Dear family, and friend's,
Most of you may already know about the event's the took place on
Sunday 5/7/2006, but now that I am able to, I wanted to touch base
with all of you.
For those who have not heard. Last Sunday at the start of our game at
the East West Ice Palace in Artesia, I was hit in the throat by a
slap shot, which would fracture my trachea, and shatter my vocal cord's.
I have had my share of injuries/surgeries growing up, but never
before I have been in a life or death situation like this one.
After being hit, I dropped to my knee's, and then all four's trying
to breath. It was then that I knew I was in trouble. The player's on
the ice would roll me over on my back, and do their best to calm be
down. It was at this point that I experienced what I hope to never
experience again. Everything around me went silent, and I had the
sensation that I was all alone on an island, just staring up at the
sky. As I started to wonder if next I was going to see a bright light
(that so many talk of) I began to pray.
In what seemed to be like an eternity, the ambulance arrives. Within
minute's I am loaded up, and on my way to the hospital. They proceed
to cut most of my gear off, and then remove the rest. Within minutes
we arrive at the La Palma Hospital. They roll me in, and a Dr takes a
look at me, and said they don't have the staff.. OH OH! At this point
the swelling is kicking in, and I am taking in less, and less oxygen.
When they put me back on the ambulance, that was when the serious
fighting began. I will spare you of the detail's, but will summarize
it with being the longest ride of my life.
We would now arrive at the UCI Medical Center. Within seconds I am in
surgery, having a trachea tube installed in my throat bellow where
the injury was. All of this was done very quickly, but yet still
seemed like an eternity. Trachea tube installed, I still can't
breath!!! It's a strange thing having to learn to breath through a
tube, not your nose, and mouth. Basically, you have to close your
nose, and mouth, and push with your diaphragm. I had to place my hand
on my stomach, to actually feel that I was breathing.
Off to ICU, which is where I would remain for the next 5 day's. Here
I had my own room, and my own nurse 24/7. Can't wait to get the bill
for that LOL The first 3 day's are a blur, which is where I have some
pretty funny stories that I may share later (drug related
hallucination etc. LOL). It was about the 3rd day, which by the way
was also 3 surgeries later, that I realized that I was being fed
through a tube (that went through my nose, and all the way to my
stomach). I would then also find out that I had a Ti plate installed
on the outside of my trachea, and 3 screws on the inside.
Fast forward to day 5. This is the day that I would be moved of our
ICU. It was actually pretty traumatic, as I was just starting to feel
comfortable there. At that point, I didn't want to hear that it was a
big step in me going home, but they were right.
On to the new room, one floor down (4th floor, room 10). I would have
to share this room with a guy from Cuba, we didn't talk much.. But
then again, I don't talk much these day's, just write. I had all the
same equipment there, but all the monitoring stuff was now remote. I
can't stare at the number's anymore.. But what I could stare at, was
I had an awesome window, with a view of Angel Stadium.
You could even see the firework's at night. The little thing's we
take for granted, a window!!
I would stay in room 10 for 2 days, before being able to go home,
yesterday (Mother's Day). I never would have imagined going home so
early, but they were right. I was ready! Not to mention there us a
much greater chance of developing infection's in hospital's, simply
because they are full of sick people.
So I am now finally home, and able to write! I have most of the
equipment here that I had in the hospital, including a breathing
machine the goes over my trachea tube. I also have a nurse that comes
to me. I am not sure when then the trachea tube will be removed, as
we are still waiting on the swelling to go down. But I am now on a
liquid diet, and on the fast track to getting back to normal life.
Which by the way, I will be able to talk again, but may have a bit of
a different voice.
I have so much more to tell, but stuck to the basic's to avoid an
overly long read. But I did want to make sure and thank everyone.
First and foremost my wonderful wife Catherine!!! She has been by my
side throughout all of this, and I wouldn't have made it without her!
She was on the ice with me, in the ambulance, and even in the ER
room. Where see did pass out, but awoke, and didn't miss a shift
love you Catherine, and can never thank you enough!
To my amazing family! My Dad, and Cheryl, who were there everyday,
and my Mom, and Jimmy whom came back early from a vacation in
Washington. To my brother's, and sister's, nieces, and nephews!
To the Ambulance crew, and the UCI Medical Center for saving my life!
Big thanks to the staff of surgeons who all had a hand in on
repairing my trachea, all 7 of them!
To all the amazing nurses I had along the way, and I had a lot! One
in particular I'd like to really thank, and that is Liz Ann in ICU.
To Dr. Chad Moreau!! Your visit was really what the Dr ordered, and
really put a smile on my face!! BTW, I hung onto the photo you made
To all of those who came to visit me! I know a lot of you were not
able to get in to see my in the early day's, but just knowing you
were there really meant a lot! And for all the e-mail's, and
messages! It took my all day yesterday to read my e-mail, I love it!!!
In closing, I'd like to borrow a quote from an old friend, "LIVE
Best wishes, and see you soon!!!
Greg (Rome Doe)
P.S. Rome Doe was my name in the hospital, as they took me straight
to surgery without any info on me. My wrist band said Rome Doe, so it
became an ongoing joke