So I figured that I owed everyone an explanation for all the pictures that showed up on facebook all of a sudden. So here is the story of what happened with my neck. I am just going to put mostly facts here; I plan to write an entry of my thoughts and feelings for this whole adventure. Let’s hope that comes soon. So, here’s how it went down…
Thursday August 28, 2008 was supposed to be our last day in Hawaii. We decided to go to a beach nearby after checking out of our hotel. This beach had the best waves of any beach we had been to yet. I immediately went out into the waves and started trying to body surf. I was relatively new at this sport, since I really wasn’t sure how to body surf exactly. My first clue that I shouldn’t have been there was that it seemed that I was the only non-local in the water at that time. I also should have caught the hint after a few waves really took me for a ride under the water and drove me all around. I figured that I would eventually figure out the technique seeing as I had caught a few waves in for a good ride. Then I was early on a huge wave that picked me off my feet and slammed me to the ground. I thought I hit on top of my head, but since the bruise is on the upper part of my forehead I think that must be where I hit. When I hit there was a crunch that I both felt and heard. There was an instant feeling that went down my right arm like my funny bone had been hit - hard. I got to my feet after the wave had past and tried to stumble into shore when I got nailed by the next wave. After I got to my feet again I hurried to the shore holding my neck.
The lifeguards came out to me right away. They made me lay down so they could assess my situation. They checked my limbs and decided I was mostly okay but they really thought I should go to the hospital. After I told them five times that I wasn’t going they had me sign a refuse treatment form and then let me go. I went and lay down on the beach for a while. My neck hurt pretty badly and my right arm was really tingling. So I called my brother Dan to find out what he thought of the situation. He thought because my arm had the funny feeling that there was something up with my nerves and I should get it checked out. So I called my dad for the insurance information and then decided to go to the hospital. I went to let the lifeguard know that I was going to the hospital and he said he didn’t want me to drive there. He had me lay down and they put a neck brace on me and called an ambulance. They had me strapped to the body board by the time the medics got there. That started my ten hours of being mostly strapped to a body board.
In the emergency room I was chillin there with Laura Haber. We told them that we were trying to catch a flight that night. They did their best to run the tests to get me out on time. They took some X-rays and then they did a CT-Scan. I lay there for a while hoping they would let me go soon when Dr. Yu came in and said, “I am glad we did the CT-Scan, because the X-rays showed that everything was fine, but the CT-Scan showed that you have a broken neck.” I said, “Are you kidding?” Then he went on with technical stuff that I didn’t pay much attention to. I had a broken neck.
He told me they were going to send me to the trauma unit in Honolulu. So I got a backpack with my stuff in it and Laura got a bag with her necessities. They put me on a different board (I guess the beach lifeguards wanted theirs back). I then went to the airport in another ambulance and they put me on a very small plane. Laura was really worried about flying on such a small plane. I told her that it was going to be just fine. It would be a fun plane ride. The plane ride was mostly fun except my lower back and tailbone were really starting to hurt from being strapped to a back board for so long.
After the landing of the plane and my ambulance ride to hospital they put me in a large room and there were people all around me. I got asked all the same questions all over again and the ER Doctor told me what to expect. He said I would get am MRI and a CT-Scan done and then the next day the neurosurgeon would look at my results and make recommendations. He said that there were still many options that might happen to me and prepared me for those. There was a guy named Frank would was a social worker who brought Laura Haber to a room and came and tried to make me feel good about myself. He called my dad and let me talk to him.
I went to give a try at the MRI machine at about 11:30 pm. I was supposed to lay still for forty five minutes or so while they scanned my whole body. My lower back hurt so badly from being strapped to a board for so long that I couldn’t sit still. The technician pulled me out of the machine after ten minutes and gave me some pain killers and told me that if I couldn’t sit still then I would have to have the scan done the next day. I really wanted to be done with this ASAP so I willed up all the will power that I had left and told him to put me back in the machine. My whole body was aching and just wanted to move, but I wouldn’t let myself move. After almost half an hour it was getting so bad I almost gave up and told him to scan me the next day. Then Stairway to Heaven came on my headphones. I had requested this song and I knew that I could stay still as long as this song was playing, because Stairway makes everything better. I was able to get through the song then he told me I had five minutes left, so I was able to survive the last five minutes.
They gave me more painkillers after I got out of the machine which didn’t do anything– same as the first time they tried painkillers. After the CT-Scan they brought me to a room and put me in a bed. It was so comfortable! They even let me lay on my side! I lay there for a long night with many thoughts going through my head. I slept less than twenty minutes all night, I am sure. Laura came in my room about 7:00 am. I didn’t realize how grateful I was that she came with me until she walked in the room that morning. So we began the waiting for the doctors to come in and let me know what was up.
After killing time as much as possible with trying to sleep and talking a team of doctors came in the room and told me that they weren’t the real doctor that was in charge of me but they had talked with him. They said he looked at my results and I would probably just wear a neck brace for six weeks and then call it good. That was such a relief. After that info they let me get up a go for a walk and use the bathroom (what a relief). They also let me eat food; it had been a long time since I had eaten anything.
We waited until the doctor came and told me what I could and couldn’t do for the next six weeks. He then said I could go soon. They unhooked the IV (finally) and I just chilled until they gave me all the release materials. Laura and I hung out on the front lawn of the hospital and I talked to some people on the phone. We then went to the airport to finally end our crazy adventure. Laura gave me her first class ticket and she sat back in coach. I tried to sleep that night on the plane and I think I got maybe an hour or two of sleep. Once I got home and gave my mother a hug I felt the crazy adventure was finally over. I gave Laura a hug and tried to thank her and apologize for what she had gone through in the past couple days. I then went home and I am now trying to adjust to my new life.
This week there were some great events that I participated in. I went on a hike with friends by the light of the full moon. I rode the lift at Sundance the next night under the almost full moon. Both events were incredibly beautiful. I also had some great late night conversations this week. I stayed up late to finish "Breaking Dawn." However all these adventures were not nearly as good as my Monday night activity.
Every year on August 11 there is an incredible meteor shower. There are more shooting stars on that night than any other night the whole year. So, naturally, I needed to go enjoy the view with some good friends.
The crowd I went with was an interesting one. There were a lot of people that ended up coming including my little brother and his friends. After it got late the groups started to drop off, one by one, until there was just me and four friends there. I think the group dynamic added to the experience many fold. There was quite a variety in the personalities and temperaments of the five of us. I think I spent the whole night laughing and chatting and enjoying good conversation. It was great to spend time with four of my best friends. It was truly great company to have.
The location added greatly to the whole experience. We went to my favorite meadow in Utah. It is on the Big Springs' Trail. We hiked up a little less than a mile to see that the whole meadow was basking in the light from the waxing gibbous. It was one of the most incredible sights that I have seen. We found a place in the center of the meadow to lay our blanket down and enjoy the stars. Because of the cold we all had to snuggle close together and share blankets. I feel that we all got very close on that occasion.
The sky. The sky was incredible. Right after we lay down we saw an brilliant shooting start that streaked across the horizon. It left a bright trail that left us starring even after it was burnt out. Several of us agree that this was our favorite shooting star of the night. This didn't mean we didn't see a good show, because we did. There were short bright ones, long dim ones, and everything in between. I have been asked several times how many I saw and I think the best estimate that I can come up with is about 75 in the five hours we were there. It was amazing how they didn't get old, not even after several hours of shooting stars.
We all huddled close until after four in the morning when everyone but me and Laura had fallen asleep. Then we decided it was finally time to go. We got up and hurried to our cars. As we drove home and I continued to stare at the sky I realized that we had just witnessed an amazing event that most people don't experience. We were in a beautiful mountain meadow far away from city lights. We saw meteor after meteor as it entered the atmosphere an put on a unique show. I am so grateful for all the beauty that I have seen this summer. I have had many adventures and they seem to keep getting better and better. I look forward to adding to my experiences every week of my life. It was a great week.
I had another incredible week. I hiked Timp starting at midnight. It was a beautiful hike and we got up to the top for the sunrise. Then after I arrived home I had enough time to take a shower then go horseback riding. I went with my friend Ann Marie to the Oquirrh Mountains. We went up a beautiful trail about five miles then came back down. I even galloped on the horse for a little while. It was so much fun; I think I need to ride horses in the mountains way more often. I had all these great adventures, but the one that I will write about is the wedding of my youngest sister Amy.
There are many times in my life, especially this summer, when my heart has longed for there to be more in my life. Of all those times I don’t recall any being as acute as that of my feelings yesterday. My sister Amy has been a joy to our family for so long. She has spread joy and happiness to everyone she knows. I give her credit for the fact that everyone in my family hugs every time we see each other. She has been a great blessing for so long.
Amy has always held a very special place in the hearts of my family members. Because of her health problems that she has had for years, we have loved her even more. I am very protective of my sister and I knew that she would marry someone very special. It was wonderful for me to realize, yesterday, that she had just married someone who would cherish her and take care of her for the rest of her life. She had found the person she needed for her to have a happy life.
I don’t usually cry at weddings, in fact, I don’t remember every having cried at a wedding (and I have been to a lot). But seeing the exquisite joy on my sister’s face right after she was sealed to Kent for time and all eternity was too much for me. When I hugged her a couple minutes later we both cried as we expressed our love for each other. Also at the dinner when my other sister talked about how great Amy was, I also had to wipe away the tears that were coming.
Even with all this emotion I think the greatest emotions of that day were in my pondering during these events. I felt deep in my heart that I wanted to share a day like this with someone that I loved. I wanted to love and cherish someone so much. I want to have someone to share my life with; to share the good and the bad and the great. Yesterday there was an incredible rainstorm and I went and stood out in it and spread my arms and looked to the sky. It was so wonderful, but I wanted someone at my side to enjoy the beauty of the moment as much as I was.
I experienced so many beautiful moments yesterday that I realized that I need someone to share them with. I have so much hope that I will find someone so wonderful and we will have endless amazing moments together. I really believe that if I keep doing what I need to be doing then I will find the girl of my dreams. While I am definitely trying to live in the moment – I am looking forward to that day with great anticipation. And, oh, what a wonderful day it will be.
I spent a few days this last week at Flaming Gorge. It was my first time going there and I was excited mostly for the boating aspect. I did get sweet air on the wake board. I also got wicked speed on the tube. However all that seemed to be overshadowed by the beauty of that place.
I have really started to appreciate the night sky this summer. I have appreciated the moon for many years now, but the stars have never been a large focus of wonder. Maybe it is because I have learned many summer constellations, maybe it is because I have felt especially alone this summer. I am not sure what brought it on, but I have spent a lot of time staring at the stars this summer.
While I was on the trip sitting around the campfire after everyone had gone to bed I began to be amazed. I am so amazed by the order of the universe and how everything works. As I was thus pondering I also enjoyed seeing many shooting stars. I really enjoyed the beauty and order of it all. It was wonderful looking at the stars.
In addition to the stars there was also wonderful sunsets, amazing cliffs, beautiful birds, and great company. It was a great trip that I will always remember. I do enjoy my adventures and they do seem to get better and better. I am excited for more starring at the night sky, more sunsets, more great conversations with friends and -coming up next week- more shooting stars.