After leaving the hospital, the endless doctors appointments began. Primary concern was the facial fractures which needed to be surgically repaired before the bones fused incorrectly. Second is the damage to the nerves controlling my left eye. My eye was able to look right, but there was no signal to move my eye left which resulted in double vision. It was also the same side where my face was paralyzed so not only could it not move properly, the eyelid wouldn't close either.
After a 3 1/2 hour surgery, metal plates and screws placed in my face aligned the bones back to where they're supposed to be. The skull fractures were fusing perfectly, or close to it anyway. I still had considerable numbness on the right side where the surgery was, as well as swelling.
During the first month of recovery, I didn't notice much improvement. Still had double vision and even though the surgery was successful, the swelling and bruising made me look very poor. My facial paralysis was not improving and in fact, there is now a noticeable drooping on the left side due to the lack of muscle movement. Electrical stimulus tests showed that the nerve wasn't severed, but was damaged and recovery would be long. There was talk of decompression surgery, but the neurosurgeon didn't think that it would be as beneficial as they could have hoped.
The second month, I began to notice that my double vision was lessening. If I looked to the right, I could see a single image. This was terrific news because it meant that the nerve was healing and there's a strong likelihood that my vision will return to normal. Not much on the facial movement, but the swelling had gone down and I was beginning to look somewhat normal once again.
During the subsequent months, my vision was finally returned (month 4) swelling was gone (month 6) and my face was showing the beginning signs of moving once again. While still mostly paralyzed, there is not quite a bit of movement and best of all I can close my left eye. I wouldn't say that I can blink, but it is a significant improvement from before. While I am still not a good looking guy, if you didn't know that I was run over by a truck, you really couldn't tell by looking at me. There are some indications that I'm not quite right (visually ) but for the most part, I have regained muscle tone in my face.
I have a long way to go, measured in months to years, but I am alive and functioning. Every day I am feeling a little more like my old self and I am thrilled at the outlook.
That's all for now...
The results of the tests were that I had a subdural, epidural hematoma's as well as air on the brain however the bleeding had stopped and I didn't require surgery. I was placed in Intensive care which is really just another name for wake up every 30 minutes for more tests. I was kind of like a celebrity at the hospital because everyone want to see the man who survived getting their head run over by a truck!
While in ICU, I was subjected to numerous tests and evaluations. Aside from what was already mentioned, my eye sight was still 20 20, motor function perfect. One nurse took my hand and asked me to squeeze as hard as I could. I told her that she really didn't mean that, but she insisted so I obliged. I squeezed quite forcibly for a second then let go, and her only response was "show off!".
I had one nurse who was a beautiful young girl, and during any test that they would perform she would hold my hand. I told her that I was very lucky that the injury left me with double vision because I got to see two of her. She laughed and said I must have undetected brain damage (but I didn't)
After 2 days in ICU I was moved to a private suite where the care wasn't nearly as good. Being tired of peeing in the little plastic container I decided to get up to go to the bathroom. Did you know that the hospital beds are equipped with sensors that create an alarm when you get up? Well quite quickly several nurses came to the room trying to stop me.
On my last day at the hospital, I needed to complete a mobility test to check my balance and walking skills. In the 5 minute evaluation, I was cleared to go home!
As you can imagine an F250 Diesel is quite heavy and I sustained numerous life threatening injuries. The impact broke my skull in 5 places, broke my temporal bone on the left side injuring the 7th nerve, paralyzing my face and 6th nerve damage causing severe double vision. On the right side I sustained multiple fractures to the facial bone and internally suffered both epidural and subdural hematoma's. ALL of this was immediate.
It was mentioned before I was home alone when this occurred. The damage was severe, as was the internal and external bleeding. I was mostly unable to see because of the damage to the 6th nerve, but the rest of my body was functional. I ran into the house, grabbed the phone and thankfully able to call 911, then got back outside.
I went outside because I sincerely thought this was it and I didn't think that I would make it. Since my kids were at school, they would also be the first home, and I would much rather have a passerby find my body than have my children make the discovery.
First on the scene was a occupational health manager for IBM Fishkill, who heard the dispatch while passing by my street on his way to work. He stayed with me, keeping me calm until the ambulance arrived. Mind you, I was still fully conscience but still thinking I would die. At this point, I couldn't see, my left ear was completely deaf and I was losing a substantial amount of blood.
The ambulance arrived, and I heard them talking about what to do with me. They wanted to air lift me to Westchester Hospital who's trauma center is better, but they didn't think I had long to live so they elected to transport me via Ambulance to Danbury hospital. It took almost no time before they had me in the ambulance, and I remember them asking permission to cut my clothes off and my reply, are you serious, please do what you need to do. I heard the rumble of the tires hitting the gutter rumble strips on I84 as the ambulance passed on the left and right, and we got to the hospital in record time.
There was a team of specialists waiting for my arrival and they began to prod, poke, examine me in every way possible. By this time signs of external bleeding had stopped, and they were interested in the internal head injuries which were severe enough that the head of Neuro Surgery was called in to examine me. Numerous CT Scans later, the decision was to place me in ICU and monitor me with CT Scans every 4 hours. I'm sure I glow by this point.
Trucks are heavier than they look and heads are harder. I found this out on April 8, 2013 while foolishly removing the driveshaft from my F250 Diesel.
It all started a couple of months prior. While driving the truck, there was a terrible squeaking noise coming from the drive shaft carrier bearing. I decided to make the replacement of this bearing a learning experience for my daughter, so in Sunday 4/7/13, I showed her how to set the brake, chock the wheels and SAFELY remove the driveshaft from the truck.
It only took about 20 minutes to replace the bearing, but when we test drove there was a vibration. Back home, we again safely removed the driveshaft, re-indexed, and replaced it only to continue to vibrate. Once again, took it off, insured everything was aligned and reinstalled.
You can imagine how frustrated I was to have the vibration continue, so we decided to quit for the day. That evening I researched, and thought about the driveshaft and I was looking forward to doing it once again. Monday morning, I anxiously waited for the kids to get on the bus to school so I could get started right away. My wife was at work already and I was home alone.
As soon as they got on the bus I marched outside, crawled under the truck and began to remove the driveshaft bolts at the transmission. The 3rd bolt came out snug, and the 4th was tight as well, and I wasn't sure why until the bolt came out and the truck began to roll. In my expedited effort to get the driveshaft out, I completely missed setting the brake and chocking the wheels. The truck began to roll!
As I tried to escape from under the truck, the wheel ran over my leg. At this point things happened so quickly, I'm not sure how my head ended in the path, but it did. In an instant I was hit, and a direct hit with the tire rolling over my head, back to front.
(details of the initial injury skipped)