Survival Of The Non-Fittest #2: Nowhere To Run … Nowhere To Hide

I feel like I need to give a little background before I go further into this, especially for those who have never met me, or Molly my wife, or who have never seen Moment By Moment, the film documentary about us. If you haven’t ever seen the film, you can watch it here:  Moment By Moment

It’s a beautifully done film by Dorothy Fadiman, an award winning filmmaker and dear friend. You will get some insight into what Molly and I have been through, and I think many of you will be able to relate, as it may touch on challenges and feelings from your own lives.

Ok, when Molly’s car began to flip, each time it flipped over it landed every time on the driver’s compartment where Molly was, and broke her neck. That is what I meant when I said earlier that it was a surgical strike on Molly.  The three other passengers in the car were relatively unscathed. Only the backrest somehow kept the roof of the car from crushing Molly any further than it did, which would have killed her.

Here’s a picture of the car. See for yourself!


Saved by the backrest, Molly was trapped and pinned, upside down with a broken neck.  It took the fire department and emergency response people 2 hours to cut her out.  By then, I had arrived at the scene so that I could pace back and forth while they worked, and when Molly was freed, we rode together in the ambulance to the nearest emergency hospital.

At the hospital we were told that Molly had a broken neck and needed an immediate surgical intervention to take the pressure off of her spinal cord.  Molly and I had to give our consent. This was the first of many huge decisions I/we had to make and we looked to the doctors for their expertise. They went in the front of her neck and they fused together C5 and C6 with some bone material from a cadaver.   I don’t remember exactly, but it took over 4 hours.

When they were done, the doctors weren’t happy with the stability of Molly’s neck so two days later, they went into the back of her neck and wired together C5 and C6 and C7, completely military straight, removing the natural curvature of a healthy neck.

The end result and prognosis was not good.  Molly was paralyzed, a person with quadriplegia, and according to the doctors, would have no voluntary movement from the top of her shoulders down for the rest of her life. Molly had no feeling below her shoulder, and the doctors demonstrated this by sticking her with pins on her thigh and drawing blood, showing she had no feeling. I had plenty of feeling for the both of us however, and this insensitive demonstration made me angry.

I can honestly tell you that during all of these events,  I was mostly a robot moving through space. Completely numb from so many emotional hits to my psyche, having to make important and huge decisions, be functional,  and all the while reeling from the radical changes that were happening to me and my family. I couldn’t really keep up. Robotic was about the best that I could be.

Now to get hit with this medical prognosis and prediction, it just made me even more numb.

Right about now, I remember these three things going through my mind:

  1. This can’t be happening. It’s a bad dream right?
  2. What am I supposed to do now?
  3. I am completely screwed.

Now I have to tell you one more little story. It was somehow the perfect sour cherry on the top of one of the worst days of my life. On the day that Molly was injured, on that first night when I finally got home after Molly’s first surgery, it was after 1:30am.

I finally fell into an exhausted sleep. Two hours later at 3:30am, Molly’s mom woke me up. She had come up from her home to be with us, and to support us in any way she could.

Mom:  Jeramy, wake up. There is water all over the kitchen floor and it’s going down the hall way onto the wood floors and into the bedrooms.

Me:  Uhhhh … ooohhhh … no … what?

Somehow I pulled myself together and addressed the problem. A pipe had burst under the dishwasher and there was a flood. I had to stop the leak and mop up all of the water, but I was seriously devastated now and feeling victimized by my circumstances. I really needed to cry but I couldn’t yet.

It was one of those days, and there was nowhere to run … and nowhere to hide.