On Thursday evening (10/12/2017), our son, Jon, fell about 25 feet having completed a climb at a local Rock Climbing Gym. He thought he was properly roped in and simply let go when he was finished at the top of the climb expecting the rope to ease him down to the base of the climbing wall. The rope did nothing to slow or ease his fall.
He hit hard, landed on both feet, and rolling back onto his tail end. It was obvious to Jon and to those around him his fall was serious and he was hurting. Lesli and I got a call from the gym manager that he fell, was conscious, and was talking, but that 911 had been called. We arrived (just before the ambulance with Jon) at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, CA (15 minutes from our home and where I currently serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees). We are very familiar with the hospital. Jon arrived at the Emergency Room around 10:15pm (He fell around 9:30).
Lots of Pain
After Jon went through a couple of hours of x-rays, Lesli and I got to go back to see him in the Emergency Room. The doctor shared with the 3 of us that there were no broken bones, but that Jon had a sprained ankle and a compressed disc in his back. He was admitted overnight. He remained in excruciating pain in both legs from his hips down through the night and into Friday (10/13/2017). The medical team at Los Robles did a great job working out a pain management plan for him. He got a lot of relief and could sleep for a few hours before the pain spiked just before new rounds of meds.
We had a couple of neurosurgeon friends who stopped by to help evaluate his needs. All doctors involved believed by mid-day Friday that Jon would go home with a body brace, a pain medication plan, and limited activity instructions. He is very young and they believed that the fracture in the back disc would heal itself with the plan they had given us.
Worse Than First Thought
As the day progressed Friday, there were some concerns that his pain was not decreasing at all. Placing a piece of paper or a bed sheet on his legs caused horrible pain.
An MRI and CT scan were ordered to make sure the doctors had a good handle on what the back disc problem really involved. In one doctor's words, “that MRI was much worse than we expected.” The CT scan had the same worrisome results. Apparently, the compressed disc fracture had three broken shards that were pinching, but not compressing Jon's spinal chord. All neurosurgeons involved said surgery was required fairly soon to reverse the pinching of the spinal chord and set up his body to help do the rest of the healing in the disc area.
Need for Surgery
Jon signed off on the surgery (we fully agreed). He also was told he will wear the body/torso brace (covers all of his front and back - looks like a giant flack jacket) for about 6 months whenever he is standing or sitting (when lying down he doesn't have to have it on). We were told he would be in the hospital for 2 to 4 days longer after the surgery and then head home for some extended recovery time.
Early Morning Surgery
By the time we were presented with the need for the back surgery, it was around 10pm Friday. So, surgery was scheduled for 7am Saturday (10/14). A few delays caused the surgery to start after 9am.
Jon came out of surgery around 4:30pm. The surgeon spoke to Lesli and me. He said everything went very well. We are so thankful! He did say Jon will have a lot of pain for a few days. Please pray for a good pain management plan while he recovers here in the hospital.
God is Good!
God protected Jon from even greater and more debilitating damage. God is good. We are sure God intends this for Jon’s good, our good, and the good of others - and of course - for His glory! Thanks for your prayers! Check through the updates to be kept aware of how Jon's recovery is going.