On April 30, 2017, my dad was driving home to Phoenix, AZ from Laughlin, NV when he was rear-ended at high speed near Kingman, AZ. As a result, his Jeep burst into flames. An off-duty firefighter on vacation noticed that there was someone on the ground by the Jeep and pulled my father from the fire. He was airlifted to the nearest level one trauma center: University Medical Center in Las Vegas, NV. He was admitted to the Lions Burn Center ICU and placed in an isolation room. The medical staff determined that my dad has second and third degree burns to over 30% of his body, located primarily on his hands, arms, shoulders, and scalp. (I have copied a link to a news article about the accident below.)
While in the ICU, he experienced heart failure due to the traumatic accident. His previously placed defibrillator alerted the staff with enough time for them to save him. He is also on dialysis for his ailing kidneys due to diabetes.
During the first week of May, he underwent three debridement surgeries on his wounds. To aid in his healing, my dad was in a medically-induced coma during this time. Several more debridement, grafting, and plastic surgeries occur over the next few weeks to replace and repair his burned skin.
Unfortunately, since my dad is NOT from Las Vegas, his friends and family are only able to visit sporadically which is NOT conducive to his healing and to him ultimately surviving this accident. His medical history further complicates matters and now he is literally fighting for his life on a daily basis. (As a writer, I do not use the word 'literally' loosely.) The health insurance company denied the request to transfer my dad to a hospital closer to his home in Phoenix. Therefore, his home for the foreseeable future will be the room directly across from the nurse's station in the desert known as Las Vegas. There is no current timeframe for how long he will be in the hospital (we've been told a minimum of at least two months).
Last week, I traveled from Cleveland, OH to Las Vegas because it would be weeks before family was able to travel there again. The thought of my father, in almost constant pain, alone and scared without anyone familiar to lay his eyes upon, to reassure him that everything is going to be okay, was too much for me to bear. His medical team have basically prescribed that we (his family) spend as much time as possible wth him. As he responds and becomes more alert, he becomes more awake which assists in moving the healing process along more quickly.
For the week I was there, he made more progress in his recovery than the prior six weeks combined. Keep in mind, he is still on a ventilator (or CPAP a few hours a day) as he is only able to breathe with assistance. Because of the placement of this intubation, he has not spoken since the accident. I was the first person that he actually even attempted to speak to but his vocal chords are not functional due to the tubes to assist his breathing and to feed him.
The up's and down's are endless (infections, fevers, low blood pressure, pneumonia, etc., oh my!) and things change hour to hour. Leaving my father in the hospital on that final day broke my heart in a way I have never felt before. He had a difficult morning and was heavily sedated by the time I arrived. I'm not even sure if he knew I was there that day. The moment I landed in CLE, I wanted to turn around immediately and fly back across the country to be next to my dad.
I'm asking for your help so I can return there in July during a time when no family is scheduled to visit him so he has someone by his side. Who else is going to sing songs from our past about boogers other than his only child? Please consider donating any amount so that I may return to my father's bedside to heal him with love and laughter like only a daughter can do.
Thank you for taking the time to read this...and thank you for your support during this difficult time.
(Your donation will be used towards airfare to Las Vegas, transportation to/from the airport and hospital (I take Lyfts; much cheaper than the current taxi rate), and an airbnb that has a kitchen so I can save money by going to the grocery store instead of eating out every meal.)