On December 7, 2019, my brother, Jake, was a passenger in a UTV accident and was thrown through the windshield after hitting a deep washout in a corn field.
He suffers a lacerated spleen, a broken femur, broken elbow, broken shoulder, laceration to his eyebrow and many cuts and bruises. He was taken by ambulance to Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon, IA and was then air lifted to Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, WI and spent the next few days in the ICU. His lacerated spleen was bleeding into his stomach and the surgeons and medical staff have advised he is lucky to be alive. He told us he always wanted a ride in a helicopter though this was not the one he was looking for. We were happy he had his sense of humor intact.
Time is of essence in these critical, near fatal situations and we are thankful for a quick, responsive ambulance staff, caring and competent medical staff from Waukon and all the great nurses (Jen, our fave!), medical teams, and skilled surgeons who cared for Jake.
Jake has endured 4 surgeries and there is a possibility of a 5th depending on if his shoulder heals properly. He currently doesn't have any use of his right arm due to his broken shoulder and repaired elbow, which is his dominant side. We joke with him that he is going to be ambidextrous after all of this. The road ahead entails several 3-hour round trips for check-ups and ongoing physical therapy. It is unknown if he will be able to resume work as a bricklayer or truly how long recovery will take.
We will be eternally grateful Jake is still with us. Jake and I have the best mom in the world and she has been staying with Jake to assist for the time being. Dad has been a terrific support system as well. If you know our dad, maybe he's offered a little too much advice. :) In all seriousness, I'm positive Jake would agree we are pretty lucky to have them both. I'm 41 years old (I know, it's crazy I'm actually admitting this on a public forum) and it is silly, but this "kid" will always be my "little" brother no matter how old we get and he means more to me than he will ever realize. I guess if I have learned anything from this experience it is to take all life's little things and leave them be little things, but the largest importance in life is FAMILY. Please take extra time out of your day today to hug your friends and family a little tighter, appreciate more deeply, and be grateful you are breathing this awesome air. Forgive. Look forward with hope and love in your heart. I heard a quote that I love. "Look forward. Looking back is only for time travelers." Sometimes knowing how delicate life is feels far too real.
Bravely, Jake is literally taking it one step at a time, one day at a time. He's been through hell and back and continues to fight each day through his pain like a champ. I'm so proud of how hard he has been working, but as his big sis my heart aches for him daily. I know there has been ongoing stress and worry regarding how he will afford to pay bills with lack of income or disability insurance.
Happy New Year! We are hopeful for progress and milestones in 2020! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
- Emily Moore
- Douglas Ruckdaschel