I can't even believe that this has happenned, but today my dad was in an accident. He was flying (he owns a small experimental aircraft, a "tail-dragger" called the Glass Air which is extremely challenging to fly--we've been trying to convince him to get rid of it, and even he has been saying that he's going to sell it because it's just to dangerous and difficult to fly, especially landing.) Upon landing apparently the left wing hit the pavement, the plane rolled 3-4 times and burst into flames. He managed to get out, apparently moments before the plane actually exploded. But he was on fire--a bystander helped roll him on the ground and put out the flames and get emergency help but he was badly burned. I guess that she was pretty freaked out and traumatized by the whole thing, she was crying on the phone to my mom, and herself had to go to the hospital because she had burns on her hands from trying to help put him out. He was taken to the local hospital and they airlifted him to the trauma burn unit at the University of Michigan hospital.
He is in critical condition but as of now it appears that he is reasonably stable in an ICU bed. But he has burns over 55% of his body, 15% of those are third degree and the rest are 2nd degree but 15% of those are expected to become 3rd degree tomorrow. He's on a ventilator, not because he wasn't breathing independently but because they need to get an airway in before any swelling happens and it becomes impossible to get one in, but they are going to do a tracheotomy in the next 2-3 days because that is apparently a better option than being on a ventilator given his condition. So they have him sedated. I talked to my mom and my sister, and I also called and talked to his nurse. My mom said that it will be a long haul in terms of healing but told me that it will be at least two weeks that he will be in the hospital, which I thought sounded overly short. When I talked to the nurse she said that if everything goes perfectly he will be in the hospital at least until Christmas, that 6-7 weeks in an acute care setting is the minimum and that then he will likely have to go to rehab. So that makes me wonder if my mom has a completely realistic picture of his condition or perhaps not. Unbelievably, he doesn't have any other major injuries or internal injuries other than the burn problem/some inhalation injury to his lung, and one broken rib that isn't causing a problem. One of the big concerns about burn patients is apparently fluid balance--they lose fluid through the wounds so you need to replace that carefully so the kidneys stay okay, but in the meantime if they get too much fluid they can end up having problems due to that. I don't know if this had occurred to my mom, but my dad has cardiac problems as it is--I wondered if he would be especially at risk for congestive heart failure due to this. I asked the nurse, and she sort of hesitated but then said that yes, it was a concern and that there were things they could do if he did start having some cardiac issues and that his doctors were aware of his cardiac history and that they were monitoring his cardiac enzymes and would be watching him closely, but that he was okay as of now and that all his vitals were stable and his labs were good, etc. But I got the sense that I wasn't the first to think of that as a potential problem that could develop.
Meanwhile, I am about 2800 miles away and will be 38 weeks pregnant in a couple of days. I partly want to jump on a plane and go there, but I also don't know how good of an idea that is. I feel like I could probably make it there without incident (I keep having people be suprised that I'm pregnant, so I'm sure I could wear a big sweater and say nothing and nobody would be the wiser in terms of the airline.) I don't feel like I'm likely to go into labor anytime soon, but then again, you never know. Also, if I stay even a week, then I'll be 39 weeks pregnant and the chances I will go into labor on the way back, or will be unable to come back home to have the baby, are increased. So it would probably mean having to stay and have the baby in Michigan, likely in my sister's house or in a hotel room. Also, DH could go with me for a week or so but couldn't stay longer just waiting for me to have the baby, he would have to come back and work, and I don't want to be separated from him at this point. This pretty much eliminates the chance that anybody from my family will be coming out after the baby--my mom and dad were planning on coming here over xmas time. I guess I could wait till the baby is out and take the baby and go when it's a week or so old, provided that things seem to remain stable. He is heavily sedated anyway and his eyes are swollen shut, so it's not like I could really do much for him anyway, but I could be there with the rest of my family.
Right now the plan seems to be to wait till tomorrow-Monday morning, see how his condition is holding out, talk to the midwife, and see then. I cancelled my prenatal for tomorrow because we just can't see driving two hours there and two hours back given the circumstances. Luckily, I have things fairly organized around here--we keep up with the laundry and the house and the finances/bills pretty well, and the birth and baby supplies are fairly organized, so if necessary we could get ready to go pretty fast. I did a bunch of cleaning tonight, partly so if we had to go we could leave the house decent and partly because it just gave me something productive to do and made me feel a little better. I also lined up a dog sitter if necessary, and one of my midwife friends in MI to be on call for my birth there if it came down to it. I don't think I will be going into labor immediately, but I can tell that things are getting more ready incrementally--I checked myself and my cervix is posterior but pretty soft, and I can't reach to see if there is any dilation or effacement, but the head is lower than it was the last time I felt. And I'm having more BH contractions the last couple of days. Partly, I am in a sort of a bind because I don't want to really be away from home and make a major change in birth plans when I am so close to giving birth, especially because I don't feel entirely comfortable there, but I also feel sort of helpless being so far away from my family in this kind of a crisis. I know I need to take care of my baby and therefore myself first, but I also feel like if I just wait around it may be too late to go. I feel like I don't want to be geographically stuck, either here OR there, and I'm afraid I might be. Added in to this is a little bit of anger with my dad that he is engaging in such risky behavior with no regard for how this might affect his family, especially when he is about to have a new grandchild. And the whole thing is just really grim and gruesome, and even if he does recover fully which is a question at this point, it seems he will be pretty scarred and disfigured and have to undergo a lot of painful skin grafts, etc. It is just very upsetting and scary and sad.
Here is a link to a newspaper article about this, apparently it was on the radio and TV also:http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...MPLATE=DEFAULT