Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Hiking and the Unexpected
I hardly know where to start. That's something I struggle with as a recovering perfectionist. It's hard to start something if I don't know exactly how I will finish it. So here goes. I'm going to fight that urge and just plunge ahead...who knows where this will end up.
Our Christmas was short but sweet. Short because we had so many family activities leading up to Christmas. The ballet production wrapped up on the 20th which only left us a few days to really relax before Christmas. We were able to get our homemade goodies put together for gift baskets and actually got them all delivered by Christmas eve.
On the day after Christmas, we decided to take the family and a couple of friends on a hike into Kahana Valley. It is a beautiful area, and our family had not yet ventured into that part of the island. I had bought Mark a GPS for Christmas, so we were excited to try it out with a bit of Geocaching. It was a beautiful day. We found a wonderful stream to swim in. It couldn't have been a better hike. When we were about 36 feet away from finding the cache, Mark ventured off the trail *mistake* and lost his footing. He only slipped about 3 feet, but ended up impaling himself on a piece of re-bar that was sticking out of a huge cement block that had tumbled down the side of the hill. The re-bar went into his calf about 5 inches deep. In an instant, the whole day changed. He was able to pull his leg free and scramble back up the hill. We were all stunned. We went from laughing and joking to a potentially life threatening situation.
One of the friends we took with us that day was Jake. He is our church's new intern and he's only been on the island for two months. We were just getting to know each other. There's no ice-breaker like a crisis.... Well, like I said, I didn't really know Jake. I kind of supposed he must have been a Boy Scout or something. I looked at him, and he looked back at me, white as a ghost. It was at that moment I realized it was up to me. (If you've read the book Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge, you'll know what I mean when I say that I was playing my "irreplaceable role in a great adventure.") Ever prepared, Mark had an extra t-shirt in his pack. I used Jake's knife to cut the shirt into a bandage. As Mark lay on the ground telling me what to do, I tied the shirt onto the wound as tight as I could. We helped Mark up and started out. Once Mark was steady on his feet, Jake found him a strong walking stick and took the lead and kept us on the right trail. We knew we had at least a mile to go just to get to the trail head, then another half mile back to the truck. I have never prayed like I did on that trail. I knew we would be in real trouble if Mark's leg didn't stop bleeding, or if he passed out... The kids were all very quiet. There had been good-natured complaints on the trail going in. But it's kind of hard to compete with re-bar in the leg. No complaints on the way out. And actually, they were encouraging their dad. It was sweet. After an hour more of hiking with no less than three water crossings, we were out to the trail head. I left Jake with Mark and the kids and I started running down the road to bring back the truck. Thankfully, I was offered a ride by a very nice woman who lived in the valley. By the time I got back to the gang, everyone was laughing and joking again. We took a quick peek at Mark's wound and found that the bleeding had stopped. Mark was in good spirits and since he had stopped walking on it, the pain was much less. We decided to take the kids home, clean up, and then head over to the ER.
God has been so good to us. Mark's leg is healing well. The doctors told us that he would certainly have infections that may need to be treated with surgery. For the first 5 days after the accident, Mark had to return to the hospital for IV antibiotics. But Mark has never even spiked a fever. The infections have stayed in check. Another issue was from the re-bar itself. It was so old and rusty (from a WWII bunker) that quite a bit of rust flakes were left in Mark's leg. Our prayer was they would be expelled and not cause Mark, an avid runner, any lasting effects. So far, most of the pieces have come out. (Mark found the use of a magnet quite helpful in fishing out pieces...but that's another very gross story.) The ones remaining will not be a problem. God is indeed answering our prayers.
So with all that excitement, it seems like Christmas was months ago.
As my usual bent, I tend to head into the new year with a list of resolutions. I love the feeling of a new start. It gives me hope and revives my ideals. Implementing them is always a challenge. But it's getting late, and one of those resolutions is not to neglect my husband... so I'll try to finish this thought tomorrow.
Even when the trail turns and bends in a direction that is unexpected, the name of the Lord is a strong tower. And under the shelter of His wings, I am always ....enjoying the view.