On August 15, 2017, the newlyweds experienced car trouble and pulled their vehicle fully off the highway and onto the right shoulder. With their hood up, the belief is that they were standing in front of their car, perhaps even further into the shoulder (away from the highway). My mom and I were to meet them for an appointment about two-and-a-half hours from our city. Kylina and I were on the phone discussing the best way to get them to the meeting on time. My mom and I were both early when we arrived at the appointed location (in separate cars) - Evan and Kylina were still a pretty good distance away. When our call disconnected, I believed it to be a result of spotty cell service and began calling Kylina back. After a few calls went unanswered, I called Evan's phone.
A man answered. A man with an unfamiliar voice. A man I knew was not Evan.
This man blurted out a statement that would forever change our lives. "The man is still unconscious, and the woman is lying on the ground screaming in pain." Somehow I was able to get my mom on a three-way call with this man, and I begged him to repeat himself. Thankfully, my mom was able to remain calm and get valuable information from this man - the police and EMS were not even on-scene yet. Numb and hysterical, I turned around and began my long trek back to Denver. I could not comprehend anything other than the immediate and overwhelming need to be with Evan and Kylina.
Evan was taken by helicopter to our region's Level One Trauma Hospital; Kylina flew to our city's Level Two Trauma Hospital.
My other two children, Evan's younger brother, and sister left work and immediately jumped into action. They were in Denver - I still had a long drive and my mom, an even longer one. During my trip back I began begging God to help Evan and Kylina - I made deals with Him, pleaded with Him to make everything ok, and prayed relentlessly. The only thing I distinctly recall about my return was the incredibly painful emotions that kept racking my mind and body. I am just a regular woman - we have all been through difficult situations and trying times. That said, I never knew how deeply affected one is when that level of emotion overtakes you. The worst feelings of doom, consummate fear, interminable, gut-churning anxiety (along with every other dreadful feeling you can imagine) consumed me on my drive. These disturbing emotions felt like needles poking through my heart.
Knowing Kylina's family was en route to her hospital, I immediately went to Evan's ICU room. A mass of doctors and nurses were quickly completing an invisible list of tasks and assessments. Almost instantaneously, the neuro team approached me with information about the bleeding and swelling going on in his brain - they wanted permission to insert a "bolt" into Evan's head so his intercranial pressure could be constantly monitored. It was agonizing to consent to something so seemingly barbaric. I was unaware that this would be only the first soul-crushing decision I had to make for my big "little boy".
Both broke many, many bones. Kylina required spine surgery to fix her severely broken back and another surgery to correct both broken clavicles. She has thankfully been moved out of the ICU and is now beginning the long journey of healing. We are all extremely grateful her injuries were not any worse than they are.
Evan is a different story. We are now ten days into this nightmare and he remains unconscious. He has had to have surgery on his leg and then a surgery on his arm. His list of injuries is long - brain swelling, brain bleed, C-spine break that sheared the artery behind it, broken clavicle, broken scapula (shoulder blade), broken ulna (forearm bone), broken ribs, a bruised lung, multiple breaks in his pelvis, dislocation of both knees, severely torn ligaments in both knees, and a broken tibia plateau. Those are the main ones I can think of right now. He also had many lacerations that demanded stitches. He remains in critical condition in the ICU. He has been on a ventilator and about a week ago the tubes were removed from his mouth when a tracheostomy was performed.
This accident has been the most tragic event of our lives. I am doing everything I can to help them - the fact that they are in different hospitals makes things a little more complicated. As we do not know what the future holds, we are just trying to hang on and keep things as normal as possible for their kids. However, no one in either family is wealthy - and there is no way we can cover the bills arising from this horrific event.
I hesitated to construct a GoFundMe page because I wanted to do a fundraiser - giving people the opportunity to purchase jewelry items I make specifically for this event. I have protested setting up this fund because I just feel better about offering an item of value in exchange for a donation. However, despite my best efforts, the jewelry is not coming together as quickly as I would like. I have not been able to find the time to assemble everything - but please know this is on the horizon and will soon be another way you can help. (Hopefully sooner rather than later!)
The bills are coming in fast and furious. Their rent is due on the first in addition to all the numerous monthly bills we all incur as part of life. The baby still requires diapers and formula. There are a variety of things both of them need at the hospital. I was not able to start a new job because of the situation.
Quite simply, this has consumed us. We need immediate assistance - and the staff at both hospitals have repeatedly confirmed that our great need will continue for quite some time.
I am imploring you to help. Please. Even a few dollars will be enormously helpful and gratefully accepted. Prayers are still very much needed, so I humbly request those in addition to any financial contribution you are able to make. I cannot convey how much I - we - appreciate this. Reading about this disaster, prayers, good vibes, positive energy, monetary help - it is all deeply appreciated by our family. We cannot thank you enough and we want you to know that once we get through this heart-wrenching crisis, we will work hard to pay it forward. We have always shared our good fortune with others, never anticipating we would be in such desperate need. It is difficult to ask for help but we are out of options. Thank you for contributing to this fund. Your choice to contribute means you are making a real difference in our lives.
If I can ask one more thing of you...Please hug your friends and family. Please let those you love know how much you love them. Please treasure your time with the people you have in your life. You never know when something this catastrophic will happen.
- Kylina Smith
- Kristine Tarrow
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