Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Update on My Father in Law

Mel just got off the phone with the hospital, and with her father. He's on a lot of painkillers, but he's lucid and aware.

It was not a head on collision as initially reported. He was riding at about 50mph in an area where the speed limit slows from 65 to 55 to 50 all in a few hundred yards; when he was struck from behind by an vehicle doing at least 75mph.

... While wearing an orange silver and yellow reflective safety vest, and a bright yellow reflective helmet, riding on a pinkish beige and chrome scooter (yeah, I know... but he had one as a teenager and wanted one again for puttering around with) IN BROAD DAYLIGHT.

In the collision, he was thrown violently, and his helmet was knocked off when he hit the ground.

He suffered multiple breaks in his pelvis, including his right pelvic socket. His right femur, right arm, and several ribs are also broken. There are numerous other small fractures, including some stress fractures in other bones and small fractures in several vertebrae. He suffered severe contusions over much of his body, moderate but mostly shallow lacerations (road rash), and a few small incised wounds requiring stitches, including a couple on his face, most likely from glass or plastic shards.

He is currently in traction on his pelvis and spine, with a spinal collar.

They believe there is no brain or internal organ damage, and no internal bleeding. As I said, he is stable, lucid, and aware. And in a lot of pain.

They are going to do some more spinal and other neuro tests to rule out any further injury, and keep him under observation for at least a day against the possibility of delayed bleeds.

Then he's going to have reconstructive surgery on his pelvis. They're going to need to set multiple pins, and probably replace his right hip.

From there, he has six months to a year of reconstructive surgeries, and physical rehab ahead of him.

He has most likely permanently lost a significant portion of his mobility and flexibility. He's an aircraft mechanic, which requires crawling around in tight places... It's likely that he will never be able to work again.

My father in law has also been taking care of his parents, who are in their late 90s, and in rapidly failing health. He is no longer going to be able to do that.


We're going to have to put his parents into full time care, and he's going to have to come live with us. There is no way he's going to be able to deal on his own, and certainly not deal with his parents.

His oldest son, and youngest son are really not equipped to take care of him. His youngest son is already disabled, with failed kidneys, requires daily dialysis, and frequent hospitalization; and is moving back in with his eldest brother in Dallas (this was planned already). His middle son has five kids and a wife all living in a small house, on an even smaller income... and frankly he'd go crazy there even if they had the room, or the money; which they don't.

At the moment, he doesn't want to hear it... but he's going to have to face up to it. He's been despondent and deteriorating ever since Mels mom died two years ago, and we've been trying to get him to move in with us ever since... He NEEDS to be around family. The only time he really seems alive is with his kids and grandkids... Now, not being able to take care of himself for so long, on top of all that...

He's coming to live with us. That's that. If I have to go down there and haul him back bodily, HE WILL LIVE WITH HIS FAMILY, and he will do what needs to be done about his parents.

We've already talked with the rest of the family about it. We can be the "central hub" as it were. They can visit us eight months out of the year; and the other four he can go visit them (they mostly live in warmer parts of the country).

But he's going to be cared for by family, surrounded by and loved by family, and he's going to LIVE the rest of his life, not just exist.