Monday, December 8, 2008

Segment of Chapter 2

I sat in the waiting room but I was fidgeting and anxious. Darrell was behind those double doors with the small narrow windows, the answers to my questions were behind those double doors and everyone just expected me to sit there patiently waiting. I was about to lose my mind when the doors opened and I looked up with expectation. Two men in flight suits were coming through the door. One of them spoke to the receptionist and she looked at me and pointed. I slowly rose and walked towards them. I wanted answers but now I was afraid to hear them.

“Mrs. Swank?” One of them asked.


“Let’s go in the back and talk in private.” They led the way back through the double doors and I wondered if I was walking through the gates of hell. Was he dead? Had he died and that’s why they had to take me in private so when I flipped out I wouldn’t freak out the entire waiting room? My feet could barely move; I had to will myself to follow them afraid of what they were waiting to tell me.

Finally we entered a small exam room, an empty exam room. I was trying to keep myself in control. Completely losing it wouldn’t do me or anyone else any good. I had to pull it together. The men were on one side of the room and I was on the other. It was like there was a line in the middle, me against them.

“Where’s Darrell?” I asked, apprehensive of the answer. “I want to see my husband.”

“They’ve taken him straight up to the burn unit. It will be better this way. They try to take the burn patients upstairs and skip triage down here in the emergency room.” One the men answered.

I let out my breath; I hadn’t even realized I had been holding my breath in fear. I was momentarily relieved. He was alive. That was a good place to start.

The men introduced themselves. They were flight nurses with the Life Flight team “Your husband’s plane crashed just short of the Murfreesboro airport runway. He made it to Murfreesboro and was just short of the runway when his plane tipped and rolled. It burst into flames. The local emergency personnel found him on an embankment close to the plane.”

I took a moment to register this information.

‘He’s burned?”


“Very badly?”


The bottom seemed to fall out again but I held it together. My need for answers was stronger than my need to collapse. I was standing for this question and answer period and my shaky legs made me long for a chair but I mentally scolded myself. Your husband is upstairs burned and you want a chair. Rethink your priorities here. I found a piece of equipment to lean against.

“Darrell’s back was burnt as well as his arms, his side and his face. He also has a few burns on his legs. He suffered some smoke inhalation as well. As a standard precaution we intubate the patient on the site in case they have some breathing difficulties or their airways begin to close. We heavily sedated him for this so he is unconscious right now.”

I couldn’t bear to think of Darrell suffering in severe pain. “When can I see him?” I wanted to see him, I needed to see him. I needed to talk to him.

“They’ve taken him upstairs to assess him so they will probably take awhile. We’ll take you over to get his admission paperwork going and then you can go upstairs. Do you have any questions?”

My head was swimming with a million questions but I wasn’t sure if either man was capable of answering any of them. “No.”

Little did I know my husband would never speak to me again.


Retroboutiques said...

I am very anxious to read your book, you see, my husband died 27 days ago today. Not from an accident, from a massive heart attack. I don't know how you are coping, and with all those children, you surely are a strong woman and I so admire you. I don't think I could have your courage...

Denise said...

You find the courage. I'm no one special. I just realized I had to go on. My children needed me which probably helped me go on.

I hope my book, especially the part after Darrell died and how I coped will help other women (and men) realize that the crazy things they feel and do are normal and natural and that they AREN'T so alone, others have paved a path before them.

B said...

Denise, I find you writing about your experience to be so inspiring. My oldest daughter died and I can relate to how you felt. I only say this because of what you have written on your side bar, "God was very alive and present during that time and told me through it all that my experience would be used to His glory." God was very present with me through my experience as well and I was also told that my experiences would help others. I have had the greatest desire to write my experience in the form of a book but have never been able to figure out where to start. I love that you are doing it, and I now feel like I can start and do what I have felt prompted to do for some time.

Thank you for being brave and for sharing your experience to enrich others lives, those who can relate and those who need to see to be kind to those hurting. There are always two groups these stories touch.

debi said...

I finally have had the courage to read this part of your blog! I am fortunate to have not had to walk in your shoes thus far....and I can only tell you how proud I am of you!


The Johnson 5 said...

Unbelievable and amazing!!
Yes, you little lady!
That's what you are!

Elizabeth M Thompson said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing your story here. You have experienced so much and yet your heart is so tender.

Leslie said...

I am not sure how I came to your home blog, but I linked to this one from there. Anyway, because of some things you said and because you have Vandy on your home blog I think we *might* be in the same area. It doesn't matter but I just thought wow, I would love to meet this lady. What an inspiration you are!!! I am an editor and I am enthralled with your writing. I know your book will do well. When you get it ready, I'd be happy to put a button on my blog if you have one! Our daughter received life-saving surgery at Vandy back on September 30.

She is due to have another surgery on March 9 and I for some reason am scared to pieces ( I feel it is ruling my thoughts) even though this surgery is supposed to be *routine*. I find your courage very inspiring. Thanks for sharing such a personal and deep loss. I cannot imagine it.

~Katie said...

I HAVE to get your book!!! You are an inspiration to say the least!

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