Sunday, October 19

Four Rats

I'm interrupting Pain on the Pipeline to introduce our newest bus passenger...
Stuart On Top
Meet Stuart.

Jewel decided for her seventh birthday last month that she really wanted a rat. We've had a dog, a cat, two goldfish, a hamster and numerous mouse hitchhikers, but this would be our first rat. None of the other pets worked out great. The dog got car sick and funked up the air, the cat got lost, fish froze, hamster died (and was an awful biter anyway), and the mice got trapped. Before getting any pet we have to think about the future, and if/how they'll fit into it. We're not into disposable pets, ya know. What about plans for Hawaii? Can we take him on a plane? Will my mom babysit? (don't know, don't know, NO) We got him anyway.

He's turning out to quite possibly be the best pet ever. Once I got over the rodent aspect, he's really quite cute, and very loyal to his mama, Jewel.
Thirsty Stuart
And just look how cute he is when he drinks.
I guess with Halloween coming up though he had to make himself look a little freaky.
Creepy Stuart

originally we planned to get Jonas a rat too so he didn't get his feelings hurt when Jewel got her rat, but it didn't bother him at all. We also figured Stuart would like another rat to keep him company, but I think our three rats are doing a good enough job of making Stuart feel at home and loved.
Jonas and Stuart

The thing that surprised me the most about the rat was the fact that he doesn't try to run away. Jewel can go anywhere with him, sit anywhere with him and he won't even try to leave her lap. Jewel is also very good about feeding him everyday and giving him fresh water, and not a day goes by that she doesn't take him out and play with him. Yep, he's a keeper.


Back to Pain on the Pipeline......we're still in Colorado waiting for a doctor in Texas to accept his case.

Wednesday, October 15

Caterpillar to the Rescue

The first thing Joey did after landing in the trench was tell the guys to call for help, "I've got a broken leg and a broken arm, but I'm stable". The guys...
joey in trench
took pictures.

The Fire and Rescue crew out of Battlement Mesa also took pictures, and gave me a CD today containing a few of them. They left out all the pictures of the actual rescue, including harnessing him to the basket and lifting him out with the trackhoe. No pictures of them putting the traction unit or the neck brace on, or even any close up pics of him or the actual accident scene. I have enough pictures though to show you where they had to go to get him, and how they had to do it. Plus they're pretty pictures.

Mtn Rescue 002 e
The ambulance had to park at the bottom of the hill because the incline is way too steep for it to make it up. I don't know how they made it up there, but they came down with Joey, loaded into the back of a pickup with the Caterpillar backing it down the hill.
Mtn Rescue 006
He said that ride was the worst!
Mtn Rescue 008
But at least he had a beautiful view on the way down. :)

He rode down a hill, then up a hill, then they backed up, then down another hill. They talked him through the bumps and kept telling him they were almost there, and he did his best to stay calm and relaxed.
Mtn Rescue 015

Fugal Pipeline Mtn. Rescue

After talking with more people today we learned that he was thrown on to the metal pipe, then flipped one hundred eighty degrees before being catapulted almost seventy feet to hit the rock wall of a trench, then bounce to the other wall before dropping to it's eight foot bottom. What a ride.

We got new X-Rays at the hospital today, and the doctor is very happy with his progress and says we can go to Texas whenever he's up for the ride. We were planning on leaving in the morning but now we can't leave until workman's comp finds us a fracture specialist in Texas that will adhere to Colorado's laws. Slight bummer, but really after being in the car for a few hours today, I think it's best if he wait a little longer anyway.

Monday, October 13

After the Accident

I got the call Joey had been in an accident while I was at the laundromat. The message I got said he was OK, but he had a broken leg and arm, and he (Jake) would call me back once they knew which hospital they were taking him to. I didn't freak out, but the fact that Joey wasn't calling me, did have me worried. Jake called back about ten minutes later and said they were taking him to the Rifle, CO hospital so I called the boys at the bus and told them to get ready, I was picking them up. They were, surprisingly, ready and waiting for me. No one said a word in the car on the drive to the hospital, until I got another call from Jake saying the ambulance has finally gotten there and they're getting him out of the ditch now. WHAT?! Over an hour had passed since I was told they were taking him to the hospital! Another half hour passed, and I got another call from Jake: They're getting him in to the ambulance now. By this time we're already at the hospital and umm...trying not to freak out. Almost THREE hours since the accident happened, he finally arrived in the ER.
Ambulance arrived

The kids were left to themselves in the ER waiting room while I stayed with Joey and helped the ER crew get the rest of his clothes off, and pull the basket he'd been rescued in, out from under him. He was amazingly very calm, and even joking with everyone. The Fire and Rescue guys put a traction unit on his leg and had his arm wrapped in a cast sort of thing. He spent about three hours in the ER taking X-Rays (which he says was the scariest part: him alone with five women and a pair of scissors), going through a CAT scan, getting morphine pumped into him along with shots into his wrist to numb it so the docs could set his bones back into place. The Doc showed me the Xrays and the best way I could describe his wrist was to compare it to broken glass. It was shattered.

We went straight to surgery after the ER, where the kids again had to wait, but this time the nurses were feeding them.....and I've long since declared them the best kids in the whole world. Joey came out of surgery around 9:30 pm and he was feeling GREAT! He was laughing, wanting to get back to his dream and wondering when they were going to do the surgery. Of course, he remembers none of that. During the surgery they put a rod in his right leg with a screw to hold it in place and the surgeon says it came out beautifully, and even showed me the Xrays. There were still bits of bone floating around in his ankle, but the Doc said those didn't matter, they got the most important bone fixed. They also had to do surgery on his wrist because the attempt to set it in the ER failed, and the bones collapsed again.
after surgery

The kids and I stayed the night in the hospital with Joey, against the nurses wishes but there was no way I could leave him....and she wasn't allowed to not let us, so....Jonas and I spooned in the spare hospital bed while Jewel curled up in a chair and Jake slept in a recliner. Joey never slept.

The next day he had physical therapists teach him how to use the walker with a special platform to brace his broken arm, how to get in and out of the wheelchair, and to teach me how to put the "boot" on and off his leg. Joey's company got us a hotel room for the next ten days since there was no way we were getting him in the bus, and the hospital released him at six pm. Only Thirty One hours since the accident happened. Joey wanted to stay.

Our first hurdle was getting him into the Hummer. There was me..and three nurses... and us standing by helpless while we watched Joey pull himself up by his left hand into the car. Good thing he's strong! I don't know what we would have done otherwise. We stopped by the bus for the Wii and a few other things before heading to our hotel room.

The kids were ecstatic about the hotel. They had a heated pool and an indoor jacuzzi, so they declared this a vacation. I wasn't really looking forward to that long away from the bus, but staying in that hotel was exactly what we needed. They had an ice machine to keep his arm and legg iced up. They had a very nice continental breakfast which I took advantage of every morning. Twenty four hour hot coffee for Joey, guest laundry, yummy restaurants within walking distance, on site Pepsi machine for me, wi-fi, housekeeping, and a big bathtub for Jewel. Aside from the constant non stop caring for Joey, it was kinda like a vacation...

During the ten days in the hotel I made one trip to the bus to get a TV for the kids to play their Wii on, and to get Jewel's rat, and one trip back to the doctor so he could determine whether to cast the arm or do more surgery to put a plate in it.
wrist jewelry
He decided the five pins are holding his wrist together nicely so no need for more surgery. After a week of learning and dealing with worker's compensation (and their puny limits) that was the best news we'd heard all week! Jewel picked out a black cast for his arm, even though the doc and I tried to get her to pick hot pink.

Our ten days in the hotel was up. We could have asked the company to extend our stay but we all chose to come back to the bus. We couldn't wait to get home, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on my DVR. When we pull into the campground it's windy as heck and we immediately see screened tents blown over, so we brace for the worst. Yep, our sixteen foot awning has blown completely off and is flapping in the wind. Then I go check the black tank to make sure it got dumped earlier that day, and the handle to the valve has been broken off, and the tank is full. We are literally full of shit. The worst part, Joey can't do a thing about anything, and I have to deal with it all on my own.

I wake up the first morning back in my home, and I can't stop crying. I don't even know why I'm crying, but I can't stop (Probably because I held it all together this whole time). I called my Mom and asked them if we can come stay with them while he recooperates. Now I can take care of Joey, while my mommy takes care of me.

Wednesday, October 1

Emergency in the Mountains

Just to keep everyone informed - - - Joey (Vicki's husband) suffered an industrial accident yesterday. He is going to be okay...........but he will have a long road back to being himself. He was flung some 50 feet into the air - - - hitting the side of a rock pit, then dropping about 7 or so feet into the pit. He suffered crushed radius/ulna and right wrist - - also shattered his Fibia/Tibia and has a crushed right ankle. I have not heard from Vicki today, but as of last night they were going in to surgery - - placing a steel rod into his leg and doing a lot of repair work. Because this was a remote site, the ambulance could not make it up the dirt road - - - Joey had to endure the transport in the back of a pick up truck, until they could get to an area where he could be medivac'd out. He was injured at 11am - - did not get to the hospital until 2:30pm. We will keep you posted.

Carole - Vicki's Mom
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