He had left early in the morning to look at a job for a business friend's barn to paint. He asked if I wanted to go - but I declined. (I'm so thankful now!)
A million thoughts raced through my mind simultaneously as I held my breath and frantically tried to cling to every word he spoke as he told me that Steve was ok, but he was in the ambulance - which soon would transport him to Indianapolis, Indiana Methodist Hospital.
I had just returned from the grocery store where I had groceries to prepare for a Memorial day weekend and fly down to see our son Matt and his wife Jessie in Greenville, South Carolina the next morning.
I felt more assured that Steve was okay when the Asst. Fire Chief handed Steve his own personal cell phone so he could talk to me. Steve told me he was sorry - and told me to bring some more clothes - because the ones he was wearing they had to cut off!
I frantically raced through the house trying to put the groceries away, and then pack and get on the road for the long 4 hour drive up to Indianapolis. I don't think I have ever packed so fast in my life - and actually remembered nearly everything we'd need too! WOW!
I called Steve's nephew Mark, who lives only about an hour away and he called other family members and then got to Steve immediately - and then called me for regular updates. I am so enormously grateful to him for all his updates as I made my way up I-65N to Indianapolis!!! Between the trip-tik map and my GPS - I found the hospital without trouble!
When I arrived at the hospital around 10:30 pm - I was escorted to the Critical Care unit in the emergency room where Steve was situated. Julie, (Steve's niece and friend) were standing by his side. I'm so thankful that nearly his entire family was living nearby and could get to him before I was able to get there. so he wasn’t all alone. Mark and family stayed as long as they could - but Sherri had to go to work the next morning and so he took them home.
Without rehashing a moment by moment description I will jump ahead of myself and tell you that he is doing better – and yes – God indeed protected him – sparing his life! He and/or his friend could have died – and it is nothing less than a miracle that they walked away from it.
He and his friend Mike Ray actually RAN from the plane – as the fuel was leaking on to them – and they thought the plane may explode and wanted to get as far away as possible.
The paramedics at the scene had to put Steve on the ground – because he wouldn’t stop walking around – obviously he was in tremendous shock! I DO NOT know how he walked on his leg with the huge gash just below his knee cap.
After tests, MRI, CT scan and x-rays – they inserted a chest tube due to his collapsed lung, and his difficulty breathing due to the fluids rapidly filling his lung cavity. The chest tube inserted was the most difficult for Steve to handle and deal with – in that the pain was excruciating!
Other tests revealed a possible fracture to his knee cap – along with the deep gash just below the knee. It was inclusive if there would be any damage to the joint or torn ligament or tendons – but they would discover that when they took him in for surgery.
He was covered from head to toe in blood – from all the scrapes, gashes, and cuts that covered his entire body. He looked as though he went through a gigantic potato peeler.
When I arrived I began to wash the blood away and soon revealed that part of his upper lip was completely gone. When the surgery unit was preparing him for surgery, they called in a face specialist to repair the damage as soon as the orthopedic was finished with his knee.
They also suspected that his collar bone was broken – but if so – there was nothing they could do – so they weren’t as concerned with it if it was. However, he had 2 ribs that were broken – which was suspected to have punctured the lung causing it to collapse.