Lynn. P. Penner
The dreaded phone call had been worrisome yet never materialized. My husband drives a transport truck for a living, and naturally he is in the face of danger every time he closes that cab door and starts hauling. On the highways he risks his life, as do others, and I have an ear toward the phone for him and a prayer on my breath. No wife wants the dreaded phone call.
He went to a music jam this particular night on a farm, Saturday May 26th, 2019. He learned to play his bass and felt excited to jam. I wished him well and looked forward to bingeing on Netflix and falling asleep in front of the TV.
Later, I never felt sleepy at all. Highly unusual not to see my environment and Grey’s Anatomy through hooded lids and fuzzy focus. For reasons unbeknownst to myself, I went upstairs to use the washroom though I had one downstairs.
The landline rang. Uh oh. No one calls at 11 p.m.
“Hello, Lynn? You don’t know me, I’m Wayne, but I know your husband. Bill’s okay, but he’s been hurt bad, real bad chunk from his head. An ambulance is on the way, he’s talking, he’s okay.”
Wayne’s frenzied speech didn’t sound okay.
My chest felt heavy with the weight of my heart. I said, I’d go directly to the hospital and hung up after thanking Wayne for calling me. I felt the echoes of thumping and the swishes of anxiety bleeding gushes in my ears, and my hands were unsteady. With the phone call barely finished, I ordered a taxi—then felt my chest get heavier yet as I never asked which hospital. He could have been closer to London (Ont.) than St. Thomas. With that thought bang, bang, banning in my head, I stumbled outside to wait anyway, my mind reeling with thoughts of what could have happened to my husband, and hoping I headed in the right direction when I told the cabbie to head to St. Thomas Elgin General. I never thought to call back and ask Wayne which hospital.
Upon my arrival, triage confirmed he had arrived. I felt impatient waiting to be told I could go join my husband. My frustration built asking permission repeatedly to join him and being told he was not in a room. I had to wait. My cell rang, my husband.
I didn’t wait for him to greet me. “Luvy? My God, are you okay?”
“I’m in the hospital, Kitty. Hurt myself.”
“I know, I’m here too!”
“You are? What happened to you?”
“No, no— I’m waiting for triage to let me in. I’ll see you soon, don’t worry, I’m here!”
Still, they said I had to wait. I did wait. I waited for a someone to go in or come out of those locked double doors then I looked left, right, like I was stealing the last cookie—and zipped through like a ninja and sprinted down the hall. Hearing voices, I stepped into the room Bill had just arrived in. Six medical staff were with him. The lights were incredibly bright. I could smell blood, see it, lots of it down his left side, pooled on the floor. They had him sitting. The six zipped with purpose; they moved like ballerinas, sure of when to glide and when to spin, and where to stop. I slipped in between spins and made myself small in a corner chair and called out to Billy assuring him I would stay.
One of the doctors asked, “Are you okay about blood?
“I binge on Grey’s Anatomy, I’m okay, yes.”
“Within the wound is a hole and a puddle of blood. You’re not a fainter?”
“Nope,” I shook my head. “I’m Good.”
“C’mon here then and have a look at this.”
The wound was a scalping of an area about three inches square. Skip the remainder of this paragraph if you’re a fainter: No hair, no scalp, but ragged, scooped out flesh made enough blood made a puddle splash on the floor when mixture of six medical staff rushed back and forth through it. This within the scalped area, an inch deep hole, about half an inch wide. A puddle of blood pooled in it. Like a watermelon after a deep spoon-sized chunk—that raw, that soft. I was not sickened by the wound or excess blood, I only prayed Billy would get through the procedure without fainting or feeling hysterical. I knew I’d hold up. I am a rock during crisis, I thank God for that trait. Strange rectangular hole. I’ll never forget it.
I said, “Yup, it’s pretty pool-y in there.” They laughed, likely because they were relieved it didn’t make me pale, still only one patient to deal with. I went back to the chair and tucked my feet in and said no more except to reassure my hubby I would be right there. At certain points I could grab his hand and give a squeeze.
Stitches and stables were used to fix his remaining scalp back in place. Under the Twilight Zone anesthetic, Ketamine and Propofol, he felt nothing, and hilarious yet strange, he talked like a British celebrity, Kieth Richards. The accent as well as the slang terms they use, I kid you not. He kept cracking jokes, laughing, and letting the staff do what needed to be done. Humour; prayers answered. They put him back together as well as they could, then took him for a CT scan. Anyway, we hailed a cab at 5 a.m. to go home, relieved as his cognitive abilities were intact.
My hubby had a thing to say about the fall. He walked in the dark after being directed to pee “over there” on the farmland. He looked at his watch feeling it was time to go home. At that very moment he tumbled into an old loading dock, said he remembered falling and thinking this would throw a wrench into his night. He laid on his side only a fraction of a second when he heard a strong voice, which was not really a voice, hard to explain. The ‘voice’ firmly told him he had to get up and go to find the people. It was so profound he got up right away and stumbled to the people who sat him down and put pressure on his scalp, asking him questions to see how alert he was or was not. Of course he was terrified as he had felt the blood gush down his side when he got up from the fall.
He tells me or anyone the same exact thing about being told to get up. Furthermore, he had no pain either. I suppose since he said that voice which was not discerned to be male or female could have been an angel. Even the fall itself didn’t break his neck and kill him or leave him crippled. This is a miracle to me. I’m fascinated every time he tells me all this.
Just before the sun came up we stood together and waited for a cab. He talked clearly, and now without the British accent during anesthetic.
The following day I had the Care Partners nurses teach me the procedure of dressing his wound. I’m a quick study for these kinds of things. Going forward, I’d care for my husband alone, dressing his wound and checking for signs of infection day by day. At first, from certain angles, it literally looked like a bite out of an apple. I never told him that.
Everything had to be entirely sterile. Yurek Pharmacy supplied everything needed. The kits were generous with more supplies than I imagined I’d need.
I studied this deep wound with enthusiasm—I’d have the honour of watching it heal. The snap of sterile gloves, the metallic clinks of tools I needed spread out on a paper sterile field, became common sounds.
Sympathy for a man who had had a full head of hair convinced me to make it happen—hair growth. I have enough faith—like a whole mustard tree, never mind the seed, so I asked Jesus’ favour for my husband’s wound to heal fully, hair and all. Although the plastic surgeon and ER doctor had told him hair wouldn’t come in past the outer area, and the deep wound would take at least two months to fill in level with his remaining scalp, I stood in faith.
I must mention, on May 28, two days after the accident, I took off the gauze turban thing to discover a clear gel-like substance had filled in the wound level with the rest of his scalp! It fascinated me! Two days! Two months? Phssst! I told my husband, “You won’t believe it, but it’s healed level with this gel type substance! Billy, every cell knows its job and this is going to heal well and it won’t take long. Something is going to happen in this gel-like stuff filling in the scooped out area!”
“Is this normal? What’s happening? Is it okay?” He wanted to know. I assured him I had never seen such a thing, but it looked amazing.
I inspected it closely, careful not to touch it with my gloved fingers or the dressing I had prepared. Something happened, I felt shocked at what I saw, and I assumed it was good. Could a healing prayer be answered so fast? Really? All I had said was, Jesus, we need help for this to heal, thanks, I trust you.
Meanwhile, The plastic surgeon had told Billy he would heal, but it would take a month with a skin graft, and two months without it. He would not approach looking normal in any less than two months—if it healed well. But my husband didn’t want more procedures, he opted to let it go naturally. And so it was. As it healed from inside out, stitch knots appeared! I used stitch removing scissors and eventually stitches were all pulled and removed. I admit that was fun for me. I guess I should have went for the medical field.
Not long after, teeny hair-like wisps were forming inside of it. It took me a minute… veins! They looked like tiny streets with feathery narrow roads forming off them. Their red colour meant oxygen flowed! Later, the plastic surgeon felt pleased by the progress, told him to leave off dressings and cover the wound with antibiotic ointment. Billy mended substantially day by day.
By July, many veins had completed themselves, and there were blue ones pink ones and red ones, some which grew into arteries. And this took place in a month, not two or more. Man, God is a healer, not a hurter. Ya just gotta ask.
By the end of July the gel had turned flesh colour all through. I peered through a magnifying glass. I had to know, I had to see so I could tell my husband what I suspected. I saw thousands, it seems, of needle-like holes! Some holes formed and waited for hair, other holes held the beginning of hair all through, not only the outer edges where the plastic surgeon said he’d recover hair!
I told him, “I knew it! Ask and you shall receive! It’s hair and it’s coming in everywhere!”
“I won’t be able to see it—I wanna see!” he said.
Unfortunately, the angle of the wound proved too hard to see in a mirror.
“Gimme your finger, and lightly touch this,” I said. I aimed his index finger and he felt the growth. He felt taken aback, but elated. We did this often as more hair grew.
August lent itself to growing hair. His hair came in curly, not too much different than the rest, just thinner. What looked like a large bite out of his head, entirely visible with ragged edges, has grown back neatly as if nothing happened.
I involved myself so heavily into making sure everything was sterile, wrapping dressings so they wouldn’t fall off, and reassuring my husband my faith would aid in healing, I didn’t take daily pictures for progress. In September we marvelled at the hair, the whole healing—the miracle of faith at work.
But his isn’t the biggest miracle. Watch this! In the hospital the night of his fall, they put hi through a CT scan. Results showed a “spot” on his brain. An MRI needed to be done to identify it. When the MRI results in late April, 2020 showed he had a tumour mass encasing his pituitary glad, a surgery date would be set; however Coronavirus hit before this could be booked. Wait for it….
We we told there were eight others needing brain surgeries before Bill could be helped. It ended up to be the most tense time of waiting as his eyesight was in jeopardy. The medical team warned him to go to the hospital immediately if a severe headache erupted, or if his eyesight changed even a bit. Great tension surrounded this. I kept reminding myself Jesus wouldn’t let him sink, after all, if it weren’t for the fall, no one would’ve even known of this beast in his brain. Mustard tree faith, I had to keep calm for my husband.
We took the wait a day at a time with hopes he wouldn’t lose his vision or have a debilitating headache calling for emergency measures when operating rooms were closed for the most part.
I talked to the Healer, asked him to please make everything all right, and thanking or the healing so far. Day by day….
Watch this! Monday June 22nd, 2020 at 8 a.m, the phone rang. On the other side of the receiver she identified herself and asked if Bill would like surgery the next day. She said they were just beginning to open up and his name came up. Did I say they had originally told us August or September? I never questioned how Bill skipped to the top, because I know nothing is impossible with God. Surgery dates, incredibly fast healing of the scalp wound, all of it. I called Bill at work, and phoned back to say yes, we’ll be there at 6 a,m. as requested.
Dropping Billy off in London at University Hospital and having to leave him and drive back to St. Thomas hurt, but seriously, three months ahead of time? Wow! I couldn’t be there with our daughter to see him wake. I did all right waiting for the surgeon to call and tell me Billy made it through. I paced a lot, I prayed a lot. Then about four hours later the call came. I pressed the receiver to my ear so hard hoping to hear good news. And it was!
Here’s the other thing. The first MRI showed the mass to be in a difficult spot. It was said he’s have to go back for more surgeries to keep cutting it as it grew. But the MRI shortly before the surgery looked much different! The mass somehow became in a good place and the doctor felt the team could get all of it, no problem. They went through his nasal cavity to extract it.
The doctor revealed to me they got all the mass they could see and felt the he was was clear with no complications which were risky and scary: a possibility an main artery could have been lanced, he could have lost his vision instantly. Success! How great is that?
However, understandably, by June 30th, Billy became disheartened alone in his room save for a nurse’s check up visit and a doctors report, he sunk down. I couldn’t cheer him. It was impossible. Well, by this time all our Facebook peeps are praying, sending good vibes, and caring tremendously, so something happened because I posted, “Billy needs help.”
My hubby phoned me to say a nurse practitioner who looked exactly like Seth Rogan, an actor whom he likes very much, had come into his room and greeted him with “How’s it going, buddy?” So Bill told him how he felt the staff take care of his illness, but not him and he felt awfully homesick. The man explained to him what the tests meant, and why it would be dangerous to let him go in said condition. Healing was being done, but even miracles are not always instant. Then Billy asked who sent him in. The man said it had been no one, he just felt to go to Bill’s room. I do not believe in coincidences. After all, what are the chances of this lookalike helper after I posted Bill needed help and peeps prayed?
All is well. He came home in God’s time, not mine, not Billy’s. Also, he came home with no more bone spur in his nose. He had assumed a deviated septum, and had difficulty breathing from that side. All gone. I’ve noticed over the years of my faith that God always does multiple things with what we think is only one thing to be done. It’s just how He works. Being thankful for everything gets prayers answered, so I will keep on telling God thanks. And I think Bill must be one of those apples in God’s eye, ‘cause he sure got taken care of.
Thanks for reading.