Grandpa's Road to Recovery ...
Friday, August 21st : It's a cool crisp evening at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet. Frank Podlogar's burnt orange 1953 Corvette is making it's debut and a crowd of familiar faces cheer him on. He prepares for his 3rd and final test run of the evening, unaware that the next few seconds will leave him fighting for his life ...
Our father's love for cars dates back as long as we can remember. In 1999, dad brought home a '71 Chevelle. He poured his heart and soul into that car and over the next 15 years, would spend countless evenings at the track and make many friends whom he considered family.
In April of 2015, dad retired his Chevelle and got the itch for something new. He had his eye on that '53 Vette and wasted no time making it his own. He prepared all summer for that fateful night in August but his new love never made it down the track ... mom & 8 year old grandson Aiden watched in horror as dad's car lost control and struck a wall at 170mph.
He was transported by helicopter from St. Joe's in Joliet to Loyola University Medical Center where he remains in critical condition. Emergency surgery was performed to remove his ruptured spleen and 3 large chest tubes were inserted to drain blood from his lungs. He has multiple rib fractures resulting in severely bruised and lacerated lungs. His breathing is inadequate and requiring assistance from a ventilator.
Our father has also suffered some degree of head injury, to what extent we do not know. For a man accustomed to driving in the fast lane, dad's road to recovery will be a long and arduous one. He will require months or even years of physical and occupational therapy and will be unable to return to work. Anyone who knows mom & dad will tell you how incredibly kind they are; always looking for ways to help others. In this difficult time, we are asking for all of the love and support you can give in return. Any donation, words of encouragement or prayer is valued greatly.
Dad - we know you have one hell of a story to tell and we can't wait to hear it ...
Lots of Love,
daughters Jen, Julie & Christine
(grandchildren Chase, Charlie, Aiden, Jack & Anna)
Dad is at risk for falls and continues to require 24 hour supervision. Mom works full-time and Dad stays home with a caregiver during the week. His g-tube was removed and Dad can now enjoy thin liquids again :-) From September-December of last year, Dad lost almost 50lbs, all of which he has since regained. I am so immensely proud at how far he has come - he truly is the strongest willed man I know.
On August 20th, my husband Jake & I welcomed a baby boy into our family ... the following day marked the 1 year anniversary of Dad's accident but I will no longer remember this date as "the day I almost lost my father." In my heart, August 21st is now "the day Dad met my son."
lots of love,
Julie Zych & the Podlogar Family
On February 4th, we hosted a fundraising event for Mom & Dad ... we truly felt the love that night - a big thank you to all who attended.
Winter was a little rough ... Dad spent many nights at Good Samaritan Hospital -1 admission for blood clots in the lung and 2 admissions for pneumonia. On Friday April 1st, Dad returned to R.I.C. so that we may better prepare for his homecoming. Yesterday, Mom & Christine attended a 4 hour training session with Dad and his therapists - Mom will also need to learn how to care for Dad's g-tube. He is unable to tolerate thin liquids and requires some supplementation to prevent dehydration. We expect that he will continue to improve, he has come so far already. To think that just 6 months ago, he was just learning to breathe on his own again. We are so incredibly thankful to all of the doctors, nurses and therapists who have cared for him (and us) over these past 8 months. A big heartfelt thank you to all of you as well - your contributions, your prayers and your well wishes have not gone unnoticed.
These photos are from Easter - the day Dad learned he will be expecting his 4th grandson :-) Still so much to look forward to ... hoping the next time you hear from us, Dad will be home ...
lots of love,
the Podlogar Family
I am so proud of your dad of his progress. I am very happy for all of your family. I wish we could come to your dinner in february but i am still non-weight bearing on my foot. I hope your dad comes home as soon as he is able. God speed to all of you!