People can speak and write (as I often do) on issues concerning life. But often times, it's the personal experiences that impact us the most. As many of you know, Dan Stephens broke his neck on Good Friday and his wife, Ashley, has recorded the thoughts, emotions, reactions, fears, etc., that they experienced during those first forty-eight hours. I hope you can see that even in the midst of so much uncertainty and fear that God is still good. He is still faithful. He is still sovereign…
by Ashley Peterson
We feel so loved to have so many people care and ask about Dan and his accident. We could feel your prayers. Below is the story. Let it be a testament to the protection and mercy with which God has blessed us. He is so, so good.
"Let's move the TV armoire downstairs."
Dan is on the bottom. I hear a crash. The TV stand slips out of his hands.
It smashes him into the wall. He somehow gets out.
Panic. Fear. His ear is bleeding. His neck hurts. We drive to the clinic thirty miles away.
"You should never have moved with a neck injury."
Neck brace. Ambulance. Glens Falls Hospital.
Laying in the ER for two hours. CT scan taken. Waiting.
"Dan, hold my hand while I tell you this news. Your neck is broken in 3 places. It is highly unstable."
I fall to the ground. I keep squeezing Dan's hand. He keeps wiggling his toes.
One hour later, the special ambulance team arrives. They study the CT scan to prepare to move Dan.
Dan is strapped in. Everyone is scared.
No one can believe Dan rode thirty miles in a car without protection.
They must not have known he was held by the Protector.
Dad prays over Dan.
One hour ambulance ride. I follow with mom and dad in the car. Praying. We walk in the ER.
Fifty people are around Dan. We aren't allowed in.
"Can he move his fingers and toes?" I am crying. "We can't tell you anything for fifteen to twenty minutes."
Waiting. Praying. Shaking. We finally see him.
"Dan is fortunate- one move and he could have been paralyzed.
People try to move their necks and fall to the ground."
ER. Talk of emergency surgery or a halo. The guy next to Dan is having a heart attack.
We see the three large cracks on Dan's vertebra on the computer. Scared.
Moved to the spine ward. It's a waiting game.
MRI. The nurse sits down with me alone and goes through all the options.
Surgery- potential of paralysis from the jaw down. Halo. Months of recovery.
I am shaking. God allows that moment to be when my best friend arrives. She sits with me.
We talk about different scenarios. What would happen. What we would do.
Pray. Pray. Pray. MRI is finished. We wait. We pray.
Doctor tells us he feels there will be no surgery. No halo. How can this be? We are happy but a little in disbelief. We are nervous. We have to wait for the head surgeon to hear the final word.
Nightime. Dan can't sleep. Neither can I. He starts shaking uncontrollably.
Nurse takes forever to give him something. Praying the shaking doesn't hurt him.
The Glens Falls nurse told us any movement could damage him.
The Lord protects him.
Waiting. Friends. Family. We feel the love. We feel all the prayers.
Doctor concurs with the night doctor.
Says "You will not go paralyzed. Just don't get into a car accident or something".
We have long drives ahead. I'm scared. My faith holds me.
Scans. Scopes. X-rays. Tubes. So many questions. Waiting for answers.
We keep hearing how lucky Dan is. Lucky? No, God protected him.
Some scary moments.
Moving Dan so many times. Trying on new braces. Figuring out medicines with Dan's allergy to morphine.
God protects Dan.
We hear more and more. "He's going to be okay. Just be careful as he heals."
I think, "We were careful when we were moving furniture." Clearly, "Just be careful..." scares me.
We survive on faith alone.
"Dan's doing better than we could have hoped. He's so lucky." Luck had nothing to do with it.
We travel home. "God protect us." God does. We thank Him.
He is so gracious to us. I keep holding Dan's hand. He says he feels like God gave him a second chance at life.
I feel the same way. God doesn't owe us anything. Everything is a gift.
We have a long road ahead. We are scared. Cautious. Nervous.
God will protect Dan's neck. God will fill us with peace. He is doing it right now.
What would we do without our faith in Jesus Christ? If John 3:16 wasn't true?
If we didn't have the resurrection to celebrate today?
I couldn't have made it through this weekend without my faith. without all the prayers. Dan feels the same way.
So that is the story. In a nutshell.
The weekend felt like a whole year long, yet it went by like a whirlwind.
The next six months will feel so long. But in the end, Dan will be like new. There should be no mobility loss.
I don't know how to end this note except to say thank you for your prayers. Thank you for caring.
Thank you for your words of encouragement. We are forever thankful for our family in Christ.