Sunday afternoon, I got one of the calls any parent does NOT want to get!
That their child was in an accident. (it’s very graphic and detailed)
After church on Sunday we were packing up to go home and Bjorn asked last minute if he could go jet skiing with some friends and we said Yes and let him stay, so he could go and just text or call when he needed to be picked up.
At around 5pm my husband was just starting the grill for dinner and I got a call from a lady saying she was at Jordan Lake and there was an accident, that my son was hurt, lost some teeth and was bleeding but was OK, she kept saying the name Ian and I finally said who’s Ian?? you may have the wrong #, and she changed it to Bjorn! Then she handed the phone to someone else that said he’d take him to a local hospital and to meet us there.
We rounded up the kids, dropped them off at a friend’s house and went to the hospital (which was just an ER), ran inside and was shown the room he was in, his cheek was swollen with a black eye and I bloody and I could tell he had missing teeth! (Of course he had pretty much finished braces)
The first thing he said was “I’m sorry Mommy!” and I just broke down crying…. It’s going to be okay!, he was shivering from wearing cold wet clothes which they quickly cut off of him and gave him a suction tube for his mouth, like you have at the dentist, so he could spit up blood. He was in a lot of pain but they wanted to do a CT scan first to see if there was any brain damage. Also an older couple from church was there and I found out that it was their jet skis that the boys had used on the lake and that Ralph was supervising them. He said that the boys had come back with Bjorn after he was hurt and they had said he got hit in the mouth or the head, it seemed like they had down played it or just didn’t know….so that’s why Ralph just took him to the ER instead of calling 911.
They did the CT scan and said there was no brain damage but a lot of fractures so he needed to get transferred to the big hospital – Wake Med in Raleigh. After the CT scan they still hadn’t given him anything for the pain so now that he was “clear” they gave him morphine in the IV, meanwhile our pastor’s wife and one of the other boys’ family and I had met them or maybe just our pastor’s wife, I can’t remember, but walked back to the room right when Bjorn got the morphine and I heard him throw up, then a big throw up and Dan fled the room and the nurse screamed for help and people came running in there, and just like in the movies, someone else took us away from the scene and into a small room where we just stood and hugged and cried and prayed, Dan said there was so much blood that Bjorn had thrown up he really thought that it was the end…. But it ended up being from the injury in his cheeks/sinuses all that blood had drained into the back of his throat and into his stomach and the morphine just made him throw up and that’s all he had in his stomach!
So they got that under control and talked to one of the boys who was there “M” said him and Bjorn were on one jet ski taking turns being in the front, meanwhile “R” was riding his own jet ski. and it was just the 3 of them. He said Bjorn was steering this time and at a sharp turn they fell into the water (which they did plenty of times) and then “R” hit Bjorn somehow and “M” didn’t see it until he got back on the jet ski and was waiting for Bjorn to get on, but he didn’t and then saw something was wrong and somehow was able to pull him out and get back to shore.
In the ER they found a bump on the back of Bjorn’s head too but didn’t know where that came from.
We waited around for the transfer to the big hospital, which took 2 hrs I think, it seemed forever, but eventually they came and said I could ride in the front and Dan would follow us in the car.
It was a HUGE EMS truck. Dan got gas (we didn’t know about the gas shortage until the next day, so he was lucky to fill up) so he got to the hospital a few minutes after us. the EMS didn’t have sirens on or anything so I didn’t wait too long. The ER nurse had told me to be prepared as he was going to be admitted as trauma so there will be 15 doctors around the room and ask lots of questions, which was true. I just stayed in the corner and watched quietly, a lady came over and said she was the hospital chaplain and I said my husband was still on the way, she then said she’d go look for him. Who is NOT the person you want to be greeted by at the hospital! but she brought Dan to the room just after a Dr started talking to me about Bjorn, that it’s not an emergency, no brain damage, no neck damage, he can breathe but needs surgery…. it was kind of a blur.
we then got moved to a triage room to wait for an ENT surgeon, we met up with our pastor’s wife Michele, Ralph and his wife April (who was also at the ER) and a friend Kim from church too, only one of them could go with us to triage, so Kim went, since she hadn’t seen Bjorn until that point, and it’s really good to have a 3rd person there to remember stuff, as we were in a blur, in shock. Finally the ENT surgeon came in and showed us the CT scan. It was BAD! he started at the top of the head by the brain and showed no brain damage, all the way down to the eyes, which were also fine, then the cheek bones and the right side was nothing but broken, broken, broken, broken, broken bones, it was horrible and lastly you did see teeth that were all over the place too, even though we saw teeth we still thought he was missing a bunch and the ENT surgeon said it’s all about fixing his cheek and named all the bones in there and what needed to be done, he was very confident and said they see accidents, and things like this all the time and do this kind of surgery all the time. Bjorn would get titanium plates in there to stabilize the bones and they are screwed into the bones, then he’d have his mouth wired shut to heal.
Then we found out that the surgery was not for Sunday night, nor Monday morning but Wednesday and that we could pretty much go home! WHAT?? we didn’t get that at all, the kid is spitting up blood and bruised and in pain. OR they could admit him if we wanted to, it seemed very odd and we found out days later it was sort of hospital politics…. anyways, they were looking for a room, then decided to do the pediatric ward instead of adult because of his age (he’s 14), I had to go home to feed Anja and Dan would stay with Bjorn, I think this was now around 11 or so and Ralph and April drove me to my friend Laura’s house (where I had left my car and kids) so I took Anja home, nursed her and put her to bed and went to bed.
But on the way home I got a phone call from our pastor who had spoken to “R” (our pastor and a group is in Baton Rouge helping flood victims) and he told me the story…… Bjorn had fallen off, that was correct, but he was hanging on to the back of the jetski and “R” had come from behind and hit the back of his head and then that made his face smash up against the jet ski! Once I heard that I totally broke down crying again. He could have broken his neck, he could have died! he was pinned between two jet skis and the other one who knows how fast he was going? God really spared his life! Bjorn is alive!!
So of course by the time I was home and in bed, that scenario just played in my head over and over and over, and at 5 I woke up and ate a bit, fed Anja and messages April, who had said she’d come get me and drive me again, if she hadn’t replied I would just go myself, but she was up (hadn’t slept much either) so she came and got me, actually we met at Laura’s house where I dropped off Anja and my car again!
At the hospital, Bjorn was settled at the children’s hospital side and was sleeping a lot! all thru out the day, he’d mostly just get tylenol and go back to sleep. More church friends visited and prayed with us all thru out the day and evening, I was really struggling with hate for “R” who is sort of a wild kid who likes extreme sports and things and I know it was an accident and that he feels terrible, but I asked for prayers to help with that. I called and emailed and texted lots of people and called the orthodontist we had and I had emailed Bjorn’s principal and talked to him, also a neurological psychologist talked to us and evaluated Bjorn Monday night and Tuesday and explained about concussions symptoms and head trauma and how to deal with school etc. but I had already talked to the principal and he said just to worry about Bjorn getting better! and nurses and people we were in contact with kept saying how lucky he was that it wasn’t worse, God was watching out for him. For what the injury was, he “just” had a swollen cheek and then couldn’t talk much because his teeth were missing. Not that he was awake that much, he did finally drink some broth and juice and ate some Jello Monday night. As I was about to leave, “R’s” mom texted me that she wanted to talk and wanted to visit, it took me a bit to call her back but we talked about it and I know “R” feels bad, but it could have been so much worse, we can’t change what happened, we can’t reverse time, it happened, and it’s FIXABLE!! Bjorn is fixable…… we planned on them visiting Tuesday night.
Monday night I drove Dan’s car to Laura’s house and fed Anja there and stayed the night and snuggled with Sonja, and at the hospital since Monday morning I had borrowed a breast pump so I brought a few cups of milk for Anja for Tuesday. Tuesday morning I fed her at around 5.30 and put her back to bed and drove back to the hospital which is 1hr away from us.
Tuesday, Bjorn’s face was so swollen that he couldn’t open his right eye. We still had more visitors. In the afternoon “M” visited with his family and he told more about what happened, one part was that every time Bjorn and him would fall off the jet ski, it stalled (it’s supposed to) but then it wouldn’t start, so they had to straddle the seat, lift up the seat and add some starter fluid and then it would start, but this time it started just fine, otherwise “M” had no idea how he would have held onto Bjorn and tried to lift the seat between their legs, so a total GOD thing. He doesn’t remember how exactly he got Bjorn lifted up and how he got back to shore, but remember yelling for help- Bjorn remembers from that part only! I hugged “M” that he saved Bjorn! of course they had life vests on or he could have drowned, but still, he saved him out of the water and got him to shore, I’m very grateful for that.
In the evening “R” came too with his mom, I know he felt bad, he didn’t want to look at Bjorn and only talked when we talked about something else, like school or hospitals, his mom works at a hospital so she knows a bit about the politics there. I told “R” that we know it was an accident, that Bjorn is fixable. When they left I told him to hug Bjorn or shake his hand and he did. His mom and our youth leaders prayed for Bjorn too before they all left.
I’m pretty sure it was Tuesday afternoon, where the main ENT surgeon came to look at Bjorn and talk to us about the upcoming surgery. Up until that point we had just heard that it was all about his cheek, we did hear mixed things about whether or not he’d get his mouth wired shut, but likely NOT…. The surgeon- Dr Ginn was super nice and explained his plan of what he wanted to do and what might happen in worse case scenario. He said his main concern is the bite of Bjorn’s teeth, because his right upper jaw is broken, he had to wait until he was under to move it into place, then look at the teeth and put them into place, how ever many can be saved by putting a bar across the upper gums and ties the teeth with wire to the bar, after that he’d cut an incision above the gums to get into the cheek and add two titanium bars in there, one next to the nose and on going horizontally in I think. If he could NOT line up the bite, then he’d stop and wake Bjorn up and he’d need to wait on the cheek. Surgery would take 1.5-2hrs if all goes well. Surgery was scheduled for Wednesday at 12.
Bjorn’s Principal came to visit too on Tuesday and brought a card from his 7 class mates and teachers! what a nice guy! Bjorn is very lucky to have a nice principal like that, who’s so understanding and caring.
I drove back to Laura’s house Tuesday night too and took care of Anja, she had a fever so she was up most of the night but I got a few hours of sleep in early morning, then was up at 5.30 again and fed her and took off.
Kim, from church had planned on coming at around 10 to pray with us before the surgery and another friend from Pittsboro, Danielle, who has 3 kids the same age as us, wanted to do the same too. They had told us that they’d start pre-op maybe 1.5hrs before surgery, so being there at 10 would be fine. At 9.40 the nurse came and said they are on the way to get Bjorn in 5 min, I texted my pastor’s wife really quick and she asked if she could call and pray and then the OR, transport people showed up, I quickly called her and had her on speaker phone and she prayed for us and the nurses etc patiently waited and once Michelle said Amen, they wheeled Bjorn out of the room and we followed him! It was way deep into the hospital, I was totally lost, but we got to the pre-op room with other patients waiting and lots of nurses and anesthesia people asking us the same questions over and over. Then Kim showed up, some how she was able to get in the pre-op room where Danielle was told no after she said she was a friend, but Kim was never asked. So she prayed too and we were able to follow Bjorn to the hall of the OR and then were led to a waiting room, where they had TV screens with #s on them with the status right next to it and we were given a # for Bjorn, and it quickly said “in surgery” and we went to lunch and told the lady there who got my cell# just in case, after we got back and waited some more I think it was 12.30 (surgery started 11.30) they had a phone call that he’s doing great and maybe another hour. Danielle had to go get the kids from school and of course soon after that the ENT Dr. came out to say it was done! Bjorn’s bite was fitted well and ALL his teeth were there! he moved them down into the gums and tied them in with wire, but said only 2-3 might not live, but they are given the chance! they are in the gums and time will tell if the teeth will die and/or if the gums will take them. Then he moved on to the cheek and put two titanium plates in there and screwed them in and he said it was one of the worst cases he’d ever seen, but Bjorn is going to be okay it’s fixed. I was already crying by then and he got teary eyed too, he said he’s a father too, so he understands!
A bit later, we were called in to see Bjorn, I was numb, could hardly walk, I was faint and crying of happiness, it was the best news we could have hoped for! we thought all his upper teeth were pretty much gone, thinking implants, dentures or who knows what, but they were all there! and that his cheek was worse than they thought but will be okay too! It’s amazing what doctors can fix nowadays. We saw Bjorn in post-op sleeping, he actually looked less swollen. Once he woke up and was okay, we were brought back to the room in the children’s ward. The ENT had wanted him to stay the night (and us too) but later in the night, the general surgeon guy from two days before came up and said medically he could go home tonight but he was not forcing us, umm yeah, we’re staying, the kid gotta eat and walk and figure out his pain meds etc. The nurse was on our side too, all the nurses were so sweet btw! this surgery was considered out patient, so that’s why when he came in as trauma, they wanted to send him home and come back as an ENT patient and go home again, trauma is under general surgery but they didn’t work on him at all, so that’s why they didn’t want to admit him, anyways, hospital politics!
Kim stayed with us thru late afternoon, she got some of my milk containers and delivered them to Laura’s on the way home (not really on her way but sort of) so I could stay the night too. Dan and I shared a bed, which was a hospital bed btw, all the other rooms had a fold out couch, but we had the last room on the hall, so they didn’t have enough couches and had a bed there instead, I slept like a rock!
Thursday morning when Bjorn woke up, he ate a bit of scrambled eggs and rice crispies, the only solid food he had in 4 days, otherwise it had been broth or juice. We got discharged before lunch and on the way home we stopped at Costco to get gas and soft foods for Bjorn.
He’s on a mechanical soft diet, which is actually more than we thought!
In a week we have to do a follow up with the ENT surgeon, also an OMFS at UNC next week (Oral surgeon) and I already told his Orthodontist about this and they are on board too, so now it’s all about the teeth and gums!
We’ll be juicing a lot to get healthy nutrients for Bjorn and get some calories in him, poor kid I’m sure he’s lost several pounds, I know I have.
Pray for quick healing and that his gums and teeth will be okay!
I’m praising God that he didn’t break his neck or got brain damage, he can walk, he can talk, he’s ALIVE!!
God has a special plan for him, for sure!
and all 3 boys will have learned a lesson from all of this.
Bjorn is such a trooper, he’s tough, he said this is just a storm God is putting him thru!
we’re very Blessed with how our church friends came together and visited, and prayed and helped with the kids!