(This may get graphic) This summer is one for the books. I'm writing about before the normal Christmas letter so I don't forget things. Our summer started the wednesday before Memorial Day. We went to Paul's parent's house in Owasso, Oklahoma for the weekend. We had a wonderful time spending time with grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We got a lot of sun and had a lot of fun! The Wednesday after, the twins left for girls camp. I also had a half-marathon in Utah that weekend. It was a lot fun! We had a good time running down Provo Canyon. We stayed up way too late talking. We got up way too early to run, but we had a good time! I got home Sunday night. Paul hopped on a plane Monday morning for Tucson for meetings. He got home Thursday morning, and within a few hours of landed, drove to Broken Bow, Oklahoma for Ewan's Deacon's Quorum camp. And, that my friends was the real beginning to our summer. Friday mid-morning I got a phone call from one of the dad's on the trip letting me that there had been an accident. Paul was talking, but they were in an ambulance, on their way to a helicopter pad to fly him to a hospital. They suspected that he broke his leg. They didn't know if they were going to send him to Dallas, Oklahoma City, or somewhere else. I said a few prayers, got a couple bags packed, called Paul's parents who were in Oklahoma City at the Temple there, called our ministering family, and waited to know where to go next. The phone call came, and they were flying him to Paris, Texas because there was an orthopedic surgeon who could perform the surgery on his leg. I jumped in the car, and drove over 2 hours to the hospital. I was on and off the phone with my parents, Paul's parents, our ministering family, and the men that were on the trip with Paul. Ewan stayed on the trip which turned out to be a good thing. I got to the hospital and found Paul in his bed with foam slips over his legs. He was still in his wet swimsuit and shirt, shoes and was shivering. After a few hours waiting for some answers, Paul had to use the restroom. There was blood. A lot of blood. I went and told a nurse. They said that he probably had some internal bleeding. They were waiting results of a CT scan and the X-Ray. Turns out, he broke his left femur around the greater trochanter, and had a hematoma on his right kidney. How you ask? Don't worry, there is a video. I won't post it, but don't worry, there's a video. They were going off a rope swing into the river they were kayaking down. Paul went a little higher up from his initial jumps. The rope had a little too much slack in it and flipped him funny into the water. There were some roots sticking up, which he landed on. The doctors moved him to an ICU room to await surgery the next morning. They got him in a gown and warmed up. We waited for doctors to come in. They scheduled the surgery for the next morning. Paul didn't have much of an appetite. The nurses and doctors tried to keep him comfortable with pain medication. I slept on the chair in the room that night. Not that great, or comfortable. The surgery was about an hour and a half. We met with the surgeon the next morning. Dr. Elliott was really nice. He's from Mesa, AZ. We got to chat for a few minutes. After surgery, Paul slept a lot. The pain in his leg wasn't as serious as the pain in his kidney. Apparently, as they were wheeling him into the surgery, the urologist got the CT film and determined that he had a fourth degree laceration of his right kidney. It was pretty bad. Although Paris has some amazing surgeons, they do not have the facilities or staff to treat a laceration like Paul's. So, they started doing the work to transfer him to Dallas. But, there were very few beds available at a Trauma I or II hospital. We waited for 4 hours on Sunday before they found him a bed at a Trauma II hospital in Ft. Worth, over an hour away from our house in Prosper. Meanwhile, I'm texting and calling Paul's Uncle Ryan who is a doctor, and a urologist on our Stake trying to cypher the labs and scans so I can understand what everyone is talking about. Soon a nurse came in and told us that Paul's body was so healthy that it was overcompensating for how sick he was. The urine and blood that was leaking around his kidney was making him septic and he could lose his kidney. I kind of freaked out, inside. So, we got all gathered up and headed back to Dallas. He got in the ambulance and I checked out of the hotel. Sidenote: Do not stay in the La Quinta in Paris, Texas. That is all I will say about that. I was a few minutes behind the ambulance, and Paul told me to go home and sleep. They weren't going to do anything that night. So, I went home. The next morning, I woke up early, drove the hour to the hospital, got there right as visiting hours opened, and then spent the day waiting. A trauma PA told us that he would have a procedure some time that day. So, Paul couldn't eat. I was so afraid of leaving the room. I worried that I would go get something to eat and then they would come and take him for the procedure. So, we waited. We waited for ten hours. At 5:30pm, they came and got him for a scan. It took maybe 15 minutes. When he came back, they told him that he could eat. Our sweet Relief Society President ordered us Panera soup. It was greatly appreciated. At 10:00pm, the urologist came in to tell us how bad his kidney was and that he was debating with the Interventional Radiologist on how to approach this case. I may have gotten a little sassy with him. I was really tired and frustrated. And, no one had addressed the sepsis issue or talked to us about the treatment plan. I was frustrated because I felt like this was an emergency, and no one seemed to be treating it like one. I asked what time they would do the procedure the next morning because I didn't want Paul to not get treated for ten hours the next day, again. We were told that we were 3rd, maybe 5th on the list, but could be bumped if an emergency came in. Wasn't this an emergency? So, Paul sent me home to rest. I cried and talked to my parents the whole hour. I woke up, showered and left before 6am the next morning. When I got to the room, he wasn't there. The Physical Therapist had come and taken him for a walk up and down the hall. I will admit that I rehearsed a really good speech on my drive to the hospital. Watching Paul's frail body walk gingerly up the hall only aggravated me more. After we got him settled back in bed, the trauma PA came in with some nurses doing the rounds, and I had it. I am really non-confrontational. I don't normally say anything. I just let things go and really try to be a peacemaker. But, I could tell that Paul had lost weight. He was in pain. And there was very little being done to treat whatever was going on inside of him. So, I asked if I needed to get him to a hospital that would actually treat him. I told them that I had a walker in the car and that I would drive him myself if they wouldn't treat him or wouldn't release him. I expressed my frustration on the waiting time and how I was told that he had sepsis. Do you know how many people die of sepsis? Yeah, I told them, I looked it up. I told the PA that if I didn't take him home, or if he lost his kidney, my eight children would be going to the best universities in the world, and that the hospital would be named The Paul Burkinshaw Memorial Hospital because I would sue and I would win. I was not going to let him be just another case number, especially when they told me that he was a priority. I asked her if she knew the definition of the word `priority’ and then I told her that it meant ONE, you don't have prioritIES, you have prioritY, and he needed to be first on that list to have the procedure done. She said that she understood my frustration and that if I wanted to speak to a patient advocate, I was welcome to. And then she left with the nurses who all looked terrified of this little 5'2 lady. A few minutes later, the trauma doctor came in and I gave him a less heated speech, but with the same message. He apologized several times. Told me that they should have come in and talked to us the day before about the plan. Paul was not going to lose his kidney and he did not have sepsis. He said that they were fully equipped to do the job, and that they would do what needed to be done. They were letting his body rest and letting his kidney rest. Twenty minutes later, they were wheeling Paul down for pre-op. And then we sat in pre-op for three hours. The nurse that checked us in left for lunch. Paul's IV started leaking all over his bed and gown. I had to go around the corner several times asking what was going on, and it seemed like no one knew and no one knew where our nurse went. So, they cleaned him, changed his gown, called the operating room, and then things started to move. I think I frightened more than a few nurses and hospital staff with my "no nonsense" look. After a kiss goodbye, they wheeled him in for a stent placement. The surgical liaison took me upstairs, and I'm pretty sure the doctor warned her to tread lightly. She gave me a bunch of food vouchers commenting that it looked like I hadn't eaten in days, and a bunch of parking validation stickers. I just asked her if there was a room with a couch so I could lie down for a little while. Forty-five minutes later, the procedure was done. The trauma surgeon and the urologist came and told me that it was the best case scenario. He was in post-op and needed to rest. So, Paul slept. They kept us overnight to monitor fluids and pain. Paul's brother-in-law is from Ft. Worth, and his good parents offered to let me stay at their house while I was going back and forth and didn't know how long Paul would be recovering in the hospital. It was 20 minutes away and wonderful. His mother is an amazing cook! The best scones I have ever had! And, she is the sweetest lady ever! The next morning, I came back to the hospital and he was gone, again. The bed was gone. They had taken him for another scan and to see if they needed to put a drain in his back. They gave him some funky pain stuff that left him hallucinating, not being able to focus, and having a hard time resting. But, they didn't need to put the drain in and things were starting to look better. The urologist was a rotating doctor, so he was already gone. The trauma doctor came in, apologizing again for all the stuff we had been through. I apologized for the emotional outburst to which he said he completely understood and the hospital should have handled things differently. Paul's sister, Jenny was in town and stopped by the hospital for a few hours to visit and check on him. It was good to see her. Again, we just waited. He was doing better, but the pain was getting worse. I went and slept , but came back the next morning to him not having a very good night. He was in a lot of pain and the nurses and doctor were trying to manage it. They were trying to get him off the IV stuff, and move to oral pain meds that would go home with us. So, they kept him another night. The next morning, the doctor wouldn't release him until we had a urologist to follow up with. They also put a catheter in. Not fun. They were really struggling to find a urologist that would answer calls and could see him in a few days at the latest. I had been in contact with the urologist in our stake and he said that he would take the case. However, when the nurses at the hospital tried to call his office to get an appointment, they couldn't get him in until August. The urologist was in surgeries that day, so I sent a text to his wife, and he called Paul in between surgeries and got him in on Tuesday. Paul could finally get discharged! YAY! We got home, but the pharmacy and insurance company wouldn't approve any more pain meds for him. We had to get the trauma doctor to call the insurance company and the pharmacy so we could get everything filled. It was a bit of a mess, and Paul was in a lot of pain. But, we did it. We were able to get all the doctors' appointments scheduled, and pain meds managed. We are so grateful for the many prayers, calls, texts, and outpouring of love we received. We truly experienced many miracles and are so grateful for priesthood blessings. It has been very different being on the receiving end of such an outpouring of service. Our ward was amazing! Our Relief Society President contacted the Elder's Quorum President in Paris. He and a member of the bishopric up there came to the hospital and gave Paul a blessing before his surgery. They offered their home to me so I could shower. We left in such a hurry, I was unable to. Our ward took care of the kids until Paul's parents could get down to Prosper. They took the kids to church, and then took them to Owasso as Paul and I navigated all the medical stuff. The ward provided crutches, a shower chair, wedge pillows, almost three weeks of meals, and much needed prayers, love and support. Our ministering brother is in the Stake Presidency, and brought the other counselor to the hospital in Ft. Worth to give Paul a blessing. They also checked in with texts and phone calls. It has truly been humbling to experience such love and service. We've also learned that one can get a UTI from prolonged catheterization. That was not a fun couple of days. Paul's parents were amazing. They took the kids for two weeks. The kids had a better summer than we had planned swimming, parking, exploring, having cousin time, and enjoying grandma and grandpa. It was such a blessing. Paul is on the mend. His kidney looks good. It's not perfect, but after many scans, it appears to be draining and functioning. His leg is healing. He's no longer on crutches. He has a little limp, but he is working on muscle strength and mobility to regain his range of motion and endurance. He rides his bike, walks around the neighborhood, and is looking forward to running a half-marathon with me in a year or so (hahaha, maybe that's just my plan!) But, he is doing well, and we are so grateful.
All I can say is you guys are amazing…. Molly, you need to write a book! Big love and prayers coming at you!❤️🙏❤️
Your experience is heartbreaking to hear, but the strength you have both shown is beautiful! Had me wishing I had known of your struggles. I may not be close by to help with much, but my thoughts and prayers are with you. Your family is so loved by everyone who knows you. I am so glad that your ward recognized your family's needs and helped support you through this difficult time. We will be praying for Paul's recovery and strength for your family.
Much love, the Richardson Family
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