My Dear Ol’ Dad

The Three Survivors

I talked to my dad today to wish him a happy Easter, and was sad to hear him a little downtrodden. Although his recovery is going steadily, it’s coming slowly. It’s been 10 weeks since the accident, and he’s got another 4-5 weeks to go in Aspen Ridge. Above is a picture that was taken with Bruce and Nathan; the three survivors of the horrendous accident that took my dad’s leg and almost took his life. He was able to take his first field trip out into public, and went to the Church Office Building to see his coworkers. His work group was very cordial and glad to see his health improving so much. But on this trip, he also needed to go to the church travel office to get his renewal passport photo taken. The assistant in the office made the comment, “Looks like you got into a fight with a snowblower and it won.” Although the employee probably meant to make my dad laugh…it really hurt. It was the first truly insensitive comment that he’s encountered since the accident.

He also was able to go to Stake Conference where two apostles, Holland and Ballard, and Elder Huntsman from the Quorum of the Seventy spoke. Elder Huntsman mentioned in his talk “how nice it was for David Watson to make it out today after his terrible accident.” He had a great showing of support from members of the ward and stake…and hoped that it would spark some visitors. Unfortunately, it hasn’t. He’s been very lonely for people to visit. Between a few visits a week from my mom and siblings…he has a lot of downtime to be lonely. Once the occupational and physical therapy is done…he’s left to his own devices in the facility for hours a day. He would love to have people come visit him, even if its a short stay. Even if you don’t know him well, he’s anxious for company and would be happy to make a new friend. Rosie and I will be flying out to see him on Tuesday, and plan to keep him occupied for as many hours as we can.

To hear about his recovery in his own words, check out his blog at

Post-op Update

David’s surgery on Friday gave a few answers on his long term right leg nerve health. There was some definite trauma to the nerves, but despite the stretching and blood residue, the nerves are intact. The surgeon anticipates that within the next month, nerve impulses will return and he’ll have better control and feeling in his leg.

His TOSH experience was not very positive. He got to the hospital for surgery on Thursday, and then found out he’d have to wait until Friday at 10 am. He’d only brought his MP3 player to keep him occupied, and he had almost 20 hours at TOSH. He said that the equipment and comfort level of TOSH was about four years back. After being in a world-class hospital, and a new rehab center, TOSH seemed somewhat antiquated. Also, his nurse put his IV right in his wrist. Anytime he used his hand or wrist, the IV would dig in and cause pain. So this meant he couldn’t use his hands for lifting himself in bed or for wheelchair transfers.

Tomorrow he meets with Dr. Goodman for a checkup on his stump. The staples will likely be removed, and he’ll meet with a prosthetist on his C-Leg.

Dad’s One-Hour Trip Home

Friday, right before Rosie and had to leave for the airport, David was done with an ortho appointment at TOSH. The driver from Aspen Ridge said that David could come to the house for a few minutes. He was overcome with joy, as he hasn’t been to the house since a week before the accident. The wheelchair transfer was a little tricky, and required three of us to get him up the front steps and into the house.

Barbara was all smiles to have him home for a few minutes!

Mystic was more than happy to take an immediate perch on dad’s leg. She’s the only family member that hasn’t seen him in 6 weeks, and was slunking around his leg and the wheelchair for the whole visit.

I’m so glad that I got to be there for David’s first trip home. It’s still going to be a long time (3-5 weeks before he can come home for good), but hopefully his drivers for future appointments will be gracious enough to let him visit the house occasionally.

Scenes from Rehab

At the request of many of my blog readers, here are some updated pictures of my dad’s recovery. You can read specifically about his progress at

Thanks to Grandma Joyce, here are a bunch of pictures from the past two weeks, both at IMC and Aspen Ridge rehab. Yesterday, he met with the prosthetist to start some of the initial fittings for his C-Leg. He has physical and occupational therapy everyday. He is able to eat just about anything, but his stomach shrunk so much from the feeding tube that he barely has an appetite. He has been working on an assisted slide transfer into the wheelchair, instead of the 6-step transfer that wore him out. He typically has his appointments in the morning, takes a nap after lunch, and then most of the visitors come in the evening.

With Grandma, Mary, and Jacob.

On the way to PT.

David and some of his coworkers from the A/V Department

With sister Laurie from Portland and Barbara

David’s mom has been an amazing caregiver!

Rosie and I are so happy to visit David in such great shape!

One Month Anniversary

Last night, Rosie and I arrived into SLC to visit David for a few days. We had a crazy day stuck in -20 degree Minneapolis, and we were lucky to finally make it in to SLC around midnight. Today is the one month anniversary of the accident. He has showed me some picutures of the accident, and I’ve uploaded some pictures of his last two weeks. More info will be posted tomorrow. He did say that he has lost 45 pounds from the accident (25 from the amputation.) He calls it the “rollover diet,” and does NOT recommend it! Leave a comment and wish David a “happy anniversary.”

You try to visit dad in rehab, I say go, go, go

Now that David is settled, he is happy to have visitors in his rehab facility in east Murray. He has been happy to have a change of scenery from the hospital and Aspen Ridge is very homey. He requests that any visits be kept to 10-15 minutes. He is very exhausted most of the time from all of the physical therapy, and a few visitors have stayed a little too long for his fragile state.

He is getting better and better at the assisted wheelchair transfers, and all other prescribed physical therapy. He has been so happy to have some of the foods and drinks that he has missed for so long. He’s been in heaven with his mom visiting from Oregon, and was also happy to have his sister Laurie for a few days. Rosie and I are flying out to SLC on Sunday to spend most of the week with him.

Great news!!!

This has been David’s bedside crew this week…Mary, mom, grandma and Laurie. Taylor took the picture a few days ago while in SLC. Today was a wonderful day…a great birthday wish come true! He passed the thin liquid swallowing test, they removed the PICC line, he was able to do an assisted transfer into a wheelchair and……(drumroll please)….he’s out of the hospital! Because he is out of the hospital sooner than expected, Aspen Ridge West on 53rd isn’t open yet. So he is at Aspen Ridge on Winchester and 10th East. It’s a beautiful facility, which my Grandpa Jack was in after his car accident in 2005. There aren’t many beds, so he was lucky to get in. He is still on oxygen, but otherwise his labs are good and he doesn’t need IVs anymore.

Slurp and Swallow

I just got off the phone with David. He was in much better spirits than yesterday. He finally passed the swallow test…he can have thick liquids, like yogurt, pudding and pureed foods…but not thin liquids like milk and water. He celebrated with a chocolate milkshake. He said the hospital shake was pretty mediocre, but he was so happy to have a sweet taste in his mouth! Tonight he’ll be having some pureed foods for dinner. Mary’s going to pick him up a yummy shake at Take Five tomorrow.

They also removed the feeding tube and catheter today. His blood levels have regulated and he’s okay on his labs. Good news is just what the doctor ordered!

The Reality of Injury

I talked to my dad yesterday…and today was the first time he seemed very downtrodden since the accident. He’s been more cognizant of his pain and injuries, and has been having some insomnia. He was thankful that Taylor brought him a large stash of music and movies to keep him occupied and sane. He talked to me about some of the feelings he went through at the accident site, wondering if this was the end…if this was the way that Heavenly Father wanted to bring him home. He has been trying to process why this is his trial and how he’s going to grow from it. It broke my heart to have this conversation with him.

Thank you to all who have been praying for him. I had a large amount of people tell me that they fasted for him yesterday. I can’t believe that he’s already been in the hospital for over 3 weeks. The surgery on Thursday not only did a number on his spirits, but on his body as well. Three more units of blood products were infused yesterday because his hemoglobin level had dropped dramatically. His overall recovery will be held back while his leg recovers from this recent surgical trauma. And the fact that he still aspirates on the swallowing test, and isn’t able to eat or drink any of his favorite foods is terribly hard on him.

At this time, I think he’d best benefits from cards and letters of encouragement. He is enjoying short (10-15 minute) visits at the hospital from family and close friends. He is going to be at IMC for another week or so, then will be transferred to Aspen Ridge West, the new SNF rehab facility on 5300 S. and 700 W. Please continue to keep him in your prayers, especially for recovery on his right leg. If the nerve doesn’t regenerate, he will likely have very limited mobility for his right leg (in addition to a prosthetic leg on the left.) We have faith that he will be healed and eventually be able to live a “normal” life, but it’s the patience and enduring to the end that will be his test now.

Special Fast tomorrow and post-op update

David got out surgery on Thursday night around 9:30. The surgery went as well as can be expected. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the dosing of pain medication correct for almost two hours post-op. He was in miserable pain, the worst he’d felt since the actual accident. He is more awake and less groggy than when I left. Most of the psychosis has subsided. The next obstacle to overcome will be passing the swallow test, then they will put is leg into some sort of stump-shrinker to get it prepared for the prosthetic in a few weeks.

He has asked that all those who are willing and able to fast for him tomorrow on Fast Sunday. He appreciates the prayers and well wishes, but feels like he needs a special fast to help him gain strength and recover more quickly. The nerve in the top of his right foot was much more damaged than originally realized. Since the surgery, the physical therapy has been pretty tough because the nerve has not regenerated at all. There is a possibility that his nerve won’t heal, and he will have a “dropped foot.” This would require the use of a brace on his right foot, in addition to the prosthetic leg. We are praying for full mobility in his recovery, and your faith is requested.