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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Mass E-Mailing & Pictures

For those of you to whom this will come as a surprise, here's the brief (or not so brief, knowing me!) synopsis. For the rest of you, skip down for the latest news near the bottom.

Tom drove out to Sedona, Arizona leaving on Saturday, the 7th, and arriving on Monday, the 9th. He came out for some mental R&R and to get in a little bit of road bike (bicycle) training with his friend whom I've previously written about.

A view of our house at home the day of Tom's accident.

On his second day here, Wednesday the 11th, he and Don were just down the road a mile away from the house when the front tire of Tom's bike ultimately came off! Tom was catapulted into the ditch, first striking his head (thank god for helmets) and then absorbing the impact with the front right of his torso. Besides some pretty good road rash, the crash resulted in 6 shattered ribs, a badly broken clavicle (collarbone), and a collapsed lung. If he hadn't been wearing his helmet, he would have been paralyzed . . . or gone.

A shot of the prop-plane / puddle-jumper I flew out on.

After a brief visit to the ER in Sedona, he was transferred down to a terrific (and much larger) hospital in Cottonwood. I arrived there Thursday night (the earliest flight I could get thanks to Spring Break), and the wonderful staff set me up in an alcove of the private room with my own hide-a-bed. From that point until his discharge on Sunday evening, the 16th, I got to be his personal nurse 24/7 and never once left the hospital!

Tom's hospital room.
You can see my little bedroom alcove behind Tom in his hospital bed.

At his request, I shaved Tom's head once when he was still completely bed-ridden, but this was his first foray into having it done in the bathroom . . . as you can see by his position, it was a rather exhausting excursion.
I call this pose our version of 'The Thinker'. ;)

Here's a good shot of the icky yellow hue that Tom's bashed-up shoulder took on. He never turned black and blue but instead skipped right to this.

Tom on the first day home, Monday.

We came "home" Sunday night to the home of dear friends here in Sedona. They left on their cross-country bike trek on Wednesday morning and, since then, we have been slumming it (ha - hardly!!!) alone, recouping in the sun ever since.

With our friends in their back yard the night before they left (Tuesday night).
P waits - not too patiently - for D to open the champagne!

Tom feels better each day although he suffered just a bit of a set-back when we got out of the hospital - no IV pain meds and trying to get comfortable in a "regular" bed. A couple of mornings were hard, and Tom ended up laid out on the cool floor of the bathroom the first morning (by choice, fortunately). And, we had to adapt to setting an alarm for during the nights so that Tom could keep on top of the pain with his meds . . . vs. sleeping through and then being absolutely MISERABLE waiting for them to kick in when he awoke.

Tom doing his exercises that keep inflating his lung
and preventing it from collapsing.

The chest tube incision site the day we got to remove the bandage: Wednesday.
No stitches, no nuthin'!

The first short walk down the road.

We went out to run to an outdoor store and then the grocery store Wednesday evening, but it was really too early for Tom to attack all that, so I took him home in between the two errands. D & P's house here is only 5 miles out of town proper, so everything is quite handy.

The view out the car window on my way to the grocery store.

Today we took a little walk on the red rock trails across the road. So, like I said, a little more each day. We have a good friend from home who lives in Flagstaff now (and surprised the HECK out of us by showing up to visit Tomin the hospital last weekend!) and who we were planning on visiting tomorrow night. But, based on our experience with "overdoing it" so far, we made the executive decision today and asked if she would come down to us. We know it would be too much if we tried to do the drive there, the actual visit, and then the drive home.

On Monday, the 23rd, we drive back up to Cottonwood for another set of x-rays and a meeting with the doc. At that meeting we hope to be given the thumbs-up for Tom to travel. When he was released this past Sunday, there was still a small portion of his lung that was collapsed, and I think the repair of that will give us the go-ahead travel home. (He's had a little lung exercise machine that he uses several times a day and, during our walk today, he said that he could feel that his lung HAS healed, he thinks.)

Fortunate for us in this situation, Tom drove out here from Minnesota to Arizona, so we have wheels. Once we're given the all-clear we'll head home, but it remains to be seen how much Tom can comfortably travel each day (and how much driving I can keep my eyes open for since Tom does 95% of our long-distance driving). I know we'll need to take our time, though, so we've looked at the map to see how much of it we can do on designated Scenic Routes. But, if all goes as well as we expect/project, we'll be home around a week from tomorrow, I'm thinking.

I've been updating folks via our blog, and I'll repost this e-mail there with photos. Go to www.swampriverridge.blogspot.com.

Everyone both here (strangers!) and back home has been truly amazing regarding stepping in to do ANYTHING they can to help us. And, I wouldn't be able to be here helping Tom if my folks weren't taking care of Swamp River Ridge, so a HUGE thanks goes to them.

Hope to see you all soon . . . and keep those helmets on!

xox Weslie & Tom


  1. I'm so glad Tom's recovery is going well and you're able to be there with him. I hope you have a safe drive back home. Are you going to travel I-35? Let me know if you're planning to stop in Albert Lea or somewhere in the southern MN vicinity and maybe we can meet somewhere for a meal if I'm not working that day and you have the time.

  2. Wishing Tom a speedy recovery and you both a safe journey home!

  3. Though I don't comment daily, I keep checking daily. All your West Coast family is keeping good thoughts for a full and fast recovery. We are having a family dinner Saturday the 28th in Tom's honor. We haven't been together in the same place for 5 years. I will post pictures from the event. Though you will not be here we will hold a place at the table and celebrate great health for us all!

  4. dearest northwoods "neighbors". we love you and are so relieved tom is becoming well again. i would say hurry home...but, really. don't. just stay. many prayers for you. -andy & amy.


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