a poor woman come into our room to make imaginary phone calls. He got ill with C-diff which is when all of the good bacteria leaves your body so the bad bacteria comes in and makes you extremely sick. He couldn't keep any nutrition in his body. He had left the last rehab at a whopping 105 lbs. and was now even lower. He had lost about 50 lbs since the beginning. As soon as he recovered from that, we got him out early and took him home.

Max's parents invited us to live with them until he was more recovered which was such a blessing. He still had a lot of recovering to do. He left the rehab in a wheel chair and was bedridden for a few months. I became an Avon sales person to make some extra money and he would drive an electric scooter around to drop off catalogs for me to help as much as he could. I know it was so hard for him to not be able to do more. He graduated to a walker and started getting strength back in his legs. We lived with his parents for 6 months and then he got a job and we moved into the same rental that we had been in before his accident.

He made a goal to go snowboarding before spring so he wouldn't miss a season and He did it with his cane and all to help support him when he needed it. A year after the accident we had a big party and invited all of the Doctors, nurses and therapists that helped Max along his recovery. His Mom called it his "Thank you for not dying" Party, so every year we celebrate it as that!

It has been quite a journey since then with knee surgeries and searches for new nerve growth technology. His right leg is still not recovered and he lives with nerve pain every day, but he works harder than any man I know. He is an amazing father and husband and still snowboards better than me.

Thank you Max for working so hard to support our family, for riding a bike up to the Coba ruins even though you could only pedal with one leg, for being a jack of all trades and doing so many home projects, for putting yourself through a 5k obstacle run with me and for teaching the kids how a real man should be! Most of all, Thank you for not dying!

I want to say a special thank you to all of our amazing family and friends that got us through these hard times. We would not have been able to do it without you! We are so extremely grateful for everything!

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