The Wreck

Sunday October 11, 1981 I am sitting in my favorite chair at home depressed because my Cowboys just got destroyed by the 49ers 45-14. It was early evening when a friend called to let me know that my little brother had been in a bad wreck and that an ambulance was taking him to the hospital. He said, “It’s bad, It’s real bad! He may not make it.” I immediately called my parents and told them and we were to meet at the hospital.

It did not take me long to get there but when I did they were already treating my dad. Yes, my dad for a head wound. When he entered the room and saw my little brother he passed out and hit his head on a steel door stop on the floor.  That was my warning before I entered the room. The first thing I noticed was the compound fracture of his femur. It was sticking out of his thigh about 4 inches. His head was swollen severely, a tracheotomy tube in his throat. His mouth was open and his jaw was completely busted into. It was so bad that his teeth were separated. Blood had come from inside his ear.

His neuro doctor met with us and on a sheet of paper drew a picture of his future. He drew three lines, a straight line with a question mark at the end of that line, a straight line that goes down and a very gradual ever so gradual line that slants upward. He said the straight line with the question mark is where he is now. The line that goes down he said, we know what that is and the very gradual line will be his best possible path. He said this is not something that he will just snap out of. Slow, slow progress is our best hope. My little brother was in the fight of his life.

He was born 4 years and two days after me. He is my only sibling and he is very special. He is actually a town hero. Our high school football team lost 44 games in a row and our city was the butt end of many a joke in the district. On the first game of the 1977 season the stands were filled in expectation of breaking this long losing streak. My brother was our starting safety on defense and our place kicker. That night he kicked a 32 yard field goal and after our quarterback got hurt he went in as our back up quarterback. It was a close game back and forth. There was very little time left when we got the ball back and we were losing again. With time running out on the clock he threw a long pass for a touchdown and we won our first game in 4 years. The fans rushed the field and carried my little brother off on their shoulders. I was so proud of him.

As good as he was in football he was even better in baseball and received a college scholarship. Golf was not a challenge for him either as he carried a very low handicap. His friends said he was good in tennis as well. He was not very big not very fast but as his football coach said, “He makes things happen.” He was and still is my hero.

Weeks went by surgeries one after another on his leg and his jaw. We also found out his left ear drum was destroyed.  Still on life support and no sign of any consciousness. No movement no squeezing our hands. He just layed there.

Prayer chains from different churches literally spread all over the country praying for him and our family and for all those prayers we are forever grateful.

We were regular visitors at the ICU but we were not alone. One very special young lady volunteered to be there for us at the 5:30 am visitation. That was so helpful for us. We will never forget her genuine labor of love. Every evening when we went to our visitation, friends were in the ICU waiting room or standing in the hallways, just to be with us to support and pray for us. All of those visits have a special place in our hearts. On this one particular night about 6 weeks in. My dad my mom and l were visiting him and when I laid my hands on his shoulders l was struck with emotion, I started saying Jesus. Over and over Jesus sobbing Jesus Jesus Jesus please Jesus, I just couldn’t stop. This went on for several minutes and all of a sudden my little brother started to cry.  His face grimacing his eyes squinting tears flowing. He was sobbing. My Jesus Oh Lord! Oh Lord! Thank you Lord! He moved his arm. Our tears of sadness turned to tears of joy. Then we started to console him and reassure him. Thanking God for giving us a glimpse of hope. When our visitation time was up that night as we left the ICU, the hallway was completely lined with friends on both sides. Never had there been that many there for us and the same Spirit that was in his ICU room was in that hallway. The Holy Spirit.

Two weeks later he was moved to a regular hospital room, after two months in ICU.  This was the beginning of months and months and years of rehab and therapy. He was just like a baby. He had to learn to hit his mouth with a spoon learn to talk. Literally start all over. My mother quit her job to take care of him and my dad spent his life savings on his medical care.

The drunk gentleman that fell asleep, crossed the line and hit my little brother head on was not treated for any injuries. When it happened, a lady in her house asked her husband “Was that thunder?” Her husband jumped up and said, “No, a wreck! Call 911!” He, being a fireman for many years knew exactly what to do when he got to the car and my little brother was choking on glass. He established an airway. He by the grace of God saved his life.

My little brother has endured. He suffers from short term memory loss. He can remember things from the past but to remember to brush his teeth or do any task he needs to be told every little step. He has been a huge help and comfort for my mom since our dad passed on in 2006. Taking care of mom has given him genuine purpose.  l am careful to praise him for his excellent care giving. As l write this our mom is dying of leukemia. She is in her final days.

We are so blessed. Our God has seen us through and continues to lead and direct and comfort us. He has blessed my little brother with a sweet spirit. Everyone that knows him loves him!

I love when he hears someone say, “I can’t remember”. He says, “Welcome to my world!”