Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A letter from Andrew

Greetings to you all.

You’ve been on my mind for quite some time. Please accept my apology for not send a correspondence sooner.

I would like to begin with a heartfelt thank-you for your kindness, generosity, compassion…compassion…compassion. Did I mention compassion? There are so many of you. At the risk of appearing lazy, I send this note of update ‘en-mass’.
A few updates…

Sarah (our 15 year old). Approximately 5-6 days after my collision she checked-in to the hospital with a ruptured appendix. After 29 days of intensive medical care in Red Deer and Calgary due to the event and numerous complications she has nearly recovered in full – a bit more strength recovery still occurring. I was ‘sheltered’ from the severity of her event for a while and did not see her while I was at Foothills Medical Centre (FMC). However, I was able to see her hospital – Alberta Children’s Hospital – from our lunch room on Floor 58 at the FMC. Tried to wave but could not see her… .

A couple of miracles I am very thankful for:

1. On a selfish note…when I left FMC I did not have to go to a graveyard. Oh, how kind our God is. It would have been too much…I am so thankful that I did not have to find out how hard….

2. Sarah was extensively blessed with compassion from many and the medical professionals. So much so, that it has confirmed to her a desire to enter the medical field. As she put it, “Dad, after being desperate and receiving compassion, I want to do share compassion for the desperate.” The ‘seed’ was planted in November 2009 after she went with a group into the slums of India. It was ‘watered’ through this experience. She’s amazing…

3. In the first week of November, I was given two airline tickets to Toronto. Sarah and I went together for 4 days. Enroute, I looked over at her and thought, one or both of these seats should be empty… then thanked God…again. A couple of highlights:

• Getting a latte on Young Street.
• CN tower.
• Going to Niagara Falls.
• Lunch at the Hard Rock Café.
• Dad/Daughter time… precious.

Me (Andrew). A lot has happened. Immense amounts of good. As you are aware, the original prognosis after my ‘unexplained’ survival was not positive. Here is a summary of some key events:

1. I came out of the coma and had no memory for about 21 days. So thankful that there are no memories of the event of May 29th.

2. Had to learn to walk, think, write and a multitude of other things. Sometime we should have a coffee and I can share some of the miracles…things that I might have taken for granted…that are much bigger than one would think…like being able to formulate or remember a thought. Or, go to the bathroom without assistance, drink regular fluids, dress one self, not wear a diaper, write one’s name, eat with a fork, speak without foul language, control my emotions…and be thankful for breath, life and the events contributing to the new daily realities. I turned from a ‘man of faith’ to one of ‘those’, you know, ‘religious freaks’ .

3. A couple of miracles…

a. Technically, I am supposed to still be a resident of FMC.
i. August 11, I was discharged and walked out – with a cane. The medical people stopped to watch me leave.

ii. The prognosis after ‘intubation’ at the accident scene was not good. There existed a possibility of becoming mute or having severe vocal restrictions; I could only whisper. The left half of the larynx was ‘shredded’. I now have complete vocal healing. The medical people – including the doctor that did the original diagnosis - were speechless.

iii. At the end of July I progressed in one week, as follows:

1. moving on my elbows in bed, being lifted by 4 nurses and placed in a wheel chair and pushed,

2. getting in the wheel chair by my elbows and a small board,

3. propelling myself forward in the chair with one foot,

4. to using my hands on the wheels to propel forward in the chair,

5. Using a walker,

6. Walking with a cane.

The medical staff passed me in the halls when I was walking and did not recognize me. When they passed I greeted them; they said hello, walked passed and stopped, turned around and said ‘Is that you, Andrew??’. Then, they smiled in amazement.

4. On October 4, I met with my Orthopedic Surgeon. As he examined me with his two interns, he then spoke - assertively. ‘Andrew, I don’t want to ever see you again. Go play rugby. ’. Then he looked over at his interns and said, ‘This is why we do what we do.’ I asked if I could give him a hug of thanks; he said ‘yes’. As I hugged him I thanked him and whispered, ‘bless you’. When I let go, both his eyes and mine where filled with tears.

a. Deborah was told 6-9 months. It was 0 + 127 days…

5. On November 21st , I was discharged from Occupational and Physical Therapies as an outpatient at Red Deer Regional Hospital.

6. December 1st . I passed a medical to drive.

7. December 2nd. I drove home from Red Deer to Penhold. It took 20 minutes. I cried for about half of the distance…they were tears of ‘thanksgiving’.
8. December 1-now. Started back working. Ramping up…fast. 

A lot has occurred. Deborah and the children have been though immense challenges. As a family, we are all still going to counseling to make sure that we have a safe place to communicate and understand the past six months.

I guess, as the saying goes, ‘if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger’, right??? Well, there is some merit to that saying…within the power of the ‘Almighty’.
I would like to finish something that many of you have already heard from me...
A miracle is bigger than a lotto 6-49 win, a hot date or great job. Our God is in the miracle business. As a dead man walking, mute man speaking, simple man thinking, I attest to HIS miraculous hand. When you have no hope and you need a miracle, turn to HIM – HE’s in the business.

With love, thanks and humble heart,

The Carpenter Family. (Andrew, Deborah, Rebekkah (17), Sarah (15), Joshua (13), Caleb (8) and Grace (7))

2 comments:

ET @ Titus2:3-5 said...

Did I mention that this letter has me weeping?

kerrybethgwaltney said...

Praise God!

Thanks for sharing your miracle story.

"A miracle is bigger than a lotto 6-49 win, a hot date or great job. Our God is in the miracle business."

I love this sentence above!

Fellow Blaster,

KB