Thursday, December 15, 2011

An Unusual Christmas

Wednesday, December 13, 2000 will forever be etched into my memory. For on that night, as I was cooking supper, I heard a knock at the door. Caffey was there when I answered. She was a friend of ours. She told me that my husband Greg had wrecked his pickup truck on a dirt road in the country when he hit a pine tree. He was only banged up a little, although the truck was totaled. But for precaution, he had been transported via ambulance to the hospital just to be checked out.

I called a friend to watch our three boys while I went to the hospital to get him: only an hour or two I told her.

When I walked into the room at the emergency room and heard him shouting out in pain, I realized that the Caffey was a good liar; but she had only lied to prevent me from getting too upset. Greg said that he thought that his hip was broken. Moments later, I overheard the Doctor telling the nurse to increase the flow on Greg’s IV because of a drop in his blood pressure. I knew that this was not a good omen.

They originally planned to transfer him to a hospital that specialized in orthopedic injuries, but after consulting with a surgeon, changed that plan. They transferred him to a hospital in Pensacola, Florida, about one hour away.

I told the babysitter that this was going to take longer than I had originally thought. Could she possible keep our children for the night? "Sure", she assured me. 

Upon arrival in Pensacola, Greg had emergency surgery to re-align his leg with the socket. He was left in traction. The doctor said that he had a fracture on his hip socket that was the equivalent of an egg being cracked all over. They called it an acetabular fracture, that could be repaired at only one of five hospitals in the country. They were trying to find the hospital that would take him to do the surgery. In the meantime, he stayed in that hospital.

They decided to transfer him to Tulane hospital in New Orleans. They didn’t do this until Sunday afternoon, December 17. In the meantime, Greg was worried about money and work. For more information about this read Provision.

I had returned to work on Friday before the transfer and then worked at lining up people to keep our kids for the next week for Greg’s surgery. 

They didn’t do the surgery until the next Wednesday, a full week after his wreck. It was a thirteen hour surgery. It didn’t end until after one a.m. It was such a long, stress-filled day. But the surgery was successful. Finally, I went to bed and his mother returned home.

I stayed for two more days before returning home. Christmas was fast approaching. I had Christmas shopping to do. The Christmas tree was never put up. I didn’t have time. The plan was to send our youngest child to my mom’s house for Christmas. He was only three months old. He didn’t know that it was Christmas. Then, I would load up presents and take the other two boys to New Orleans to see their father. We would have Christmas in his hospital room. After all, Santa Claus goes all over the world.

The afternoon of Christmas Eve, we made the trek. Traveling three and a half hours with a four year old and a two year old wasn’t an easy task. We checked into a room in a motel that adjoined the hospital, and went to see their father. Getting the boys to sleep was especially hard because of being in a strange place and it being Christmas Eve. My mother-in-law helped me to sneak in the presents to Greg’s hospital room.

The next morning, we had breakfast and then went to Greg’s hospital room to see what Santa had brought. The boys and I enjoyed our time with their father and his mother on Christmas day. They had not seen their dad for eleven days, which was a long time when they were used to seeing him everyday. 

I hated that our youngest son wasn’t there. But I was so glad that we could have Christmas together otherwise. The mood at the hospital was very interesting that day. Not a lot was happening. The activity level was much lower than normal, fewer workers, and things were quiet. The people working stayed out of our way so that we could enjoy our celebration. But with the pain, Greg had to have periods of quiet. I think that we spent another night before returning home. It was a Christmas that we will never forget.

Later, my doctor said, “You have had a terrible Christmas!” I told her that I had not had a bad Christmas at all. We had so much for which to be thankful. We had a surgery, not a funeral, the children were not with him when he wrecked. So many other things could have made it worse. Instead, we still had our God, our family and our Christmas together with almost all of us there.

Greg was discharged from Tulane hospital on New Year’s Eve and was able to spend New Year’s Day at home. His recovery was bumpy but that is a story for another day.

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins


  1. Wow, what a story, Kathy! I'm so grateful your husband made a full recovery. I can't imagine going through all that with three wee ones as you had. Bless you. And to take that attitude of gratitude. You are one cool lady, you know that

  2. Thank you for your kind remarks, Laura. I always thought that I had the easy part. I wasn't the one in physical pain like he was. God was with us all of the way.Thanks for stopping by.