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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. Sending Love and Light to you and Dale. May he be home soon with perfect healing.

  2. Oh Carole! I am so sorry. I can’t even imagine those first few minutes of terror, and not being able to be with him now. You both are in my prayers.

  3. Oh my Carole… I was shocked when I found out the clip I heard on the news was Dale!! I am so relieved that he will be fine and of course I will be praying for you both during his time of recovery!! Praying for Dales recovery, healing and that he will be comforted and for you Carole, that God will grant you His comfort and peace that only He can give!! Mat you both be reunited at home soon ???? Love you

  4. Oh my Carole… I was shocked when I found out the clip I heard on the news was Dale!! I am so relieved that he will be fine and of course I will be praying for you both during his time of recovery!! Praying for Dales recovery, healing and that he will be comforted and for you Carole, that God will grant you His comfort and peace that only He can give!! Mat you both be reunited at home soon ???? Love you

    1. Carole – just found out that Heart emojis translate to question marks – <3

  5. Sending Love and Light to you and Dale. Wishing Dale an excellent recovery.

  6. Carole, I am so sorry your family is going through this during these crazy corona times. This would already be so tough with out that added detail. Praying for you, Dale and your family. Hoping he is home resting and healing with you soon. Love you!

  7. Carol,

    Kate told us of this yesterday. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers ?????.

    Rick & Julie

  8. OMG, Carole, what an awful year this has been for your family. It WILL get better, I’m sure of that.

  9. We are praying for you and Dale. Kate’s sister and brother in law. Ellen and Thom.

  10. Sorry you both have been through this. I know you want to “do something”, so maybe now is a time to put some of his favorite meals in the freezer. That way, you’ll both please him, and have time to sit together when he is home.

    Hugs, and more hugs!

  11. Dear Carole! I am praying for swift healing for Dale; for you I pray for peace and comfort.

  12. What a horrible story. I hope he’s ok. Was a big fan of the band when I was a kid.
    If you need any legal advice, let me know.

  13. So sorry to hear this news, prayers to you and your family. You are strong, he is strong and will be fitting to get back home to you as soon as humanly possible. Keep the faith!

  14. Carole,

    Kate told us of this yesterday. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers ?????.

    Rick & Julie

  15. Oh Carole, I’m so sorry. I pray that Dale has a good recovery and that you will find some comfort in this difficult time.

  16. Carole and Dale, so sorry this has happened to you. I pray for Dale to have a quick recovery. My thoughts are with you both. ??

  17. Prayers for you all. I am visualizing him at home, soon, with his loving wife dotingly waiting on him as recovery proceeds rapidly.

  18. I keep typing and deleting things to offer comfort. I can’t land on what to say. Your sense for what family is has always inspired me. Carole, you got this. Dale’s got this. Your amazing support system has this. I have been saying this a lot over the past several months, “When in Hell, keep walking.” xoxo

  19. Carol
    My love and prayers to you, Dale and the family. Lisa told me about the accident. What is normal reaction to what you witnessed. You may replaying it in your mind or thinking about all the what ifs. You all probably thinking about how you going to take care of Dale during his recovery. These are all normal thoughts that produce stress and lead to the physical reactions.
    Things I do when having an attack is to sit, close my eyes, slow my brain down (thoughts are probably racing through your mind) and breath slow deep breaths. Then try and clear your mind of any thoughts. This part is very difficult for me and I have to keep starting over. Ten or fifteen minutes is how long I do this. Then start some physical activity to divert me from thinking about things. I also have in the past sought counseling. That has been very helpful for me.
    Carol, Dale will be fine his bones will heal and he be cracking jokes as always.
    Skip Howard.

  20. Carole, you are right, your comment feed exploded with love and concern. So many people care about you and Dale! I can also tell you that I know exactly how you feel, and it will get better. It’s amazing how your brain adjusts to present circumstances over time. My husband is chronically ill, often acutely ill, and the scariest part of the whole scenario is when I am separated from him since I am his sole caregiver. I know intellectually that he is being cared for, but I know nobody loves him like I do, so his greatest advocate is not with him. Can you get a tablet to him so that you can Zoom with him? Can you get his doctors to Zoom with you? I think it would make you feel so much better if you could lay eyes on him and look his doctors in the eye. It’s really not too much to ask that they speak with you over Zoom. And as a nurse who is married to a doctor, I will tell you that it is OK to insist, letting them pick the time. It’s part of their job to talk with you. I am sending all my best thoughts and hopes to you both with prayers that he will heal quickly and be back home with his best friend soon. And if your anxiety attacks continue, a mild anti-anxiety med would not be amiss. Call your local doctor and talk about it if you think you need a little temporary help.

  21. Any chance you would have the strength to tell us how this happened?? Did the car swerve, misjudge a corner or what the heck happened? To hit him in his own yard, this person must have been moving fairly quickly to break his leg!!! The poor guy, sure hope you are able to get him home soon. Good thoughts coming from Canada!!! lovenhugs

  22. Carol, I just read what you wrote. I am so glad to hear Dale is going to be OK. We love you and we are praying for you and Dale and the whole family. We are here to help in any way we can. I’d love to talk, but I know you must be overwhelmed. God bless you
    Pastor Matthew Gillis
    Community Covenant Church
    cell 860-392-8160

  23. I’m so sorry to hear this scary news! Sending prayers for strength and healing to both you and Dale. He will be home with you soon and you will be able to breathe again. It will get better.

  24. Oh Carole please know you have the love and support and positive energy from so many people, including a house full of dogs and cats and me and my Tim in Oregon.

  25. Oh Carole, as I read this I have tears coming down my face. Thank goodness you started out by saying Dale is going to be alright! We haven’t see each other in so long but I still love you guys and think about all the good times we had together! Dale is a trooper and will get through this quickly because he knows you are home waiting for him. Wish I could be there with you. Sending Prayers and love to both of you.

  26. Carole-keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers!! Hoping that he is home with you soon. Hugs and lots of positive energy being sent your way!

  27. I’m so sorry you’re all going through this. Thank the Lord that Dale will be alright! So very, very scary!!
    I’ll be praying for you both ??…………………….

  28. I can’t imagine the terror and the contestant replaying in your mind. Your wounds are invisible but extremely valid. I will pray that you are reunited very soon, so that the real healing can begin!

  29. Dear Carole,
    Dale is strong! You are strong! He will be okay. You will be okay. Everything going on right now is scary. Not seeing Dale is scary. What you are feeling(panic) is normal…
    Hopefully, very soon he will be home. Blue eyes and that big grin we all love!
    Praying for you all…

  30. WTF? I am so sorry you both have to go through this. I agree with you – when he’s home and you can have a little control over this, you’ll be calmer. Are you able to video chat? You won’t be given anything you’re not capable of handling. What a reward for being so competent and strong. Joining the masses with the best of thoughts for all of you.
    In friendship,

  31. I’m Jen Windsor’s (Plante) sister Laura(Plante), we graduated with Barry and share a birthday with him. Just wanted to reach out to you and send a cyber hug.
    You may or may not realize, our mother died in a freak accident involving a car driving through the Brockton Hospital.
    It is terrifying..and it lingers. I would like to message you on messenger and invite you to call or text or messenger message any time. Jen and I live nearby. Please feel free to reach out if you need to talk.

  32. You already know that everyone’s prayers are with you. When you have the flashbacks, allow your brain to remember the entire story. Yes, the flashback is the lights snapping out, seeing your husband injured on the side of the road, but also (out loud, if needed) remind yourself that he was only alone for a second. He was tended to in moments. He got right to a wonderful hospital that has repaired him. He survived. He will not have a massive recovery journey ahead of him. (Logically, you know all this; you just shared it.)

    When I have PTSD symptoms, I’ve trained myself to consider all the negative things that could have come to fruition, but did not. It is a technique that has really helped me focus on the truth (for you: Your awesome husband is going to be okay!) and overcome some paralyzing situations in life.

  33. Oh Carole, I am thinking of you and Dale. Hope he doesn’t have to stay too long in the hospital and is back by your side soon.

  34. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
    Philippians 04:13

  35. Oh Carole! My thoughts and prayers are with Dale, you and your family! Hoping he’ll be home recovering soon!

  36. Oh Carole, I’m so sorry and I’m so glad he’s going to be okay and unfortunately I know the trauma you’re talking about. That’s so hard. Wishing you strength and sending love and good wishes.

  37. Hope you heal fast, broken bones are tuff to heal in our older age as i broke my leg a few years back, i remember we were very young boys 7 or 8 maybe and wandered way out back to the sand pit out back where the current housing for elderly is now, we were after some apples and looking for turtles and the frog pond , only we went to far and came upon some real indians and tee pee’s with a bonfire wow we went way to far from home this time ,before we knew it we were captured and brought down to their campfire scared to death before we realized you were doing your indian lure with the boy scouts. When we first moved into our house on Central st and you were our paper boy we looked up to you, then one day your beautiful young sister delivered our paper telling us you had broken your arm and she was covering while you healed , eventually you recovered and decided to give up your route and my brother and i took it over,and we learned everyones name in the neighborhood and of course their kindness and benefits that came with it, fresh fruit , flowers from the Holbrook’s,delicious blueberry turnovers from Mrs. Bouldry on Chestnut st.,the bird lady feeding the birds and teaching us what they were. Many opportunities arose like a chance to make money shoveling their driveways and walkways and of course raking leaves , as well as planting dahlia’s , gladiola’s and many gardens over our teenage years . We often saw you riding by on your old chopper as we were out weeding or watering our garden and wished we could do that one day

  38. I’m so sorry, what a horrible weird accident.what a shock to open the door to see him hurt. I am so glad he’ll be ok. How awful for you both in these times. Sending love and healing thoughts all around.

  39. Oh, no! So glad he’s ok! What a terrible thing and so scary for you and your family! My brother-in-law has a stroke and was admitted to the hospital with no family allowed to visit. ?

  40. Wishing Dale and your family Healing thoughts and prayers for you all during this time. He is so strong it may take time but he will pull through this.

  41. I’m sitting here crying like an idiot (I’m doing that a lot lately) reading this. Thank goodness Dale is okay, but what an awful thing to happen, heaped on top of all the other horrors going on. Thinking of you and sending virtual hugs to you both.

  42. Oh, my goodness! Sending you healing thoughts and prayers for Dale’s recovery and yours as well. I’m so glad that he is on the mend and that his injuries aren’t life-threatening. You will get through this and he will hopefully be home soon. Be gentle with yourself in the coming days.

  43. So sorry to hear this! I can imagine the trauma you’re going through since you don’t get to process beyond your love being taken away to the hospital. I hope you can visit him soon, or even better that he will be allowed to go home soon. Sending healing thoughts and wishing you all the strength you need!

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