‘09 was year of miracles for Wilsons

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 20, 2010

As we look ahead to the new year, resolutions ha e been made, goals set, and a new excitement surges within us at the prospect of another beginning … another chance to make good on our intentions. The year 2009 has been properly recorded in the history of each of our lies, but in our family, we look back on 2009 as the year of our miracle, for it was then that we witnessed one up close and personal.

My husband was burned extensively as the result of a gasoline explosion that occurred while he was pouring gas into our lawn mower. Such a freak accident, but maybe many lessons have been learned from our experience, and we hope that by sharing our story, many of your readers will find something positive to hold on to.

The gas can being used was old, and had a flexible spout that allowed it to be flexed into position for pouring gas into the mower; and as Jerry lifted the heavy, almost full, five-gallon can up over the tank opening, the old spout split and gas went everywhere, spilling onto the muffler that was still hot enough to cause an explosion. God was merciful and Jerry’s face and upper body were spared, but he suffered extensive burns to his left leg, lesser burns to his left hand and a small place on his right leg. Needless to say I was horrified to see his leg when he miraculously ran the long distance from the barn to our back door. Knowing I could get him to the emergency room from our home in rural Covington County by the time an ambulance could get to us, I wrapped his leg in a wet towel and drove us to Andalusia Regional hospital where he was treated in the ER. In my effort to remain calm and get him the help and pain relief that was needed, I struggled to remain focused on the present moment we were in, and I am so thankful for the hospital staff who immediately recognized the need to transfer him to a burn unit. I will always be grateful that they were able to relieve his pain somewhat, and that they chose to make no attempt at treating his burn, but left that to the specialists we would see. At that moment, I wouldn’t have realized the necessity of a burn unit, but we will always be grateful they did, and wasted no time making arrangement for our transfer to the USA Medical Center in Mobile.

We arrived at the hospital in Mobile around 3:30 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 19, 2009, where we would remain for the next four weeks. USA Medical Center Burn Unit is a remarkable place … one where many miracles are seen … a place where many caring staff members are dedicated to providing help and hope to those who are burned and disfigured almost beyond recognition. Their jobs require nothing less than complete dedication, for they are the ones who see the horrors of burn victims, and who choose to be their specialty type of care, knowing they can and do make a difference in a life that has been tragically altered. After two extensive skin grafts and much healing, Jerry was transferred back to Andalusia Regional Hospital Rehabilitation Unit where he was inpatient for a week and a half, finally arriving home the last week in September, able to continue rehab therapy as an outpatient. The Rehab Unit here is a wonderful place, staffed by capable, caring people under the direction of program director Julian Deal and nurse manager Michael Bush. When the time came for transfer to a rehab unit, we were offered several options, but after talking to Mr. Deal and Mr. Bush by phone from Mobile it became apparent that what we needed was available right here at home. I was extremely concerned about wound care for Jerry’s leg, but after learning that Michael Bush had recently completed extensive training in this field, we were completely confident that this was where we needed to be. We certainly were not disappointed, and knowing we were coming, they were well prepared to receive us. In fact, it was a homecoming of sorts, as we found old friends on staff and made new friends of other personnel.

Through this experience we have learned that we are absolutely rich beyond description and richer than any monetary gain could ever bring, for you see we are blessed with wonderful family and numerous friends who have loved and supported us unconditionally. Our church family (Mobley Creek Baptist) and many, many other churches, have lifted us up in prayer many times over and we thank you so much. Our extended family, including our brothers and sisters and cousins, were so supportive and I especially felt their love and security while Jerry was in the ICU. The friends who called and visited are all very special. Our precious sons and daughters-in-law, Todd and Tonya and Tony and Amy, and our wonderful grandchildren, Ross and Meredith, seemed to be always present with us, either in person or on the phone, trying to meet our every need. Thanks to each of you who ministered to us in your own special way.

IN summary, our hope is that you will remember a few things we learned. From a practical standpoint, never, ever pour gas into a lawn mower until it has cooled completely. You never know when an accidental spill or other unexpected thing can happen, because it does happen when you least expect it. Lesson Two … Be prepared to act in an emergency of any kind, for you never know when the unexpected thing can happen, because it does happen when you least expect it. Lesson Three … if you receive burns to any part of your body that require professional medical attention, get to the nearest hospital where you can get relief for pain and immediately request transfer to a burn unit. Newer and less invasive treatment methods are available burn units, as well as staff who are trained for exclusive service to burn patients. Lesson Four … Listen and pay attention to everyone around you, including family and friends. There’s a good chance they might tell you something you don’t know or haven’t thought about, and it could make a difference to you or your loved one. Lesson Fie … Always, always remain calm and keep your head about you. If you panic, it’s very likely you’ll be unable to help your loved one get the help they need, and make any decision you might be called upon to make for their well being. Most importantly, the lesson of a lifetime … follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and He tells us in all things to be thankful. Just look around you and you’ll see many things to be thankful for. Realizing we can’t always be on a mountain top, we thank God for the valley He gave us, for it is there that He restoreth our souls.

As we begin the New Year 2010, let us all challenge ourselves to be just a little kinder, a little more patient, and a lot more helpful to others we meet on this journey of life. It’s just too short to use up on complaining about things that aren’t worth complaining about, wanting too much stuff we really don’t need, and always looking for that silver lining that always seems jus out of our reach. The most cherished things in this world can’t be bought with wealth or fame. Our prayer for each of you is simply this, “May the power of the Holy Spirit lead and guide you every day, and may you find peace and contentment that comes only through Jesus Christ.” From KJV John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Happy New Year.

Jerry and Carolyn Wilson