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It Turns On A Dime

Friends. The first thing I want to tell you is that Dale is going to be alright. The rest of what I have to tell you, though, is scary and it’s hard for me to write about it. But I’m having trouble coping and I know that I process my feelings through writing so here we go.

On Monday afternoon, while my beloved husband was mowing our lawn, he was hit by a car. I was in our living room when I heard a loud bang out front and our lights went out. I ran for the front door and in a split second I took in 3 things: the utility pole on our corner was at a weird angle, there was a car smashed into it, and Dale was lying on his side in the middle of the road.

As I ran to him across our lawn, I saw my neighbor Jeff had gotten to him first and he was already holding Dale’s hand and yelling for someone to call 911. I knelt down beside Dale and I looked at that face that means everything to me and I said, I’m here. I’m right here. He looked up with his blue eyes and all I felt was relief that he was alive. Jeff said, it’s his leg but he’s going to be okay and I clung to those words. In a matter of minutes the police arrived, along with the fire department and paramedics, all people I know and trust. Our Town Administrator was on the scene immediately and my kids somehow got through the police barricade that was preventing traffic from coming down our street and I was surrounded by good, smart, capable people who knew how to take care of my guy.

He was in the ambulance incredibly fast and there was barely time for a quick kiss and I love you before he was on his way to Boston. Without me. Because we are living in the time of corona.

Here are the things I know:
he broke two bones in his lower left leg
he had surgery Monday night and it went well
he did not sustain any internal injuries
other than some cuts, bumps and bruises, his only significant injury is to his leg

To put it in no uncertain terms: this is a miracle.

And despite that knowledge, I am struggling. Not with the gratitude, for I am extremely grateful. And not even with accepting how miraculous it is that his injuries, while serious, should not be (or become) life threatening. The truth is that I’m struggling with the trauma. I see him lying in that road every time I look out my window. In any other time I would be with him, sitting by his side, holding his hand, watching every breath he takes. Observing with my own eyes that he is alive. Rather, I have to rely on information from others. Nurses who are kind but also busy and working very hard, and doctors who are taking care of Dale but don’t have to look his wife in the eye and answer her questions or return her phone calls.

It’s hard, so hard, to not be with him right now. I’ve talked to Dale and he sounds good (albeit loopy from pain meds) and I know he’s in the best place. But, I’ll tell you plain, I am terrified most of the time. I’m carrying on and people are wonderful with their concerns and prayers and texts and phone calls. Our social media accounts have been flooded with good wishes for Dale, he even has his own hashtag now, #dalestrong. Even so, yesterday I had two full blown panic attacks. They were scary and overwhelming and I couldn’t breath and felt like I was going to shake right out of my skin and I’d like to never have that happen again thankyouverymuch. I’m told, by some very excellent people, that this is my brain’s way of coping with the trauma and that I should expect this to come and go for a couple of weeks. I’m thinking that they will lesson significantly once Dale is home and I can lay eyes on him whenever I want. Right now, though, I don’t know exactly when that will be so I’m just . . . hanging on. Sometimes by nothing but a thread, honestly.

I know without a doubt that you are all reading this with love and concern and you will keep Dale and I and our family in your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. I’m betting my comment feed is about to explode, which I anticipate with wonder because I know there will be words of wisdom and an outpouring of love. I do ask for your forgiveness, though, if I just don’t have the strength to respond in the ways that I usually do.

I will keep you posted as I’m able but in the meantime please just know that I’m here, I’m reading your comments, and I’m so very grateful for all of you.

This Post Has 148 Comments

  1. How beautiful and heartfelt… This would be a horrific thing to have happen at any time, but as you said, in the time of Corona, bad things are exemplified. Hang in there and know that he will be home as soon as he is able… and KEEP WRITING! Not for the rest of us, but for YOU… (Somehow I think that you must keep a journal)… Sending lots of healing thoughts Dale’s way, and to you a big virtual hug!

  2. Oh my my! So very sorry to hear this. Hang in there Carole. All will be well – soon. Sending you and Dale warm healing thoughts.

    1. I can only imagine not being able to see your spouse…I spent 5 years of my life caring for a wheelchair husband…BELEIVE me God will pull you through this & figure each day that goes bye is a day closer to full recovery….God Bless you both & give you the strength to get through….

  3. Take good care of yourself! Long slow deep breathes
    Sending good juju to you and Dale

  4. Geez Carole. My stomach was (still is) churning reading that. At the same time, it’s a relief to know the details and that Dale is going to be okay. Both of you hang in there. You’ve been on our minds a lot the past two days (I should have known to check in here yesterday). Anyway, sending Dale and you our long distance wishes for a quick and complete recovery. … Geez again! What the hell is going on?????

  5. Are you sure he’s loopy from the meds and not his regular loopiness? Get better soon Dale so you Can be quarantined at home instead of in Boston.

  6. Dear Carole,
    we don’t know each other, but I read Sarah’s blog and she put a link in her latest blog post. I just wanted to say, I am so, so glad that he only broke two bones in the leg and is otherwise fine! I hope that he can come home soon and that the panic attacks will fade as soon as possible. I will be keeping the two of you in my thoughts, and wish you all the best! Much love.

  7. Hi don’t know me but I work at JR’s in Hanson and you and your hubby used to get take out before all the craziness hit. The name didn’t register until I saw his picture! Just wanted to send thoughts and good vibes to you and yours. Dale was always so super nice to deal with as well as yourself on the phone. I’ll be thinking of you guys ?

  8. Many hugs to you and prayers for a speedy recovery for your husband..
    you seem to be a strong woman and have a lot of well wishes on your side may you get through these trying times

  9. So hard to not be able to be with him, but what a blessing that he will be ok. Panic attacks, ugh, been there done that! Try breathing through them…smell the flowers, blow out the candles. If there is anything any of us at Community Covenant can do for you, please call. Praying for you both!

  10. You do not know me, but he was my grandson’s bus driver in Easton. He was always to kind to Aydin, who has autism. He would bring Aydin home from school, always with a big smile and a cheery hello to me. I am so thankful that Dale will be ok. I am also glad that he had an angel milking down on him.

  11. Prayers for you and Dale and your families. I dont know what you are going through I can only imagine.You will both make it through this tough time with Love and Prayers Toni

  12. Oh Carole, I had heard there was an accident but had no idea it involved your beloved, Dale! The panic attacks you are experiencing? Completely natural reaction. Please know I’m thinking of you and praying for Dale to have a full recovery very soon. Is there anything I can do to help in the meantime? Your apprentice from the good old days, Hannele (Vincent) Minsk

  13. happy to hear he’s doing well, I can’t imagine not being able to go to hospital. Thank you for letting us know #dalestrong ??

  14. Indeed the comments have exploded … and I hope our words of support are giving you some comfort. and that Dale will soon be back home with you. xxoo, Mary

  15. Love you Carol,my heart and prayers are with you and Dale. If you need anything please don’t hesitate to call. Love and prayers Brian

  16. Carole, I am going to share some information to put you at ease about Dale’s hospitalization. You see, I had a freak accident on April 7 and I waited 30 days before going to the hospital because I was afraid of the virus and was afraid I would bring it home to my husband who is high risk. On April 7 I had a freak accident with my abundantly obedient, soon to be a pet therapy, dog. I fell, very hard on ceramic tile. I called the local fire department as I live in a very remote mountain community. The EMT told me that if there was any chance that it was not a fracture, to avoid the ER. Previously I was profoundly serious about quarantine – I even cancelled my fitness membership in February. It was ironic that this would happen to me. For 30 days I did telemedicine appointments with an ortho practice and physical therapy via FaceTime. I had hoped that I had a torn hip flexor. When I stopped improving and was still unable to walk without the aid of a walker, on the 30th day I called an ambulance. I am a little stubborn. They gave me 3 doses of fentanyl to get down the mountain. The bad news is that I had I fractured the neck of the femoral head and a blood clot had formed. The good news is that I had a total hip replacement (surgery only took 45 minutes), and I was walking the first day after surgery and doing steps the second. I am home now, will be ditching my walker tomorrow, going to a cane for a week and then nothing. I will be on my Peloton bike In about three weeks. I have no pain and am on absolutely no pain meds. During the time that I had a fractured femur, I could do nothing. Standing was comfortable but sitting was sheer agony. During that time, the quality of my life was zero. When I got to the hospital I wanted someone to just shoot me.

    i was in the hospital for four days. It was a unique experience. The hospital is in a suburb of Atlanta and I believe it had 158 beds. The floor that I was on was half closed and it is my understanding that other floors were closed….because like me, people are avoiding hospitals. There were 10 Covid patients on a negative pressure floor below me. The hospital had slashed staff – staff members could hope for 2 shifts per week. It was as if management was trying to balance the books by operating with a skeleton crew. The nurses were giving 250% to take care of patients and it was rough going for the patients as well the nurses…but we made it through to the other side. I wore a mask and everyone in the hospital did, too. There was no shortage of PPE. The nurses were gloved and were constantly sanitizing their hands. I was tested twice for COvid-19, once when I arrived and once before I left. I was negative. I felt safer there than in the grocery store (although I don’t shop, I just get a curbside pick up.) The second Covid test was upon my request – I got some push back but prevailed when I told them if I did not get a second test, that I would write every oversight organization and would appeal my discharge. (I believe appealing a discharge is a standard thing in a hospital.)

    I am hoping that things are going well for Dale. My best advice is this: if things spiral downward, please call the patient advocate. Yes, it was terrifying to be in the hospital with no one there for me, before surgery after surgery, and no one there when the bad news was delivered. I spent a number of years being a people pleaser but when I arrived at that hospital, I shifted from a victim archetype to a negotiator/warrior archetype. And yes, the patient advocate was in my room twice…And I even had to contact her after discharge because my discharge meds were incorrect. They were a resource that I needed to use in order to look out for my best interest.

    Carole, it has been 8 days from my surgery. A physical therapist, a home health nurse and an occupational therapist have been to my home and they have been awesome. The occupational therapist helped me make my bathroom safe and helped getting me situated properly at my harp. Everyone except the occupational therapist will be visiting regularly (all gloved and masked and of course we are too.) I am so lucky to have such great resources. I have no signs of infection, and I am expected to make a full recovery very soon…even with the blood clot. My physical therapist had a full hip replacement with my Doc and I know I am in good hands. I am blessed…it took just a little bit of grit to get through the hospital experience.

    I hope some of my comments regarding my experience might help. For me this was a spiritual experience and it also helped me work some of my warrior muscles. All in all, I have been granted a miracle. My organs didn’t shut down, I did not lose my leg, and it appears that I am Covid 19 free. I am absolutely determined to come out the other side as a stronger, more compassionate person.

    I’ve been reading your blog for years and years. Although you don’t know me or my husband, please consider visiting and staying with us in the mountains of Big Canoe, GA. I know I have some more gritty stories to share with you and Dale on a pontoon boat at the lake, and it would be such an honor to spend some time with you and Dale.

  17. And we are here holding you, Dale and your family tight in our hearts and sending you all strength, our prayers and love. #dalestrong … and Carole, too.

  18. The guy that hit Dale ,was he cited for damage to a beloved historical figure !!

  19. I hope you and Dale the best. Dale a quick recovery and back home where he and you can heal from this ordeal. Be safe Be well.

    Dana & Loretta Johnson

  20. Your title is so apt – life turns on a dime. I wish Dale a complete recovery. I can’t imagine how helpless you must feel not to be with him. I’m keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Breathe and breathe again. And absolutely do not respond to my comment – you have more than enough to do.

  21. Dear Carole,
    Rich and I were so sorry to hear about Dale. We’re sending prayers that his recovery will go well. You both have a guardian angel watching over you and giving you strength. I’m sending you hugs Carole, in your times of despair…you are not alone! You are surrounded by love and peace. Our heartfelt best wishes for you both as you deal with the process of healing from this trauma. We hope that Dale will be coming home soon, recovering his good health and strength. Hugs to you both…
    Sharon and Rich

  22. sending lots of healing thoughts for Dale and lots of support for you

  23. My thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery for my good friend. Thank god he’s ok.

  24. My heart stopped just reading this so I can only imagine how you feel. Thank God he was transported so quickly and treated rapidly at the hospital. He’s where he needs to be right now but I know how I’d feel if I couldn’t be with my husband. Maybe for now you can be kind to yourself, ask for help when you need it and get things ready for his homecoming. When will this year ever end? Love and prayers

  25. Keeping both of you in my thoughts and prayers. So happy he’s going to be ok.??

  26. Carole,

    Just when one thinks life can’t get any stranger or surreal, this happens to you both. I am so sorry and hope he will be home soon. Hang in there – this too shall pass.

  27. I cannot imagine how frightening and hard this is for you and Dale. Thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.

  28. I also suffered panic attacks after cancer surgery.I learned how to talk myself through it.When it happens sit down and breath innthrough your nose and out theough your mouth slowly.Then tell yourself to relax, and tell your shoulders to relax because when you have a panic attack you tend to pull your shoulders up toward your ears.And then tell yourself that you are o.k.This helped me a lot and I eventually got over the panic attacks but you are o.k. It is just your bodies way of dealing with trauma.You will be fine and Dale will be fine and try this my dear, it might bring you relief as it did me.

  29. What a heart stopping experience. Sending healing thoughts for both of you. I hope Dale is home quickly and you are able to care for him at your home.

  30. my thoughts and prayers are with you and Dale and family and friends, I humbly offer something I have learned: all crises are made up of 2 things, danger and opportunity, The danger always involves fear , and specifically fear of loss, The feared loss may be something intangible, or something real. We get past the fear when we recognize and accept the opportunity now presented to us. Said opportunity is not always readily apparent; often it takes a while to manifest. I hope this is in some small way useful to you.

  31. oh my goodness – good thoughts and prayers are with you and Dale as you make it through this tough time.

  32. I keep checking back, to see how you both are doing.
    Wishing you both peace, love and a speedy recovery for Dale

  33. So sorry Carole, I had no idea until I just checked Facebook. I am glad he is coming home to you and your family.

  34. Everything you say rings to true – and I think the experience you are having is so understandable. Doesn’t make it any easier, though. I can’t imagine except in nightmares. I have no advice, but will just say that I’m thinking about you and hoping that Dale is home soon. All will be well.

  35. So glad Dale will be ok. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. In the meantime take care of yourself. Panic attacks are scary and I am so sorry you are experiencing them. I have had some experience with them myself and they are truly awful.

  36. What a horrific accident Dale had and I am glad he is home and doing well I hope. I saw the wonderful parade—–so many people. Sending thoughts and healing prayers .Take care of yourself also. God Bless you both.

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