I was supposed to be with them. My family was going to play games with our nephew and niece. That was a past time that I enjoyed IMMENSELY! In fact, up to the last minute I wanted to go with them.
My dear daughter insisted that I must stay home and get our poor old car over to a friend's for repair so that it would pass inspection, and could get registered. (I think she was tired of us using her car for the family car while we tried to get the aforementioned steps done to our own car).
So...I stayed home, went to the friend's and got the car repaired. May I just mention here that having loving, supporting, friends that you can ALWAYS depend on is a miracle of it's own kind!
Driving home in our newly repaired car I noticed that the night sky was brilliant with a rotund moon. It floated high above the earth, turning each cloud that it passed into shimmery brilliance. I gave thanks as I drove home, for beloved family, good friends, moon brilliance, and the sense to appreciate all of those wonderful blessings.
I started getting ready for bed. I spoke to our youngest daughter on the phone several times. They stopped at the store for Nyle to stock up on frozen meals. They went to Walmart, and oh how Nyle loved to spend lots of time in Walmart. The girls were slightly frustrated...the hour was late, and they wanted home, and bed.
I put my cell phone next to my head on the bed, and went into blissful slumber. I must have REALLY gone deep into that slumber. I did NOT hear Sarah's desperate calls, once, twice, three times, I did NOT hear that phone ringing next to my head.
I did awaken with a start when someone came POUNDING on my door. It was about 2:15, or 2:30 in the morning. I don't know about your life but in mine NOTHING good ever happens when I get a phone call or knock at that hour of the day.
My beloved nephew and niece were there. Sarah had managed to find her cell phone and since I hadn't heard her calls for help, she called them. I will be eternally grateful for the gift of my nephew and niece. I can't imagine what I would have done if faced with the horrid news by myself.
My family had been in a dreadful automobile accident. Sarah's very old car had stalled on the freeway. They coasted into the emergency lane, and were just letting the car drift to a stop. (They were hoping to get within the mileage range to get the car towed without paying extra).
The stall was NOT the cause of the accident. A teenager was driving at 75 miles an hour. He just looked away for a second (his words) and didn't have time to brake (again his words). That 19 year old boy hit Sarah's car on the RIGHT SIDE of the back of the car going 75 miles an hour. He flipped them around in a complete circle, most of the glass shattered and covered my family.
If I had been with them in the car, whoever had been sitting behind Nyle WOULD HAVE BEEN CRUSHED! Miracle #1 Nobody DIED!
Nyle wanted to die as the effects of the accident became apparent. Nyle already had more than any human being should have to cope with in the way of physical challenge. Diabetes, Sarcoid, Degenerative Disc Disease, Neuropathy, those were only a few of his festive challenges (please note the sarcasm as I use the word festive).
Ardis our beloved oldest daughter was sitting in the backseat of the car...on the left side...driver's side. The unfortunate reality is that she was dozing to the right, resting on her arm. So the impact shattered her right arm, and damaged her head, neck, shoulder, lower back, and arm. Still Miracle #2...Ardis was ALIVE. (I realize that I already counted the miracle about all four of them, but I reiterate because each of my family is OH SO important and beloved to me).
Sarah was driving. In the aftermath of the accident the car looked like metal spaghetti, shredded into long metallic nightmares. Yet the compartment where Sarah had been, looked fine, slightly angular but not shredded. Miracle #3 Sarah was alive.
It took 45 minutes to extricate Ardis from that shredded metal spaghetti....an hour and a half for Nyle. The trunk had been forced forward, Nyle backward, and all of that metal had wrapped around him. Miracle #4 Nyle was alive!
Those miracles were reinforced to me when Eve, Jeff, and I arrived at the Emergency Room. An police officer who reported at the accident came to the ER to specifically tell me that the week before he had reported to an identical accident to the one my family had been in. There were three people in that accident...and NONE survived.
We had to drive past the accident to get to the hospital ER where my family had been taken. A voice said inside my head, "You are about to receive a Master Class of Information. Do not let it overcome you...trust in the Lord." With the message came an engulfing sense of peace.
When we reached the ER I clung to that peace. All three of my family members were in different rooms in the ER. How do you possibly keep track of three ER docs, three nurses, three diagnoses, three is beyond my capability at the same time.
Miracle #5 Jeff and Eve were THERE with me. We each took a room, watched over the person in that room, listened to the information, and then periodically traded rooms. They have two precious children and their Mom lovingly came over in the middle of the night, and stayed with them. I simply can't imagine what I would have done if Jeff and Eve had not been there to help.
I will stop here to explain my definition of "miracles." I know that most of the world sees miracles as some experience, or occurrence that defies natural law. I see an additional component to miracles. When the need is greatest and is met by people or situations that I could not have foreseen, that too is a miracle to me.
Nyle was admitted to the hospital. His entire right side was black with intense bruising. He broke every rib on the right side (EVERY RIB....12), his right arm, his right shoulder, and 5 levels of his back. Miracle #6....with all of those broken ribs he only had ONE puncture in his lungs. Broken ribs are incredibly sharp, lung tissue is incredibly soft. You do the math.
Miracle #7 Ardis called two beloved friends Chris and Cassie. They were at the hospital almost immediately. These beloved friends stayed with Ardis and Sarah at our home, so that I could stay with Nyle in the hospital. I couldn't be at home with our girls, AND at the hospital with Nyle. The girls wanted me at the hospital with their Papa, but they needed someone to help care for them. Chris and Cassie lovingly put their own lives on temporary hold, and cared for our precious girls.
Miracle #8 The hospital protocol is to get you up and moving ASAP. Lots of bad things can happen when you are still in a hospital bed for any protracted length of time. They didn't get Nyle up for a week or two (he had all of this medical stuff connected to him at every turn and twist). They finally did get him up to walk with two very large young men. Nyle kept telling them that his back REALLY hurt. They kept telling him that it was just because of the general body damage.
So, the one time that I went home to shower and sleep for a couple of hours the hospital decided to discharge Nyle. I was stunned, his injuries were still so extensive. Then worse still, Nyle called sobbing, and panicked, the trauma staff had re-imagined his CT scan of his back....amazing computer technology allowed them to turn the image all the way around and back. Low and behold, several levels of his back were not just damaged, they did NOT exist. He had been walking everyday for multiple times with a shattered back. They missed the damage by just looking at one angle of the diagnostic tool. They couldn't do an MRI (which would have been so much better) Nyle's massive shoulders were 6 inches too big to fit in the MRI tube!
They missed the damage in the ER...I'm not too surprised really, there was just SO MUCH damage to notice. The girls and I dashed back to the hospital (so much for my shower and nap!). They now had Nyle at a certain level in his bed, and he was not allowed to MOVE...at all.
The hospital hired the best surgeon in Utah. I've been told that you can't get an appointment with this Dr. for a year, he is so acclaimed. At first he and Nyle butted heads. Two very strong men, one of them in shock, and dealing with far too much bodily injury.
Finally, Nyle agreed to have surgery. Dr. Howard Reichman is amazing! He basically created a new spinal structure for the middle of Nyle's back. The scar was slightly over 12 inches to explain the extensive level of damage. Nyle lost an inch and a half in height after the car accident.
Miracle #9 Nyle survived the surgery. Considering all of the trauma, and the existent illnesses that was TOTALLY a miracle.
Then came the day after surgery. Nyle was in agony. None of the pain meds did a thing to relieve his anguish. The girls and I stayed with him, taking turns sleeping on a floor mat that I had brought, and a terrible recliner chair that had a bad habit of folding you into an accordian if you quit holding it in a certain position. We all prayed, prayed, and prayed some more. Interesting how REAL God becomes where there is nobody else to turn to.
Miracle #10 The next day
An anesthesiologist came in and said, "There are several different pathways in our brain to conquer pain. All of the meds that we've given Nyle so far all travel on the same pathway. That pathway can become congested with too many meds, and quit working effectively. How about if we try this different med?"
So they did try that med, and Nyle slept for the first time in two days...and pretty much slept solidly for two days. Sleep is a grand restorative. The girls went home, and slept in their own beds, and I slept on my sweet little foam pad in the corner of the hospital room.
I could not leave Nyle. His health issues were so complex that even with just one nurse watching his case it was easy to miss things. I'm NOT noble, but I AM madly in love with Nyle Smith, and I just could NOT leave him alone.
Miracle #11 November, Several months later
Nyle auditioned for, and got the part of The Ghost of Christmas Present. He had played the role the year before and adored the part, and the play. He was still supposed to be wearing a back brace at this point (which he didn't), and he could only lift his right arm up a short way (his right shoulder was still broken) but dance he did...laugh he did...sing he did...and I knowing about all the miracles laughed through tears of triumph. I was also touched because watching him you would NEVER guess the price that he still was paying for the love of theater. The pain that he endured, the struggles to be at rehearsal and then performance days on end, had a price, but to Nyle it was a gift.
I wanted to start each performance by standing up and saying, "I just want all of you in the audience to know that this man is a miracle! He can't dance, but he does, he can't sing, but he does (that miracle is explained tomorrow), he can't hear, but he does (maybe the day after tomorrow?), he can't speak but he does. This man is a miracle!
I give thanks to each and every angel that walked with us through those days of "Master Class." We had angels that were in human form, and angels that we could not see but felt with us. I am the witness of miracles...how about you?