Planned schedule for yesterday:
leave for Utah no later than 7am drive to SLC airport and surprise Lauren by picking her boyfriend up at 10:15am attend the wedding luncheon at 1pm wedding 3pm reception 5pm
What actually happened…..this is no exaggeration….
I woke at 5:30am after 2 hours of sleep and showered up. Mommy had worked on cake stuff till 2am, then spent a couple hours in the ER because of cutting her finger. She got about an hour of sleep. I then packed all Jan’s meds and the things I needed and loaded it in the car. Woke Jan up to have him get showered and found him to be unable to move his legs much at all. We got him into the bathroom where we have Daddies shower chair from when he was ill. I had to hold him up so he could brush his teeth and then we dressed him and got him to the car. Bernadine had arrived and was a great help with it all. We left by 7am and after driving for about 2 1/2 hours at 80 mph, the truck suddenly jerked hard to the right. It was a bit disconcerting but we continued on just to have it happen again a couple minutes later. It pulled so hard that I feared we would shoot off the side of the road and flip. I stopped and looked underneath to find the front wheel smoking in the general area of the rotor. After a few minutes we set out again, and I was in the far right lane, and after 10 more minutes the truck suddenly shot to the left and the steering was locked. We shot across two lanes of crazy Utah highway traffic and I just knew I was about to roll the truck and/or get hit or hit someone. The concrete construction barrier was approaching rapidly and right at the last minute my hard turning to the right sent us back across traffic. I white knuckled the steering wheel in anticipation and all seemed well. After another couple miles, the front right of the truck sunk and screeched and the entire tire flew and bounced off into the grass and trees on the side of the road. I tried to pump the brakes but there were none, so I held tight and tried to steer to as close to the side of the road as possible. We slid for over 100 yards on nothing but a rotor, and finally came to a stop on the road side. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw a trucker running toward us with a fire extinguisher in hand. I jumped out to asses the situation to find this.
Jan stepped out of the truck to check things out as well, and found that his legs were not working. I caught him so he didn’t fall, and it took 3 of us to get him back inside. After getting him settled I looked at his face and noticed the right side of his face drooping. His eye and mouth were drooping considerably. I did the stroke test on him and it was obvious that he had had a stroke. So there I was, with a messed up truck, a brother who’d had a stroke and Ezra to pick up at the airport in a short while.
Three of the kids went searching in the bushes 100 yards back for the tire but couldn’t find it and a state trooper stopped to check on them. I gave Jan asprin and powerade to drink and pulled out my AAA card. The trooper was so sweet and called AAA for me, and shook his head while looking at the car, saying that he can’t believe we didn’t roll.
Eventually we sorted out the car situation, our hospice nurse, Trisha helped me over the phone, and we left in my sisters car for the airport while her, Gary and the kids stayed to sort out everything else. They were such a blessing. The trooper was an Angel. He helped load the wheelchair onto the top of Bernadine’s suburban.
I had called our friend, Lance, to ask advice on the truck, and he sent his sister and her husband to pick everyone up. He also said we could use his personal vehicle to get back to Idaho. What amazing friends we have.
Bernadine sent me pictures of the trooper loading kids in his patrol car to take to a nearby Flying J. They thought it was the coolest thing! I’m concerned they may all commit crime at this point just to purposefully get caught to have another ride!
We made it to the airport 45 minutes late and Lauren was SO surprised. She jumped out the car and ran to Ezra, who was instantly in tears when he saw her.
What a beautiful, sweet couple they are. I know Ezra well from when we lived in Hawaii, and he is one of the finest people I know, from one of the most amazing families I know.
Jan was really out of it at this point. He could hardly speak, his tongue seemed thick and he wasn’t making much sense. He couldn’t keep his eyes open and mumbled softly. I didn’t take him to a hospital because he is on Hospice and when he was well, had requested that we let nature take it’s course. He has a DNR order in place. We made it to the luncheon and with help from friends got Jan out the car and into the wheelchair. He could not keep his head up, so we took him in to the bridal chambers where he slept on the couch.
When it was time for the luncheon, we brought him out and some of his biking friends had arrived to give him hugs and kisses. He used to ride with a group called BACA. Bikers against child abuse. The people in it are such sweet, big hearted Angels and they protect and support abused children.
I kept medicating Jan with pain and nausea pills according to our schedule through the afternoon, and he nodded in and out of sleep, and was incoherent much of the time. I just wanted to take him in my arms and hold him close.
The wedding was beautiful.
Jared and his bride looked stunning.
The wedding cake turned out beautifully.
Many people cried when they saw Jan, and wanted to talk to him, but he had difficulty responding, and after a while we decided it time to get him to the hotel. Once again with help from our wonderful friends, we got him up, undressed and in to bed. He was fast asleep before his head hit the pillow.
A couple friends stopped by in the evening to kiss his beautiful bald head, and at one point his friend Mike took him for a wheel chair ride down the hallway.
Our wonderful friends, the Sage family, were here to support and assist us the entire time. They ran and got food for all the kids and stayed and visited while kids played down in the pool. They were here to hug and console, to feed, to aid in transportation, and anything else at all that was needed. We are so grateful for them and love them so much. Jan has made some amazing friends over the years, and I am honored to call them all my friends too. Jay and his son also stopped and gave us hugs that were so comforting. We are such a blessed family.
At the close of day, I lay in my bed and listened to Jan’s snoring, and it was music to my ears. Even through the night when I listened it was comforting to know that that meant he was still alive.
I have to add that I know without doubt that my sweet Dad was there in the truck helping me stay on the road and keep from rolling. With my bad rotator cuff and damaged wrist, there is no way I could have had the strength it took to keep us on the road. He was there at the wheel with me. I felt him. He saved our lives.
Danny was a wonderful support too. He called the tow truck company and arranged for the truck to be taken in and looked at, and is handling what ever needs to be done. He talked to me on the phone and offered comfort and love and he emailed the company he is flying this trip for, and asked that they find a pilot to take his place. He knows it is time to come be with his brother.
I’m so grateful for tender mercies. For family and friends. We could not have gotten through the day with out you. I began writing all this last night but fell asleep, and as I write now, Jan is still fast asleep. It’s going to be a long day for him, but we will get him home and comfortable, and along with our hospice angels, will continue to keep him comfortable.
Wow. What an adventure!