Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dallin's Car Accident: Day 1

Of course I'm writing this after the incident, but it was on May 30, 2013 that Dallin was in a horrific car accident.

It started out as any other normal day. We both were off to work. I got home a little earlier than him and our plan that night was to help Uncle Kenny and Aunt Janalee pack and move some things. I was originally going to wait for Dallin and we'd go together, but he was going to be longer than expected so I drove myself and he met me there. Below is what I wrote the night of the accident.

"After spending some time over at Kenny and Janalee’s, Dallin and I were heading out. Dallin reminded me that we needed to go to the farm and feed our girls-the sheep. (Something we love to do together.) I thought he should take the car and I said I’d take the truck. We headed on our way to highway 89 as usual and Dallin was leading the way. We got in the middle turning lane and waited for our turn to cross the highway onto the farm driveway.  As Dallin turned I noticed he was cutting it awfully close. Before my eyes Dallin was struck by the oncoming vehicle (an SUV) going at least 60 mph. His car spun around, things falling apart. Right there in the middle of the road. I was shocked. I slammed the breaks. Turned off the car, got out and yelled “What is going on!” I was so worked up and didn’t know what to think. I saw the man from the vehicle that struck him jump out of his car and run around to the other side to grab his four year old daughter. Thank the Good Lord they were both completely fine. (Angry, understandably) All this happened in nano seconds, by the way. I mean I called 911 and handed it off to some lady and ran up to Dallin’s side of the car within maybe 4 seconds at the most. I saw him and his eyes were closed and he wasn’t moving. I tried to open the door but it was locked or jammed. I started banging on the window, Dallin! Dallin! Please wake up!! No response. I could see blood all over his face, but other than that there was no bones sticking out and I could see his chest rising and falling. (shallow breaths) I ran to the truck to get the keys remembering I had a spare for this car. I unlocked it and tried over and over again but the door wouldn’t budge. The passenger side of the vehicle was now non-existent. I went over to that side of the car and reached my hand in and touched his shoulder, Dallin, sweetheart, I’m right here. Are you okay? No response. People were jumping out of their car to help try and get the door open with no success.

The other car

The rest of what happened is a blur. I know within a few minutes EMS was there. (They were already close by.) They said he had a strong pulse so that was good. I just kept putting my hand to my mouth and crying. I remember calling my mom and Dallin’s mom and Kenny and Janalee. I remember a man was standing there and asked, Is this the boy that feeds the sheep? I said, Yes, he’s my husband and he works here for Dave and a man name Paryl lives right here. And he said, I am Paryl. I’d never been so grateful to have someone that knew my sweet Dallin right there. I needed him there. He put his arm around me. I remember policemen asking me about my truck and I gave them the keys to move it. Then there was a nice Assistant Fire Chief who offered to take me in his vehicle to the ER, leading the ambulance. They had to extricate him from the vehicle, cut it apart to get him out. They put him on the stretcher and I just remember feeling sick. We got in the vehicle and left.  I called Tara on the way. She didn’t answer so I tried TJ and let him know what was going on. Devin happened to be working with her that night. They got off work and jumped in the car and waited to hear from me where they needed to meet us. We got to the ER before him which made me nervous but the ambulance got there soon after. They intubated him right away, started him on propofol. He was absolutely non-respondent to any commands. They took him to get a CT scan and he had a seizure and then another 3 minutes later. I wasn’t in the room but heard about it later. Good thing I wasn’t because I was traumatized enough. They got him back in the ER room and tried to stabilize him. They called the med flight guys to come and one doctor told me things really didn’t look too bad and then the on-call neuro surgeon said it looked pretty serious. I wanted so badly to ride in the helicopter with him but everyone was telling me that wouldn’t be possible. They said med flights never let you come with. I started praying. I can’t imagine having to drive all the way to a hospital where my husband would be. Anything could happen. Kenny and Lance gave Dallin a sweet blessing just before med flight got there. Janalee was by my side the entire time. When med flight got there I asked the pilot (in desperation) if I could go with them. He said that he thought it’d be okay. There was one extra seat. He was very nice about it. I was so grateful for this tender mercy. They got him all ready. His body was so scratched up and his head had at least two large lacerations that continued to bleed. His body would start flexing and I guess his hands were in decorticate position and each pupil was responding differently. Both signs of brain damage. I got to hold his hand. I often clean things out of his ears (mostly out of habit) since he works on a farm and constantly has hay and dust in there. I automatically started cleaning the glass out of his ear.

On the way to the helicopter, Dallin coded in the middle of the parking lot. Kenny asked if we would lose him right here and Norm, his friend, reminded him of the blessing he just gave Dallin that said Dallin would live.

(This is Dallin in the helicopter)

The flight was a little traumatic. The monitor showed his oxygen levels dropping dramatically and his body would start to contract.  The nurse said the monitor wasn’t picking up his vitals right and he was doing okay. (That was reassuring) He was seizing almost the whole way. We landed and I could see Devin and Tara standing outside observing. I was comforted by the fact they were already there. They rushed him in and had me follow. Lots was going on. Switching him over to the hospital’s tubes and what not. I asked if I could have another person with me and they said okay. I asked for Tara since she’s an ER nurse and would be able to tell me exactly what they were doing. She came in and at first you could see the emotion hit her of seeing her brother lying there. After a couple moments she jumped into nurse mode and started telling me everything that was going on. 

They got him up to ICU right away and we all had to wait. Brian and Kris, Devin and Teddi, Dad and Hikaru, Shintaro and Koto, Carol and Lance, and Tara were all there. It was so nice to have all the support. But it was heart wrenching to see their faces as they saw Dallin being wheeled up to ICU. It’s heartbreaking to see someone in that position, especially someone you love. The Neuro surgeon, Dr. Welling, came in an hour later to discuss what was going on. He noted the chance of axonal diffusion (which is very bad) he said it could turn out fine that they needed to monitor his cranial pressure. He said it would get worse before it got better. More waiting. Trauma surgeon said they stapled up his lacerations and everything else looks fine. More waiting. Dad and kids leave. Brian and Kris leave. Now just us Wengerts and Carol and Lance. Lance and Heidi got a bag together and had Lance bring it to me. She packed pajamas, makeup, snacks, laptop, phone charger, clothes. Awesome girl. So grateful.  Between all this speaking with mom and called Dallin’s boss Dave. Nurse comes in with paperwork. Carol and Lance go. Just us four. Finally we can go back and see Dallin. Seeing him is surreal. Five million tubes everywhere. How does he manage to still look so handsome.

Devin grabbed Dallin’s hand to give him a blessing of comfort. We all cried. And cried. Half of me is doing really well and able to listen to doctors and ask questions. The other half is falling apart. I look at him and it’s like I’m having the worst nightmare I could’ve imagined. I’m angry at him and just can’t wait for him to wake up so I can yell at him for doing this, for turning when he shouldn’t have. The other half wants to hold him sooo close and cuddle and take care of him forever."

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