20 August 2006
Our Second Car Wreck: Betsy Takes a Beating
It is late August and it's feeling like summer is over. Now "Back to Work" time is here for Betsy.
For several weeks Betsy had already been going into school a couple of days a week to get her library at Mountainview Elementary ship shape in time for first day of school and tomorrow is the first day for teachers.
But today there is no thought of school - we are going for a bike ride on the Mon River Rail Trail. We loaded up the bikes and were on our way to the Little Falls Trail Head which was just 5 miles from our house at 1251 Hornbeck Rd.
We had a nice relaxing ride and now were just a few miles from the house and all hell broke loose.
Click on the photos below for a larger image.
This is just moments after being hit head-on by a pick-up truck which seemed to come out of no where. As soon as we were hit I looked over at Betsy and saw immediately that she was not OK. Her upper left leg and right wrist were slanted at odd angles. I told her I was going to get out of the car to try to get some help.
This is the women who hit us. By then she had already called 911.
"Are you Ok, honey." You must be joking!
At this point I was thinking: "Oh no, not again!"
The fella in the blue shirt had walked down from the machine shop to see if anything could be done.
This shows more clearly why I could not get out of the truck's way. We were crossing a small bridge over Owl Creek and there was no where to go. Nothing to do but slam on the breaks and take the hit.
The driver of the truck had air bags. We did not.
A first responder called the local volunteer fire department for assistance. You can barely see Betsy's head in the window frame. She was slumped over and moaning from the pain of what was later determined to be a broken femur, several fractured wrist bones and a cracked C-7 vertebrae.
Chaos. Nobody could quite figure out what to do. Betsy was jammed into the passenger seat with glass and metal all over the place. The door could not be opened on her side because of the guard rail.
Now the ambulance is here and still they don't have Betsy out.
They finally realized the roof was going to have to come off to get Betsy out.
They were still having trouble getting Betsy out when some yelled: "Cut the damned steering wheel off!" Once that was done they had room to maneuver and could extricate her.
Now it was onto the back board and into the ambulance for the short ride to the interstate where a helicopter was waiting to transport her to Ruby Memorial Hospital.
With Betsy on her way I could now focus on what to do next. The tow truck was there and I hopped in the cab after he got the Reliant hitched up and bikes in the back. I and the bikes got dropped off at the house and I said "Bye-bye" to the Reliant, the car which took me on my first Epic Road Trip just the year before.
This might seem odd to some but the first thing I did when I got in the house was call Betsy's school Principal. Tomorrow was the first day of school for teachers and he needed to know what was going on. He was very grateful I called so quickly and he could get the ball rolling for Betsy's sub.
Then I dashed over to the hospital to find Betsy.
It was not a pretty sight. She was pretty much out of it and in a lot of pain.
Soon she would be rolling into surgery to get her busted up leg fixed.
The surgery went smoothly and they had her putting weight on the leg the same day. You can see the entry wounds where the rod was inserted and attached.
It was not long before Betsy was in rehab and it would be almost two weeks before she was released.
Next comes the wrist surgery. At the hospital they had immediately put a cast on her wrist hoping sugery would not be needed, but a look at the wrist about a week later showed that surgery must take place. This did not go as planned and took much longer than expected. Apparently the small size of Betsy's wrist made it very difficult to get all the needed hardware in place. I was going nuts waiting and waiting and waiting and then was finally told why it was taking so long.
Now comes the wrist therapy.
And then finally she was home!!!
Thankfully we had hardwood floors and bathrooms on the same level.
"Ahh... what a nice spot for nap."
Now the home rehab begins.
Being the trooper she is, about seven weeks from the day of the accident, Betsy was back to school along with her cane and wheel chair and it was not long before all was back to normal.
Wreck number two? Yep, the first one was on the back roads of Wisconsin 7 years earlier.
Of course I would love to tell you this was the last time Betsy would end up in the hospital with injuries from an accident, but it was not.
See you next time...
Mike and Betsy