Saturday afternoon August 4th, we were driving an ATV (Polaris Razor) on a course by Harlan County Reservoir, we were making a turn, the front passenger tire caught and rolled from Paula's passenger side and landed on the drivers side. I flipped it back on its wheels, Paula was amazingly calm and told me I had to put a tourniquet on her arm (as it was pouring blood). I got my shirt tied around her arm and started driving back. Paula said she heard God tell her to also raise her arm above her head. We got back to the start of the course where Paula's mom, Malachi and three cousins were. They called 911 at 4:04 Saturday afternoon. It took the ambulance 14 minutes to get there! Amazingly fast (even though it felt like 4 times that long) and then to the Alma Hospital. The life flight helicopter had already been called before we made it to the hospital so by about 5 pm she was already in the ER in Kearney. I was not able to ride on the helicopter, but Aunt DiAnn McNally (Donna's sister) was there waiting for her. At that point I went from thinking I had lost the love of my life, to thinking that she was going to live but would probably lose her arm, so on the way to Kearney, I made 2 calls and prayers started like a wildfire, (we have since heard many great prayer stories, ie, one of Paula's fellow Tuesday morning bible study ladies Mom lives in Alma and started praying for whoever was in the helicopter when the sirens went off only to find out later it was Paula!) I made it to Kearney to find an ER waiting room full of family and friends!! We prayed as a group and then I went in to see Paula. (they wouldn't let me in right away :) The Dr. came in looked everything over and warned that the nerves were probably completely severed beyond repair and even the skin would be hard to save. Dr. Buchman let me pray over him and Paula before they headed into surgery. Then the wait began and around 11:00 they called and said they would be out with an update in 30 minutes, but this is hospital time we are talking. At around 12:00am the Dr came in and told us the radial nerve was not severed, but only smashed and bruised!! He said he was able to repair almost all the nerves, muscles, tendons, etc!! Then another Dr came in to tell us that she was incredibly lucky because when they first started surgery, in his words, "It did not look good" and again using his words "she must have had someone or something watching out for her". Glory to God!!
The next few days were probably as expected with most surgeries, pain meds, sickness, fevers. We were dismissed from the hospital on Tuesday, but still had much pain, nausea, fever, etc, but they said it was time to go. We made it home and for the most part stayed the same. We had a follow up appointment today (Thursday) and he took the bandages off and said "well that looks much better than I had expected" meaning the skin. He said he was fully expecting the skin to be dead and have to do skin grafts, but today said he thought absolutely none would be needed!
So Paula cannot move her arm, elbow wrist or thumb, but can move her fingers slightly toward a fist. If it goes as planned, stitches will come out on August 20th, and she may be able to move her wrist, thumb and fingers in 3-4 weeks. In another 3-4 months she may be able to move her arm some!! Again Glory to God!! I have been told many times over the last few days that everyone feels sorry for us and what a tragedy? Today I am looking through a different perspective. During this roller coaster ride I went from thinking that I might be planning a funeral and becoming a widow with three boys to raise, to spending yesterday, my birthday, all day with Paula. Today I got to shave her legs and wash her hair! Will this be an extremely hard road ahead? Yes. Will some days ahead seem too tough to handle? Yes. But today? Today I am giving thanks to God for what he has given me! Today I know that My God still performs miracles!!
"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.