Prior to starting the next portion of my story, I want to say thanks to all of the medical personnel at the Memorial Hospital in Craig, CO. You treated me very well. Thank you for caring. I started off posting with the thought of telling my story in 3 parts. I hope you can forgive me for it taking more than what I originally thought. Please enjoy the rest of the story.
As I lay down on the ER hospital bed the adrenaline was pumping through my veins. Staff at the Memorial hospital in Craig, Colorado worked quickly to get me stabilized and determine the damage to my arm. I laid there with what felt like a ravenous jackal gnawing on the live flesh of my arm. I begged for painkillers. I could not stop moving my legs because the pain was so intense. Jimmy, a big tough paramedic, held my arm by the wrist with gorilla like hands. As he did so, the hospital staff began cutting the clothes from my body to get to my arm. I had several layers on because of the cold conditions we had been hunting in. As they removed my clothing, bone fragments from my arm fell to the floor like the last of the potato chips being dumped from the bag. As they cut off the clothing I was wearing, my old USU soccer jersey was exposed; only this time it was saturated in scarlet red blood. I did not dare look at my arm again after that moment. My dad and cousin communicated with their eyes as they did not want to seem upset, but in their hearts they knew I was in deep trouble.
It seemed like the narcotics they gave me were as effective as a fly swatter would be in stopping a charging African elephant. I needed some relief and I needed it now!!!! I squirmed in agony. At last, I saw a needle headed my way with a dose of ketamine, a high strength tranquilizer. As they injected the liquid into me it spread through my body and I felt as if I was vibrating like the board game Operation when the tweezers touch the sides. I did not like the feeling. I looked up to my dad and said, “I think I am going to pass out!” He responded, “Go ahead”. When I awoke, some of the pain was still there but the jackal gnawing at my arm had taken a break.
My dad called my wife and broke the news to her that I had been shot. He did not want to alarm her with the severity of my wound and told her I would be okay. He handed me the phone. I thought to myself, “My wife is pregnant, don’t let her know how bad it really is, I have got to break this to her softly.” All I could think of was a line from on old Monty Python movie. I said, “Honey, I am going to be fine, it is a mere flesh wound!” Stacie told me she loved me and that she was packing up and heading to be by my side. I would lean on her strength more than I ever had over the next couple of months. She is a true blessing in my life.
I looked to my left and saw the x-ray of my arm. To say the least, it was unsettling as I could see my bone was decimated and in shards. I could also see the channel the bullet created as it traveled through my arm. I had hunted my whole life and was well aware of the effect a high powered rifle bullet has on flesh. It is estimated that the bullet was traveling at approximately 2000 feet per second and hit my arm with 1500 lbs. of force. As the bullet entered my arm it obliterated a portion of my ulna, the bullet and many of the bone fragments then exited my arm. The entrance wound was so tiny and the exit wound was so large, my arm was in shambles.
The doctor working on me had recently served our great country on a stint in the Middle East. Knowing his willingness to serve our country and that he had the talent to fix up our brave servicemen and women gave me comfort. He was very familiar with gunshot wounds but told us there was nothing further that could be done to help me. I needed major reconstructive surgery and the hospital was not staffed or equipped to make it happen. My stomach sank as I was told I would be sent by life flight to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado. The doctor carefully bandaged my arm and I was off to the next stage in my journey. No one around me told me but everyone was praying that I would not lose my arm. The realization of that possibility would hit me like a 90 mile an hour fastball between the eyes after I would arrive in Grand Junction, Co. Part 4 coming soon!
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