April 27, 2011

Pro Pics at 16 Months

We had these done today at fotofly... The best place ever! It is the best way to capture professional pictures of your little ones. We had a fun time. Noelle put on a show as she always does. I would also like to thank Lolavie for donating the hair accessories to this photo-shoot. 

April 22, 2011

Zion with the Marz Family

On April 22, 201l, Noelle and I tagged along with the Marz family to Zion for some hiking. The weather was perfect and the scenery was even better. Noelle was once again the center of attention among her auntie-cousins. We all had a wonderful time.

Riding the shuttle bus to the top

Noelle is really starting to fill out her back pack... It might be time for an upgrade.

Kevin and Aubry...pdf

Hiking is hard work

The Marz Family... Brad and Wendy.. Where are you???

April 17, 2011

Month 15

You are growing up so fast, as usual. I have to buy new pajamas weekly. You have as much personality as you have always had. We are now settled into our home in St. George and you are loving it. Not only do you constantly want to be on the "jump jump", but you have the undying attention of the senior citizens everywhere we go... especially Cafe Rio and the Rec Center pool. They are a sucker for your insatiable "Hi!" and cheesy grin. We are still waiting for you to go through the "Stranger Danger" phase, but nay you are more likely to stay in their arms than you are to stay in mine.
You still only have two teeth, although I claim anytime you are grumpy that you are teething. You must be working on some amazing pearly whites.  Micky Mouse Clubhouse is the show of choice and you can now spot Micky where ever we go. You love to read books and draw. We just bought you crayons... which you ate., so maybe we will try those a little later. You can point to all the correct facial features when asked. You especially like Nose and Eyebrows, so your dad and I are constantly having little Noelle fingers in are eyes and up our noses. You still love hiding places and dogs. You are currently perfecting your animal noises, arf!! moo!! rawrr!! quack!! Once a week we walk down the street to see the horses and cows. Sometimes we are lucky and get to see the horse trainer out with the horses. He always lets us pet them. You are still making friends in our new neighborhood, but you love to see little Oliver at church. I love when you help me with laundry and dishes. It's nice to have my little friend by my side. Dad and I love your voluntary hugs and kisses, and especially when you give little loving caresses to faces.  I can't wait to see what next month brings.

These are a Few of your Favorite Things

Playing near the river

Wearing Mommy's shoes

Petting the animals

Brushing your teeth... you remind us daily

Hiding in your fort.

April 12, 2011

The Accident

I wasn't going to talk about my accident on my blog, mainly due the fact that I feel that everyone who knows me has been encompassed with this story, just as much as I have. But, I feel that this event has shaped my life incredibly and ultimately brought me where I am today. 

*Beware of the images seen in this post, they may be gruesome. I am completely serious about this disclaimer!

On October 18th, 2006, my parents, sisters, and I took a trip to the Little Valley Sand Dunes near Green River to ride our 4 wheelers. I was in school at the University of Utah, finishing up my degree. I had just transferred from Utah State University and was living at my parents house. I had recently broken up with my boyfriend, which actually prompted this family vacation. We had been 4 wheeling for years, riding in almost every park in Utah (where atv's were allowed), mainly on trials and occasionally on dunes. Out of the 3 girls, my sisters, Tiffany and Jessica, were the more aggressive riders. Jessica and her adventurous/ competitive spirit always wanted to be a the front. While I much preferred to hang in back and enjoy the ride and the surroundings. We had been having a wonderful weekend riding, playing games, campfires, and girl talk. We have always been very close.

We moved camp to a new location on Saturday night to begin our ride on Sunday morning. My mom wasn't feeling well so she stayed in the motor-home while my dad took my sisters and I for a ride on the sand dunes.  My dad led the way, Jessica, then Tiffany, and I in back, of course. I wish I could give a wonderful description of the cool morning air on my face and the smell of the sand, but honestly, I do not remember that Sunday morning. I don't remember breakfast or getting on my 4 wheeler. I don't remember the shape of the dunes or the trial. I don't remember the accident at all. I have flashes of memory that I have combined with pictures and family witness to create this story. 

On Sunday, October 20th, 2006, my father found me sitting in the sand next to my four wheeler, a trial of gear behind me where I had come to a stop. Helmet, gloves, ipod. My hands covering my mouth, I looked to my dad. I was bleeding profusely. No one saw the accident, it took a couple of minutes for them to realize I wasn't with them. I am not sure how long I had been there. I am told not long at all. My dad still doesn't like to talk about that day, or what he saw when he found me. From my injuries, we suppose that I anticipated a shallow valley from one dune cornice to the bottom. This one, unlike the others, was incredibly deep, creating a bowl. My speed was too fast and when I tried to ride it out to the bottom, the front of my four wheeler hit the sand flinging my hips into the handle bars ( I must have been standing).  The shield on my helmet pushed back exposing my face,  my mouth hitting the metal grid on top of the ATV, lacerating my lip, knocking out my six upper teeth, and breaking my bottom four in half. 

My Dad raced to my side. My sister's soon followed.  Tiffany,  my older sister,  had some medical training, so she jumped into action. She started asking me questions to which I couldn't answer. I had a serious concussion and a visible mark on my forehead to prove it, as if my gruesome mouth wasn't enough. She ripped off one of her shirts and had me apply pressure to my bleeding mouth. They loaded me onto my dad's atv and rushed back to camp. I do remember cluching my dad's waist with my left hand and holding the shirt to my mouth with my right. I felt painful discomfort, not in my face, but my left wrist. It seemed like forever before I could gather the conscious thought to switch hands... which I then did. I would later find out that I had severely fractured it. It would be the first time I ever have had a cast.

Within minutes, I was on the floor of the motor-home. We had no cell phone service. My dad and sisters retrieved my 4 wheeler and quickly loaded up camp. It was nearly 11:00 am. We were miles from any paved roads or help. We rushed toward the interstate. I started to come to, but had serious short term memory loss. Every 30 seconds I would ask my mom, "What happened?". She would reply, "Honey, you were in an accident, you lost some teeth, try not to move." I would take in her words just long enough to ask again, "What happened?".

We zoomed down the pitted dirt road, splashing through massive puddles, which rocked the motor-home and trailer behind it violently. Dipping in and out of cell phone service, each family member was given a job: Dad drove, Mom cared for me, Tiffany was to call 911, and Jessica... feeling helpless was put in charge of photographing the event. Tiffany would call 911 repeatedly with no success. The signal would be lost before she could give the dispatcher any information. She finally had a few bars on her phone..."Pull over Dad!". We stopped long enough to tell the 911 dispatcher where we were. Knowing how long it would take to get an ambulance on this unkempt dirt road, my dad said we would meet them at the off-ramp. A trial that normally took 75 minutes took 30.  We were finally at the off ramp... Now what?
Jessie documenting... Everything!! Just waiting for the Medics.

12 minutes later, a sheriff arrived. He quickly assessed me and my injuries and called life flight.

15 minutes after the Sheriff's, the 4x4 ambulance arrived.

 I remember the medics asking my name which I gave them, and the date... I couldn't.
They stabilized me and cut off my favorite shirt. I actually asked them not to. "I can take it off", I said. They obviously said "no".
I had a golf ball sized goose egg on my forehead from where my head hit the inside of my helmet. The medics didn't hesitate to Velcro right over it to strap me to the board... ouch!!

Once stabilized, they moved me into the ambulance until Life Flight arrived.
There is nothing glamorous about being strapped to a gurney.

45 minutes after the ambulance arrived, we heard the helicopter coming.

The intensity and seriousness was thick.  I thought I would humor the medics, by lightening the mood with a witty comment or funny joke... or so I thought. 
While they were loading me into the helicopter, I muffled out the words, "All those years of braces, wasted!" I thought I was hilarious. The situation to me, at that time, wasn't that bad. So I could get away with being the funny, lighthearted, entertaining patient. Not only did I have to repeat myself twice, but let's face it I had no teeth and I looked pretty pathetic. It was a pitiful moment and I just made the medics feel worse for me... Backfire!! I wish I could blame it on the medication, but I wasn't on any. So, my concussion will be the scapegoat with this one.   I more or less just confirmed the need for Life Flight with my serious head injury.

Life Flight doesn't allow more than 3 people in the helicopter meaning no family members could come with me. My mom definitely didn't agree with that and had the medics call a "supervisor" to allow her on the flight. I love you mom, always watching out for your babies no matter how old they get!

Due to my injuries, the Moab hospital wouldn't suffice. I was flown to the Grand Junction Hospital in Colorado. I remember how loud the helicopter was. You could feel the movement of the blades in your chest. I made sure to take note of the interior, what it looked, felt, and smelled like. I heard somewhere that Life Flight costs around $30,000, and if this was true, then I wanted to get the most bang for my buck.

When we arrived, it was just like a scene out of the movies. We landed on the pad and they rushed me in through bright orange double doors with Emergency Room painted on the front. It was a whirlwind from there. Honestly, I don't remember much other than being incredibly tired. Scans, MRI, Bloods test... the list goes on.
* I guess hours after the accident, I was still denying pain meds because I was "fine", but after getting a little indignant with an aid during a scan they highly suggested that I take the pain medication. I did, and I remember feeling better... obviously :)

 So many miracles happened that day. Usually in an ER they will have anyone sew lacerations and do the necessary clean up. Luckily there was an oral surgeon in the building. He was quickly at bedside and evaluating my injuries. When my mouth hit the metal grid it was closed, meaning that between my teeth and the bar was my lip. It more or less "busted" under the pressure leaving it a mess of tissue... Sorry for the morbid details.  I only want to be accurate. I definitely needed a master oral surgeon to make this look semi-normal and I knew the he could. The only problem was that he needed to preform the surgery at his office. It was Sunday, hence, his office was closed. But, we also had no way of getting there, unless the chopper had a few extra minutes to spare. This doctor called in his nurse, opened the office, and drove my mom and I in his sedan, IV bag and all, so that he could perform the sugery.

after the surgery

I know you can't tell here, but it was a success. He did a phenomenal job, considering the circumstances. Not only was a caring person, but a great surgeon. Remind me later to scan in the before and after photos that were sent to me by his office, they are amazing.

During this time we still had not heard from my dad and sisters. Little did we know that they were having adventures of their own trying to get to us.

*After I was flown to Grand Junction, my dad, Tiffany, and Jessica left for the hospital in a panic. Phone calls were being made to family to let them know what had happened, subsequently draining all cell phone battery in everyone's phones. It was late after noon, and while on the highway headed for Grand Junction... POP! A tire blew. This had happened recently during a previous trip. My dad knew that he didn't have the tools with him to put on the spare tire.
He reach for his phone to call car side assistance (Good Sam)... dead
He asked for Tiffany's phone... dead
Then Jessica's... almost dead
My dad quickly dialed the number and spoke with a representative. "I am in a motor-home pulling a trailer on I-70 headed for Grand Junct".... dead.
 Feeling helpless, my dad tried to get the other phones to turn on, no luck. He wasn't even able to tell Good Sam what the problem was or their exact location. They definitely wouldn't send a tow truck or help without that information. Their only chance of getting help, at this point, was if a highway patrolman, passing by, decided to stop... even then it would take over an hour to get a tow truck to their location. Still not knowing of my condition or injuries, they sat, trying to think of other options.
15 minutes later, spotted in the rear view mirror,  a huge semi carrying a load of strawberries pulled up behind the motor-home. A toothless man hopped out, his 3 year old son still in the cabin. "Did you call Good Sam?" He asked. "Yes" my dad replied. Apparently the man that my dad had spoken with on the phone was this truck driver's brother!  Once the man lost phone connection, with my dad, he radioed his brother who, was heading back to Grand Junction. He asked his brother to look out for a motor-home pulling a trailer somewhere on I-70, to see if they needed help. Sure enough the trucker spotted my family, pulled over, and easily helped my dad change the tire. After much thanks and answered prayers, they were back on the road. Still an hour away from the hospital they, sped on.

They had finally arrived at the Grand Junction Hospital. Into they ER they ran, asking the receptionist the location of Ashley Root. They were given a room number and directions. Once in the room.... they found it  to be empty. "Where are they?" the staff didn't know. My dad quickly dialed my mom from a hospital phone.... She didn't answer. I was still in surgery at the doctor's office. He tried again a few minutes later, success! My worried dad and sister's were relieved to hear that things were going well. They picked up my groggy self and my mom at the doctor's office and we headed for home. Honestly, I can't believe the hospital discharged me the same day, but I guess they know best. I slept on the top bunk the entire way home. I remember my sister's checking on me sporadically.

I slept for about 2 1/2 days. I hated eating. It interfered with sleep. Day by day I became for coherent. I am amazed at the outpouring of support and love from my family. Cousins, grandparents, aunts, and uncles brought flowers, balloons, ice cream, soup, pudding, and jello, to facilitate my new liquid/soft food diet.
They visited often and called everyday.
2 days after the accident

3 Days after the accident
My grandma would come over with her juicer and make me yummy concoctions that I could drink.
One week after the accident

After a few more doctor's visits, after arriving home, they confirmed my long list of injuries.
Broken maxilla, 6 missing upper teeth, fractured mandible, 4 broken lower teeth, fractured wrist, concussion, chipped hip bone... and a partridge in a pair tree.

After physical therapy and having my jaw wired shut, it would take a year and a half of flippers, and surgeries for bone grafts, gum grafts, abutments, posts, root canals, and caps to get my mouth in working order.

I worked with some of the most talented professionals and have been so lucky to recover quickly, but I cannot finish this post with out thanking my mother and father for being there every step of the way; attending countless doctors appointments, fighting with insurance companies, or caring for me after my many surgeries. I tearfully thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support. I hope that I can be half the mother that you have been to me. Thank you and I love you.

Oh and yes I have been 4 wheeling many times since, but never back to THOSE sand dunes.