Dr. Sanchez met us on the other side of the door. “Mrs. Boothe, please have a seat.”
I sat in the chair he indicated. He sat in the chair next to me and turned to face me. Cassie sat on my other side and held my hand in hers.
He looked me directly in the eyes. “Mrs. Boothe, your husband and daughter were in a very bad accident. They were hit at high speed by several cars. Their car rolled.” I squeezed Cassie’s hand. “Your daughter suffered a broken arm and a minor concussion, along with a few scrapes and bruises. She is fine and will recover with no long-term damage.” Here he paused and looked at Cassie before meeting my eyes again. “Your husband was not so lucky. Both of his legs and one arm were broken. He had several broken ribs which punctured his left lung. He also suffered severe head injuries and some internal bleeding. We need to helicopter him to a shock trauma unit. He is being prepped now. You may see him before he leaves, but I need to warn you that he is unconscious and disfigured. I recommend that your friend stay here and two nurses escort you to see him.”
I nodded in agreement as Cassie helped me stand on my wobbly legs. The nurses came, each taking a hand, and escorted me to where Michael lay on the stretcher awaiting the helicopter.
Something died inside me when I saw him. My legs no longer supported my weight, and I could feel the nurses holding me up as they guided me to my husband’s side.
I didn’t recognize him. If I hadn’t been told that the body in front of me was Michael Boothe, I never would have known. His sandy hair was matted and caked with blood. The handsome face that I knew was swollen with reddish-purple welts, and covered with deep cuts and lacerations. Both of his eyes were swollen shut to the point that it was hard to believe there were eyes there at all. His lower lip was torn and a tube came out of his mouth and attached to a respirator.
But the worst of it all was the left side of his head. As I got closer, I saw it had been shaved and a temporary-looking drain came out of a flat area about two square inches in size. That was when I knew my life would never be the same.
I was convinced he would die. If he didn’t, then surely he would be as good as dead. An injury like that must have caused a tremendous amount of brain damage. And that wasn’t his only head injury.
The staff wouldn’t let me touch him, so I leaned as close as I dared and whispered, “I love you, Michael. Don’t you leave me. I need you. I love you.”
With tears streaming down my face, I watched as they wheeled the man around whom I had woven my life out to the waiting helicopter. It felt as if they were slowly pulling the last vital thread of my being away from me.
We had a nurse come to our home every day to help me with the medical procedures that were necessary to keep Michael healthy and free from infection. Drains had to be cleaned, dressings changed, and small amounts of physical therapy performed. He was not on life support, I never would have allowed that, but he was very high-maintenance.
On top of him I had to deal with Allison. Her cast was due to come off in one week, but we were still struggling with her short-term memory. Though it was slowly coming back, the concussion had done its damage. She was a trooper, though. She tried so very hard to regain what she had lost. I think it was her young age that helped her deal with it as well as she did.
Watching her father go through the pain and suffering while I did my best to help them both took a toll on her. She knew her Daddy would never be the same. That he would be confined to a wheelchair and on medications for the rest of his life. She did her best to help me.
I lived like that—an invalid husband and an emotionally scarred daughter—for a year. Then something happened that tilted my new life on its side…again.