In addition to the life threatening lacerated spleen, he also had a bruised heart and kidney; acute blood loss anemia; a contusion of his left lung and a fracture of lumbar vertebra; a fractured clavicle and multiple fractures of his scapula (it was broken in three places and looked like a Mercedes symbol); and eleven fractured ribs (there are 12 on each side). He had also been unconscious for about 12 minutes, which means he had a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The pain was overwhelming, excruciating and almost uncontrollable.
Rocket had first been taken to the Hospital in Yuma, AZ. Then we got him to Yavapai Regional. When tests showed the severity of his life threatening injuries, they knew he had to be transferred by Ambulance with lights flashing and sirens blasting, from Yavapai Regional Medical Center to the Level One Trauma Center at Honor Health Deer Valley (Phoenix) Arizona. A highly trained team of Trauma Surgeons was ready on a moment’s notice to get him into the Operating Room if his spleen ruptured.
While at Yavapai Regional, Dr Andrew Garff (who turned out to be Rocket's life saving Angel), had told Rocket that old school thinking was to surgically remove the spleen if it was at all damaged, but current practices were to try and save the spleen because it serves more purposes than previously thought. The Doctor said basically two things could happen to the membrane of his spleen that was filling with blood. It would either Stop, or Pop. We will be forever grateful to Dr. Garff for sending Rocket to the Trauma Center. That decision saved his life.
The team at Honor Health Deer Valley was able to get Rocket through that critical night without having to remove his spleen. He also chose not to have metal plates put on all his broken ribs, even though it will take longer for him to heal. He was released from the hospital 7 days after the accident.
To complicate matters, I was driving our F550 work truck to Phoenix to pick Rocket up from the Hospital. Four miles from the exit, the turbo “grenaded”. I immediately pulled over when I heard the screeching sound and saw the black smoke. Then I needed a tow truck, and then a taxi to pick me up on the side of the Freeway to take me to an Avis office to get a rental car. That ended up being a $3,000 repair.
Dr. Garff, who had just met Rocket, called him “young at heart” and “full of life”, and it’s true. Rocket loves to golf, bowl, hunt, deep sea fish, travel and raise our beloved dogs; and ride his Quad at Glamis, his happy place. Rocket creates and produces our shows that we have been performing all over the country—“Rocket’s K-9 Comets Frisbee Dog Stars” and the “FIDO 500 Mini Dog Races” (www.caninecomets.net) We also produce a multi-award winning dog entertainment and dog adoption experience at Fairs called the “Puppy Party Palooza”. Literally hundreds of dogs have found their forever families through this event.
The inability to do some or all of these things is not an option Rocket wants to face. He fought hard to save his spleen, and he did. He fought hard to stay alive, and he did. He chose to heal naturally and not have metal implants on his ribs for the rest of his life, even though it could take much longer to heal.
In order for us to save our Mom and Pop Company and be able to keep our darling doggie children that are the stars of our show, both of us have to work hard as a Team to help Rocket’s Recovery and have him heal well, and heal as quickly as possible.
So now the Recovery begins. We need to stay together as a team, with me as the 24/7 care giver, and have him rest in bed for the next 3 months. He can barely move an inch without excruciating pain. I have to help him with literally everything. He can’t even sit up in bed by himself without assistance. Then physical therapy begins for the following 8 weeks.
We will be working as hard as ever, except that it will be focused on getting Rocket back on his feet. And we will be unemployed for at least the next five months because we would actually lose money if we had to hire someone to go on the road with me and do shows, and a second employee to stay home with Rocket as his care giver.
We love what we do for a living, but we, like many families, live paycheck to paycheck. We estimate that we will not be able to cover our minimum monthly expenses for at least six months . Combined with the unexpected truck repairs, we estimate that we will need approximately $17,500. This will keep us from having to file bankruptcy, or dissolve our company. I just can’t bear the thought of giving up our own dogs, and not being able to do our shows which help Dog Rescue Organizations find new forever families for homeless dogs.
We are inviting you to join our “Team Rocket”. We are sure it was your thoughts and prayers that helped get Rocket through his days and nights at the Trauma Center. And now, it would mean the world to us if you could chip in for this team effort to help us get through the next few months, and click on the Donate Now button below (and your Comments would be wonderful too)! Thank you all so much, we appreciate you and God Bless You! Rocket Can Recover If You Help!
- Brooke Fouts
- Jeannette Fleming
- Kevin Keith
- Shantel Jensen
Organizer and beneficiary
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