Doctors, Doctors, Doctors
We had a week FULL of doctor visits. Ironic for a man who never, EVER goes to the doctor. It's funny, when they ask us who Dustin's primary care physician is, I don't know what to say! I don't remember my strong, healthy husband ever needing to go to a doctor before the accident.
Doctor visits are a regular thing in the Dickamore household these days. In fact, we spent over twelve hours at five different doctors over the last three days.
I think back to that first doctor on the most terrifying night of my life and the moment they realized how extensive Dustin's injuries were. I held Dustin's hand as they laid him back and performed his first CT scan. I watched their faces as the scans showed up on their computer screens. Though I know now that what they were looking at was horrific, they never gave that away. Not once did it cross my mind that Dust might not survive.
I read a study of the likelihood of brain injury when facial fractures are present following blunt force trauma. 79.4% of people with one or more facial fractures suffered some form of brain injury. This statistic goes up drastically when there are multiple fractures or when the injury is to the bones of the upper face. Every bone in Dustin's face was shattered, except for his lower jaw. The fracture in his skull had pushed a pocket of air next to his brain. I can hear the echo of voices repeating that he had a blown pupil. If we were going to base our end result on what statistics show or what the medical world thinks, Dustin should not be functioning, let alone alive. He didn't even suffer a concussion.
Then I flash forward to the OR waiting room at IMC the next morning. The doctors had taken Dustin into an exploratory surgery to get a better look at what exactly was going on. I was sitting next to my mom with my knees hugged to my chest - trying to protect my wounded heart and stop the incessant whimper from escaping my lips- I kept going back to the open-ended conversation I was having with my Heavenly Father. I don't know that I ended a prayer for days, because I was constantly conversing with Him.
Over and over again, I would start to fall apart. The instant I would turn my thoughts to our Heavenly Father, a calm would come over me. He didn't even make me ask anything. It pretty much went like this:
Scary, sad thought.
Scary, sad thought.
After a few of these conversations, I actually said out loud, "Okay. I know. I know."
This time, someone whispered in my ear. I turned to my mom and told her that I felt like we were going to get bad news when the doctor came out of the exploratory surgery. I told her that I felt like we were going to continue to get bad news from the doctors until the point where there was no hope left, medically. Only faith. It had to get to the point where there was no mistaking, no questioning what happened. That God had healed Dustin.
Bad news, after bad news came rolling in. The small glimmer of hope we had been given was that the left eye was in tact. The doctors would come in, pry open Dustin's swollen eyelids, and shine bright lights from every angle into his eyes. It was torture to watch him try SO hard to see something, anything.
A few days later, I walked off the elevator to see Dustin's dad in the waiting room with his head in his hands and tears pouring down his face. The MRI showed that Dustin's optic nerve in his left eye had been detached. Optic nerves are brain tissue and irreparable. They don't heal, they don't regenerate, there are no surgeries to repair them. My heart did not sink. I had been expecting this kind of news.
I dropped my bag and ran as fast as I could to Dustin's hospital room. I laid my head on his shoulder, my hand on his chest, and I told him over and over that I KNEW God would heal him. Everything inside of me was screaming that this was true. Dustin keeps his promises to our Heavenly Father and I knew that our Heavenly Father would keep His promises to Dustin.
I wasn't sure how, exactly, Dustin would be healed, but I knew that it would happen and I know that it will continue to happen. I am realizing that God uses a combination of methods for his mightiest works. I have seen medical science, prayers of faith and the beautiful power of the priesthood all come together to provide miracle after miracle for my sweet husband.
As Dustin’s Uncle Jer told us that first morning at IMC, “Doctors can do great things, but God can do more.
We know that Dustin’s end result will be full health and strength. Keeping that in mind, we will exhaust every remedy. And where there seems to be no remedy, when all hope seems to be lost in one aspect or another – God will step in.
Christ is our ultimate physician! Through Him, using God’s power on earth, nothing is impossible! And so we don’t let any prognosis get us down.
They say the vision will not return to the right eye and we say that we know it will! They say that any damage done to the optic nerve in the left eye will not repair and yet EVERY new appointment shows improvement. Dustin tested 20/40 on Tuesday! His pupil (which hasn’t reacted to light since the accident) started to react! Albeit, slowly and sluggishly, but it was reacting nonetheless!
The plastic surgeons say there is more work to be done. They will need to bring his left eyelid more toward his nose and try to repair the muscles of the lids themselves, as they are not functioning correctly. They will need to pull the left eye forward a little bit.
And so, we will continue to put our heads down, our shoulders to the wheel and we will push forward with complete faith in the promises our Heavenly Father has made us. We will do all that we can do and God will do the rest!
We are so blessed to have so many extremely skilled and talented doctors helping to mend and repair Dustin. We are so grateful for the time and energy they have put in to educating themselves and developing their abilities. We are just so lucky that not only are they great at what they do, they really, truly care for Dustin and are with us in hoping for the best possible outcome.
We are also so blessed to have so many friends and family exercising their faith and praying with all their might for our miracles! It is so humbling to see so many step forward to help us, to fight with us.
In great news, Dust will get most of his elastics cut on Wednesday! Just in time for Thanksgiving!!! And for the best news of the week – the trach gets to come out on Wednesday too!!!! Yay! Yipee!!!
In other great news, Dust was able to get his trach downsized and has been able to talk since Monday afternoon. What a difference a voice makes! I've seen more smiles since Monday than I have seen since the surgery. We are on the upswing!