Tuesday, September 25, 2007


So, hi. It's been six weeks since I've posted here and for once I have a good excuse. On Monday, August 20th, my father was in a car accident near his home in Englewood, Ohio while taking some vegetables to his sister-in-law. His car collided with a dump truck. The driver of the dump truck going full speed and died at the scene. My father was able to make a call to my mother using his cell phone while others waited for him at the scene. Accounts vary as to whether or not he exited the car himself or was pulled because of a small fire. As to who was to blame, I'd rather not get into that issue apart from saying that my dad had a lifetime of frustratingly overly cautious driving. This seems to have been the day he made a split-second mistake at a backwoods intersection known for poor visibility, a history of accidents, and neighbors who have raised the issue with the town council more than once.

My father suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung, a fractured knee, and fractured upper vertebrae, all serious injuries for a 29-year-old, much less a 79-year-old. He was taken first to one hospital then to another, the latter being known for its trauma center. He was declared to be in serious but stable condition.

He was still in much the same condition when I arrived the next day, there being no good, short-notice flights the day of the accident. We also decided that I simply couldn't do that much to help on the day of the accident, anyway. It was a feeling I'd come to know all too well.

When I first saw my father, he was in bad shape. When I left, two weeks later, he had improved only slightly. When I returned the weekend after that he was still not well enough to be released from the hospital and into a nursing home. This was deemed necessary as the next stage of his recovery since he would need almost constant care upon release.

Complicating matters: he's kind of a danger to himself at the moment. That's the thing I haven't touched on yet. The accident left my dad with a broken, slowly recovering body. It seems to have left his mind in similar shape. For the first ten days or so he was virtually incomprehensible, a trend that bottomed out during a terrifying trip to the ICU. He would hallucinate, grab at imaginary car keys in the air, and talk about things that the dog was doing. Since then he's been better, but it's a deeply qualified better. He can talk about the accident in horrifying detail but has to constantly be reminded where he is. Asked what year it is and dad will always respond, "Now wait a minute..." before replying with something that's not even close.

And that's more or less where we are now. I've yet to go back since my dad was moved to a nursing home last week. I get daily reports from mom. She's wildly encouraged by the slightest signs of improvement and crushed by any setback. I'm due to go back again next weekend. I don't expect any major improvement. The way I see it we're on a journey of many miles that my dad can only travel in inches.

I really appreciate everyone who's been asking about him. I'll start posting updates in this space. I'll try to be better about keeping in touch but it's kind of been hard to get back to everyone. If you'd like to send cards or anything, my dad can be reached at:

Friendship Village
5790 Denlinger Rd.
Trotwood, OH 45426

Stay safe and well.


Eric Grubbs said...

Thanks so much for the update. And I'm glad you shared the details and feelings with us. This is not the easiest thing to talk about, so I hope writing about it helped you. You all are in my thoughts.

Matt Staggs said...

Jeez, man. I went through something very, very similar with my own dad a couple of years ago. I'm really sorry to hear about what you're going through.