My goodness, I can’t believe Collin has already been home longer than he was in the hospital and rehab combined. It has been nearly 3 months since the accident. This is the first post I’ve made since Collin came home.
Sunday morning our church had a special service called Celebration Sunday. The main part of the service was testimonies of people whose lives have been changed by First Baptist Dallas in the past year. All of the people have come to or come back to our church in the last year, except for us. Our pastor said this service was like an annual share holders meeting where the corporation reports on the profits of the year. All the people on the stage represent investments by the corporation.
We were asked about sharing a testimony of God’s goodness in this service when Collin was still at Parkland. We agreed to do it and were scared from that moment until this very morning. We went to two practice sessions where we got to try our speech and flub up in front of a small group of equally nervous church members
Some of you may know I have stuttered since I was in second grade. It has gotten much better over the years and now usually only challenges me when I’m talking on the phone. My grade school through high school years were really bad at times for oral reports or having to read out loud. Talking in class was never a problem – ha. I got plenty of notes sent home for being too talkative. I could even talk in front of a class if I was allowed to chose my words and structure the sentences the way I wanted. Anyway, that has always been an issue and a fear. Do you think Satan used that old fear this time around? Yeah! Duh! I almost backed out twice but I kept praying Joshua 1: 9 - Be strong and courageous, do not tremble or be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you where ever you go. Even up on stage in front of a few thousand people in a worship service that will be broadcast live on the internet and taped for television broadcast? Yes, even then
This is not all about me. It is about how God and God alone gives us the strength to do the things He calls us to do. Lois and I (and all the others on stage) spoke at all three worship services on Sunday morning. The whole service was wonderful and such a God- honoring event. I did not stutter, not even one little bit. My throat never tightened up or anything. Originally we were not sure if Collin was going to be there with us. But as God planned it, Collin was there, standing beside us. How awesome!
Monday: Collin worked for 2 hours at Chick-fil-A doing paperwork in the office and attending a meeting. This was the second or third time he attended the weekly staff meeting since coming home.
Tuesday: I took Collin to Baylor for two hours of rehab.
Wednesday: Lois finished packing her bags and ran away with PTA friends to Austin for an annual conference and training event. That evening, Collin and I went to church and were interviewed for an hour all about the experiences surrounding December 3, 2008. That was a neat experience. Collin and I both hope that our answers and attitudes reflect our praise to God for His mercy and everlasting love and to all our family and friends that helped us so much. Lots of people at church are being interviewed for some new radio commercials regarding our church. Janey’s friend Sarah came with us to church again.
Friday: Bradley is our middle child and he is not usually in the limelight. He is usually the one that is reading a book or playing video games. With a very out spoken mom and dad as well as older and younger siblings, Brad does not mind letting someone else do all the talking. Well, he is in bright lights for this next paragraph. While he is usually the most compliant and obedient child, he has his father’s tendency to sort of get wrapped up in a book or project and forget about the rest of the world. You know how parents love school pictures even when kids hate them? Brad somehow missed the picture taking at school this year. He was in hot water with Momma. He had a chance to redeem himself when it was time for band pictures. He plays the baritone. He had the form and the check in his pocket and took them to school. He is not sure what happened….but he missed that picture taking too. (Lois does not know that part yet, not until she reads it on the blog.) I found out about this missed opportunity while Lois was in Austin on her PTA trip. I found the picture order form and check in his room while he was at school. I grilled Bradley in the car after school and told him he was going to call Wal-Mart photo studio and make an appointment for himself and he was going to wear his band uniform in Wal-Mart and carry his horn into Wal-Mart and I might even make him PLAY that horn! I was a bit heated. All of that is way out of his comfort zone but he did not argue at all. Thursday night at 7 pm was our appointment. Something happened and we forgot all about it until nearly bedtime….oops. I called and made another appointment for Friday night. We made it to the Friday night appointment alright. He convinced me to let him carry his band jacket instead of wear it and he did not play his horn either. The pictures should be ready in a couple weeks. We’ll see how happy Momma is.
Collin, oh, yeah….him. He is doing so well. He should be totally released from the walker next week. He is so excited. He has been cheating a little bit here and there. At home he uses it some when he is tired but during the afternoon, he makes trips to the bathroom or kitchen sans the walker. He got caught one time and busted big time. Lois had taken him to Baylor and dropped him off at the door. He was using his walker like a good boy until something on the sidewalk got in his way. He proceeded to pick up the walker, walk past the problem carrying the walker then resume using it. When he got inside Baylor he was mighty surprised to see his physical therapist Joanna standing there watching him through the window! Busted. A few weeks ago he was kicked out of the aquatic therapy class because he had already maxed out his recovery until he can bear full weight. He is still limited to 50% weight bearing on his right leg and right arm. After about 4 weeks of physical and occupational therapy, they cut back his visits from 3 per week to 2 per week and now they are just 1 per week because he has maxed out what he can do until he can bear full weight. That is just great news. He is totally through with his speech and cognitive therapy classes. Once he is allowed to put full weight on his arm and leg, oooo watch out. They said his recovery will skyrocket and so will the pain for a while.
Saturday: Janey and school friend Sarah went to the movies and Sarah spent the night. Collin went out for lunch and dinner with some friends and had a blast.
I will try to fill in some of the blanks of the last weeks in the next additions of At Home Updates. Attached is a picture of Collin and Leigh on Valentine’s Day.
Thank you all for your continued prayers. Please pray for continued mobility of his right foot and big toe particularly - when he puts on his shoe, the big toe just sort of folds up instead of staying out straight. Who ever knew what a pain that could be? He normally walks with a brace strapped to his leg that helps lift his foot. It works great. His headaches are pretty regular and normally pretty controllable with the medicine. But occasionally he will have a real doozey that throbs for several hours and robs him of sleep. He is gaining his weight back and the swelling continues to go down in his face.
Thank you so much for the meals many of you have brought and the phone calls and emails. Our God is indeed the One, True, Living God. To Him be the glory forever more.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted March 8, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
This morning is the memorial service for Bill Westbrook, Lois’ mom’s boyfriend. It was held at a little, tiny church in far south Mesquite. We packed the pews and praised God for a man whose life honored God through his service and volunteer work. It was bittersweet for Reba to say good bye to her friend, sad to see him go but so glad the pain stopped. I sat there in the pew and thanked God for Bill’s life and especially the last eight years that he and Reba were such good friends. I felt guilty that I was thankful we were not there to bury my son.
Leigh leaves tomorrow to go back to school in Denton at UNT. Neither Collin nor she are real happy about that. Her parents planned a little get together this afternoon so Lois Took Collin to the Jones’ house after lunch. Collin had fun seeing members of Leigh’s family and her poodle, Coco. Collin and Leigh stopped by the CFA Mesquite on their way back to our house, of course, for a quick hello to whatever coworkers Collin would encounter. He saw several friends and some customers he had not seen for a while. They came up and hugged his neck and told him they’d been praying for him and missed him so much.
Later in the afternoon Lois and I were sitting in the kitchen. We saw Collin scoot down the hallway with his walker. We stopped what we were doing and listened. He must be going toward the bathroom. Yep, we heard the sound of the hard plastic riser rattling around. “Go help him,” Lois said. Nope, not unless he asks. The plastic seat bangs to floor and hits the tub. “Go help.” “No, he’ll ask if he needs it.” Finally the bathroom door slams shut. Victory, he did it by himself. We smiled at each other and laughed as we remembered an independent, blond haired toddler learning to use the little potty chair by himself and being so very proud. Gosh, can that really be so many years ago?
Janey came home this afternoon from Katelyn’s house. She had a fun time being silly with friends. Thank God for friends. Bradley and I grouted the master bathroom last night and we reinstalled the toilet today. Janey took a little paint brush and painted the nail heads on the molding in the bathroom and the entryway. I know she and Bradley think some of the odd jobs I give them are so minor but man alive, those little jobs help me so much.
Tonight Lois and I were lying in bed talking. “What’s that noise?” Lois asked. I heard nothing of course. Then I heard it. Was it our toilet running? No. It sounded like someone boiling water in our bathroom. Of course that was not the answer but that is what I offered to Lois. She elbowed me and laughed. We got up and tiptoed to our door. We walked down the dark hallway and peeked around the corner as Collin was trying to get into the bathroom. Collin looked up at us just as Janey opened her bedroom door and sleepily looked around. “Hey, can’t a guy go to the bathroom without the whole family watching?” Collin said. Of course by now Lois and I were laughing about boiling water. Janey shook her head and closed her door. Collin shook his head and closed the bathroom door.
Boiling water? I don’t know. That’s how the walker sounded scooting down the hallway.
Please continue to pray for wacky senses of humor and lots of patience. Those two things are getting us through these days. Collin is getting more and more flexible. His strength and stamina are improving so much.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 22, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Cousin Jen Hunt came to visit Collin this morning. She sat up on Collin’s bed and they talked and laughed for over an hour. Then they went out to grab some lunch. No more cream of wheat and Ensure, it’s Whataburger today! It is neat to see the cousins getting to be adults and enjoying each other’s company so much.
After his day of rehab yesterday, Collin was very content to hang out in bed all day. We’ll have to remedy that later on. Late in the afternoon a few of us heard a mumbled noise from the living room. A “help” or “hey” and some metal clanking. Leigh and I both ran and found a sleepy-eyed Collin grabbing onto the walker tightly. “I tried to go up the step too fast and I was still half asleep but I had to go to the bathroom bad.” By the end of his sentence he was laughing so we did too. It was a little scary. He had not placed the legs of the walker fully up onto the step before he tried to take a step up. He stumbled backward but somehow caught his balance. He got the message without me saying anything….please be careful!
Lois’s mom, “Grandmother” came to visit Collin and give him some sugars. Lois took Janey and cleaned a house then dropped off Janey at her friend Katelyn’s house in Plano for a sleep over. Yea for Janey. Yea for us. It has been so nice for Bradley and Janey to get to spend time with friends. On the way home from cleaning a house, Lois picked up some Pizza Hut pizza for dinner. Yum.
Afterward, we decided to head to Wal-Mart for a few groceries and to make Collin get out and move around. Collin was excited to have a real reason to finally drive one of the Wal-Mart scooters. He hopped in and was on his way! Lois and I pitched our coats in the basket on the front of the scooter and he and Leigh were off in a flash. They did not need us to help them get the things on Collin’s list. I heard them laughing at one point. I peeked on the next aisle over. They were laughing because Collin had a big, heavy, gallon jug of Apple Juice in his hands. He was trying to get it in the basket but thought it would slow down his scooter. He begged me to put it in my shopping cart. Just two kids being goofy.
We finished shopping, paid for everything and headed out to the car. It was pretty cold so we got in the car in a hurry. We got home and Lois asked me for her set of car keys. When we left the house, Lois started the car with her keys but I drove. When we got to Wal-Mart, I put her keys in my coat pocket. When we got to the car, I reached into my coat pocket in a hurry, pulled out my own set of keys and we went home. Good grief. Where were the keys? I thought I must have dropped hers on the ground when I pulled out my own….so maybe they were still on the parking lot. I called Wal-Mart. Nope, no one turned in any lost keys. Crud. Brad and I drove up there with a big million-candle flashlight. We looked in the parking space but found nada. We checked at the service desk. Sure enough someone had found them on the floor in the store. I guess they fell out when Collin and Leigh we being goofs. Anyway, no big deal. I consider it pretty lucky to have lost ANYTHING in that gigantic store and have someone find it and turn it in.
I’ve told you a little about our crazy Corgi, Lulu. She loves to play fetch but she plays it differently than most dogs. You kick a ball and she chases after it, she brings it back and tosses it at you. Seriously. She stops a few feet in front of you and with the ball in her mouth, she throws her head up and tosses the ball to you. If the ball does not land close enough and you stand there long enough, she will pick it up and toss it closer to you. Then she scoots back, ready to run after it. I got a good video of Collin standing with his walker playing ball with Lulu. There is one problem. She hates cameras, we think because of the flash. But even if the flash is off, she will run and hide if she sees a camera. At the end of this video, Lulu realizes I am filming her. She drops the ball and runs to hide.
Who ever thought that such a normal thing as going to Wal-Mart and playing fetch with a dog would be the big, fun things on a Friday night for an 18 year old?
Thanking God for our slow return to normalcy.
Thanking all of you for praying and caring.
NOTE: I AM TRYING TO GET THE VIDEO OF LULU POSTED. I WILL LET YOU KNOW WHEN IT IS POSTED.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 22, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I spent the morning with Collin back at Rehab. We got out of the house on time. As we got on the I-30, heading downtown, Collin told me to be sure and get on the HOV lane since he was in the car with me, that way we would zoom past all the morning traffic. Zoom we did, buzzing right past hundreds of cars inching along. About half way to downtown, something occurred to me. The HOV lane does not end until way past the exit we need to take. Great day in the morning! I told Collin his HOV idea was not so good. We zipped all the way downtown then doubled back to Baylor on side streets and we still got to Baylor early. If we’d stayed on the highway, we would have been late. So maybe that was not such a bad idea.
The therapists did a mixture of evaluating his current status and pushing him to try some new things. Nearly each of them made the same comment- I can’t believe how good you are doing based on what the charts say, what surgeries you had and the description of the accident.
We got back home and Collin Andrew was worn out so he took a little nap. Leigh came over after her shift at the downtown Chick-fil-A. Sometimes her smile can lighten his mood and take away the grumpiness, sometimes not. From the pictures, you saw how we separated the living room from the dining room with the sheets. At one point this afternoon, Collin was being a grump and Leigh had an idea. She went behind the curtain of sheets and did a mock puppet show with her hands over the top. That made him laugh. Then she did a shadow puppet show of the worst dog shadow I’ve ever seen. We all cracked up. While we were being silly, Lois and Bradley were hard at work fixing a favorite - potato cheese soup.
Tonight is bath night for Collin. At Baylor he got a shower every other day so we are keeping the same schedule for now. It is his first chance take a shower at home with the new shower chair we got him - - woo-hoo! I cleared out the bathroom- the bath mat, shampoo bottles in the shower, even the towels on the bar that he might brush against. I think I should have left the towels there. As he inched backward into the shower, he whacked his hand on the bare towel bar and split open a scab on his knuckle. Ouch, big ouch. But the warm bathroom was nice and the shower did great. He said it was nice to shower at home, being helped by me instead of strangers, even if some of them were nice looking young ladies.
I’ve gotta wonder where I’m at in life when the thought goes through my head that maybe we should hang on to that shower chair. Lois assured me that by the time she or I need one of those, they will be much improved – maybe with a built in shampoo dispenser or reclining back support.
It sure is easier to go visit Collin now, just a couple steps down the hall. But hey, where is Debbie or Diedra or Phebe or Kandi to give him his midnight eye drops or 6 a.m. pain meds? Where is Wayne or Divine or Aaron to make his bed, bring him his food and answer that bell he now rings for help? Oh yeah, that’s us. Why did we want him home so badly? Because it is nice to be able to go see him whenever we want and to be able to crawl up there in bed with him and talk to him. And besides all that, Lulu gets to visit her boy too. She has really missed him. It is funny how he is so tolerant of her 20 lbs jumping all over his bed and arms and legs. He hides under his pillow and laughs. Okay, THAT is reason enough to bring that brat home.
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 21, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Gee whiz, the BIG DAY is finally here….the day Collin goes home. Wow. Today is six weeks after the accident, to the day. I remember when he was first in the ER, I thought: hmm, I guess he’s going to be moving back home for a while. When I saw him struggle those first few days with physical therapy, I thought we’d be at Parkland for a couple months then in Rehab for the same length of time. I never thought he’d be home in six weeks. I think sometimes it does not fully hit Collin or maybe it does and he is smart to not show it. So many nurses, doctors and therapists have told us something to the effect of I looked at your charts, I’ve seen these kinds of injuries before and I cannot believe how well you are doing. When the people that do this job for a living and see injured patients all the time say that, it has merit.
We dropped of Brad and Janey at school early. Lois and I got to Baylor Rehab early. We saw a string of nurses and administrators, we received lots of paperwork and Collin signed lots of forms. Then…..he was free.
He will go back three days a week for rehab, probably three to four hours each day. We learned about a program called DARS, funded by the state that might be able to offer him additional physical therapy for returning to work and school. DARS may also be able to assist him in paying for school. One of the therapists said DARS is interested in helping patients with school expenses who have a lot of drive and determination, who will become good tax payers. Collin assured her that he has plans of making lots of money and paying lots of taxes.
While we were seeing nurses, etc, Lois got a call from our neighbors waiting for the bed to be delivered. Sure enough, Lois was right. No one had called Lois to let her know the furniture guys were on the way and they showed up. Our neighbor was keeping a watch out her front door and happen to see the delivery truck sitting in front of our house. She jumped into action and let them in our house. The delivery guys tried to get away without assembling the frame, but our neighbor made sure they did their job completely as the salesman assured us they would.
We got home with Collin shortly after noon. He laid down on the bed and was very pleased with his purchase. Jim and Sharon from next door came over to visit. They’ve done so much for us. We are so thankful for them. Lois picked up Bradley from school after his exams then got some Whataburger for lunch. We ate lunch and Collin was getting tired.
Lois made the bed and Collin was ready for a nap. Bradley and I went to the storage unit where Collin’s stuff is being kept. We retrieved the bedspread and a few things Collin wanted.
After a couple hours’ nap, Collin woke up and decided he really wanted El Fenix for dinner. He had not been to a restaurant in a really long time. There are far more handicapped people than I ever imagined. Getting a close place up front was not happening. This was the first outing for Collin to a public place besides Chick-fil-A. People were very polite, held doors open and got out of his way as he rolled in his wheelchair. A few kids and adults looked at him a bit longer than normal. One elderly gentleman walked by the wheelchair and put his hand on it to brace himself. Collin felt the push on the chair and looked around puzzled. He watched his painful right foot anytime someone got close to the wheelchair. A lot of that will just take getting used to. Dinner was great- the food, the environment, the fellowship.
We have a family joke that Lois can’t go anywhere without seeing someone she knows. Just ask our neighbor Dallas, she’ll confirm it. Ha. It has been rumored that Lois can talk to a complete stranger and within minutes find common friends. Well sure enough at El Fenix we ran into a church/ school friend.
It was really nice to all be home together at bed time. Well it was nice after all the…is your homework done, did you make your lunch, brush your teeth, pick up that towel, hey I said get in bed. You know. It was very nice to not have to drive home to go to bed or drive to Baylor in the morning to…wait. Did I tell you? Collin has rehab in the morning at 9:00. I’m serious, not even a day off for good behavior. Oh well that’s a good thing. Keep that boy moving.
Several friends and family have offered to bring food earlier during our hospital stay. It was so crazy and we were here and there all the time. But now we are all home and it would be great if some of you want to bring us some dinner. That would be so welcome. Please give our executive planner a call, that’d be Lois. Her cell is 214-642-8161.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 20, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Lois talked to furniture people this morning about the bed being delivered tomorrow. We won’t be at home during the morning. We will be at the hospital getting Collin so our neighbors Jim and Sharon will let the men into our house to deliver and assemble the frame and bed. She gave the furniture people her cell phone and asked them to call her when they were on the way. Somehow Lois just knows this will not go as planned.
At some point in the afternoon I was not looking and the What If Monster grabbed me. I looked outside and for a second I thought I saw Collin’s old car. Just a weird deja vu kind of thing. Then it hit me. Why? Why did all this have to happen? Why him? Why us? Was he going to be okay? My job was really starting to gel and now I’m taking a month off. Why? I sat down and had a small party for myself. It did not last too long. I wanted to talk to Collin. I called him. He sounded busy. I did not care. I told him I was just having a stupid moment of questioning things. He heard the tenor of my voice and told me what I needed to hear. “Dad, don’t let yourself ask those questions. God is in control and that’s all that matters. Don’t do that to yourself. I’m not letting myself ask those questions either.” Okay. I’m good now. I told him thanks and I’d see him tomorrow.
This evening Lois went to Baylor to pack up as much of Collin’s stuff as she could. I stayed home. Ah…life really is returning to normal. I have homework again. Since Janey missed the last couple days before Christmas break, she had to complete a project on A Christmas Carol. We worked on that together while I helped Bradley by proof reading a research paper on Mozart.
A couple weeks ago Lois got hit with two verses from 2 Corinthians in the same day. Two different friends shared 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 with her. Here is the passage from two different translations.
9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
When Lois first told me about the passage, I was not listening carefully. I thought she was talking about one of my favorite passages from I Corinthians 10:13 about how much testing we can endure. Later when I looked up the passage she told me, I realized my mistake. I love the first part, “My grace if sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Boy there was sure plenty of weakness here for God to work in and God has indeed shown Himself so true – His grace is sufficient. And my passage from I Corinthians fits right with that – He has not given us more than we can bear. He always gives us enough grace for the moment.
I had always read the last part of Lois’ passage with the understanding of a Christian suffering for Christ, like being thrown in prison or maybe ridiculed at school or work. I did not see the correlation with what Collin is going through. I put it aside in my mind. Later that day I thought over it again a couple times. The next day I was talking to someone about how all that matters is that God be praised through this, whatever happens, He is due praise. If one person comes to know who Jesus Christ is because of Collin’s wreck, injuries and healing, then so be it, it is all worth it.
Then it hit me….”I take pleasure in infirmities,…in needs, in distresses for Christ’s sake.” If Collin endures these injuries and Christ is praised through it, then it is for “Christ’s sake.” This situation gave me a whole new understanding of that passage, a different meaning than I could have ever had before. Collin is suffering for Christ’s sake if he gives God the praise and takes the opportunities to share Jesus with others because of the injuries.
Lois came home from Baylor with lots of clothes and snacks and decorations. The move tomorrow will be much easier now. Here are some pictures of the living room turned bedroom sans the bed.
Thanksgiving and praise be to God.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 20, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
This week will be stressful for the two younger Bufords: besides Collin coming home Wednesday to rock their world some more, Janey has six week tests and Bradley has semester exams.
This morning early a friend named Benjamin “Bill” Westbrook said good bye to us and hello to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, hello to his wife Bobbie, to his friend Bill and many other friends in heaven. This gets confusing so hang on. Many, many years ago, Lois’ daddy Belton Jones (also called Bill) was in the Merchant Marines and met a young guy named Bill Westbrook. They became friends and before long Lois’ daddy had told the other Bill and his young wife Bobbie about Jesus. Both of them became Christians because of the influence of their friend Bill Jones. When Bill got out of the military he married Lois’ mom Reba. The two couples were friends for many years. Twelve years ago, Lois’ daddy passed from this life to heaven. A few years later Lois’ mom Reba started looking up old friends. Bill Westbrook was one of them. His wife Bobbie had also died a few years earlier. For eight years Reba and her new Bill were great friends. They went dancing regularly at local VFWs and frequented the Braum’s near Reba’s house. Bill loved to have scrambled eggs for dinner and listen to old music he taped onto cassettes. It was so great to see Mom enjoying life again. Everyone teased her about her new “Bill” and the fact that both her Bills were not really named Bill at all. The past several months Bill Westbrook was pretty sick and last night he finally got his pass to go home. He took it.
I did not see Collin all day today and only talked to him on the phone once for a few minutes. He is looking forward to coming home but is a little scared about the transition and adjustment. Lois talked to him a couple times also. He did not need anything. When she asked him if we should come visit, he asked why. We stayed home.
I know this time is tough and coming home is going to be tough too. He’ll be unsure of his environment for a couple days and need us often. He will get his bearings straight and learn how to maneuver through the bathroom doorways. His strength will increase daily and his friends will stop by. He’ll need us less. I try to remember my own independence struggles and assure Lois it will be okay. I loved my parents but did not show it well many times…perhaps most times while living at home those last few months. And when I moved out, I’m sure I sort of abandoned them. I was very content to not call home and not visit. I did not miss them, not like I did when I moved out the first time as a freshman at A&M. Lois lived at home until we got married. She was 18 when we first met, 19 on our first date and barely 20 when we married. She did not have that “gotta move out of my parents’ house” attitude. She did not feel that need to separate herself from her parents and go through that struggle, that tearing process. It is hard sometimes for her to understand this in her child.
When I get discouraged at times like this, I remember the discussion Collin and I had at his bedside the night before his 16 hour face surgery. He was pretty concerned about the next day. I told him all the gory details. I did not want him to wake up in Recovery and wonder why he could not open his eyes and why there were tubes in his mouth.
After that he got quiet. He was concerned about how the car accident and his injuries affected Lois and I right at the start. He looked at me and asked, “When did y’all know I was okay? What did you know at first? Did you know I was not dead? Did you think I was going to die?” I told him how when we first got the call from Cameron at Chick-fil-A that Collin had been in a bad car wreck and was being Care Flighted to Baylor we knew he was alive, his injuries must be severe since he was being flown but we had no idea of the any details. We just tried to not do too much guessing. Paralyzed? Limbs missing? What? That What If Monster crawled out of its pit for the first time. Collin and I both had tears in our eyes when I was telling him this. I swear the air in his hospital room go real thick and hard to breathe.
Then I told him how we got to Baylor and were waiting several minutes…..long enough for the helicopter to arrive….the nurse was trying to find out where Collin was, she was trying to reach dispatch. Allen Lynch and Dr. Davis from church showed up and prayed with us. Then Lori and Linda from the downtown Chick-fil-A arrived. I think Lois’ mom and sister came showed up just before the nurse came out, put her arm around Lois. She said the helicopter had taken Collin to Parkland. That made our hearts jump. The nurse told Lois she did not really know why, but maybe it was because Baylor was real busy right now and Parkland was not. I told Collin we still did not know anything about his injuries but knowing he was headed to Parkland was a double-edged sword. His injuries must be bad but there is no better place to be for trauma medicine.
I told him how we left Mom’s car at Baylor and I drove to Parkland. I put on my hazards and ran some red lights carefully. As we turned into the medical complex off Harry Hines Lois’ phone rang. It was the Care Flight nurse. She told Lois that Collin had a broken arm, broken leg and was conscious. He was okay. I told Collin that was a huge relief.
Then we saw him in the ER room. That was awful, his face so swollen and covered in blood and dirt. His broken arm was like a piece of spaghetti when the nurse picked it up to take x-rays. I showed Collin pictures I took with my phone. He just stared at them. He could not believe that is what we first saw. I told him how he could not talk but he could squeeze our hands and moan in response to questions. Then we started getting reports from the doctors about the extent of his injuries. More than just the broken arm and leg. But each doctor told us the breaks were in “good” places that should heal well in a few months. The report from the plastic surgeon was not as glowing but still, everything looked okay for now and looked “fixable”. There were NO reports of any internal injuries or bleeding, no reason to suspect any serious brain injury. I told Collin at that point, we really relaxed and trusted the doctors that there were no life threatening injuries. I told Collin how many friends and family filled the two family waiting rooms and spilled over into the hallway …..all for HIM. Tears filled his eyes again.
I know this time coming home and the weeks or months of continued recovery will be very trying but I know that I know that I know my Redeemer lives and He will guide us, strengthen us and get us through this next part of the test. I also know that my dad and I went through some tough times when I was this age and a few years later we became very good friends again. I know my boy loves his Mom and Dad and it will be okay.
Praise be to God who reigns on high.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Brad and I stayed home with Collin this morning while Lois and Janey went to church. Brad and I need to finish the tiling job in the entryway my neighbor Mel helped me start. The sheet vinyl in the entry was loose and peeling in several areas and Collin’s walker could have caught on some of the loose edges. Like many guys, I really do see the parts of the house that need work. They can’t all be on the top of the list and somehow none of them make it to the top. The vinyl floor started being a little problem about eight years ago. Yep, eight. But it was just a little problem. A little glue fixed it for a year or so. Then some more glue. Then a nice rug for the entry covered the worst of it for several years. Then it just got ugly. So I quit looking at it. Isn’t there a good technique for resolving problems called Avoidance? I think the Bible call that Laziness. Hmmm, surely there is a nicer way to state that. How in the world did Lois put up with that?
Well Collin finally gave me a good reason to fix the issue instead of covering it up. The kids and I tore out the old vinyl several days ago. I’ve laid tile a couple times before and so has my neighbor Mel. We are not pros and the entry is not that large but isn’t it great to have a friend help you? Time goes by faster, the work is easier, when I get tired Mel pushes me on, if one of us goofs the other catches it. Mel and I laid the tile. Bradley and I finished with the grout today. Brad and I also started the tile project in the master bath by pulling off the base molding and removing the toilet. That bathroom has a shower stall that will be easier for Collin to get in and out of with his walker than the other bathroom with a tub. The master bath had the same issue as the entry – yucky old sheet vinyl that was coming up in places.
Pray for Collin’s mobility around the house. The doorways for the bathrooms are not as wide as the other rooms in the house and he has to go sideways through the doorways to get in. The living room that will be his bedroom is sunken so he will have to step down to enter the room and step up each time to get out. The physical therapists at BIR taught him how to do go up and down an single step with his walker and they made him practice it a bunch. He can do it okay, but he has to be careful and not get in a hurry.
Collin slept until 10:30 this morning. He was really worn out from his Saturday escapades- visiting the Chick-fil-As, home and shopping for the mattress set. He also had no therapy today, so no one came in and made him get out of bed. He was a lazy bum, just lying in bed very content to do nothing. I guess that’s okay. I think he walked more yesterday and expended more energy than all last week in rehab combined.
Janey went home with friend Milly after church to eat lunch and play for the afternoon. Lois grabbed some lunch then went to visit him from 1 to 4 after church. He had a few visitors but it was basically a quiet day. He was not real keen on Mom hanging around when he did not need her. Ah…that independence cycle again. He wants so bad to be independent and not need our help. We struggle with this. As parents we are just dying inside to see our boy in this condition. We want the best care for him and we want to be there for anything he needs. At the same time, he is struggling to regain his independence, to assert himself as a young adult. He knows he is not there yet and it will be a while.
I remember when I moved out of the house for the last time. I’d gone off to college and come home a couple times. But then came the time when I (and my parents) had enough of the struggles for control and I moved out. I did not feel a need to inform my parents of my daily or even weekly activities. I was content seeing them once a month or so. I loved my parents. I missed the huge conveniences of home – a stocked pantry and fridge, washer and dryer for laundry, a bug-free kitchen, a quiet place to sleep without neighbors above and on both sides. I missed home but I loved my independence. I was the last of four boys to move out so I’m real sure Mom and Dad were ready for some peace and quiet. I’m sure my dad told me to simmer down a time or two, to be respectful and not take things for granted. I just don’t remember many of those discussions. HA…Dad always said I was not listening. Just like when I tell Bradley, “Son how many times am I going to tell you to hang up your towel, put your shoes in the closet, make your bed?” Or for Janey, “Pick up the library book off the floor, hang up your clothes, why do you do your nails while sitting on the carpet?” I always wonder if they even hear me or am I just babbling like some adult character from a Charlie Brown special. I guess I’m babbling because we have the same discussion the next week too. And to their credit, I’m sure my dad said the same words to me but I don’t remember it either.
Lois and Janey met back at church and went to the evening service. They saw lots of concerned friends. It means so much to know good friends are praying for you. After church was a chili cook-off. I wanted to go to that but my slow progress on the bathroom tiling job prevented it. My back was killing me and I was working mighty slow. Lois & Janey stayed for the chili and really enjoyed it. My little Janey Lou had seven bowls….oink. Our friend Becky won the contest with a brisket chili. Brisket in chili? Yum, that sounds so good!
Bradley and I finished the grouting in the entry after Lois and Janey got home. Doan’s pills…Aleve…Tylenol….Bengay muscle cream…Biofreeze….SOMETHING better help this aching back or I’m gonna just die. Suddenly all those back pain commercials where the poor guy’s back is on fire with radiating red spikes make a lot of sense.
The push is on to finish getting the house ready for Collin’s arrival.
Thanks again so much to so many who are praying.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 19, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Lois and Janey picked up Collin and Leigh from Baylor after morning meds and before any therapist had a chance to wheel him downstairs.
First Stop: no big surprise, the Forney Chick-fil-A. They got there just in time for the craziness of the lunch rush. There was a special table set for Collin with a table cloth. We Love Collin balloons decorated the restaurant. They stayed about two hours while Collin chatted with coworkers and customers. He rolled into the back and the kitchen staff stopped food prep and clapped for him.
Second Stop: Mesquite CFA. Collin played too hard at Forney and no energy left so they only stayed a little while at the Mesquite location. Some times it is like he’s a little kid again. Playing so hard, forgetting to save any energy for later on.
Third Stop: Home for a nap. That was the plan all along. We knew he’d be ready to plop onto a bed and close his eyes.
Fourth Stop: Rip Van Winkle woke up after his two hour nap ready to go mattress shopping. He got a good deal on a Beautyrest queen set at Ashley Furniture from a very helpful salesman, George of the Jungle (hey, I’m quoting the man). It will be delivered Wednesday…just in time for Collin’s move home.
Fifth Stop: Chili’s for some dinner to go. Yum. While Collin and I waited in the car for Lois to get the food, Collin looked at his phone and laughed. Little sis was anticipating the yummy dinner and had updated her Facebook status 23 minutes ago to: Eating to go food from Chili’s.
Sixth Stop: We ate at home in the den all together in front of the TV. That sure felt like the old days. We figured it had probably been three or four months since Collin had been over and ate a meal with us. It was very nice. Bradley had to let our rotten little Corgi, Lulu, in the house to see her boy Collin. She is not a very tame dog, but she is so much fun. At first Bradley held her while she squirmed and wiggled. She sniffed Collin and gave him sugars. Bradley put her down, she sniffed the walker. Collin was lying on the couch and we were concerned about her jumping up on him. I told Bradley to pick her up and hold her. Collin said she was fine. He barely had those words out of his mouth when she jumped up over the back of the couch right onto him and his sore arm. It startled us and Collin the most. We all laughed at her craziness. She got off lightly, he only called her a big rat. If I’d bumped his arm that hard, I would have not faired so well. ha.
Seventh Stop: He was wearing down quickly and was ready to get back to Baylor. Lois, Collin and I had a fun ride back, talking about the day and all the friends and family he saw. He said he knew today would wear him out and it did. We were due back by 8:30 and we barely made it. Collin was a little worried. I parked the car while he and Lois went inside to check in at the nurse’s desk. Lois asked him why he was worried – did he think they’d cancel his reservation and give his room to someone else? It’s not like they were going to ground him or make him do pushups. Funny boy. We got him to his room, into his jommies and tucked into bed. Oh, it brings back some wonderful memories of a precocious, little blonde headed boy with a bowl haircut. We hung around for a little bit while he got comfortable in bed. I think he was really looking forward to returning to Baylor to his quiet, peaceful, secure room. The Day Pass was great but it was nice too to be back in a very controlled environment with few variables.
Thank you to everyone. Please pray for the big transition this week
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 12, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
Collin got his wish to get in the hot tub today. It felt great. He said it really felt good on his sore everything. The warmth got deep down inside and helped those muscles.
Our plans for tomorrow – Pee-wee’s Big Adventure…oops, Collin’s Big Adventure are still in the making. He can leave in the morning. After his therapy would be best but if he wants to skedaddle after his morning meds, that would be okay too. That won’t be a hard choice will it?
Some of the funny things he has seen and heard at Parkland and Baylor could fill a book. Some of the things are sad as well. I think it has been very good for him to be at Baylor. He was really not looking forward to meeting other people with injuries and he really did not want a room mate. However, he has met a few men and women near his age or early twenties. It has been interesting to see their progress. I think it has been a huge inspiration for him to see the other people in the big gym working with the therapists. Of course you are going to compare yourself to others. There are some people there with extremely serious conditions that will take much longer to heal than Collin’s…if ever. He realizes that and he sees that he is very young and doing very well on his progress. He sees that he is making big strides each day while some others are not. I think he is reinforced constantly how truly blessed he was and is. Why did God spare his life, his vision, his speech, his mental abilities, his motor abilities? Collin will probably spend years figuring that out.
Lois and Collin talked this evening. Plans for tomorrow are finalized. Lois will pick up Collin early, after morning meds, skip any therapy, visit Chick-fil-As then shop for a mattress set. His old waterbed was donated to the church garage sale. He said he was tired of it after 9 years and his new, expensive back needs a new (hopefully not too expensive) bed.
There is a game we all play at times. It can be a dangerous game and can get out of control and eat you up. I call it the What If Monster. The What If Monster is a game that can be played many ways. What if I had gotten that job instead of her? What if he had been nicer to me? What if I had really told him what I thought? What if I just skip reading the Bible today? What if I just look at that website? What if he had not been thrown from the car? What if he had worn his seat belt? What if he had gotten paralyzed? What if I lose my job? What if my friend never speaks to me again? What if I just drink a little at that party or try some of that stuff?
Of course it is important to consider things in our lives – choices we have to make. We have to consider the results of the choices, that shows maturity and responsibility. We need to think about the consequences of our behaviors. But there comes a time when that What if Monster gets out of control and gets you involved in a serious mess of worry. That’s when you try to figure it all out instead of leaving the results to God.
God expects you to act responsibly and Christ-like but there comes a point when you cannot control what happens. At that point, don’t let the What if Monster eat you up. Give it up. Give that worry and doubt and fear to God. Like lots of parts of the Christian life, it is a fine line. That’s why we must be in God’s Word daily. We need a daily dose of His knowledge and understanding.
During this most unusual time we’ve been through that What If Monster has grabbed me and wrapped me up, ready to gobble me down. Sometimes late at night, sleeping (ha) on that blue pullout chair-bed thing, sometimes while driving alone…out of no where that Monster would attack and leave me breathless. What if…. What if…..What’ll we do….What’ll he do….. I would often times remember my own dad telling me years ago, Philip, leave it alone and pray. That’s all you can do. Just pray. But Dad…. No Philip, just pray. Leave it alone and let God.
My Aunt Betsy, his sister, told me once that when my dad was a young boy he loved to pray and had a phrase he liked to say. “Pray the Lord.” When times were bad, he’d tell his friends or family “Just pray the Lord.” Well, at those times when the What If Monster tried to snatch me in these past weeks, I just prayed the Lord. And I continue.
There is a phrase that is popular today. Sometimes I think it is over used. But I mean it sincerely when I say it right now. Be Blessed!
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 12, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
We got to BIR (pronounced like beer) before 8:30. We had to coax Janey out of bed early with the promise of getting her breakfast from Chick-fil-A to get her to school before 8:00. PT Molly, took us downstairs with Collin to practice getting him in and out of our car. He was Mr. Determination. He did it without a hitch! He sat there smiling in the front seat, as if to say, “Okay, take me away.”
Next Collin had his first day of aquatic therapy. I tell you, Baylor has an awesome program. They do so many different types of therapy and there are so many staff that take their time with the patients. Collin was excited to slip on his swim suit and roll downstairs. When we entered the Aquatic Center, he eyed the hot tub and mouthed the words, “I want that.” We waited for a few minutes. He looked all around. Fun, upbeat music was playing on the speakers. When “Hungry Like the Wolf “ came on, he looked at Lois and laughed. He said, “I don’t want to turn blue!” We all cracked up. In the movie Big Fat Liar, that is the song playing when the man jumps in his pool, swims a few laps and comes out with blue skin because some kids added blue dye to the water.
He loved the swimming. He was allowed to finally put some weight on the right leg. He said it felt so good to be able to do that. It hurt a little, like sore muscles being stretched, not like broken bone pain.
We met with Thenesia and Jessica about Collin’s progress. Thenesia did not bring Tunisian Treats but actually something much better. She confirmed that Collin would be given a Day Pass for this Saturday. She and Jessica told us what each therapist said about Collin’s progress. Each report was wonderful news of great progress and wonderful prognosis on all counts. Then Thenesia made us all cry when she said Collin will be discharged to come home for good next Wednesday. Next Wednesday!! Oh my goodness. Collin laughed then cried. Thenesia went over and hugged him. She said Collin will need to continue to come down to Baylor three times a week for therapy. Wow. I sent an email to one of Janey’s teachers to see if she could get the word to Janey. Wouldn’t you know it, Janey was in that teacher’s class right when I sent the email. Ha. How cool.
Wow we have a lot to do to get the house ready.
On our way out of the Baylor, Lois looked at some items for sale in the gift shop. She especially liked some green and white fleece pajamas and nudged me to buy them for her. I told her if I bought those for her it would be the first time I ever bought her a present from the beer store. She kicked me. When we tried to leave the parking lot, I stopped at the payment machine and had to laugh out loud. How could anyone see that and not do a double take? That is a little bit of overkill with the instructions! Take a look. I was so busy laughing and taking the picture that an employee walked up and asked if I needed help. I told him yes because the thing would not take my money. He pointed to one of the signs that said to insert the parking ticket first. Ha.
The rest of the afternoon was spent planning what absolutely had to get done at home before Saturday, the plans for Saturday and what other things had to be done before next Wednesday. Busy, busy times and happy, rejoicing times.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 10, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Wednesday evening I stopped by to see Collin after I took Bradley & Janey to church. I took him a backpack of clean clothes and a surprise. When I walked in, I put the backpack down, telling him what was inside. Then I pulled out his surprise. He did not have on his glasses so he could not see it clearly from the end of the bed where I was standing.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“A rib.” I smiled.
He looked at Leigh, then me, rather puzzled. “Is it mine?”
Leigh and I busted out laughing.
“No, it’s from Magic Time Machine. We had ribs there and Uncle Steve thought you needed one since they took out part of yours to fix your back.”
We all laughed at that.
Aaron his rehab tech came in and began taking Collin’s vitals. I held up the rib and told Aaron why I’d brought it and where it was from. He stuck the thermometer in Collin’s mouth right as I said, “Guess what Collin asked when he saw it?”
Collin started laughing and could not hold the thermometer still. When I said he asked if it was his rib, Aaron laughed too. Collin finally held still for the thermometer to take the reading.
After that Collin and Leigh took the Magic Time Machine pictures off his bulletin board that Lois had printed off. They got to laughing so hard about the face changes. It was really good to see him laughing hard. Thanks, Steve.
In the backpack of clothes there was also a piece of mail for him from Becka Jasper, the girl from Austin that came to visit him with her mom on Christmas day. She is the one that had a wreck very similar to his four years ago. The note from her was very encouraging and full of scriptures that told of God’s plans and His will for Collin. She really understands what Collin is going through. Collin appreciates that.
As I was fixing to leave, Collin sprung some news on us. He should or may get a day pass for this Saturday. And we need both be at Baylor early tomorrow morning to practice helping him get in and out of our car. Wow. I called Lois and told her the incredible news. We thought maybe he would get a pass for this weekend, but the news still took us by surprise. We meet with the doctor and staff tomorrow to discuss Collin’s overall condition and an approximate release date.
There’s something I’ve wanted to write about for several weeks. Lois and I talked about this just a few days after the wreck. Any of you that are or have been teenagers recently or are parents with older teens know that some of the later teen years can get really frustrating for anyone living near a 17 or 18 year old almost-adult, that wants the world to take him or her seriously. Collin has always been fiercely independent. I’m not sure if I wrote this before or not. He is a great example of many of the typical first born traits. Lois and I are both the youngest of four. We don’t really get the whole first born independence or die thing. But one of our kids had to end up being the oldest so we’ve tried to figure it out. Collin had his own hair dryer and brush when he was three- hair was and continues to be a big thing for him. When he was in third grade he asked me how old he had to be to drive a car, get a job and move into his own apartment. Seriously. I told him 16, 16, 18. He began counting down. I told him when he was about 13, when he and I were still good buddies, that there would be a time not too far off when he would not want to hang with me anymore and he and I would disagree about most things. I told him that was pretty normal and a few years later on, we’d be good friends again. When he turned 17 he informed me that in Texas he could actually move out when he turned 17. I told Collin again and again, this separation he was seeking was a very necessary part of life but it would not come easy for him or for us. It is so important for parents to let kids make decisions – good ones and bad ones. Hopefully they will make enough good and bad ones while they are still at home, with the support network of Mom and Dad, that once they are on their own, the bad decisions will be few. We wanted him to one day be a self-supporting, independent adult. But at that time he was no where near that and the transition process could NOT be an easy one. It would be difficult for him and us to learn our new roles. Anyway, all that to say, both sides knew the last few years at home (whenever that was) would probably be increasing difficult. And they were. During his senior year, he wanted total independence from us so bad, it made life difficult for everyone some days. He was so close now to it, it almost made him sick. He was working 40 or nearly 40 hours a week and finishing school. He bought his own car, paid for his car insurance, bought his own phone and paid for his own plan, he hardly ate at home…he was very independent. He moved out the week after graduation in June of last year. The day he moved out the volume level in the house dropped. Everyone’s, including his, stress level dropped dramatically. Bradley and Janey were not arguing so much, it was a good move for everyone. It was hard not knowing how he was daily, not knowing for sure he got home to his apartment okay after work, hoping and praying he was making good decisions. He had his long sought after independence and he was really loving it. Lois and I began to enjoy more time together. We were able to go to bed when we wanted and did not have to wait up for him. We went out on dates a lot, we really fought a lot less, we had fun together like we were kids dating again. After a couple months, we both noticed this new depth to our friendship. We realized how stressful the last few years had been with an older teen fighting so hard for independence. After Collin moved out and began enjoying his new found freedom, so did Lois and I. We had such fun. We love our children immensely and we love being parents. But we also love each other and spending time together watching tv, going to movies, going out to eat….without all the fussing from the backseat or the “I don’t want to eat there,” etc. We really began looking forward to four years from now when Bradley will be graduated from high school and probably enrolled in the Naval Academy on his way to become a Marine. Then two more years and Janey will be out of high school, probably headed to some art degree. When December 3 happened our growing independence from our children was put on hold. Our dinner dates, our silly trips to Wal-Mart laughing like stupid adults who just don’t care, our snuggling in bed to watch CSI or CSI or CSI or whatever had to stop for a while. We both realized how lucky…nope, fortunate….maybe, blessed…yes, how BLESSED we had been to have those six months together and that new stronger than ever friendship would help us through these next few weeks and months. God’s strength, love, forgiveness and joy have gotten us through.
Collin is increasing to get stronger and more flexible. His eating is very normal for him – nuggets, pizza, mashed potatoes, hamburger, fries, mac & cheese. He is so determined to do everything right. Not to show off or to show the rehab therapists he can do it, but to gain his independence, to gain his freedom, to resume the life he had and more…to begin to live the life he now realizes he almost lost. I don’t think much is going to be able to hold him down, not that he is some superstar. It is just that if he was determined and confident before, that determination and confidence have notched up about 10 clicks.
Thanks to all who continue to pray. God bless you.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 10, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Tuesday morning was another tough time of miscommunication and misunderstanding. I’m so thankful for 21 years of marriage that reassure Lois of my love for her, because sometimes my words and actions do not show it well. We both know the pressures of this time are making any imperfections and fissures in our friendship show up….but sometimes it is just hard to deal with.
I went to see Collin around noon. I walked it at a great time. Nurse Kristy and rehab tech Rewa were carefully prying the stitches from Collin’s healing arm. Ouch. For every one, they had to scrape off the scabs and dig with tweezers to find the sutures. Pretty gross, pretty painful. My phone rang and I gladly went into the hall to talk for a few minutes. When I got back both ladies looked at me and said the phone was off limits, my job was to stay in the room and keep Collin distracted while they caused him pain. Oh, that’s no problem. I started asking Collin about some of the less than professional people we encountered at Parkland. At first he gave me a Shut Up look, but he couldn’t resist. Before long he was cracking up and correcting my versions of what happened. At one quiet, intense moment, he said, “Someone has minty breath.” Kristy smiled and showed her gum. Things were going better. The stitches took about 30 minutes. Gee, I’m so glad I came when I did.
For lunch he ate all his pizza, nuggets and macaroni. I know….what else does that kid eat? Salad, fruit, green beans? Uh, no. I think I said it before, if it does not come from Whataburger, Sonic or Wendy’s, he probably does not eat it. And that does not include salads things not fried.
The nurses said they would begin tapering him off Prednisone today. That’s good. It is a great drug but with Collin, it makes him a little anxious and a lot fussy.
This morning Collin walked with the walker all the way to the elevator, rode it down, walked to the exercise room, did his rounds then walked back up. No wheelchair! Those therapists are great at challenging and inspiring him to try harder each day. They are slowly building up his strength and endurance.
Lois went to see Collin around 3:00. Leigh was there. They visited a while. Then it was Lois’ turn to be a discourteous host. She and Collin slept while once again, Leigh sat reading a book. What rude people, those Bufords can be.
Sunday afternoon and evening we finished packing up all the Christmas stuff and put it all up in the attic. Except of course for those 3 things we found after the last box went up. Every year we find 3 or 4 things we missed. Then for the next few weeks, we keep finding more odds & ends so that by February there is another full box of Christmas to go up.
Monday night we started rearranging the living room to become Collin’s bedroom. We added his chest of drawers and unpacked boxes of clothes into it. We set up his tv and stereo. He’ll have two couches, a chair and rocking chair for guests. They can play “tunes” on the out of tune piano and little Slade will have his own pint-sized chair.
Tonight was a crazy night of cleaning. Now, finally, the living room, dining room, wet bar, den and kitchen look nice and normal, clean and livable.
What does Ephesians 4:32 say? Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Oh, yeah, that’s what it says. And what does it say before that? Be angry and sin not, do not let the sun go down on your anger… Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. …. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Oh yeah, that’s the rest of the passage. Isn’t it amazing how real the Word of God is?
Thanks to all for your love and fellowship, your prayers and kind words.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 9, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
I got to BIR at 7:30 Monday morning. It was drizzling when I left the house and sleet promised to arrive by noon. My boy was sleeping peacefully when I arrived. I hung up the new coat I brought him and slipped quietly into the chair. I peeked at his schedule for the day and woke him a few minutes before the occupational therapist came in to help him get dressed. He did very well by himself buttoning his shirt. Next physical therapy came in and took him downstairs for a half hour.
At 9:00 one of the rehab techs took us down stairs to a waiting van. He carefully strapped Collin in then I hopped in the front. We drove the few miles back to Parkland Hospital in the rain…no ice yet. Collin was a little nervous riding in the van but he did fine. The driver handed me Collin’s big thick notebook of medical charts as I stepped out of the van. We got off the elevator on the second floor and entered the waiting room. Collin instantly wished he was back at Baylor Rehab. The waiting room was packed with about 150 people. I gave his name at the desk and wheeled him to a nice open space against a wall.
I started flipping through the notebook to see what nuggets of medical information I would find. It was not very interesting, I might have fallen asleep. They called his name, we maneuvered through people to Booth #4. I told this man who we were and showed my id, paid the copay and we waited some more at a new open space along a different wall. I read some more of the charts. I found notes about some of his progress at Parkland, nothing too interesting. Lots of it was in scribbly-scrabble unlearned people are not supposed to read. This time Collin dozed. Through the mysterious unmarked door we followed a lady into a hallway to wait along a new wall. Triage was the next stop with more questions and vitals and the nurse asked him a really silly question. “On a scale of 1-10, what level of pain is tolerable?” Collin answered “Four” without a moment’s hesitation. The nurse looked up at him from her paperwork, then at me. I nodded. That boy does NOT tolerate pain very well. Back to the hall. His name was called again, this time we made all the way to Park Place….oh, sorry wrong game, but almost as good…we made it to an actual examining room.
I looked at the book and found something of interest. When Collin was admitted to Baylor Rehab, they estimated his stay to be 21 days. We had not been told that so that was a good target to shoot for. This time we both napped. F-i-n-a-l-l-y the plastic surgeon that did Collin’s face came in with an assistant. They said hi and pulled out some mean tweezers to take out the nose splints. Four was about right on the pain scale, unfortunately the splint removal was around an 8 ½. Collin does not mind screaming if there is pain involved. I think the doctors don’t like it too much. But the 8.5 pain was very short, and barely a scream, well two barely screams made it out. Time for staple removal, yep, all 67 of them out of his head. It looked sort of like one of those girl’s zig-zaggity headbands, but this one made of metal. The first couple staples hurt. The technician said it really was not the staples causing the pain, he was grabbing hair with the staple. That really did not help matters. After several seconds, Collin asked, “Are you going to take out any more?” When the tech told Collin he was already half way done, Collin said, “Really?” and visibly relaxed. The last two staples hurt worse than all the others combined. Sorry bud.
Dr. Becker looked at Collin’s nose and eyes for several minutes from all sorts of angles. He said the nose looks very good. It may not be exactly the same, but it is very close. He said Collin’s right eye looks good as well. If Collin’s vision is good and Collin is pleased with the look of his eye and nose, more surgery may not be warranted. We can wait and see as the swelling in his right eye continues to go down.
The Parkland trip was frustrating, it made Collin value his stay at Baylor a lot. On the ride back to Baylor sleet began sliding down the windshield, but the van did not slide around on the road. Collin was starving and wolfed down his lunch of nuggets and mac & cheese. After lunch he had some more occupational therapy. Then I met his neuro-psychologist. She asked him about plans for college. I like where this discussion was going. She encouraged him that college is not necessary for a good paying job but for many people, it opens some doors and gives them a head start. She also talked about his goals and plans for the next few years. She asked him about starting to work at CFA when he was 15 and what motivated him to be a manager. It was good to see him think about that and put into words some of those things that make him so special.
Speech and Cognitive Therapy was very interesting. His speech abilities are fine but he needs to work on getting the higher level, complex cognitive gears turning. He read some very short descriptions of a trip to the store or directions to the zoo or a recipe for lasagna. After each he had to answer simple questions – how many of this, what was first, which item can be omitted. He read and answered about 25 of them and only missed two or three. The therapist said they will continue to do these types of drills and each day it will get a little more complex by adding background noises. She explained the need for this. Right now there is no way he could handle the noise and busyness of a CFA drive thru or work the front line. He needs to get back to that place.
After all that, he wanted some rest so I left him resting and I went home to see how the first day back to school went for Brad and Janey. Being such a disjointed family for a month, living out of the car and hospital room, seeing each other in shifts takes its toll. Coming back together again is having its challenges. I know it is totally normal but …augh…why do we all have to be so edgy and irritating and irritated and tired and grumpy and get out of my way and no I’m not being mean. I know this will calm down but it needs to hurry up!
Collin is doing so well. Thank you all for your faithfulness to pray for him. God is so wonderful. Please continue to pray for his flexibility, strength, endurance and patience.
Please pray for the rest of us Busy Bufords to be sweet, kind, loving, patient, nice, helpful, etc. We know how to be a family, we’ve just been out of practice for a month.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 9, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Lois went to BIR this morning while Bradley, Janey and I went to church. We have not been to Sunday School in a month, that is a crazy thing. It was so good to see many friends and to hear the Word of God taught.
I knew it would happen and it did….I got snagged, shanghaied and kidnapped by many caring friends wanting updates. It so wonderful to have such great friends that care and are praying. I’m sorry these updates are not on time, but running several days behind when they finally get posted. It is tough some days to devote the time to write them to keep you all informed.
Collin did great in physical therapy. He walked 5 laps around the workout room, taking short breaks between, for a total of 425 feet. He is making amazing progress.
In the afternoon, he had lot of visitors- Grandmother, neighbors, friends from church and CFA. He got tired of us hanging around so we boogied out of there. He took friends down to the big exercise room while he pushed himself in the wheelchair. That’s a big improvement over just a couple days. His strength and flexibility in the right arm is doing great. He is able to hold all his fingers out straight now. He is also able to put his right foot flat on the ground and do so much more with his right leg. He has a gigantic blister on the back of his right heel- about 2” by 3”. Pray that thing heals up soon. The staples in his head and splints in his nose come out tomorrow. He is glad and scared.
Please pray for Collin’s continued strength, endurance and patience. His pain levels are much better, his appetite is much better. Now that those big scary things are pretty much over, it comes down to the daily push, push, push get stronger, more flexible and build up the stamina.
On the home front, now that the four of us are all back home together, it is tough sometimes. All those tensions pent up for a month seem to be jumping out at unexpected times. Please pray for patience. This transition back to school may be tougher than normal for Bradley and Janey.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 7, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
This morning I went to BIR to experience rehab. I talked with Dr. Porter when he made his rounds. Collin was napping, I thought that was a smart idea so I did likewise sitting in the chair.
Breakfast came but he was not hungry. Nap some more. Occupational therapy was coming at 9:45 to help him dress. We both closed our eyes. I woke up looked at my phone and panicked when I read 9:41. Yikes, he had to wake up and eat breakfast in 4 minutes. He woke up and started moving around and eating his sausage. His nurse came in with some pills and mentioned he had OT in 30 minutes. I had read my phone wrong…9:14, not 9:41. Collin met my eyes and smiled. Oh, good.
He finished breakfast then worked with the play-dough stuff for a few minutes. He practiced rolling it flat, pushing fingers through it, making it into a log then pinching pieces off; all exercises to loosen up the stiff fingers of his right hand.
The occupational therapist came; I wheeled him to the elevator. We rode down to 2 to the exercise room. He worked on a machine that worked his hands and arms. He gripped the handles and rotated them like peddles on a bicycle. At first he could not do it with his right hand. She told him to just put his hand up there and let it ride along, not pushing. In a couple minutes the right hand was participating. In the next 3 minute set, the right hand was in charge and the left relaxed on the table. He also worked with a 3 lb weight doing simple arm lifts. He finished by working with some big plastic clothes pins. There were different colors which represented different amounts of resistance. He had to fish them out of the bin and clip them onto a metal rod. He could not use his left hand and he had to use specific fingers for different clips.
He used the walker and went across the big room to one of the elevated mats. The physical therapist Jana met us there. He stretched slowly and thoroughly his arms and legs. He had to really push then she gently pushed him further. Jana commented that Collin should be very glad none of his injuries were in the joints. All his breaks were in the long bones so he may not have a lot of arthritis when he gets older because of the accident. Each day you can see his muscles loosen up a little more. He and I relaxed on the mats for a few minutes when Jana was finished. Lois, Bradley and Janey were on their way to visit with drinks from Sonic.
Collin got back into his chair and we took a trip over to the cafeteria at Baylor. He wanted a personal size pizza. He ate the whole thing then ate most of the chicken nuggets and mac & cheese too on his lunch tray. We’ve never been so glad to see him shove that food down. He was tired and wanted to nap. We left got him comfy in bed and left around 1:00 pm.
He is really excited to be able to get out of his bed anytime he wants (with help of course) and go on a tour of the hallways or over to big Baylor. He is glad to have a place to visit with friends besides his room.
It is an odd feeling to not be with Collin right now….neither Lois or I. Your child goes from being totally dependent, grows up, moves out, becomes totally independent then the world, or at least the Trailblazer, goes topsy-turvy.
Collin got to the ER and ICU and was totally dependent, by the end of the second week, he was getting a little more independent and frustrated at times with our involvement.
Then the face surgery and arm surgery sent him back to ICU – totally dependent again. Two weeks later he was feeling quite a bit better and getting frustrated at our involvement. Ay-yi-yi…this rollercoaster.
He moves to Baylor, is pretty dependent and unsure of everything but okay for us to not stay there at night. He is enjoying his mobility with the wheelchair, his increasing appetite and strength. He is gaining more independence. I think these next few weeks at Baylor are going to be a harder transition mentally/ emotionally for Lois and I than for him.
Physically it is going killer on Collin but the end result is so apparent and so worth the work. I foresee the next transition – from Baylor to Home – as a tough one, even tougher mentally/ emotionally. Collin is going to be so ready, he thinks, to be independent and on his own. It is going to be difficult to be back under Mom & Dad’s roof. Please pray that his physical dependence on us does not hinder his emotional, mental and spiritual growth.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 7, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
Lois went to the hospital early this morning to meet Dr. Porter on his rounds, to meet the therapists and begin to understand what types of therapy Collin will be doing.
Why is my back sore this morning? Am I missing that blue pullout bed thing? Who knows, but I am certainly glad to be at home, sleep at home, shower at home and eat at home. Dorothy got that part right….There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.
The occupational therapist came in to see Collin early and helped him get dressed. He was able to button up his shirt all by himself. She showed him a trick to pulling on his socks with a shoe horn device. She also showed him how to use a long “picker-upper” tool in case he drops something small and can’t reach it.
Next Amy his physical therapist came in and had him walk with the walker. He walked all around the big exercise room on the second floor. She had him stand up on his left foot to see how long he could do it. He lasted 1 minute. That’s not quite long enough to make a Cookies & Cream shake at the drive through window. He’s got some work ahead of him! After phys therapy he had a two hour break, he spent it napping. The therapists told Lois we need to come often so we can be trained on the proper ways to help him and so we will know what he can and cannot do. Some coworkers will also be asked to come do the physical therapy with him for the same reasons. Bradley & Janey want to come when it is time for the water therapy in the pool. But somehow I don’t think games of Marco Polo and doing crazy dives off the side are part of the agenda. Sorry, you won’t be missing school to go swim with big brother.
Back at the Ranch, I took Brad & Nic to a paintball place in Forney. Three other neighborhood kids and a mom met us there. Bradley was excited to use his new paintball gun and they were all excited to splatter their opponents, and perhaps there friends, with orange, pink and yellow paint. No doubt they will come home with paint splattered clothes and a few bruises to brag about.
Yesterday there was some discussion between Janey & Lois about not having any long sleeve shirts to wear in the cold. We’ve certainly heard the “I don’t have anything to wear” many times before and that usually is not the case. Today I made her really look in her closet and give me a report. She found plenty of sweaters and jackets but only 3 long sleeve shirts. It’s January for crying out loud, that girl needs some shirts. So we trusted Wal-Mart to save the day. She ended up with 5 or 6 simple shirts she can wear with and under others and I ended up with one very happy girl.
For lunch Collin ate a whole personal size pizza from the Baylor Cafeteria. Yea, keep up the eating! After lunch he met with the recreational therapist that told him about all the board games available for him to play with friends or family. They have a Nintendo Wii, computer and video games. She also told him he can take visiting friends down to the second floor exercise room to hang out and talk. She said his friends can take him on wheelchair rides throughout Baylor Rehab and using the underground tunnel, they can take him over to Big Baylor to Truett Café or other places in the Baylor complex. And the best news of all, she told him he may even be able to get a day pass next week. Next week? We thought that would be a couple weeks away. He is very excited about these possibilities. We have no doubt that the first place he will be stopping on his day pass is the Chick-fil-A in Forney then in one in Mesquite outside the mall, then probably the one in the mall, then maybe home to see our crazy, hyper, soccerball-fetching Corgi named Lulu.
Next he saw the speech and cognitive therapist. After a few questions and simple tests, she saw no reason for him to need daily therapy at this time. Collin did tell her that one benefit so far is that he is talking slower. He also mentioned that he occasionally stuttered. She said that while he’s at Baylor she would work on those issues with him. Then Lois and Collin saw the neuro-psychologist. She asked Collin about what he was feeling since the accident and about issues of anger and depression. All three of them talked for a while. The therapist assured Collin that it is normal and okay to be frustrated and have concerns or fears about his future abilities. She said after reading his charts, she really expected to see a young man before her with a lot more challenges than what he was showing. She, like many others, said he must really have some great things ahead of him once all this is behind him. She assured him and Lois that some seizures are very common after a head trauma. They will monitor him closely and do some tests about that next week.
Lois got a big three-ring binder with some good information and she added all the info she’d been given. It is full of great stuff – some very basic, but needed. It is very organized and sure puts our minds to rest after some of the hectic-ness of Parkland. Monday morning I will ride with Collin in a Baylor van over to Parkland for the staples in his head and splints in his nose to be removed. We want them to remove the arm sutures as well. They told Lois they are planning to remove them at the end of the week. We are not happy about that because the last time they did that, the skin was already growing over the stitches. Collin’s doctor at Baylor said he will remove the sutures on Monday if Parkland does not do it.
Collin found out that he is not the only one to have an accident on highway 80 near Forney. His boss Roger Clark hit a deer near Terrell on highway 80 while driving back to Forney this week. Roger is fine, his truck has minor damage….not sure about the deer.
Some of Lois’ high school classmates planned a get together several weeks ago back when the Tulsa Bufords were planning to come down before Christmas. When their plans changed I told Lois to go out with her friends because she would have plenty of time to see my family. So off she went to play while Bradley, Janey and I joined Steve’s family at Magic Time Machine in Addison. We had such a fun time sitting in the Dunce Cap. Of course the waiter, Sinbad, was funny and embarrassed the heck out of the kids when they had to go to the restroom. They added a new thing to the fun. A photographer came by out table and took two pictures of us. He came back shortly, left us two copies saying they were ten dollars each and he’d stop back later to see if we’d like to buy them. We started passing them around. The first one I saw was a nice picture, very clear and well lit considering the dark interior of the Dunce Cap. I was pleased and the price sounded okay. My brother was looking at the other picture and started laughing. I looked at the copy in my hands again. I did not see anything funny. I looked at the one he was holding. At first I didn’t notice anything. I looked at Steve and Linda. The pictures looked right…sort of. Something was different about their faces but I could not figure it out. Then I glanced at the picture of myself. Lordy mercy, what happened? I had on mascara and my mouth was wrong. I looked at Janey’s picture and her face looked funny, her makeup was gone. Slowly it sunk in. They took our faces off and shuffled them around. So I was wearing Janey’s face. Her cute little face did not look so cute with my bald head.
We went back to their hotel and visited while the kids swam. It was a great time to just be together. There is nothing like family…or at least there’s nothing like seeing family once in a while. Ha.
Neither Lois nor I spent the evening with Collin. I did not see him all day. That felt a little weird. It felt like we were abandoning him. It is a new feeling we’ll have to get used to. Collin was totally fine with us not being with him, we need to be okay with that too.
The address of the Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation (BIR) is 909 N Washington. It a four story tan brick building across Gaston from the main Baylor hospital. It is on the NW corner of Gaston & Washington. His room is 417. Visiting hours are basically from 4p.m. to 8 p.m. since he has therapy each day from 8 to 4.
Praise God for Collin’s good attitude toward the physical challenges and toward the therapists. Thank God for Collin’s wonderful progress and healing. Please pray for his patience and sometimes quickness to get frustrated at others for not seeing what he needs acting quick enough, his impatience if the bed gets bumped or other small things. As wonderful of a kid as he is, he is still an 18 year old kid that sometimes does not see things the way 40+ year old parents do. He can’t. We need to be understanding of his frustrations and fears. Also the trauma to his brain can still be affecting some of his quickness to get frustrated and the drugs he is on can have those side effects as well. Please pray for all of that. His appetite is getting much better; please pray for it to continue to be strong as he gains the thirty pounds back!
Here is another answer to the question WHY. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the same comfort we ourselves have received from God. Those words are from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Do we really think we live our lives to only better ourselves? What a waste. We are expected to reach out to others in need and help when we can. And especially when we come across someone who is going through some tough stuff we have already been through or are going through.
Make this the year that you follow God’s direction and live in obedience more than any other.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 5, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009 :: New Year's Day
Happy New Years, Everyone!! We certainly have a LOT to be thankful for.
Last night was Lois’ and my first night at home together and Collin’s first night without a parent sleeping by him. Things went very well at both places. Collin said he slept well, only waking up a couple times.
My brother’s family- Steve, Linda, Jeremy and Nicholas are driving down to Dallas from Tulsa this morning. Jeremy is the computer guy, maintaining the website. Steve’s daughter Alicia (the afore mentioned nurse), her husband Craig and their sweetpea two-year old Claire are on their way also.
We ate lunch with Collin: ham, black-eyed peas and corn bread, traditional NY Day grub for us.
After lunch Wayne, Collin’s rehab tech took Collin for an ultrasound to check for blood clots in his right leg. They may be the cause for the continued pain. We thought his back surgery would be the one to cause the most pain and potential problems. That has healed up beautifully and he does not have any back pain at all. The pain in his head from the face surgery was really intense but that, too, has lessened a lot. The arm is much better but the leg and foot are extremely painful. One of Collin’s co-workers, Jana, her husband and son, came to visit Collin at Baylor while Collin was gone. He came back in time to see them. It is so much fun for Collin to see his work friends. He misses them so much.
Since Collin could barely see from one of his eyes on Christmas Day, he wanted to wait until later to open his Christmas gifts. Today is Christmas for him. He opened a box of black work shoes, then a box with black pants, a light purple shirt and a yellow CFA tie. Those items all replaced what he was wearing the day of the accident. Collin realized the significance of those particular choices….trying to replace and restore what was taken away. He looks forward to wearing them soon.
Uncle Tim and Aunt Debbie live in Forney and stopped by the CFA there. They brought an envelope of cards and notes to Collin from customers; there was even some cash and checks. I just don’t get it how my son (the same kid I fussed with through his whole Junior and Senior years of high school) could be so nice and have so many people asking about him, concerned about him, praying for him. One couple wrote this. “We remember how kind and considerate you were when we came in for lunch. You are special to us. Your very essence gave our old hearts renewed joy.” Wow, that is quite an accolade. Words like that truly make a parent proud.
The results from the leg scan came back – no blood clots. That’s sure good news. So the pain is probably caused by the muscles and tendons that have been inactive for a month, screaming now that he is moving them around. After the scan results were favorable, we were allowed to take Collin for ride in a wheelchair. He was really excited and wanted to see the facilities. One of his good high school friends, Jamie, came to visit. She pulled up a wheelchair and sat with him in the hallway talking, catching up on important stuff.
Another bit of good news – I have an Internet connection at Baylor!!
His rehab tech for the evening was Stasny a 19- or 20-something year old. That evening Stasny asked and Collin told her about the car accident in Forney. She said her boyfriend and his family live in Forney. He told her he worked at the CFA. She’s been there lots of times and wondered if she had seen Collin before. He told her he was one of the managers. She thought she remembered Collin. When she helped him get back in bed, she saw the pictures on the digital frame and the bulletin board. She recognized him for sure. There he goes, making more friends and building the CFA customer base. Did I fail to mention where this conversation took place? In the shower, while Stasny was bathing him! He said it was not so bad being bathed by a girl near his age until he realized he would be seeing her again at CFA with her boyfriend. Awkward. Oh well, get over it, buddy!
The Tulsa Buford clan and the Mesquite Bufords left long before the shower scene. We picked up snacks at Central Market. My brother’s brood loved that place. We ate dinner at hotel where they were staying. We had a great time visiting and the kids had fun in the pool.
Lois and I, with Bradley, Janey and cousin Nic went home. Night number two for Collin to be alone.
Collin did not have any official therapy today but he liked riding in the wheel chair. He tried to push it himself but could not quite get his right hand to do the job. Please pray for continued recovery of the full use of his right hand and leg. Pray for the pain in the right leg and foot to lessen. He is in such good spirits….most of the time until we overstep our bounds and offer him help when he does not want it. That is very annoying. On that note, please pray for patience on his part, he gets frustrated with family pretty easily.
Our God is amazing. More nurses and rehab techs tell us how “lucky” Collin was that his injuries were not more serious and he still does not appear to have any brain injuries whatsoever.
We know luck had nothing to do with it. It was God’s plan. Every single injury and even the complication with his arm swelling in the hospital was planned by God. Why? For His glory. That may sound odd to some. How can God be glorified through this, honored through this? This is how: if one single person hears how good God has been to Collin and draws closer to Him by believing in Jesus Christ or if a Christian is encouraged and challenged to be more dedicated to the Lord, and takes his spiritual life more seriously then God be praised. And so be it, let God do what He will to my son and my family. Our ultimate purpose on this earth is to glorify God.
There are some new emails posted at the very bottom of the updates. They are the first emails I wrote to my boss and coworkers.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 4, 2009
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Yesterday evening Leigh stayed with Collin and me. Collin ate a whole Jr. Cheeseburger and some fries from Wendy’s. His appetite is doing much better. Collin and I were quite rude during the evening. We both fell asleep while Miss Jones read a book. We were not very courteous guests so she snuck out and went home….sorry Leigh. We slept until about 9:00 pm then stayed up until midnight watching TV together. I think I only woke up 2 times during the night. Wow.
My good friend David D brought us his famous egg and sausage casserole for breakfast. Come to find out it is really his sister’s famous recipe that he stole. Yum. It was sure nice to have a friend there. David is the same one I called when I was so nauseated and was sitting with Collin in ICU. David’s a champ. Collin ate the breakfast David brought and said it was good. Collin used to love eggs but something about them now does not agree with Collin’s stomach. Sorry David. David even helped when Collin got sick. What kind of friend is that…..a great one.
Collin rested while David and I started packing up the room and making trips to the car. Collin’s nurse Liz said the ambulance was due to arrive at 12:00 noon. Three trips of stuff to the car and finally the room was empty, or so we thought. Even Karen and Liz, the nurses, checked the room. At 12:00 straight up, David and I were waiting to ride the elevator up from the last load to the car. Collin called me saying the ambulance guys were here to pick him up.
Collin was a little apprehensive about the ride to Baylor although he knew it was less than ten minutes. He rolled down the hallway strapped to the stretcher and told the nurses and techs thank you and good bye with promises to come back and visit. Karen told me when their patients visit after full recovery, the nurses and staff always recognize the parents first, then the look at the stranger with the parents and realize that was the patient they cared for days or weeks stretched out in the bed looking so ill.
Parkland is a wonderful facility. My mom was a nurse there back in the 1950s for a short while and growing up in Dallas, I’ve heard of Parkland my whole life. Sometimes the stories are good, sometimes not. Every business or entity has its problems but we certainly received excellent care while we were there. There were at times some miscommunication between the different medical teams working on Collin but nothing major happened, just our understanding of some timelines had to adjusted. The doctors and nurses were very patient, kind, gentle and friendly. Most of the other staff were wonderful.
Collin said the ride to Baylor was nerve racking because he faced the window and watched as cars drove toward him…that was a little scary. We got to the Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation (or BIR as some signs say) and his new room 417 around 1 p.m. It is a private room so thanks to everyone that was praying for that specific request of Lois. Right away the nurse and tech staff started checking Collin out thoroughly. They took pictures of and measured every incision, sore and scab. They needed to weigh him but he can’t stand up easily. They scooted a thick plastic sheet under his boney hiney. The sheet had metal rods along the side edges. Next they rolled in this big bed scale – a device with four big hooks and a crank handle. They attached the hooks to the sheet and started cranking. I could not see the digital read out but when they wrote his weight on the dry erase board, I about fell over. 116.4 pounds – that means he lost about 30 pounds since the accident. Good grief. Oh, appetite where art thou? He was a little scared by that number too and looked at me with wide eyes. I mouthed the words “you need to eat”. He nodded his head.
I met Collin’s primary doctor, Dr. Les Porter. He seems very nice. I like the detailed questions he asked Collin- very pointed ones about the types of and location of pain and what he could or could not endure. I like the simple things he had Collin do testing for range of motion and strength. We also met Dr. Porter’s assistant Thenesia.
About two weeks ago I briefly mentioned that one night Lois was at the hospital with Collin and talked in her sleep. I said there was a funny story about Phebe and her Tunisian treats I would have to tell later. The time has come, I’ve put it off long enough.
That night, Collin’s nurse was Phebe, a very sweet lady of Indian decent. During the night Collin pressed the Call Button and asked if Phebe could bring him some pain meds. As soon as Collin asked for Phebe, Lois begins talking in her sleep. Lois really is sane and we decided long, long ago that she is not responsible for what she says or does in her sleep.
Lois said in a very odd Indian accent, “I am Phebe.”
Collin figured this might cause a problem. Then it got worse.
Lois continued, “I am Phebe and I bring you Tunisian Treats.”
Collin had to do something. He had one Indian-sounding Phebe in his room wearing pajamas offering to bring Tunisian Treats and the real Phebe with no Indian accent on the way with pain medicine.
“Mom, it’s okay, just go back to sleep.”
“No, it’s okay. I’ll bring you the Tunisian Treats.”
“Mom, just lay down and go back to sleep.”
Luckily for all, Lois mumbled something then was quiet in time for the real Phebe with Medicine Treats to enter the room. She knew nothing of the whole incident….not yet.
A little while later a doctor comes in the room. Up from the deep comes Lois with more surprises. She sits up, turns to the doctor and says, “I have a question.”
“Yes, ma’am.” The polite doctor said.
“Can you call me by another name?”
“Excuse me?” the doctor said.
“Can you just call by a different name this one time?”
The poor doctor looks a Collin who, if he could, would have crawled off the bed and out the 7th floor window. Collin tells him his mom talks in her sleep when she is really tired and stressed. The smart doctor turns to Lois and answers her “Yes, ma’am of course.”
Somehow this satisfies Lois and she lies back down to sleep. I’m sure she was snoring before he left the room.
Now it’s Phebe’s turn again. The real nurse Phebe comes back in the room and Lois wakes up. She has some memory of what happened earlier. She says she is sorry for the earlier incident she is just really tired and sometimes she talks in her sleep. Phebe had no idea what she was talking about so Lois now had to tell her the whole story. Again, if Collin had not been tethered to his bed with an I.V. and unable to move at all, he’d probably have crawled right out the window or at least under the bed. Oh the fun never stops with the Busy Bufords.
So when I met Thenesia at Baylor, pronounced pretty close to Tunesia, I had a really hard time NOT asking her if she brought the treats. Lois will be an old woman still trying to live that one down.
Everything went well with the rest of the check in process. I’m so amazed at the orderliness and quietness of this facility. What a welcomed change. This evening, New Year’s Eve, Janey wanted to hang out with the Linebargers instead of go to the movies. Lois, Leigh, Bradley & I went to movies while Collin snoozed. Collin knew we were not planning on staying with him once he transferred to Baylor. He is still fine with that. Lois and I are most definitely looking forward to crawling in bed together tonight!
My friends and family, I do not tire of saying this, Thank you so much for all the cards, gifts, emails, phone calls and visits. It is hard to really express the true gratitude we feel. It would have been so much more difficult to deal with this if only our small family of five had to deal with this alone. But you have bore the burden with us. You have lifted us up to the Father. You have been there with words and scriptures of encouragement. Thank you so much. We truly praise the Almighty God and Father of the Bible, the Creator and Sustainer, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit for dear family and friends like you.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 3, 2009
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Lois spent the night at the hospital last night and I was at home. All went well.
The doctors came in early to tell her Collin would probably go to the plastic surgery clinic today to have the staples and nose splints removed. Oh, do I have to be there for that? That is going to hurt like the dickens. And we might transfer to Baylor today or tomorrow. They did not say too much about the seizures. They basically said if Collin is having some seizures, they are very mild and they will probably treated on an outpatient basis during his stay at Baylor.
I talked to my brother Stephen in Tulsa. He feels fine and is convinced the scare was nothing more than indigestion. He felt the pains coming on, got concerned and took a nitro pill. When the pain did not go away or diminish, he thought for sure it was indigestion. But then since he’s new at this heart problem stuff, he thought he better not take any chances. He had a stress test this morning. All the results from that came at A Okay. But he’s still in pretty big trouble with his daughter the nurse.
At Baylor Collin will be dressing in real clothes. Yea, no more rear-end-hanging-out-gowns! I sure have seen enough of my son’s body parts for a while.
I got there around noon and Lois left to go clean a house. Our great neighbors, Jim and Sharon came to spend some time with us. Kelli and Ertie with physical therapy came in…time for Collin to walk again. He walked 16 feet yesterday when they wanted him to walk 6. He said all morning he was going walk down the hall today, maybe to the nurses’ station. He amazed us all as he took hold of that walker and went 84 feet. Praise God at his progress. Lois was not there but Sharon cried for her. Kelli was very, very pleased. He did just great until his foot starting hurting like all get out. By the time he got back to the bed, his foot hurt so bad. I think it is mainly the tendons and muscles, but what do I know.
Lois talked to Baylor several times today. They were running all the paperwork. There was a small snag since Home Depot is changing medical insurance providers in January. Baylor had to resubmit all the requests with the new provider. We’ll have to pay $150 to Baylor for one day, December 31 under our current insurance company then, yippee, a new year starts with a new company. And maybe another $150 to start the New Year off right. Gross. One phone call from Baylor wanted to know if I was changing jobs, Lois assured them I’d been with Home Depot for over 18 years and no, I am not changing jobs. They also told Lois Collin will probably be doing a lot of work in the swimming pool since his right leg is no-weight bearing.
The last phone call with Baylor was good. Everything looks good. Lois told them about the staples and sutures that should be removed today (not very likely, but maybe tomorrow). Baylor will schedule an ambulance come pick him up tomorrow after 1:00 p.m. Wow, it seems so close now….like it is really going to happen.
I will spend the night at the hospital tonight. My friend David is bringing some famous egg dish in the morning for breakfast. That’ll be fun to see him.
Here’s couple of funnies I forgot to mention on the appropriate day.
- Our family friends from Abilene, the Martins gave Collin a boxed game for Christmas. The gift tag said: “Collin, in case you forget where you were for Christmas 2008….” When he unwrapped the gift he read the title out loud, “In a Pickle” and laughed. Boy that’s for sure.
- Just so you realize it is not only me that has a quirky sense of humor….After the doctor had worked so hard to get the stitches from Collin’s arm and leg that were becoming part of his skin, Lois broke out in song with the line from the song in Pinocchio, “I’ve got no strings to hold me down.” I’m sure she danced a little jig and Collin gave a very sideways grin.
- And another story of a quirky sense of humor. Our daughter Janey is 13 and loves to hang out at the Linebargers that live down the street, the family with three girls. One day when she was playing over there she decided to wrap the girls some presents for Christmas and put them under the tree. I’m not sure how she did it with no one noticing but she is pretty doggone sneaky. Christmas morning comes along and the Linebargers are opening their gifts. They notice there are three gift bags to the girls from Janey. Wow, what is this? When did she put those under the tree? They pulled out shirts, socks, pajamas. That Janey is such a nut. As they pulled things out of the bags, they all started laughing hilariously. Somehow Janey had rounded up different pieces of the girls’ clothes from their rooms and shoved them in the gift bags. For several days before Christmas the girls could not find various shirts, sock, and pants. They looked under the beds, in the dirty clothes, everywhere. What a crazy sense of humor. Who has a sense of humor like that? My daughter!
Isn’t humor a wonderful thing? Seeing Collin laugh in the past several days sure has done a lot to soothe the rattled and fraying nerves. Seeing his smile is wonderful. We know God’s love is unending, but we are still amazed at His goodness to us.
Pray for Collin:
Courage to face the removal of the 67 staples across his head and nose splints.
Strength and endurance for the rehab work at Baylor. He is very determined to make short work of it….but it is easy to be Captain Courageous before the storm hits.
Pray for Lois, Bradley, Janey and me:
Continued help with communication in these hectic, brief conversations on the phone, emails, notes and occasionally talks in person.
Patience for us all as this lap of the race ends and a new one called Rehab starts and all the rules and norms must be reestablished.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. Philippians 1:3-4
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 3, 2009
Monday, December 29, 2008
Somewhere near midnight my phone rang. My cell phone told me that my brother Stephen from Tulsa was calling me. “Hey, what are you doing,” I said. I was not expecting the next words. “Uncle Philip, this is Zachary, my dad’s in the hospital with chest pains. They are doing tests and I’ll call you when we hear something.” Good grief, Charlie Brown….what now?
Stephen had a heart attack in September followed by stint surgery. My niece called me later during the night to tell me it was probably not a heart attack, but indigestion from Stephen eating some forbidden smoked meat. He also had not been taking his medicine as directed because he kept forgetting. My niece is a nurse. Don’t you just bet my brother got an earful from her about following doctor’s orders!
Lois and Collin slept well.
Good news first: During physical therapy, Collin was going to walk a few steps with the walker. One of the nurses said he had to walk 6 feet in order to go to Baylor. Collin’s friend Preston arrived and Collin walked 16 feet. Awesome. It helped having a friend there. Collin said it did not hurt his arm so much and he kept his right leg bent with his foot up in the air unlike normal where he’d just hold it up an inch off the ground. He’s now able to pull his right leg up in the bed without any aid – while lying down, he can pull his leg up so his knee is sticking up in the air like you would do if getting ready to do sit ups. He is really working out his legs and arms a lot.
External moving + eating > lead to > less pain + internal movements. Yes indeed the averages are moving up, things are much more regular. While he did not really eat a lot today, his appetite is coming back. He never thought he’d say it, but he is really quite tired of mashed potatoes. Those have been such a staple of his life, I’m sure given a few weeks’ reprieve; they will resume their spot on favorite vegetable list followed by French fries, baked potato and hash browns. I’m not sure there is much else on the vegetable list in Collin’s world.
Today we ventured into the unknown and scary again. Being a dad I noticed something yesterday a couple of times but did not think much about it. At least twice I noticed Collin staring at the wall or ceiling for 30 seconds or a minute. It was a very blank stare. I figured he was just thinking or bored. When I noticed it, I got up and walked over to his bed. One time he turned his head toward me with the same blank stare. I smiled but he had no response. After about 20 or 30 seconds he blinked and focused on me. He smiled and said What? I said, “Oh, nothing, I was just looking at you.” Racing through my mind was- What was that? This morning when Collin woke up he told Lois that during the night he woke up to feel himself shaking on the bed. Not shaking like being cold but shaking with his head hitting against the pillow and his body jerking. He thought he should call the nurse but he couldn’t make his hand move. His throat felt tight like he was gagging. He tried to lie still. Finally it subsided and he fell back to sleep.
Red flags. Lois was very concerned and told the nurses who said they’d notify the doctors. During the morning Lois a few of the blank stare episodes that lasted for well over a minute. She told the nurses about these as well. When she called me with all this information, it was then that I told her about the blank stares I saw on Sunday. There is a very concrete reason why the red flags were popping up in Lois’ mind.
Four years ago this January, on a Sunday afternoon Lois and I had just gotten up from a nap and were getting ready for church. She was in the bathroom getting her hair done and I was getting dressed next to the bed. I saw her walk into the closet to pick out some clothes. Next our daughter Janey, who was 9 walked in to ask Mom a question. Janey walked over to the closet and stood there. Then she turned to me and with a quizzical, almost funny look asked, “Daddy, what is Mommy doing?” My adrenalin surged. I walked over and opened the door up all the way. Lois was on her knees bent over like she was looking for something on the closet floor, maybe an earring or something small. “Hey hon, what’s ya doing?” No response. I knelt down there behind her and touched her shoulders, no response. I leaned her back. Her head flopped back, her eyes were rolled back looking way up at the ceiling, she was drooling and foaming out of her mouth and making this awful gurgling sound. I was terrified. I immediately thought of seizure. I did not remember of her ever having a seizure in her life, definitely not since we met in May, 1986. I laid her fully on her back and pulled her out of the closet. Her body was not rigid, she was not shaking and she was not responsive to anything. I called 911. I tried to soothe her. By this time all three kids were standing at the doorway of our bedroom. I told Collin to take the 2 younger ones across the alley to our friends the Palmeris. He did so and came right back. He waited out front for the paramedics.
They arrived and rushed in. What’s wrong? What happened? Has this ever…? History of falls? Any alcohol? Drugs? Violence? Etc…. No, no, no none of that. They talked to her loudly. They stood her up and got her onto the bed. They tried to take her vitals but she began pushing them away and talking jibberish. The sounds were not complete words but she was looking at me and them as if she was talking normal and upset that we were not listening. They took her out on a stretcher and a police officer stayed in the bedroom to ask me all the same questions. She really did not believe me that there were no drugs or alcohol or history of violence. Finally when I busted out in tears and told her I did not know what happened and I asked her what’s wrong with my wife, she backed down and tried to calm me.
Shortened version. Lois “woke up” during the ambulance ride to the hospital. She had been out of it for probably 20-30 minutes. When she came to she immediately asked the paramedic why she was in an ambulance. He told her she apparently had a seizure. Then she told him she guessed we would not be getting our kids to choir rehearsal on time. He agreed. I got to the hospital and was finally allowed to see her. She was sitting up on a gurney in the hallway. She smiled and said Hi honey. I lost it again, hugging her neck. She said she was fine. I said I was not so sure about that. When I told her what happened, she quit smiling and pretty concerned as well.
That’s enough of that story for right now. So anyway, when Collin told her about his incident when sleeping, RED FLAGS went up everywhere. One of the first days after the accident a neurologist came and asked me about any history of seizures. I told him about Lois. He noted it but said there was not much reason at this point to do a bunch of tests. Today not one doctor has come in to talk to Lois about this issue with Collin. That is frustrating. I don’t like not knowing. I don’t like being ignorant. That can lead to such false imaginations or hopes. I used to be called Google Boy by a coworker because I’d always look up stuff to find the answers. Are these seizures? Is this normal? Are they from the accident or the surgeries or the medicine? Is this the reason for the accident?
Please pray for calm. I’ll say this over and again. The same God that gently lifted my boy from that crushed car and laid him on the road is still holding him in His mighty and loving hand.
Bradley said he wants he wants me to give him a buzz to support Collin’s new hair style. I gave Bradley a buzz in the garage tonight. That might sound like a real sweet gesture, what a nice thing to do to cut off all your hair so Collin won’t feel quite so gooney. Well anyone that knows Bradley very well, knows that’s not the truth. That boy just hates having to mess with his hair! He loves having a really short haircut. He’d wear a buzz all the time if we’d let him. Collin had his own hair dryer and brush when he was three years old….seriously. No, Bradley was not being nice and thoughtful, caring or sympathetic, he saw a good way to get a buzz.
As we get ready for the New Year, let us approach the throne of grace, let us enter His gates and His courts with praise for God is indeed an awesome, righteous, merciful and loving God.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted January 1, 2009
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Was I at home last night? Was I sleeping in a hotel? No, but it almost felt normal. Is that a good thing that my aching back thinks this chair-bed-thing is really something to sleep on? Ha. No, it is just that Collin slept so well last night. I think he woke me up a couple times to go to the bathroom and that’s it. Wow, what a difference a few days….okay, several days can make.
Please send me more pictures to put in Collin’s frame. He watches it a lot. I have stopped sending out the emails. If you know or hear of someone not getting them, please direct them to the website.
Collin looks so good this morning, just seeing his eyes open made such a difference. His smile can still be a little scary….ha…but it is getting better. There is less swelling and more definition of his cheeks. He has less pain. He had gotten off morphine entirely before the face surgery and gotten back on it of course afterward. He was loving those shots every two hours. He has not had any morphine since yesterday morning. Yesterday had a few tough spells but he fought through them. He now only has a pain pill every four hours.
Roger & Vickie Clark visited and encouraged him. Collin loves to ask detailed questions about the Mesquite and Forney CFAs. He asks who is working what shifts and if certain maintenance tasks are being done. Roger rolls his eyes and says he’ll check on it. It is really neat to see Collin’s mind working, asking them questions that they have to stop and think about. He told Roger he can’t let Collin go because he still remembers everyone’s clock-in numbers and the security codes. Roger assured him, he has no plans for Collin to go anywhere besides the Forney CFA. Collin is now telling visitors that he expects to be back working on February 1. I’m not sure in what capacity or for how many hours each day, but I’ll do my “dead level best.” as my daddy would say, to get Collin there.
Lois & Janey went to Collin’s apartment and finished cleaning it up. They mopped the floors and picked whatever little stuff those “moving men” left behind. Then Lois and Janey cleaned a house together. They enjoyed working together.
Debbie from Forney store came to see Collin and brought him a present. I took a break and went to McDonalds just to sit and read and maybe write. I’m really glad when the kids got bigger we quit going to McD’s. So right now, all these years later I can endure eating there several times a week. The food is okay, the environment at the Parkland McDonald’s is less than inviting many days. One morning I went down to get some breakfast. It was really cold outside and inside the restaurant it felt like I was standing on my front porch. I kept looking for some open door or window somewhere. Everyone acted like that was normal to wear a winter coat inside. I was the only one not wearing a coat. I grabbed my food and went upstairs. My friends from the Waxahachie Home Depot work in a part of the store I call the Walk In Freezer. They’d probably feel comfortable at my new McDonald’s. When I call one of them, I ask what flavors of Blue Bell are in stock or I ask them to pass me a frozen pizza.
Frequently there are beggars and crippled people sitting on the floor by the main entrance to McD. This Sunday afternoon, I sat down with my laptop and was working. A man approached me and very nicely asked if I could give him money to buy a hamburger. I said sure, come on. I closed my laptop and walked with him to the counter. I told him to get whatever he wanted. He asked the clerk for the $1.40 hamburger. I asked him if that was enough. He said yes. I asked if he’d rather have two than one. He ordered two and a glass of water. I asked if he’d like some fries and a drink. He nodded his head. The not so bright guy behind the counter asked what size. My hungry friend said small, I said large. I paid the bill, patted the man on the back and told him to enjoy his meal and God bless you. He thanked me several times. I told him God had blessed me so much, I was glad to be able to share.
The other homeless people looked at him and me. One of them made a comment about sharing. I can’t help them all and I did not feel guilty. I sat back down and started writing some more. A few minutes later a funny little man came by and asked what I was doing on my computer. I told him I was writing a note to some friends. He sat down next to me. I kept working. He had on a dirty suit, a buttoned up shirt and a baseball cap.
“I work security down here. They make me dress like this.” He said glancing down at his clothes.
I smiled and nodded, “Oh, I see.”
He sat quietly for a few minutes then he took a cigarette out of a pack and fiddled with it.
The next statement left me thoroughly confused. “I bought the welfare from Seemo’s.”
“You did?” I asked. He nodded.
He sat quietly again. Then he looked up quickly toward the front entrance. “Oh god, not him again. I’ve gotta take care of this.” And off he went.
He was a very friendly little man. I’m old enough to know that many homeless people should be on meds but those are hard to obtain, to take correctly and to hold on to living on the streets. Many choose the streets for varieties of reasons. Some have made many tough decisions in their lives that had tougher consequences. Many have had some very hard things to deal with along the way. I’m not worthy of or deserving of the family God “borned” me into. Who am I that I always had clothes and food and loving family and friends? I am blessed. The encounters with some people at Parkland who live very differently than me has been good for me. For some of us, it would not take too many “turns of bad luck” to reduce us to giving up and a sad existence of begging and living on the streets. Let us be thankful and grateful for what we have.
When I got back up to the room Debbie and Leigh were talking and about 6 people from the Mesquite CFA were there to see that smiling boy in the bed. It is fun and rewarding to see the friends Collin has made and how many people really do love him and are concerned about him. Collin entertained them with funny and frustrating stories of life in a hospital for three weeks.
After a while the room emptied. Collin rested and I told Collin I was very proud of him for something that I bet he did not expect. I told him I was proud that when I cleaned out his apartment, I did not find anything I was embarrassed to find. I said many guys his age, living on their own, making their own decisions don’t always make good ones. I was so glad to not find any booze or drugs or porn. I never expected to find those things, but I you never know. He had no time to prepare his apartment for Dad to come visit or much less dig through every cabinet and in every drawer. I told him when I lived onmy own I did not always make good choices. While I never drank or did any drugs, porn was an issue from time to time as it is with most guys. I encouraged him to avoid it, he’ll have less regrets. I told him I was proud for what he is not doing and for what he is doing. He is a good kid with a lot of promise.
Around 5:00 several friends from the Forney CFA came to wish him well. A month or so ago Collin placed an order for some Avon stuff with an employee from that store. The order came in after Collin’s accident. The friends that came brought his order as his Christmas present! He was so surprised. What’s up with this? Bradley, Janey and Collin all got to pick out Christmas presents for themselves this year! Ha.
A little later his friends the Jassos and Johnsons came to visit with their cute little squirt Slade, Collin’s god son. They brought several nice gifts for Collin. Two really touched him. One was a wooden photo frame with a picture of Slade that’s engraved “To my God Father, Collin Buford. I count my blessings when I think of you, walking beside me to help and guide me. In love and prayer, Slade”. That’s pretty cool. The other special gift was a new gps. That was a very symbolic gift for Collin to assure him that he will one day be driving again. Jokingly Collin looked back in the gift bag for a car to go with the gps.
For dinner he wanted a hamburger, chicken nuggets and a chocolate Frosty from Wendy’s. That was the first time he’d asked me for some real food. I was out the door in a flash. He ate half the hamburger, half the nuggets and a little bit of the shake.
God bless all of you. Please keep praying for Collin’s physical recovery and spiritual growth through this.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 30, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Many of you have asked about the accident and what we know or finally figured out. I’m not a traffic engineer or accident investigator and can’t make all this work in my head, but here’s the scoop. Here’s what we know and have heard….
Wednesday, December 3 was a busy and hectic morning at the Forney Chick-fil-A due in part to some computer problems the night before that also affected the morning opening procedures for Collin. After the lunch rush, the management had a meeting about the upcoming Forney Christmas Parade. Collin got to see and serve his good friends the Jassos around 2:00 p.m. He got off work Wednesday, December 3 around 3:00 and made the bank deposit at Capitol One next door to CFA. That was the last part of normal for a long time to come.
Collin got on highway 80 right there at 348 and headed west toward Mesquite. There are two lanes heading west and two lanes heading east divided by a grassy median at least 20 feet wide. The median slopes down in the middle and up on both sides. There is a steel cable type guard rail near the east bound side shoulder, not in the middle of the median. Collin got in the left lane and drove straight. About a half mile down the road, before the Pinson Rd exit, something happened and his truck swerved onto the left shoulder, then through the grassy median toward the oncoming, east bound traffic. The truck went down into and up out of the grassy median, struck the cable barrier and flipped over it on the driver’s side. He did not drive through the cables. Then his truck continued to roll to the left, onto its top. Now the Trailblazer was upside down in the fast lane of the oncoming traffic.
A white Ford F250 dually pickup truck hit Collin’s Trailblazer head on. It does not appear Collin was wearing a seat belt. He says he is surprised if he was not, but he was not very consistent about wearing one so we are not sure. I don’t know much about physics but it seems like Collin’s body should have shot out through the windshield underneath the oncoming white pick up truck. God had other plans. Collin’s body was ejected out of his Trailblazer toward the southeast. There are no cuts to Collin’s face so we think maybe the driver’s side door came open while the truck was rolling over and Collin flew out of the door instead of going out through a window. The police report says he came to rest on the pavement, one witness said he landed on the hood of her car first then fell to the ground. Collin was not conscious.
Meanwhile, a white Grand Marquis behind the white pickup truck hit it from behind. That spun the pickup around to the right and into the path of an 18-wheeler in the other lane. Those two hit head on and the sent the pick up off the highway into the ditch on the south side. The driver of the 18-wheeler veered to the left to avoid hitting Collin lying in the road. God indeed had other plans for Collin. The Grand Marquis spun a little and hit the left side of the 18-wheeler. That caused the Grand Marquis to veer to across the median, across the two lanes of traffic Collin had been driving in and into the ditch on the north side of the highway. The newspaper said the drivers of the white pickup and of the Grand Marquis were sent to hospitals with minor injuries.
It is amazing that the drivers were not more seriously injured. Collin’s injuries were serious but the doctors still think he will make a total recovery in a few months. Behind the scenes to all this, there are some complicated insurance and legal issues I can’t discuss. Please pray for wisdom and insight.
One of Collin’s friends and employee at the Forney Chick-fil-A, Brandon Castro was working out at Premier Sports off the service road. He heard the sirens and saw the wreck. He went to take a look and thought the truck looked like Collin’s. He called CFA and asked if Collin was there. Cameron Parker the manager said Collin had just left. Brandon said he thought Collin had just been in a bad accident. Cameron called the CFA owner Roger Clark. Roger loves Collin so much and Collin loves him. Roger has three kids, two are older than Collin. He knows what teenage kids are all about. Collin looks up to Roger so much as a mentor, Christian business man and role model. Roger was right by the scene trying to get on the highway but it was all backed up because of an accident. When Cameron called Roger, he put his car truck in park and ran over to the scene. Roger was right there with the paramedics. He was praying for Collin within just minutes of the accident. He called his pastor who got there right away. Roger’s wife Vickie was across the street at Wal-Mart. She got to the scene quickly but the police would not let her get near.
Another employee from the Forney store, Debbie left the same time Collin did. She ran an errand then circled back around on the service road and saw the accident. Some friends of ours from church, the Branches, were driving back to Dallas and caught up in the back up. They saw the mangled up truck. When they got home they heard about the accident and realized Collin was in it. One of our neighbors, Chris Linebarger also drove by right after it happened then heard the news later. Since the whole highway was shut down for a while, the accident was reported on several traffic reports. KCBI reported it and as they usually do, they prayed for the injured people. Several friends said they heard the KCBI announcement and prayed, not knowing who was involved.
I said this before. Isn’t it amazing how hard God had to work to get everyone in just the right place at just the right time? Nope, not at all. God is so amazing indeed.
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on m, and hear my prayer.
I have no idea if Collin prayed during the accident, but I know this, his mom and dad and oh so many others have been praying for him non-stop since.
…Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart,
…I will like both lie down in peace and sleep:
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
He has indeed given us peace and carried Collin safely in His loving hands from inside his truck to the stretcher on the Care Flight helicopter.
I will praise You, O Lord with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous work.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 29, 2008
Satuday, December 27, 2008
Lois said Collin slept well, several hours at a time Friday night. Bradley and I got up for a fun day of moving on Saturday morning. Collin got up for a busy but not fun morning.
Brad and I grabbed a quick manly breakfast at Sonic and got to Access Self Storage on Ferguson right at 9:00 when they opened. When we went in the office it was warm and muggy outside. While there, scary, dark clouds blew over, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees, it started raining gently and the power went out. We got the moving truck and signed paperwork for Collin’s new pad, a nice 5 x 15 place, number 33.
We drove to Collin’s old pad to empty it out. The rain followed us from Access Self Storage to Mesquite, but it didn’t hinder us too much. Uncle Dale and friends from church Rodney and two of his boys, Rowan and Reed joined us. In about two hours we had of Collin’s worldly possessions packed up in the truck and heading to #33.
At the hospital, Dr. Becker came in and took out the sutures from Collin’s eyes. His eyes are free! Now, the challenge is to get the crud off the eyelashes and eyelids. Dr. Archie came later and took out the stitches from his arm and leg from the original surgeries. That was quite painful because the sutures should have been removed several days ago, the skin had begun to grow over many of the knots. He had to pick carefully at the sore skin to find the threads to cut. But hey, Collin is getting closer step by step and some of those steps are pretty painful. He ate a whole bowl of potato soup for lunch. His eating really is getting better. He still gets nauseated at most meals but has kept everything down for many meals now.
Bradley’s paintball plans with his friend/neighbor Steven were canceled because of the rain, but he played at Steven’s house in the afternoon trying out Bradley’s new paintball gun. Janey hung out at the Linebarger’s all afternoon, her home away from home. With three Linebarger girls, there are always plenty of clothes, makeup and girly stuff for Janey to do.
I was Mr. Meany and made them both come home from playing, just for an hour. We all worked like wild banshees and cleaned the house up for Mom. Living at the hospital for three weeks takes its toll. We rearranged all of Collin’s stuff that’s at home, moving this and that here and there so it made some sense. Finally the kitchen looked like a kitchen instead of a loading dock at WalMart. In the den, the couches and chair were visible, no longer resembling the laundry sorting area it had become. I must have heard a dozen time- How much more Dad? Too bad. I wanted Lois to come him tonight and not pull her hair out. We didn’t vacuum and mop but at least the rooms are usable.
Lois said Collin spent most of the afternoon listening to and singing along with a cd from the church youth choir tour and mission trip last summer. Collin played the French horn in the youth orchestra at church. He especially likes the song I Will Sing Praise. He used to listen to that song on the way into work when he was the opening manager at CFA. He said it got his mind and heart in the right place to help him deal with the stresses and busyness as a manager and to serve people with the right attitude. “I will sing praise….no matter what storms my come way, no matter what trials I may face….I’ve made up my mind, I will sing praise.” I know my kid’s not perfect and there is plenty of music he listens to that I don’t like. But when he’s flat on his back, needing encouragement and strength, he asked for Mom to find a cd of the Chapel Choir Tour. That’s pretty cool.
Collin had chicken strips for dinner. Yea! But there is one problem….they came from McDonald’s instead of Chick-fil-A. On the way down to the hospital, I stopped by the Mesquite CFA for a quick sandwich. I told his friends at the drive through window about Collin’s dinner. They laughed and were just glad he is eating more, even if it is from McD’s.
Bradley, Janey and one of Janey’s friends went to see Marley & Me with Rodney and his family. So many friends and family have taken such great care of Brad & Janey. Thank you so much.
I got to the hospital, gave Lois Ann some quick sugars and swapped cars. She’s off duty and I’m on. Yea, his eyes are open! His arm and leg really do look so good. The incisions are healing very well. The staples in his back were removed like two months ago….oh, it seems like that. Time has taken on a whole new dimension these last three weeks. Anyway, the incisions in his back look great. They are healing so well.
Collin is excited because next week, my brother Steve and his family are coming down from Tulsa for a couple days. Collin will be….should be….feeling so much better by then.
Thanks to everyone for your prayers and love.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 29, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Lois spent the night at the hospital with Collin Andrew on Christmas night. Bradley and I boogied on home. We hoped to find something to eat along the way. Silly boys….on Christmas day? We kept driving and driving, ready to stop anywhere except Valero for dinner. Finally right near home we saw dinner, hot fresh pizza from Little Caesar’s. We unloaded the card table, crock-pot and all the other Christmas goodies at home. The triple meat pizza and cheesy garlic bread hit the spot.
Friday morning, the doctors told Lois they would remove the eye stitches tomorrow, Saturday. Then we may go to Baylor tomorrow or Monday. Collin can open his left eye pretty good, about half way. The threads prevent him from opening it further. He had a busy morning with physical therapy and occupational therapy. They came in and wore him out making him sit up on the side of the bed, stand up, then sit in a chair.
I got to the hospital around noon so Lois could go clean a house. Collin and I had a good afternoon together. He slept most of the time, exhausted from his morning. Late in the afternoon, while he was snoozing, I wanted something to eat. His cousin Donna sent some sloppy joe with mashed potato top in a little container a few days earlier. He was not hungry that day so I put it in the fridge for an occasion like this. I warmed it up. It smelled so good. Right as I stepped back into the room, Collin stirred and asked what I was doing. I told him I had warmed up the sloppy joe from Donna. “Oh good, I’m hungry. You do that for me?” “Well of course I did, Sonny.” Doggone it. He ate half the serving then went back to sleep. THAT was a true test of love. He won.
His drinking habits have changed. Red Gatorade is no longer the drink of choice. He’s switched to chocolate milk, drinking about three little cartons of it a day. He talked on his phone to a Forney buddy, Michele. They laughed about some chocolate milk story. I don’t think I want the details.
Thoughtful neighbors Jim and Sharon came at 4:00 so Lois and I could go pack up the rest of Collin’s stuff at his apartment. We are supposed to move it all on Saturday. We worked together, got it all spic and span. Lois ran home, got cleaned up and headed back down to the hospital around 8:30.
Praise be to God on High. He reigns Supreme. Collin continues to do better each day. I look at him and just praise God above for how far Collin has come. It is just amazing.
Thanks everybody for praying
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008 :: Christmas Day
What a special day! What a day to rejoice! No shepherds or magi showed up but several special visitors sure did. This is a long one (like the others were short!) so put your specs on Dave Welch and don't try to read it on your Blackberry.
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder,
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(How can you read that verse and NOT start humming that song from The Messiah?)
Collin & I slept very well Christmas Eve night. I'm not sure if Santa found a way into the hospital or not. Maybe he can only get into the juvenile wing because of security issues. But he made he made it to our house in Mesquite and Collin's got some goodies there waiting so be opened.
We had an early visit from Mr. & Mrs. Zapata. What a wonderful surprise. I had not met them until this morning. They are the parents of one of Collin's coworkers. Their son is out of town with his girlfriend’s family in Kansas so the Zapatas came to see Collin on Christmas morning. How thoughtful. They brought homemade goodies and visited with Collin. They called their son Jared on the phone who wished Collin Merry Christmas via speakerphone…the joys of modern technology. The Zapatas also prayed with Collin and asked him if he trusted Jesus to be his Savior Collin said yes and told them about the time he became a Christian. That was a special visit.
Lois & the kids showed up with yummy warm lunch and snacks. It really did seem like home with sounds of. Christmas music playing softly and scents Lois Ann's Wassail warming in the crock-pot and an old movie playing.
Janey watched her new Breakfast at Tiffanies dvd while wearing her new Audrey Hepburn t-shirt and a small string of Mom's pearls. The only thing missing was our Lulu our cute Corgi.
Collin slept most of the morning and right through lunch. His pain was less today and occasionally he would stretch his shoulder and move his back around. That's good. Lois' mom stopped by to visit as Bradley and I headed out to catch a movie.
Yes Man is the name but No Man is my recommendation. Funny in many parts & a little reminiscent of Pay It Forward in parts. I really don't get it why they gotta push a pretty good movie straight into the junk pile with a few ill-chosen words and one totally unnecessary scene. Oh well get over it.
While we were laughing in the theater, Lois and Janey had some more visitors. Misty and her family visited again and they brought more goodies. They had a stocking for each of us filled with fruit and candy. Two of her children sang the song "We Bow Down". What a song for today, putting everything in perspective.
Two visitors that only spoke Spanish, Mr. & Mrs. Aguilos who we don't know at all came in to visit. They prayed a long prayer of peace, healing and God's love. Collin knows some Spanish & caught a few words here and there.
Uncle Tim and Aunt Debbie came by and wished Collin a Merry Christmas. It is a blessing taken for granted to have family that live close. Duane and Donna Martin some very special friends from Abilene visited. Our connection to them is inseparable. That's a long story of God's mercy, forgiveness, providence and boundless love for another day. They brought love, gifts and laughter.
Bradley and I returned from the movie in time to see Duane and Donna. Lois and Janey got ready to go to their Christmas Day movie. We picked that great time to have an argument. Good timing. Everyone is tired and so full of patience.
Right as Lois opened the door for she and Janey to leave God had a blessing in store for us that shut that argument right up. Another stranger showed up. Or we thought it was a stranger. Laura Jasper and her daughter Becka stopped by to meet us in person. Laura, her husband and family live in Scotland. They are back in the states for a while I did not know it but Laura and Lois had been emailing because of a note sent out by my high school alumni office regarding the accident. Laura Manning was 3 years ahead of me in school. I knew her name but never knew her back then. .
Laura's daughter Becka was in a head-on car accident in Houston four years ago when Laura was 16. She had very similar injuries and they've been down this path. Laura said when saw the pictures of Collin with eyes sewn shut, she had to come visit. Becka looked the same way in the hospital. To look at Becka now, you would never know a crazy, horrible thing like that happened to her. They stayed and visited for a while and prayed with us. To hear that 21 year old young woman pray for Collin with an understanding of the pain he is in and the recovery ahead of him was awesome and tough at the same time. To hear the confidence in her voice when she quoted Joshua 1:9 in her prayer for Collin to be strong and courageous was very inspiring. Wow, what an unexpected and wonderful gift that was.
Lois & Janey went the Studio Movie Grill with Martha & Kat, two of their very good friends. They saw Bedtime Stories and loved it. Janey went home with Katherine to spend the night- yea for everyone.
Leigh stopped by for an hour or so. She loved on him tenderly- giving him drinks of Cherry 7 Up, bites of mashed potatoes and rubbing his feet.
Bradley & I packed all the Christmas goodies in the room and met Lois in the drop off drive through. Goodnight kisses all around then Brad and I were headed to Mesquite. Home again, home again, jiggity jig.
What a fun day: we saw family and friends, made some new friends, had a great meal, played a game, watched some movies, had some good laughs and we even managed to have a little family argument. Boy, that sounds like the best Christmas ever for the Busy Bufords of Mesquite!
Sunday will be the last time I send out these emails. I will continue to write them and post them on the website www.bufordfamily.com/collin. On that website, you can sign up for automatic notification when an update is posted.
Lois & Janey enjoying Christmas dinner while Collin rudely snores. (please notice Janey’s smirk, that look is stuck on her face most days)
A sweet note from one of Collin’s young CFA customers
Thanks to everyone for everything. I hope each of you had a Merry Christmas.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008 :: 5:09 p.m.
After the hard shopping Janey and I did on Tuesday evening, I was worn out. I crawled into be around 10:00 and had no plans to get up early Wednesday. This morning I fiddled around the house a little
The plastic surgeon was in this morning and said things are looking good but Collin must increase his calorie intake for the bones to heal properly. The dreaded feeding tube was discussed again. Collin ate a little breakfast and kept it down.
Collin at ½ his mashed potatoes at lunch and was full. That’s not so good. I got to the hospital and Lois left to go pick up the Tamales for tonight and the food for lunch on Christmas day. My coworkers, the Southwest Services team, the best group of DSMs, MSMs and SD in the Home Depot family bought our lunch. Thank you so much.
Collin napped most of afternoon. While I fought with the internet connection for my laptop. Something went crazy and now the AT&T card does not seem to be working. Leigh came around 2:00, rubbed his feet and neck – nothing like a massage from the girlfriend to make you feel better. Then she fed him some more potatoes while I got ready for church. Leigh left to go do Christmas stuff with her family in Coppell.
Sherri came just before 4:00. I finished picking things up, told her the basic stuff she’d need to know and where the Call Nurse button was. As I was leaving Collin asked if his cousin Jenny had come by. I told him I was not sure but I knew she hadn’t been there when I was there. He thought she had but was not sure. I left to save seats at church for Lois and the kids. For dinner Collin ate whole serving of mashed potatoes with Sherri’s help. Maybe we can keep the feeding tube away one more day.
At 6:00 Collin got a nice surprise. He my cousin Doug was coming to watch him but he didn’t know Doug was bringing his two college age kids Jay and Jenny who Collin loves to hang out with and had just asked me about. Jay and Jen are both hysterical. When I got back to the hospital I read a little ditty in Collin’s Guestbook by cousin Jay. It starts off “My name is Chiquito Chihuahua, I like to dance the Salsa….” I know Collin had a good, silly time while they were here. The Jasso family came again. They are a wonderful family from Forney, CFA customers, that think my boy is nice or something.
I got to church and saved seats with the Batts and Ensley families. Lois, Bradley & Janey joined us and we had a wonderful Christmas Eve service with hundreds of others at our church, First Baptist Dallas. We sang songs and heard scriptures of how and why Jesus came to the earth- to save us from the penalty of our sins through His death on the cross. Lots of friends stopped us to give hugs and encouragement before and afterwards. We saw some of our oldest friends ever, John & Christi and their daughter Hannah. John is the one who introduced Lois to me twenty-three years ago. They took our picture and gave us a sweet card and gift. Take a look at the picture. Is it right for a 9th grader to already be a smidgen taller than Dad? I think not. Collin didn’t pass me up until he was almost out of 10th grade. Janey’s not far behind and she’s in 7th grade.
At about 10:00 I was driving to the hospital and I got a surprise, not a pleasant one. My phone rang. It was Collin.
“Dad can you hurry? I gotta…..ya know.”
“Collin, dude, come on. This once a week deal is not working so well. You gotta get the numbers up. Remember how Mom and I told you fruits and vegetables are important?”
“Dad, not now. Can you hurry?”
“I’m on the way sonny boy.”
Lordy mercy, I thought he was birthing a cow. Children listen and listen up good. When mommy and daddy say eat your fruits and vegetables, not just the chicken nuggets and NO French fries and tater tots really don’t count as vegetables, there really are good reasons. This is just one of them.
I got another surprise later, this was a good one. Collin turned his head toward me then a little past and back at me and tilted his head. “Are you wearing that Home Depot Health shirt?” he asked. Get out! That boy can see, and read to boot. He can see a little bit out of his left eye where the nurses have cleared away the crusty junk. His right eye is still gunked over and it’s too sore to open anyway.
About 11:30 a guy came and took some blood. When he left Collin said he hoped it was good blood. Huh? Collin said that blood was to determine about the feeding tube. I told Collin we’d work on eating more tomorrow, time to get to sleep. He only had 30 minutes before Santa would be around. Collin smiled at me. There’s no chimney or even a vent-a-hood. Lois and I are not sure how Santa will make it. We think maybe he’ll have to come in through the air conditioner duct work. I bet he finds a way. When Collin was little there was a mechanical Santa in a store at some mall. The Santa had his hand up to his face with his index finger extended. The arm was moving back and forth, side to side as if Santa was saying No, no, no. This happened so long ago, I don’t remember if Lois did this or I, but one of showed the Santa to Collin and told him Santa was saying, “Be good, Be nice or No toys,” So for years, whenever Christmas gets near and the kids fuss, we do that whole finger wagging thing to them. Well as Collin was lying there peeking at me through the one little slit in his eyelids, I waved my finger in front of his face and told him “Be good, Be nice or No toys.” He smiled.
Collin really is doing better on everything. The eating is not going as fast as the doctors want, but it is better today than yesterday. My brother said I needed to send out a better picture of Collin, ‘cause that last one was pretty awful. I guess I’ll have to take a picture of some other kid, because until those eyes open, there’s not much different. Another uncle told Collin he had some sort of Hannibal Lector thing going on. Thank goodness there has been years and years of loving before that comment jumped out. He can smile some. I’ll try to get a picture of that.
One more funny thing at Collin’s expense before I sign off. Lois has a new camera. Why is it Mom gets to open her Christmas presents early? It’s just part of being a mom I guess. Her new camera is pretty snazzy. It has several sensors that help you take the best pictures possible- like a smile sensor. I don’t know how it can tell if someone is smiling, but it tells you if they are not. She was taking some pictures today of Collin. She kept getting an error message. She ignored it and took some more. Finally she stopped to see what the problem was. The camera saw Collin’s face and kept registering: Blink Sensor. Uh, sorry, that boy’s not blinking, he’s doing the best he can!
Love to you all and Merry Christmas.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 26, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008 :: 10:52 a.m.
IRONY is the word for Tuesday. You’ll see the reasons why later, both will make you laugh.
Collin slept about an hour at a time Monday night. Every hour he woke up to go to the bathroom (that boy is drinking the dog out of that red Gatorade-yuck) and to ask if he could have more pain med. He’d stir and I’d rearrange pillows, blankets, give him a sip or put some lip ointment on his scrubby lips. That was not so bad.
Dr. Archie came in and gave us a clue that we’d probably be here through Christmas. While it’d be great to be in Baylor starting the rehab right away, it would be nice if we could just wait for the move until the 26th. The whole transition from Parkland and getting settled into Baylor will take a lot of energy and time: meeting new people, learning new rules and routines, finding the ice machine. Wednesday & Thursday are going to be busy and uncomfortable as it is, moving would just make it more so. We’ll just see.
Lois says Collin has his days & nights all mixed up like a new baby does sometimes. Moms know that stuff better. She must be right because from about 7 am until 12 noon, that brat wanted nothing but to sleep. He hardly even woke to go to the bathroom. He sure woke up when the nurses tried to wipe the crusty junk off his eyelids. His eyelids are about glued together and they put three kinds of drops on them three times a day and try to remove the crud. He went right back to sleep. He even slept through the nurse taking his vitals a couple times. I thought about napping but the morning chatter and movement in the hallway didn’t allow it.
About 11:00 a.m. I’m still wearing my t-shirt, flannel sleep pants and slippers, scuffling down the hall for some ice for myself when I see a Parkland employee. The lady and I make eye contact, we both smile and say hi. We know each other, we pass. Then we both stop and turn around. I’m thinking I know that sassy hair cut and those earrings and that smile. I said “I know you.” She nods her head and we walk closer. I said laughed when I realized who it was. “Mrs. Spencer?” She nodded but she still could not place me. I laughed again. I said, “Philip Buford from Home Depot.” She laughed, “Oh my gosh. Ya know, I knew you when I saw you. I thought- I told that man one time I liked it when he shaved his head because he looks longer…but who is he? That’s not what I usually think when I see someone here.” She was a customer of mine at Home Depot that had a problem with her mini-blinds we installed and it took about 8 trips out to her home to get it all fixed. That was odd for both of to see each other in the “wrong” environment and for her to be in her Parkland outfit and me in my pajamas. She is a patient advocate so her job at Parkland and mine at Home Depot are very similar.
I took a shower while Sleeping Beauty…or not, slept. (Don’t worry, Collin will make me pay for that later. That kid is about 3 inches taller than me…what’s up with that?) He sipped his Gatorade lunch and ate his mashed potatoes, green beans and pulverized, shredded turkey. I guess all that sipping wore him out because he asked if I could close the blinds and if he could sleep because he was just so tired. I asked him if he was tired from working too hard or staying up too late last night. He turned his head toward me and would have glared at me if he could. He gave a little laugh.
I was emailing a friend Ben about how we are so quick to say God is leading us, directing us, guiding our path but then when that path takes an unexpected turn we get upset. That turn was not on the map, that thing was not supposed to happen. Ben and I were emailing about that when I got a phone call. Hmm, one of those unexpected turns. I told Ben it was almost funny that we’d just been discussing this and now Lois called me that she was stuck somewhere because her car would not start. I almost laughed out loud and looked for the director to have the script writers rewrite that scene….it would come across too planned. Lois called Roadside Rescue but would be stuck for probably 90 minutes. She was a little upset- more frustrated and tired than worried or scared. She was not too far from the hospital so I thought I should at least go wait with her. From what she said it might be a loose battery cable and maybe I could fix that and be the knight in shining armor. Collin was snoozing so I’d just tell the nurses to listen up, because if he needed to go to the bathroom, they’d have about 15 seconds to get there (more payback for later). I opened the door, stepped into the hall and ran into a wonderful friend from church who “just happened” to be stopping by. Dr. Davis routinely visits church members in hospitals. He stayed with Collin. I looked for the director again to tell him that scene also looked too planned. I zoomed across East Dallas toward my damsel in distress. I was about a mile from her when the tow truck driver showed up, tightened the battery cable and stole my chance at knighthood. I didn’t even get to see my damsel. I turned the car around and zoomed back to my boy. Why’d all that happen? I don’t know. Did I do the right thing? Lois didn’t really need me in the end. I think I did what was right. It is important for Lois to know that if it is possible I’ll drop anything to be by her side ….and …. Ha ….leaving a son in the hospital is pretty high on the list of important things. But did God provide someone to stay with my son? Absolutely.
One of Collin’s lifelong friends Max is home from college and stopped by. Collin was so glad to “see” Max. They talked about school and friends. It was sure good to see Collin distracted and thinking about other things and people. At one point Collin had to go to the bathroom. Unlike many visitors, Max didn’t run out the door or pull the curtain across the room, he just stepped back a little. They are lifelong buds. “Yeah, this is one of those things you never really wanted you dad to help you do as an 18 year old.” We all laughed. Max said he figured Collin and I had really bonded in lots “special” moments over the past 3 weeks. Yes, indeed! Collin and I told him some of the funnier, grosser moments we’ve shared. Sorry….I got off course with Irony #2. Anyway, after the guy humor settled down, Leigh came. They were all three talking and Collin asked about his phone. I joked, “why do you want that for, you can’t text or Facebook on it?” Oh stupid Dad. I got a picture of Leigh and Max leaning over Collin’s bed while he is trying to type in his password on his phone and get onto Facebook. It was funny to see them helping Collin, with his eyes sewn and crusted over, punch in the correct numbers on his phone.
My brother Paul came at 5:00 to stay with Collin until 8. I skedaddled out of there to get home. Ah, home life. Janey- get the dishes done. Bradley- your room looks like a tornado hit it. Anyone fed the dog? Who left this stuff in here? Ya know what, it’s home and that is very nice place to be. Lois got her stuff ready, ate some dinner and headed back downtoen. Janey and I went ran a few errands.
Okay heads up everyone. Don’t tell Collin this yet….I bought him one of those digital photo frames and a 4G SD memory card. I don’t know how I’m going to do this but my goal is to have that memory card loaded with a few hundred pictures of his family and friends by the time he can open his eyes next week. We’ve got tons of family pictures but I need lots more. I’m tempted to say just email me your pictures- pictures of you and Collin and just of you doing whatever. I want him to see all of us everyday of rehab until he gets back out there. I can save them onto a flash drive then later at home transfer them to the SD card. I’d also like to get pictures of other people that are concerned and praying for Collin – put them on the photo frame too. For those, I’d like to be able to add a caption on the picture of who it is but I don’t know how I could do that. Cousins Jeremy or Zach may have some good ideas. If I get on his Facebook, can I download pictures from there? Sorry, I’m not totally stupid on computer stuff but I’m not as good as you kids.
Yesterday Collin asked what our plans were for Christmas Eve. I could tell he was a little apprehensive. I told him I’d be back Wednesday around 11:00 then we’d be going to church, then eat and do gifts. Sherri would be with him and then Doug after that. His chin quivered and he asked who was going to be him that night. I told him I would come back if he wanted. He nodded his head. So that’s our plan and Lois, Brad & Janey will come join us on Christmas morning. He said he was sorry for messing up Christmas. I told him he did not mess up Christmas. Christmas is far bigger than him and he can’t mess it up. I said we’ve had some great Christmases in the past and we’ll have some great ones in the future and I don’t mind one bit changing the routine this year for him. I gently touched his very sore face and told him I was having the best Christmas ever this year because I could still hold and talk with him.
Merry Christmas to everyone.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008 :: 2:01 a.m.
The day started off very uncomfortable, but is ending better.
While I was sleeping wonderfully at home last night, Lois was going through utter heck at the hospital. The room was so cold and Collin was a pill. She kept telling the nurses about the temperature. They came in to play with the mysterious silver box on the wall several times but they had no luck with it. Lois had four blankets piled up and could barely stay warm. It must have felt like she was camping in the mountains sans the lovely vista. She would just get snuggled under the covers and warm up when Collin would stir and ask for something. She’d jump up then back under the covers to warm up. She barely slept, catching short naps all night. And when he didn’t need something, he’d wake her to tell her “it hurts.” As a momma, her heart breaks that she can’t soothe those aches away. The doctors increased the frequency of his pain meds. The nurses tried a couple times to give Collin some pain pill that would last longer than the IV kind. But he could not keep the pills down. With no food in his stomach, the pills were too much.
This morning after a few hours, he was able to finally keep down some juice and some chocolate milk. But for lunch all he had was Gatorade. The pain management is tough. Lois got to leave at noon and come home when her sister Debbie took over. I had only been up out of bed for a little bit but I ran to get dressed and a load of laundry going before my Lois Ann got home. It was so nice to be home together- the first time since Dec 2. That is just crazy. We wrapped presents together and laughed and tried to catch each other up on who said what and what’s happened over the past few days.
Some great friends Jim & Sharon stayed with Debbie for a while. Then at 3 another great friend, Dallas, took over and Leigh, Collin’s girlfriend came for a while. I got down there around 5:30 just when Collin’s boss and mentor Roger and his wife Vickie Clark arrived. I know Collin is tired and does not have much energy or tolerance but it means so much to him when he has short visits with friends and family. Collin actually laughed when Vickie told how their daughter Kebby said they need to get a recording to play at the Chick-fil-A drive thru to give the customers a Collin Update since nearly every one asks about him. His uncle Dale came by for a quick visit after work. Dale told us about the fun he and his wife Cindy had with Bradley & Janey on Saturday shopping at Firewheel Mall. They took them out and let them spend way too much money buying gifts for everyone. The best part was Bradley got to buy his own gifts and so did Janey! Collin said “it hurts” several times while friends were here. I told him I was going to start counting every time he said that. He shook his head and mouthed “no”. But I think he smiled on the inside.
The rest of the evening was nothing major, but not great either. He did not eat any dinner but he is drinking lots and lots of Gatorade. It is still so painful to swallow anything except liquids. At bedtime he managed to get down a few pills one at a time with a 10 minute break between each. The liquid painkiller did not stay down unfortunately. Collin may not feel much better but he really is looking better. The swelling in his face goes down a little more each day. Right now at 11:24 he is sleeping. Now hopefully I will shut this computer down soon and join him.
Collin’s cousin in Tulsa, Jeremy, that bought Collin the new phone, has set up a webpage for Collin. He is adding these updates to it and I’ll be sending him more information and pictures. There is a Guestbook there where you can leave notes, say hi to Collin, tell a silly joke (cousin Alicia!!) or give praise to God for His wonderful love. There is also a place on there to sign up for Updates. In a couple days I will quit sending out these update emails. If you sign up for the Updates you will receive an email whenever there has been an update posted or you can just check the website each morning since I’ve been writing these updates late each night. Go check it out and sign up for the updates at bufordfamily.com/collin
I told some of you that Lois and I wanted to spend Christmas Eve together with Brad & Janey at church, have our normal tamale & Mexican food dinner then open gifts. Two wonderful people- a friend Sherri and cousin Doug- have volunteered to stay with Collin from 4:00 pm until 8:30 when visiting hours are over. Lois and I are planning on both staying home that night and the whole family going back to see Collin on Christmas morning. We’ll have to see how Wednesday goes. Hopefully, it will be a 4 all day on the “1 to 10 Pain Scale”. But if not, we’ll flex our plans.
Not a day goes by that one of you does not do something so kind- send Lois a sweet note on her Facebook or send us a card or gift or pray with us on the phone or in person. I had a good Christian brother leave me a voicemail the other day. In it he prayed for Collin and our family. That meant a lot. I mentioned that a Home Depot friend and her family stopped by on Sunday to visit a church friend here at Parkland as well as us. Misty’s friend who broke a vertebrae in a car accident prayed for us…yes, the patient here in the hospital, while lying in her bed that rocks back and forth & on pain meds, held our hands and prayed for us. What kind of love is that? Incredible is the answer.
I’ve debated on sending out a picture of Collin right now because he looks pretty yucky. But I did include one. I hope it does not upset anyone. The first one is on Collin last Thursday and the second is of him Sunday in ICU. He’s doing great, but has a long way to go. He will be back looking great in no time. The other day in ICU, when Libby was cleaning out his swollen mouth, she pointed out what looked like a broken or missing tooth in the back. We’ll have to find that out later.
God is faithful beyond measure. Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” I’m not saying I have faith that God will fully restore everything to Collin as before, some things, some abilities may indeed be different. But this I do know, my God will be with us through this, giving Collin and us the courage, patience and grace to face every single day and reflect Him through our actions. Our faith is not a blind faith, but one based on and justified by the lifetimes spent seeing God’s promises made and kept and by the facts contained in the scriptures
Have a wonderful day Tuesday.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008 :: 11:49 p.m.
I spent the night at hospital in large waiting room on the second floor. I fell asleep while the big screen TV was showing the tribute to Texas Stadium with all the old players. I was sleeping well until someone bumped my arm and in a commanding voice asked if I had family at the hospital. I tried to wake up and clear my muddled brain. Finally I managed to tell him yes, my son was in ICU. Then he wanted to know what bed and last name. It was just as hard to think of Buford as it was A1. It was midnight. I finally fell asleep sometime after an intriguing episode of Cheaters about – guess what…a guy cheating on his girlfriend with one of her friends. Quality stuff. The nice big TV played all night. Augh. This time I counted them…I tried 57 positions in the pushed-together chairs. Some of them were great for a while. Unlike me, Collin slept very well all night. Lois felt guilty sleeping until 9 am. I will not be feeling guilty tonight!
I was still a little nauseous this morning but a Sprite helped a lot. Collin’s nurse Libby was very patient and kind. He slept most of the morning but when he woke up he was very uncomfortable the rest of the day. He drank some grape juice for breakfast. Something is making it very painful for him to swallow. His lips are swollen so it makes it hard for him to suck on a straw and the little bit he gets just about kills him to swallow. He actually arches his head backward and forward to get the liquids to slide down….forget about taking a pill. Libby said it was probably not so much the soreness of his throat but the muscles at the back of his mouth/ base of his tongue. Those are so sore; it is just hard to get a swallow started. He tried to swallow half a pain pill. It took him about 10 sips and it still got stuck. He started to cough and cry. Libby was right there and talked him through it. I’m glad she was there to the rescue. I was not sure how I could possibly crawl up on his bed to do the Heimlich.
Leigh got there around 4. She took over for me. I took a walk. Then I snuck into one of the reserved family rooms that had not been used all day. I took a good hour nap. When I tried to sneak back out of the room undetected, I opened the door and was face to face with some friends from Home Depot there to visit Collin and a friend from their church. The gig was up. I rubbed my eyes and tried to make my dried contacts focus. We visited a bit then two of Collin’s friends from church arrived. Preston & Tracy wanted to see Collin. I was concerned at Preston’s possible reaction to Collin’s appearance. I told him so and told him I was going to show him a picture of Collin on my phone so Preston didn’t go in there and say, Oh my Gosh. Preston is a very good friend of Collin and hilarious. He said he wouldn’t do that. I showed him the pictures. “Oh my gosh” jumped from his mouth. We laughed. Collin was so happy when Preston came in. I’m not sure his puffed up face can smile but that was the closest I’d seen all day.
Lois & Janey got there around 5. Leigh and I went up stairs to check the status of an available room on the 7th floor. I had already been up there a couple times. Our old room 703 had a new inhabitant but there were still 2 empty rooms on the floor. We found out Collin was indeed in the computer to be coming up shortly and into room 712. I carried our piles of stuff from ICU to 712 and got the other stuff we left in storage with the nurses. Soon his bed was rolling out of the elevator and into his new room.
They changed his pain meds from Dilantin to morphine. And took him off the self-dosing button he had come to love. He was very agitated as Janey and I left- wanting water or ice or Gatorade every minute or two and wanting more pain killer just minutes after receiving some. Please pray for Collin’s pain and rest tonight. Please pray for Lois’ patience, endurance and rest tonight.
We still don’t have any firm idea when we’ll be moving to Baylor Rehab. One doctor today mentioned that Collin would not be leaving in the normal day or so they originally thought. Another doctor said something about removing the nose splints and eye stitches in a week and since we’d still be here, he would be the one doing it. Hopefully we can find out some better information tomorrow.
This Christmas season is definitely different from any we’ve ever had or would have ever planned, but don’t we have the most ever to be thankful for? What a wonderful gift, indeed, God our loving Father has given us. Not only His only and precious Son Jesus Christ, but He has allowed Lois and I to have our oldest son alive and with a prognosis that he will be good as new in months. Merry Christmas to all of you.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008 :: 12:03 a.m.
Man, the word for Fri was EXHAUSTION. And that carried over to today.
As you know Collin was in surgery for nearly 18 hours yesterday. The face surgery was tough. The clean up of the arm went just fine.
The plastic surgeons said there were several voids in his facial bones where small pieces were missing. They took a few pieces from other parts of his skull to fill in where possible. I haven't seen Xrays, but I'd like to. There are lots of metal plates & screws holding his face together. The dr said Collin will need some follow up surgey in 4-6 months for his nose and to build up the bone around the right eye to keep his eye from possibly being pushed back into his head- uh, that sounds pretty important.
The surgeon called Lois at midnight saying Collin was done & going to the ICU. They were concerned for his airways because of the long surgeries so he was going to stay intubated.
Finally at 1:30 ICU called us that we could go see him. His mouth was not wired shut. But the eyes kind of freaked me out. I heard the right words but I had not thought about how it would look. His eyelids were not sewn together. Two threads were sewn into each bottom lid. The threads were then taped to his forehead- keeping the lower lids up. So he could concievably open his upper lids. There is too much swelling right now but in a few days he'll be able to open them. Those threads look pretty odd. But his face looks good. The nurse told me because of the way they do the surgey, there will be lots of swelling but not much bruising. Collin was pretty heavily sedated when we saw him. The nurse said he could probably hear us but he'd not be able to respond.
As we were fixing to go see him in ICU, we were told since Collin was in ICU, we'd need to move out of 703 where we'd lived for 2 weeks. He was only supposed to be in ICU overnight but the supervisor told me there were patients in the ER that needed to come upstairs. It was 1:30 in the morning and they wanted us to move all this stuff out? I got a bit heated. I really tried to maintain my cool. I'm not sure how well I did. We went to see Collin then at 2:00 we started packing up his stuff. Lois slept in a small family waiting room. Janey & I got home around 3:30.
Lois went back in ICU at 3:30 and he held her hand & nodded at questions. That sure made her feel good. At 6:00 am his tubes were removed and he talked to Mom. He ate ice chips & water but wanted some Gatorade. Leigh brought Gatorade so she & Lois hung out in ICU all day feeding that boy ice chips & Gatorade.
Lois' brother Dale & his wife Cindy took Bradley & Janey for the day- allowing me to get some sleep. Brad & Jane are staying at some wonderful neighbor's house tonight to give Lois a chance to sleep.
I was very weak & nausious all day. I just could not shake it. When I got to the hospital late this afternoon it was sure good to see my boy. He said Hi Dad through swollen lips & tongue. It seems like we took 10 steps backwards but I know that is not true. He'll be back on clear liquids for a while but maybe he'll get to soft food quicker this time. I know his face hurts BAD but all the other areas are feeling so much better. I bet he'll get up for rehab quicker this time too.
One of my Home Depot buddies, David, came and sat with me tonight while my stomach was so upset & I felt icky. Friends like that are wonderful. Finally late this evening my stomach settled down and I ate my first meal all day.
Please pray for Lois & I to get good rest tonight. I'm trying to get comfortable in the big waiting room with the big tv going & all the lights on. Maybe it'll quiet down soon. This chair is pretty comfortable..... as a chair. Let's see how it does as a bed. Ha. Pray for Collin's swelling, pain & continues rapid recovery.
We don't know what the timeline is for going to Baylor. He should move out of ICU tomorrow, probably back into 703. Oh, did I mention- no one moved into that room last night....aggravation! 703 is still empty.
Oh well what are you going to do? Just try to show your children how to behave when things go plain stupid. Maybe we'll go to Baylor Tues or Wed.
Love and appreciation to all
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008 :: 1:23 a.m.
Doctors just called. Collin did wonderful. He is in ICU for the night resting. We will get to see him in a few minutes.
Thanks to all.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Satuday, December 20, 2008 :: 12:15 a.m.
Just to keep everyone updated, Collin is still in surgery. They said it would be at least a couple more hours.
The doctor just came in the room as I was typing. Collin is done with the “plastics team” on the facial reconstruction. It did take a lot longer than they planned. He said there was quite a bit of missing bone and that made it harder. He said Collin has a high probability of needing some additional reconstruction surgery in a few months, particularly to rebuild the height on the nose. Collin did very well, no issues.
The ortho team is in there now working on his arm. He said they also may keep Collin intubated in the ICU all night because it has been such a long day for him.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008 :: 5:20 p.m.
Good afternoon everyone. I realized I forgot to mention a couple important points. They came and rolled Collin away at 6:30 this morning. The doctor told us last night that this type of face surgery should take about 6-10 hours. The type of airway they are doing takes about an hour to prep and get going. The arm surgery could take an hour or two after the face surgery. Then recovery will take an hour or two. So we are looking at him coming back to his room sometime late this evening.
We just went downstairs and checked. The hospital representative was so nice. He did not act like we were bothering him at all. He actually acted like he realized how important his job was. He called, got an update and let us know that Collin is doing fine and will be in surgery a minimum of 4 more hours.
I’ve had a request for a picture of the CFA cow. So here you go. Also someone asked about the two pictures I sent this morning. The one yucky picture with swelling and bruising was 3 days after the accident, after the arm, leg and back surgeries. The other one that looks so good was taken last night. Here’s a new picture for your enjoyment- his leg with a pretty new scare.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008 :: 2:03 a.m.
Collin slept very well Wednesday night. The doctors came in this morning and told Lois that both surgeries would take place tomorrow back to back and everything was on schedule.
Collin’s pain level was very good most of the day except for his foot. I’m not sure if it’s sympathy pains for the rest of the broken parts of the body or what. But all of a sudden, out of no where, “Dad, my foot. It’s killing me. Do something. It’s on fire!” Ok ok, settle down Mister.
Today I gave him a serious hair clipping in preparation for tomorrow. When I came at him with the clippers he said, “Dad, I don’t want to look like you.” Now, was that a nice or smart thing to say to the man with the clippers? I was merciful. But ha ha, I made him look like a little kindergartener!
Three ladies from the administration at Collin’s high school came by to say hi and wish him well tomorrow. Collin felt like a student again when one of them said, “I’m checking up on you.” He knows they care.
Several CFA friends, including the Chick-fil-A cow visited Collin today to tell him he’s missed, wish him luck in the surgeries tomorrow and present him with the check from the fundraisers last weekend. People were so generous. The CFA in Forney, CFAs in Mesquite in Towneast Mall and outside the mall, the CFA in downtown Dallas all contributed part of their sales. Other CFA locations also gave calendars to those stores to sell. Some people ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at CFA last Saturday. Collin was overcome by the show of love.
Leigh stopped by after her shift at the downtown CFA location. Lois’ mom came down to the hospital and brought Bradley and Janey. It was just like being at home. Kids fussing and fighting. Lois, Brad & Janey all tried to lay comfortably on the teeny pullout bed-thing. Stop it, quit pushing, she pinched me. Oh, it felt so normal until the fussing woke up Collin and ticked him off big time. Actually, that felt normal too.
Dr. Kwan, one of the plastic surgeons came in while Collin was asleep and gave us the scoop on the surgery tomorrow. Wow. They will do what to his face? Good grief. We noticed a few days ago that Collin had an underbite that wasn’t there before but we did not think much about it. The doctor explained that is because his lower jaw is in the right position. The rest of his face was pushed in. It didn’t really look that bad. They will start the surgery with a breathing tube put into an incision under his chin. What? I’ve never seen that on ER or old episodes of Emergency. They will cut here and here and there and you don’t want to know all the places. They will make the zig-zag incision across the top of his head from ear to ear and get to work. They will reset all the broken bones in his face, rebuilding the structure that was there and securing the bones with metal plates and screws. Remember that scene in Brave Little Toaster when in the junkyard the big magnet picks up piles of scrap metal? Well Collin better hope he never gets near that giant magnet or he’ll get sucked up in the air like a brave little toaster!
One of the scariest parts for Collin was waking up in the ICU and not knowing where he was or why and being unable to talk because of the tubes. He’s told many people how that frightening him. Collin was conscious in the ER before the surgeries and I wish someone had told him what to expect when he woke up. After everyone left tonight I told him every detail the surgeon told us. I wanted him to know about the breathing tube under his chin, that his eyes would be temporarily sewn shut to keep the lower lids from drooping, that his face would be far more swollen than it was last week, that he’ll have temporary braces on his teeth to keep his upper and lower jaws properly lined up, that his mouth will probably be wired shut for a week or more resulting in a liquid diet again, that he’d have blurred vision for several days. That was a lot to take in. He was a little fearful. I told him this surgery is nothing experimental, nothing really risky. He joked that he could not imagine people doing this sort of stuff to their face by choice just to change the way they look. He had tears in his eyes. I told him that the God that brought him this far would see him the rest of the way. I teared up a little and told him if he could not talk to me in recovery, we can use sign language again.
AFTER the face surgery there is more fun to come. The orthopedic surgeons will go back to work on the arm: cleaning out the incision and swollen muscle thoroughly then hopefully sewing it up. If there is too much swelling, they may have to wait a few days to finish that part or they may take a skin graft. His ortho doc liked the new hair cut. The plastics doctors said Collin could probably move to Baylor on Saturday. But the ortho docs said we’d probably hang around here for 2 or 3 days to watch how the arm recovers. Look at the pic from Dec 7th and the one from today. Wow, what a difference 11 days has made.
In some ways tomorrow is kind of like starting over: surgeries, recovery, IVs, heavy pain meds, clear liquid diets. But this time we’ll have a better idea of what’s next and it won’t be quite so stressful….maybe. And this time, like last time, the Almighty God, Creator and Sustainer of all will wrap His loving arms around my little boy and carry him through.
Love to all. Thanks for you prayers. I’ll let you know tomorrow as we get any updates from the doctors
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008 :: 1:20 a.m.
If the word of the day was ARM for Monday & Tuesday, then the word for Wednesday was REST.
Collin came back from the surgery Tuesday night with his arm all bandaged up. Take a look at the picture of Popeye. He slept peacefully all night. Lois certainly enjoyed that for a change. This morning he woke up and his arm felt so much better – the pressure was gone, that pain was almost gone. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Wow, is that ever true.
Okay, maybe I misspoke the other day when I said I missed the normalcy of being scared by my 14 year old Bradley jumping out of obscure places. Stumbling down the hallway this morning at 6:20 to wake him for school, I did not expect to hear, “You awake old man?” and see him fully clothed jump out of the bathroom. My first words “What’d you do that for? Do you want to walk to school?” did not convey nostalgia for his pastime. But I did enjoy helping Janey with her homework last night. The math was challenging but why do they give 7th graders Word Search puzzles? I just don’t get that.
Today Collin had real food on his tray instead of just clear liquids that he was not eating at all. Yea. That’ll save us some bucks on buying food for him everyday. He had some French toast, bacon and chocolate milk this morning. He also got to order his dinner. He is eating better
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 :: 7:41 p.m.
I’ll spare the icky details but the surgery went very well and it was indeed needed. He is resting quietly right now back in his room. I get to go home tonight. Lois is stuck….uh… gets to stay here tonight. This might be a long night for her if his meds wear off and that arm starts hurting. Pray for her rest & his continued healing.
Thanks to all and to all a good night!
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 :: 5:39 p.m.
The top dog of the orthopedic surgeons came in along with 5 other doctors, did some poking & asked some questions. They determined the problem is what’s called Compartment Syndrome. It is rare to occur in a tricep and in a patient with Collin’s injuries but not unheard of. They talked to Collin & I for about 5 minutes and decided surgery was needed tonight. They came back after about two minutes and said there was an O.R. available. They wheeled him out of the room. The surgery should take less than an hour and then he’ll be in recovery for a couple hours. Not a difficult surgery at all.
Compartment Syndrome is where there is bleeding in a muscle and the swelling is confined to the one muscle group encased together. All they do it make a small incision in the skin then in the tissue encasing the muscle group to relieve the pressure. Collin should feel an immediate release of pressure and pain when he wakes from the anesthesia.
Thanks to all for your prayers. I’ll keep you updated. I think Collin was really mad when they came back in the room so fast because he didn’t get a chance to update his status on Facebook!!! Ha.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 :: 3:24 p.m.
Well sometimes things just don’t go like you want. The word of day on Monday ARM. As in why in the heck is Collin’s arm in so much new pain & swelling and why are so many doctors in and out looking at it?
Sunday afternoon Collin started having pain in his right arm. The breaks in that arm are in the forearm, between the elbow and wrist. Well this new pain was between the elbow and shoulder. Monday morning early one of the doctors said all was looking well and Collin might go to Baylor Rehab for a few days then come back on Friday for the face surgery. Hey that sounds good to me. Get that boy up & moving around with 3 hours of physical therapy each day.
About 9 am Collin told me his arm really hurt. I took a peak. Good grief. It was very swollen, almost lumpy looking and it was so firm to the touch. And painful? Collin about jumped out of bed when I gingerly squeezed it. Tears came to his eyes. I thought maybe it was some sort of muscle cramp so I had him carefully stretch his arm out back & forth. That did not help and it hurt something awful. Dad was not a hero. We asked the nurse.
Ya know when you ask a doctor or nurse a question like “is this a big deal?” You kind of want some reassurance like Yes, that is a big deal and you are not stupid for being concerned. But then again, you would also like to hear them say Oh no, that’s no big deal at all, nothing to worry about. Well when the nurse looked at his arm then at me and asked how long it had been that way, I got a little concerned. She told us just to be still & she’d be right back. Another more experienced nurse came back, took a look, told us to not move his arm and left to get a doctor. My stomach lurched….what now?
Next a couple doctors came and left and came back with friends to look at the Boy with the Amazing Swollen and Extremely Painful Arm. Phrases like, “have you ever seen that before?” coming out of a doctor’s mouth…hmm.
In between all this Collin had the best attitude & tried to stay positive. We watched a little tv. That’s the first time he’s even been remotely interested in tv. He smiled and laughed some. Overall his body really is getting better. He ate half of a big chocolate chip muffin and drank lots. The nausea stayed away.
They rolled Collin, bed and all to do some scan to see if the swelling was from a blood clot. A couple good friends from Home Depot visited me and Collin while Collin was away. Thanks to Judy, I can now use my laptop in the hospital. Collin rolled back in, said hi to Judy and Greg and asked for a morphine shot. Zonk, he was out for a few minutes. No blood clot – that was good news. But back come the doctors to rethink everything.
Lois and I talk on the phone a lot now. We talked about getting a double size bed to set up in the living room instead of moving him into Bradley’s bedroom. Several pluses- keep it foremost in Collin’s mind that he is not going to be stuck at home for long, he will be Mr. Independent again soon. Also the living room is larger and there is room there for people to visit him. We’ll rig up some sort of drape of sheets to divide off the dining room and entry.
Collin did great with occupational therapy and physical therapy. It was painful but he braved through it with screams and tears. He sat unsupported on the side of the bed for 16 minutes then later in a chair for an hour and twenty minutes. The whole time his arm is killing him. Kellie with PT seriously fussed at him about his right foot. He can’t hold it flat, it droops down too much. We worked on that foot all evening and Tuesday morning. He is just about ¼” away from it being in the neutral position….and that is with me pushing hard on the ball of his foot. We have to keep that foot flexed.
Because of the bad weather, I told Lois I’d stay another night.
One doctor came back in to look at the arm. He came back with 2 more doctors. They ordered xrays to rule out a fracture. They really think it is just swelling due to bleeding under the skin due to blood thinner shots given in that arm. Collin’s girlfriend Leigh and I spent the evening watching some tv. He ate a whole serving of mashed potatoes and drank some chocolate milk. Hey, that was great!
The pain in his arm is intense. The sleeping pill at 10 pm had no effect. So Collin was wide awake when the xray man wheeled into the room with a portable xray machine around 11 pm.
This morning, Tuesday, ARM is still the word of the day. The xray showed no breaks. The pain continues to be intense, the pain killers barely lessen it. The doctors came back & again and the chief of something came in. They requested an MRI. So we are waiting on that. Please pray for the pain to lessen and the doctors to find out for sure it is nothing more than just some bleeding under the skin. The doctor said this arm thing might delay the face surgery. Bummer. I just now went & spoke to one of the drs about getting him one of those boot things to keep his foot in that will help keep it straight.
Not a lot of smiles in this email so here’s one. What’s up with hospital room thermostats? This little silver mystery box on the wall with no buttons or controls. I watched the nurse a couple times then I knew the secret. Or so I thought. You can’t really trust the numbers on the dial under the secret silver cover. You have to turn the dial all the way down to Supermarket Freezer Section Cold then slowly back to Blazing Sweaty Hot. When you hear some hissing sound, stop. That means you woke it up and now it will make the room warmer. I’ve been trying this trick for 2 days now. Of course it does not help that 1 entire wall of his room is windows that feel like single pane glass. Anyway, the thermostat and I will continue to do battle as Collin fights the pain.
Thank you to all for your thoughts, gifts & prayers. I reminded Collin that his middle name Andrew means brave and courageous. I told him he is learning some seriously powerful lessons through this. He needs to not be scared of the outcome. God is here with him holding his hand, helping him be brave and courageous. Joshua 1:9 says, Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008 :: 1:17 a.m.
Sometimes time flies by so fast & other times 30 minutes last a whole day. A lot has happened this week, some things progressed very well & some not.
Eating was a struggle all week- no appetite at all & nausea from the meds resulted in most of the little bits he ate not staying put. Then of course not eating means not much strength for physical therapy. He got dizzy many times during PT.
We were told at the start of the week that maybe he would go to rehab or even home by then end of the week. But then the eating problem got worse and it was obvious that would not happen. They have told him for the past 4 days that they'll put in a feeding tube the next day if he does not eat more At first he was so tired of getting sick that he said yeah, go ahead & do it. Then he learned the feeding tube was not a pleasant thing. He really has tried to eat more & sometimes with good results. The dr said his bloodwork is better but still far below where it needs to be. The "threat" of the feeding tube is still hanging there.
Later in the week we heard he might have the face surgery then go to rehab for a couple days & maybe be home for Christmas. We had no idea what kind of timeline we were looking at.
Overall physical therapy went very well. He progressed slowly & it is frustrating to him that he can't do more & that it hurts so much. I have some great pictures in case someone needs a dictionary picture for "anguish" or "utter pain". It seems odd that just a few days ago he was so active & now he can't even turn over in the bed.
Last night I slept at home - hallelujah! Lois braved the hospital room. Collin slept pretty good last night & so did Lois Lois talks in her sleep & even walks when she's really tired. This happens pretty regularly & the kids know it all too well. One night last week Lois pulled a doozy on both a nurse & a doctor in the same night. There is really funny story about Phoebe & her Tunisian treats that I will have to relay some day soon.
Collin did not have physical or occupational therapy today- he was very glad. He says he is too sore & tired and that I don't need to make him work on it today. He does not know what's coming his way! Of course like most of us, he responds pretty well to the nurses & doctors but he'd never take such "abuse" from us. That's one reason he does go to some inpatient rehab and not straight home.
The plastic surgeon came in this morning & talked to Lois. He is still pleased with the reduction in swelling. The facial surgery is finally scheduled - Friday morning. He said Collin will probably transfer to Baylor Rehab on the following day, Saturday. Again, they said he might only be on rehab for a few days - it just all depends on how quickly he gets up & around.
This evening Lois' sister Debbie & Collin's girlfriend Leigh sat with Collin while Lois, Brad, Janey and I spent some time together. I find that I miss the aggravating nightly homework tutoring with Janey and I miss Brad walking up to me saying "what's up shorty" or his favorite pasttime - jumping out of obscure places to scare the heck out of me. I always hate watching Jay Leno with Lois in bed a night when I'm sleepy - I will never fuss about it again.....or at least for the next several months.
The four of us went to Chili's with a giftcard from some great neighbors. When we sat down the waitress, Melissa asked if our weekend was going great. I said it was going much better. Lois told her it was the first time the four of us had gone out somewhere since our oldest son was in a bad car accident and he's still in Parkland. We were very glad to be together & taking a break.
At the next table across sat a wife, two small children & dad in medical scrubs. A few minutes after they ordered their food dad's pager went off. He read it, kissed them & ran off. "Why did Daddy leave?" The little girl asked. The mom said because someone got shot & Dad had to go help them. Lois thanked the lady for allowing her husband to have that kind of career that helps so many people. We've certainly come to respect some doctors recently and be thankful for the sacrifices they make
When we were through eating the waitress came by. Lois handed her the gift card. The waitress said that was not necessary, our dinner was on her. How sweet is that? Lois got up & hugged the waitress. In the parking lot we ran into some good friends from church and gave them updates. Then we spent an hour driving around looking at Christmas lights and finding Daria Place where the President & Mrs Bush are supposed to be moving in January.
We drove by the Baylor Rehab that Collin should go to after face surgery. Two supervisors showed us around the whole place. Seeing the facility, hearing them talk about the programs, how the patients get a pass to go out for a day with family back into the real world & how they get the family involved with the therapy, I began to think Collin's stay might be more than a couple days. Near the end of the visit, we told them we'd heard different guess-timations of his recovery period. I asked if it'd be a few days or a week or what? Of course they will have to do an evaluation but from the injuries we described & his pain level & abilities now, they said it would proabably be weeks- plural. My heart sunk. I know how much that would kill his spirit to know that right now. I'm not sure when we'll tell him. We have to keep him eating & give him small goals
I know this sounds like forever to him & it means he won't be home for Christmas but oh well, it is a chance for us to experience a special Christmas like no other this year. Lois commented at dinner that now we know so much better how to minister to families experiencing medical traumas. I think the only way you really learn some of life's toughest lessons is by experincing them.
Overall, medically he is doing fantastic. When the nurses comment that he is really doing so good & making good strides each day, we can have only one response - thank you loving Father for sparing our son's life & being with him every step.
Thanks to all for you love, support & prayers. Praise be to God who reigns supremely.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Tuesday, December 11, 2008 :: 3:49 a.m.
Wednesday night update
Sorry you guys. There’s no way it’s been three days since I updated everyone! OMG so much has happened. Okay, here’s the whirlwind tour….
Mom was much smarter than Dad at getting Collin to go to sleep Sunday night. She cheated. She asked the nurse if he could have a sleeping pill. It worked! Not fair.
Lois stayed the day with Collin
Philip took Bradley & Janey to school & picked them up in the afternoon. He spent morning doing emails & stuff around house.
Collin was nauseated most of the day. He had no appetite & stuck with tried and true- water, Gatorade & Sprite.
The Cognitive & Speech Therapist Molly came by and had Collin do a few short memory exercises with some the words: hamburger, tractor, rose, sparrow. He did okay on them. His thinking was a little slow at times.
The Physical Therapist Kelli came by and helped Collin do snow angels with his legs. Too bad it was not on a nice sunny slope in Colorado…maybe next Christmas. She assisted but made him work too. That was very hard for him. He understood it was necessary but it hurt so much. His reasoning skills were still pretty foggy from the meds and injury. Lois was so glad it was a nurse making him do those mean things. Of course the nurse did not get told she was mean or that the exercises were stupid or not needed or that he was too tired….I hope Collin remembers that in a few weeks when we are the ones at home pushing him.
Before dinner time the nurse gave him the anti-nausea medicine. He ate a little baked potato. The medicine worked and EVERYBODY was happy. He still had very little appetite and would have been content to eat nothing. We were told he had to start eating so the next big milestone would occur. I didn’t realize that normal function would merit so much attention & discussion….it did. Has he? Can he? Has he tried? No. No. No. Time for laxatives. Oh joy.
His cousin in Tulsa called to ask if he could buy a new cell phone for Collin since Collin’s last one was lost during the Trailblazer Crash Test. We thought that was a very cool surprise. Collin thought so too!
Every single day he looks better, the bruises and scabs on his face are going away. He’s make such great progress.
Lois took the kids home to get in bed. Then crawled her happy self in too! Wow this work is exhausting.
Dad stayed the night – it was a better night. Collin slept for an hour at a time until about 2:00 when he could not get comfortable for nothing or nobody! The doctor was called and gave him a muscle relaxer. That solved the problem, Collin (Dad) slept for several hours.
Dad stayed the day.
The herd of doctors came in, examined him and said: all the big stuff is fixed, now the rest is up to Collin (i.e. eating and moving around). The big issue of pain will only be overcome by working through it. The phrase no pain, no gain takes on a whole new meaning. Collin was awake for this but did not have much comment other than his back really hurt.
Collin slept most of the morning and into the afternoon.
Plans were announced on KLTY about a fund raiser for Collin to be held at the Mesquite & Forney Chick-fil-A locations this Saturday. A percentage of the proceeds from the sales ALL day will go into a new savings account at Capital One next to the Forney CFA. Wow, that’s awesome. Okay all of you need to head out to a CFA in Mesquite or Forney this Saturday for some yummy waffle fries or one of their awesome shakes or buy a CFA calendar loaded with coupons! Go, go, go….!!
The Capital One branch next door to Collin’s CFA is now getting customers asking for Collin Updates! That is just crazy. Of course the bank employees know the latest info.
Lunch- 10 tiny bites of mashed potatoes. I thought I was feeding an infant out of a baby food jar. Good grief. He just did not have an appetite. The doctors said the all-important movement – both “internal” and his physical therapy exercises- would help to bring back his appetite.
Gatorade and tiny bits of mashed potato were not the type of foods to bring about the next needed milestone but the fiber pills did the trick. There will be no details but let me say, it was an ordeal. Lordy mercy. I’m sure someday soon Collin will read this and wish he could clobber me. That’s okay. At one point I told him not to get too snippy, because I can foresee him returning the favor in the next 30 years. He actually saw some humor in that.
Change the subject please…..The physical therapist Kelli came by but were busy for a while with…well you know.
The cognitive & speech therapist Molly came by. This lady did a lot more than just speech therapy. She asked him what they did the previous day then did a few little memory games involving playing cards and the colors black and red. It was interesting to see him really having to think about the answers to pretty simple questions. I learned that the injuries to the front part of his head affect a lot of his emotions, ability to cope with stress & frustration. Not until she left the room and I was telling Lois about it did it hit me that his reaction time was not interesting but scary. What if….what if those mental skills don’t get better. What if his quickness to get frustrated does not improve…how will he deal with upset customers & employees? What if those injuries to the front of his brain leave him a different person after all the staples are removed and he is able to walk? My God is still an awesome God. God’s power, love and plans are not diminished if MY ideals for my son are not restored. God was not caught unaware by this event last Wednesday. I will have to adjust MY understanding of God’s plan for my son. We were all talking about the miraculous way that Collin’s friend saw the accident and took action to call CFA and how his godly boss Roger was right there at the scene within minutes and the pastor of his church was able to come quickly and Roger’s wife Vickie was there close…all praying. My brother-in-law commented – Wow, that must have taken a lot of planning on God’s part to get everyone there at the right time. We all laughed. Of course God orchestrated that.
Dinner consisted of about 10 more tiny bites of mashed potato. He said it tasted good but he got full so quickly. I guess when you don’t eat for a week, it’s hard to get back in the “habit” of eating. I’ve never had that problem.
Lois went by the optometrist and got a copy of Collin’s prescription in order to get some new glasses. He was wearing his glasses during his version of the Trailblazer Crash Test. I don’t think GM asked him to perform it and it definitely was NOT on a controlled test track! Lois got him new glasses and brought them. He could see! He would be able to see & recognize visitors from the doorway instead only at his bedside. He could watch TV. That did not seem to interest him much…..hmm, he didn’t want to watch re-re-re-runs of Friends episodes he knew by heart? No matter what the tests showed, something was definitely wrong! ha.
I took the kids home, crawled into that wonderful, soft bed and Lois braved the pull out chair-bed thing. We both agree that 21 year old bed & mattress have gotten remarkably more comfortable in the last week!
Well I didn’t get you all the way caught up, but I did get you up through Tuesday night.
I cannot express enough Thank Yous to all of you who are concerned, thinking about us, praying for us, sending cards, gifts & food and calling, emailing, Face Booking (is that a verb?) and visiting.
I forgot to mention one of the most awesome gifts we got…well Lois got. She called me Tuesday afternoon and in a very typical, rude girl-like way she said, “Ha ha. Guess what I got that you didn’t?” “Oh what?” I said in my best I-don’t-really-care tone. “Warm cookies and cold milk” was not what I expected to hear. That was NOT on my top ten of possibilities. One of my friends from elementary school and his wife sent this awesome gift from a cool place called Tiffs Treats. It would have been even better if all those years of friendship had gotten ME the cookies and milk. Oh well, the person I love the most in this world got a treat she did not expect that made her so happy during a pretty tough time.
Thanks and if I could, I’d hug each of you.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008 :: 11:02 a.m.
Sunday was a great day.
The best part for Collin was he got a bath & his hair washed! To my son, that was a big deal. He loves to look good & be presentable.
Saturday night was my turn to sleep at the hospital, but this time it would be in a private room so that should be a lot better. Aye-yi-yi….he wore me out. Dad I want a drink. Dad my back hurts. Dad I want to go home. Dad what time is it? I think he stirred every 15 minutes wanting something. At 9:30 Saturday evening he asked what time it was so I told him. He fell asleep then woke and asked again. I told him it was now 10:00. He smiled and said, “10:00 in the morning?” Patiently I told him no, it was 10:00 pm, only 30 minutes later than the last time he asked. He was so disappointed, he said something like- That’s not right, this is going to take forever. My sentiments exactly! One time he woke exasperated and wanted a drink. I got frustrated …..it had only been 9 minutes.
Finally we got into a routine of him waking and wanting a drink every 30 minutes. So I’d get up and hold the cup for him to sip from the straw. This was okay, I could live on 30 minute naps. Then I woke at a noise and he said, Dad, I’m so sorry, I got a drink then dropped the cup. I was ecstatic! He reached over and got the cup by himself. Yippee! No problem. I cleaned up the water and slept for an hour.
Sunday morning early Collin said, “Dad, I feel so contrapped.” He’s been known to make up words before. I like that one. Confined + trapped = contrapped. All the complaints of pain and requests for drinks aside, I heard “Dad I love you” and “Dad I’m so sorry” many times. Many times he just wanted to hold my hand.
Sunday morning a sweet family friend that does Lois’ hair & has done Collin’s his whole life came by. She and the nurse washed that gross hair- they got out all the gravel and grass and yuck…well most of it. The nurse bathed him. He felt almost good. He thanked them over & over. Several Chick-fil-A friends….no LOTS of CFA friends came, about 30. I made them come in 2 at a time and visit for 2 minutes. Since his glasses went airborne with him out of the truck, he can’t see very far. As each person approached his bed, he tried to make out who it was. When he finally focused on them, his face just beamed. He was so glad to see them and they him.
Many family and friends from church and neighborhood came by also with flowers, cards and little gifts. Thank you so much. Did I tell you that the elementary school where Collin, Bradley and Janey went sent an enormous basket full of snacks, card games, gift cards to restaurants and a roll of quarters for parking? We don’t even have any kids at that school anymore! That is so thoughtful and sweet.
The doctors made their rounds Sunday morning and all had good reports. They took all the tubes out. He’s a free man! They said to start moving him around and make it hurt. Physical therapy should start Monday. I had shown a nurse one of Collin’s senior pictures from last year. I told her it was her job to get that boy on the bed back to looking like the boy in the picture. She said there she’d take care of him and he’d be great in no time. The plastic surgeons came in about his face. They looked at some pictures of Collin in the room carefully and at his face now. They touched, poked and prodded. He has multiple severe fractures. All the swelling has to go down entirely before they can do anything. So probably some day next week they’ll assess things again. We are getting some enlargements of his senior pictures from the neighbor who took the awesome pictures.
Lois’ sister and brother-in-law stayed with Collin Sunday evening while Lois & I went to church to see the children & youth choirs Christmas concert that Bradley and Janey were in. It is so humbling to be approached by so many friends that love you with offers of “whatever you need, you just call me.” I really don’t know how someone without that kind of support system could ever survive something like this or worse.
I brought the two “little” ones home last night and I crawled into a nice, soft bed and slept without any requests for water or ice chips or complaints about how the catheter is not very comfortable!
Lois heard from a trauma doctor this morning that Collin might go home in a couple days. But then a neuro doctor just visited and evaluated and said he was going to recommend Collin go to a rehab hospital next instead of home. That way he’ll get more specialized work on all the motor skills with his arm & leg & back injuries and even though no mental functions seem lacking, he will get mental exercises too after the head injury. That sounds good.
Thank to everyone so much
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008 :: 1:07 a.m.
For some of you this may be the first you've heard of this.
My 18 yrold son was in a serious car accident on Wed & Care Flighted to Parkland Hospital. He had a broken arm & leg, a crushed L2 vertebrae, and multiple fractures in his face.
Leg, arm & spine surgery went well on Thursday. Friday was in ICU.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008 :: 12:48 a.m.
Sorry this is so late. I was worn out today.
All is still well.
Collin stayed in the ICU last night. Every so often his heart rate would go up then settle back down. It's been better thru the night.
I came home & slept like a rock in my bed. Lois stayed at the hospital. I'm sure she thought she was sleeping on rocks in those chairs. Actually, she said she slept wonderfully.
This morning Collin asked the nurse to bring him a mirror. He saw his face for the first time. That upset him a little.
The ortho surgeon came & took the bandages off the leg & arm. He said it all looked very good. It was all healing very well. He made Collin do the OK sign & ILY & Hook em Horns. It took him a few seconds but he was able to do them all. Very good sign.
The neuro surgeon came in, examined & said all was good with his back.
Collin moved up to a private room. Oh it is so nice to have a place put your stuff & spread out.
As parents, we always thanked God for our children, but how much more are we thankful and grateful now when we see how close we came to not haviing this precious boy around. Don't ever take for granted the precious gifts God gives you.
Please pray for his nausea to subside. He got sick a couple times so they put him back on an IV. Not a big deal really, that's pretty normal at this stage. His breathing exercises go very well- showing good lung capacity. But he does not like the ten exercises per hour.
He had several friends stop by today. His face lit up every time! He was so glad to see them. One was a CFA customer who brought her husband & daughter. They prayed over him. What an honor and joy for people to speak so highly of your child.
Today there was a Christmas parade in Forney. The Mayor of Forney prayed for Collin before the parade started. How awesome.
One of the CFA managers went to the dry cleaners and the workers there wanted to know how Collin was doing.
I'm now sitting by banged up son while the morphine whisks him away to Lala Land.
He said he's really ready to get out of the bed. He wants to wash his hair so he has plans of taking a shower tomorrow. . We'll just have see about that tomorrow! I don't think he has a clue.
Thank you all for the love, prayers & support.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008 :: 2:25 p.m.
Great news. He is doing very well. Three surgeries yesterday and he is being moved to a private room today. Wow. Is that the hand of God & power of prayer or what!
I woke up at 5:30 this morning & went in to see him. The nurse Kimberly was telling he had been in a serious car accident but was doing ok. She told him his dad was here. He began looking around and he saw me. He reached his hand out to me. He squeezed my hand over & over. He couild not talk because of the tubes. I felt his fingers moving. I looked down & he did the I Love You sign. That broke me up. I told him I hadn't started crying yet & he better not make start now that things were going so much better. : )
He stared moving his fingers more & I realized he was signing to me. Oh great it'd been way too long but after W A T, I figured he wanted some water. The tubes prevented that & he'd have to wait a while. Kimberly said if he stayed calm for a while they could take out the tubes. He did the Hang Loose sign- he was cool with that. I told him I needed some more sleep. He signed OK.
I had three hours of the best sleep EVER. Thanks to those of you praying for that very practical need.
I went to see him at 9 and he was talking and able to drink water through a straw. Wow again. We talked. He first asked what happened. I gave him the basic details just that somehow he lost control, ran into the median and crashed- nothing about the other vehicles yet.
His first question was had we called CFA because he was the opening mgr on Thursday. I started laughing then crying. I told him CFA is who called us about the accident. Yes they knew all too well about him.
His second question- how is his truck (that he bought a month ago from a friend). I said the truck is pretty smashed up. A tear rolled down his cheek. He didn't find any humor that I rescued the cow. But he was glad I got the cds & dvds.
He wanted more details about what happened so I told him step by step how the CFA friend working out nearby saw the accident scene & recognized Collin's truck. That guy called the store and told the mgr Cameron. He called the owner Roger. Roger was trying to get on the highway but couldn't because of a wreck. He got out & ran to the scene. He saw Collin & stayed there with him, praying for him.
When I told him that he looked at me & tears filled his eyes. I told him he is very loved by many many people. And people all over the place are concerned & praying for him. He shook his head no. I told that yes somehow they loved this brat laying in this bed.
He is doing very well. I've been joking with friends & fam coming by- telling them to pick a date in Jan & Feb and stop by the house to see him then because it's going to be a tough few months.
His new nurse LeeWan said he's been cleared to go to a room when one opens up. Praise God from whom all blessings do indeed flow.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008 :: 10:11 p.m.
What a long day on 2 hrs sleep. Crazy. All 3 surgeries went very well (4 hrs for the arm & leg, 6 1/2 hrs for spine)- no surprises or complications. He is resting well. I got to be with him for several minutes after the last surgery & he held my hand. When I talkd he nodded his head. I told him I was going to tell everyone he was doing well. He shook his head no and squeezed my hand harder. I stayed a while longer and talked to him. Boy, that brought tears to these tired eyes.
Lots of support for us all around. We had emails from east & west coast, the midwest and from Germany & even a call from a friend in Africa.
I went and saw his smashed up truck today. We got some stuff out & rescued a cow. He had one of the Chick-fil-a cow costumes in the back. We took it to the CFA store. That truck is tore up. Wow. How in the world is my boy still alive. The ForneyPost.net website has a story & pics.
I'm sleeping alone in a nice quiet, dark room tonight. I'm gonna click SEND & be asleep in a jiffy.
I'll say this- God is good all the time. Whether Collin comes out of this fine & dandy in a few months or complications develop that radically change his and our lives....God is gracious & merciful all the time.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Wednesday, December 4, 2008 :: 5:14 p.m.
The Forney Post issued the following news article:
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008 :: 7:26 a.m.
From 2-3 am I slept in 14 different positions in this chair. Collin went into surgery for the arm & leg breaks at 3:30. He should be out by 7. I slept really good until the police turned on the lights at 5:00 when the Clinic hours began. We are at Parkland the county hospital ya know.
The drs and nurses have all been extremely caring and kind (except when the plastic surgeon bluntly said that Collin had broken about every bone in his face and the swelling would get a lot worse over the next couple days. When the swelling goes down in 5 days or so, they will look at doing that surgery). They said last night he would be here for 2 or 3 days or so. We'll have to see.
The story about what happens seems to have changed a bit. There was no semi. It was a big Ford F250. The news account with pictures on the Forney Post website did not seem to tell the whole story either.
Thanks to all for the prayers & kind words.
He just got out of surgery & that all went very well.
Thanks. I'll keep you updated throught the day.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008 :: 8:46 p.m.
Still Good News
Drs are examining his breaks. They said he had multiple face fractures.
But nothing critical. All vital signs vety strong. Nothing indicates any internal injuries. Praise God.
I think all the employees from the 3 chick-fil-as are here. That doggone kids has a bunch of friends. His boss actually got to the scene & saw him while the paramedics were working on him.
He is awake but looks awful. His eyes closed & can't talk but he nodded a couple times.
I guess I'm having an 18 year old moving back home for a while. The details of the wreck are unfolding & scarey. Sounds like a semi truck hit him. He flew out his Trailblazer & across the median. He landed on the shoulder. His truck landed in the oncoming traffic. Things could have been so much worse. One of his vertebrae is totally crushed. Arm & leg surgey tonight. Spine surgery tomorrow morning. He has multiple fractures in his face. We have not talked to a surgeon about that yet.
On the work side of things, I'll contact my stores tomorrow to have them call Judy. I have a few customer issues brewing. I'll work up some notes on each one - I'll have plenty of time tommorow to do that. Nothing is screaming on fire. Surely there is a place here I can get a signal to get some work done.
We had tons of friends & fam come. Thankfully they've all gone for now.
A couple of hours have passed since I started this email. More drs are examining him now.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 29, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008 :: 4:39 p.m.
On this one, I also included good family friend, Donna Martin.
The care flight nurse called Lois. Good news - broken arm, broken leg, conscious. They took him to Parkland instead of Baylor so we are on the way to Parkland.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 29, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008 :: 3:52 p.m.
This is the first email I sent to my boss Martin, old boss David and
good friend, coworker Judy.
Lois just called me. Collin our oldest was in a car accident in Forney &
is being taken by ambulanc to Baylor downtown. She's headed there from
Mesquite & I'm heading there from the HDHS office in Irving.
I'll keep you informed.
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 29, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008 :: approximately 3:00 p.m.
The Forney Post issued the following news articles:
Posted by Philip Buford | Posted December 21, 2008
Welcome to the Collin Buford Website
Welcome to Collin's site. It has been created to keep friends and family updated about his progress. Collin is 18 years old and a manager at the Chick-fil-A in Forney, Texas. On December 3, 2008 God chose to change the direction of Collin’s life, at least for a short while. Collin was involved in a four-vehicle accident. Collin was Care Flighted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas with two broken bones in his right arm, two breaks in his lower right leg, crushed L2 vertebrae and multiple fractures in his face. Read this story and see God’s amazing power, not only to heal a broken body but how He is using one 18 year old to change our lives and tell hundreds of people about Himself.