My cover photo shows Anthony on the far left, my husband Bob, Mindy - Anthony's wife, and our son Bob.
On a beautiful sunny day January 3rd, 2016, on a high mountain glacier near Whistler, British Columbia, with my husband Bob, two sons (Anthony and Bob), 4 year old grandson Ryder and daughter-in-law Mindy, Bob and I knew that something was terribly wrong when they weren't returning from another area of the mountain. Suddenly out of the hills Anthony and Bob came screaming down the hill towards us. Anthony said to us, “I’ve really screwed up and I’m sorry.”
Here's what our son Bob said.
"While Anthony was making one last turn of the day, the sled turned over on him and I've had to tourniquet his leg. His leg is mostly eaten away from the upper lower thigh downwards by the three-inch paddles on the sled track that did not stop turning. "
The snow was very deep, but somehow Anthony managed to pull his leg out of the turning track, breaking his wrist in many places in doing so. His leg was being cut and cauterized at the same time by the track of the snowmobile. While Bob (son) and Mindy were discussing calling a helicopter or ambulance using their Spot device, Anthony got on the sled and rode out of the mountains, in shock, to a then awaiting ambulance at the side of the mountain highway.
Later we learned what Anthony was thinking and why he didn’t want to wait for a helicopter to come to him. He was thinking that he was responsible for getting his parents and nephew off the mountain safely and not have them be responsible for his accident.
The ambulance took him to Whistler Medical Centre, where it was determined that he had a broken ankle, a broken wrist, severe burns to his leg, a 5-inch-long 3-inch-deep gash in his leg and serious concerns of compartment syndrome. There wasn’t a helicopter available for four hours minimum so another (non-emergent) patient was unloaded out of an ambulance and Anthony was loaded in and taken with full lights and sirens to to the burn unit at Vancouver General Hospital.
Here is a link to the accident. Do not watch it if you are the least bit nervous. I can't bear to watch it!
That was the beginning of the story.
Here are some horrific photos from that time.
This is after one of the initial skin grafts
This photo shows allergic reaction to drugs. Anthony is highly allergic to all of the morphine based drugs. Time after time Doctors tried to disprove this...resulting in more and more pain for him. There aren't many drugs to help with pain! and even fewer that work for nerve pain.
This is an image of a healing skin graft.
This image is of his 'exposed' Achilles tendon. There is a rod on a snowmobile that kicks up snow onto the track and engine to cool the engine. It's about 12" long. That piece went into Anthony's ankle and routed around in it, causing immense damage. This hole in the foot was missed as he was going into the first surgery for the initial skin grafts! It later had three skin grafts to repair it. There was nothing for the graft to hold onto, and it couldn't be attached to this tendon.
For weeks Anthony told Doctors and Nurses at Vancouver General Hospital and Lions Gate Hospital that his ankle was broken. No one believed him, and for some reason it didn't show up regularly on x-rays. They continued to manipulate his ankle causing him to scream in pain. We now know with all certainty that he has at least three bones in his ankle that were broken and are still broken today. My heart just bleeds for my son! All the torture upon the injury!
WHO IS ANTHONY? WHAT'S HE LIKE?
These words come to mind.
He's kind, really generous, funny and extremely smart. He's an elite athlete. A competitive swimmer and skiier for years. An outdoorsman. He quads, and street-bikes, road-bikes and 4x4's. He loves the outdoors. He's a long-time certified deep-water scubadiver and instructor. He's well-traveled. He loves his family
and he really loves his two dogs. Flora & Mr. Boo.
My dog Cooper used to visit him in the hospital. I don't know who loved the visits more. Cooper or Anthony!
When the leg was cut, the nerves to the lower leg were also cut away completely on the outside of the leg, causing a paralysis from the knee down. This photo shows the tortured foot with the nerves and muscles working on one side of the leg and not the other.
Many said...."Cut the foot off!" Others, including nerve Doctors said, "Why would we do that". Let's wait and see. Those were brutal conversations.
Next week Anthony goes to the Nerve Clinic at Vancouver General to see if the nerves have regenerated any further in the last six months.
19 MONTHS IN HOSPITAL
No one ever imagined that he would still be in the hospital today. We are wanting desperately for him to get into a Rehabilitation Hospital now.
It has been a really difficult and slow process. Anthony has had numerous corrective surgeries (12 to date) to get his still-paralyzed lower right leg into a position for walking . He is at that point right now where his foot is almost flat and where Rehab is crucial to him walking.
He has been rejected at the GF Strong Rehabilitation hospital - due to a lack of documentation and support documents and because of their requirement of an assessment by a specialist Dr. called a Physiatrist that they do not have timely access to in Northern BC. His care-givers are now concentrating on getting a proper assessment package ready for the Glen Rose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton. We pray that he will be admitted!
This photo above shows the pins inserted in the foot, kind of like a Mecanno Set to force the foot flat.
This photo shows Anthony in a Cargo of a Medical Transport Plane and heading back from Vancouver to Fort St. John Hospital following the insertion of the medical rods through the foot, and below headed back to Vancouver to have the rods removed. Air Canada at first denied him entry after paying for the flight, and then the wonderful pilots, came and said "We're taking him!" Thank you!
POLITICAL NIGHTMARES OF HEALTHCARE
Currently he is in Fort St. John Hospital waiting, and waiting and waiting. It is a political nightmare. They don't want him there because it is an Acute Care Hospital, and they need his bed. Every hospital has been exactly the same. They lie to us, but they also lie to other hospitals, just to get rid of a patient that they don't know what to do with, and to meet their own needs. Sometimes it's just fine, as they're waiting for wounds to heal, other times it's a nightmare. Administration is the worst. Almost all the nurses have been great, Doctor's are good and bad, and there is massive turnover in major hospitals as you are always dealing with residents who have rotations, and so there is no continuity of care. What I've learned is that if you have a great Doctor, then you're likely to get the same kind of resident.
It is easy to be in a hospital for 5 days, but try living with the insanities of hospitals for 19 long months. You really see the bad parts. When you're lying in a bed, seeing this, it is the definition of insanity. Doctor's gang up on patients, sometimes hovering over the patient yelling at them, and swearing! It is really horrid. And don't dare criticize their residents! There will be hell to pay. And heaven help you if you have drug allergies like Anthony does. There are very few drugs for pain control if you are allergic to the morphine opioid group.
HE CAN'T GO HOME YET!
He can't go home to his acreage outside of Fort St. John because it isn't physically safe for him. Too many stairs, no main floor shower that he can walk into, access to the home is via stairs, and the ground slopes away from the house and is uneven. Additionally, he would be on his own without help all day having to take care of the house and his dogs. Anthony doesn't qualify for home care because their house is outside of the traditional service area., living on a small acreage outside of Ft. St. John, BC
The FSJ Hospital couldn't apply to the Glen Rose Rehabilitation hospital (in Alberta) until all efforts Provincially have been exhausted. They are at that point now.
HE'S A FIGHTER
If you know him, he is a fighter! I have never seen anyone more focused on getting better. He works really hard to do everything possible to get to wellness. Every day he lives with pain. Nerve pain, which is the worst! Imagine putting your finger in a live electrical plug, and it doesn't turn off, and you can't pull away! That kind of pain times a hundred. Watching my son in convulsive pain was and is just the worst thing ever!
To date only a couple nurses have been able to stay in the room and watch him get through the nerve pain attacks as it is so horrific that they don’t want to be there so they leave!
These photos above are in the gym at hospitals. He works really hard on all the exercises that are given to him.
Our first campaign, started by Anthony's brother, Bob, was very successful, and we are very grateful for everyone's contributions no matter what size they were. It all matters. People have donated air miles and travel points so that he could come to and from Doctor's appointments. (NO, BC health care does not pay for this travel.) People have welcomed Anthony into their home while he was taking Hyperbaric Chamber treatments to try to break down the scar tissue that creates major problems. Thank you to Oceanside Hyperbaric in Parksville for donating some treatments to Anthony and for Rob and Saari in Nanaimo for letting him stay there during treatments. Men he worked with raised money to help, and that was amazing!
Here's a link to our initial Go Fund Me page:
19 MONTHS WITH NO INCOME
Anthony has been out of work for 19 months at this point. They only have Mindy's income, and it's really tough. I don't know how she manages it all really. Home - Work - Hospital - Home - Sleep, and then start all over again, day in and day out. They get very little time together. Last year while he was in Lions Gate Hospital, they had two major forest fires that came onto their property causing two evacuations. Anthony was beside himself with stress!
There have been numerous floods in the yard, and their basement and the shop flooded as well. There have been flooded twelve times in seven years, and have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to fix the problems. The heat system in their house failed this winter while he was in the hospital. Mindy relied on their tiny wood burning fireplace for heat. Chopping wood for both the house and their shop so that plumbing didn't freeze. Again, Anthony felt totally helpless, and less of a man, not being able to help his wife.
Anthony had some accident insurance but he initially thought, well, it might be a broken bone, and I'll be out of work for 6 weeks maximum, but never in a million years did he think he'd be in this situation, begging for help.
We have tried to reach out to all the HGTV shows for help with their house and property, but they are mostly eastern shows, and they are TV for entertainment. We have reached out to tons of businesses to try to get help, to no avail.
WHAT DOES HE NEED?
He needs a home that is safe to go home to, which means 'accessibility' is a crucial factor. He needs a walk-in shower. He needs a home that is dependable. Where the heating works, and you don't have to worry about the basement flooding while you're on the main level. Basic stuff that we all take for granted.
He needs money for rehabilitation
He needs money for medications. - many of which aren't covered by insurances or hospitals even.
He needs money for eyewear, braces, and mobility aids
He needs money for Psychologists and other Medical professionals
He needs money for transportation to and from Doctors appointments
Both Mindy, myself and others will do updates, and try to keep you in the loop more regularly. As his Mother, and Mindy, his wife we are reaching out with this new campaign. Never did I think that I would be asking for money from anyone, so this is hard.
For Anthony, having to ask for money after being successful and a giving person in the community, he finds it emasculating and demoralizing to be in this situation. He feels embarrassed for putting himself and his family in this situation and that he did not have appropriate insurance for a rainy day.
If you have other ideas which may help him, we welcome them. Let us know.
Thank you so much. Please DONATE today. It is so urgent. We are so grateful!