I am so blessed, but some christian friends of mine (via Internet) are in need of your prayers. Here is the letter they sent out.
Many of you know what happened to our family, but some of you haven't heard yet. We are sending this general email and will try to send updates daily. Information changes often, sometimes on an hourly basis, some of what you have heard may have been true at the time, but different now. Here's the story as of 8:21pm on Christmas day, 12/25/08:
On Tuesday, the 23rd, we were headed to Michigan to visit Mike's family. At around 9 pm, we had been traveling about 8 hours and were 20 minutes west of Elyria, Ohio on I-80 when we hit a patch of black ice. The van started spinning into the next lane where we were hit from the back by another vehicle, which threw us head on into a cement highway divider at about 60 mph. Obviously, the impact was tremendous and the van totaled. We were all in seat belts, which saved our lives and nobody was knocked unconscious. The EMTs arrived in about 20 minutes, several cars stopped to help(if one of those who stopped providentially get this message THANK YOU! We don't even know your names but you are angels). We were first taken to a hospital in Elyria and then all transferred to Rainbow Children's Hospital in Cleveland. This is a huge praise. Rainbow is one of the top 5 Pediatric hospitals in the US...our care has been phenomenal.
Both airbags deployed, which saved Mike and I from significant injury. Mike has 2 broken fingers on his left hand, which is in a splint cast. Initially the ortho Dr. thought he would need surgery, but he was able to externally "pull" them (they were very crooked) into place and splint them. They will xray next week and decide then. He is sore all over, but otherwise ok physically but, because he was driving, is carrying quite a bit of guilt emotionally.
I (Trish) have a couple of broken toes on my right foot and am stiff and sore in the back and chest, but am otherwise ok. I have my "moments, " of course, but am doing fine and am thankful to be able to be here for my kids.
Abby (15) is by far in the worst condition, but is stable. She suffered significant facial trauma from her nose down. She hit the headrest in front of her, which knocked out 8 top teeth and broke her hard palate and caused several other fractures in her nose and jaw. Several of her bottom teeth are loose; in the initial surgery they stabilized these and stitched lacerations. She is going to have oral surgery again tomorrow. They plan to put titanium plates in to stabilize bones,remove bone from her hip to graft into her jaw so they can eventually do teeth implants, and wire her mouth shut for at least 4 weeks. Right now she is completely sedated and intubated (on a ventilator). They may be able to pull the ventilator tomorrow depending on the swelling and other things. Because of the impact, the kids all received some internal injuries from the force of the seat belts. (If they hadn't had them on, however, they most likely would have gone through the windshield...huge praise) Abby had a hole in her bowels (perforated duodenum) and a tear in the outer lining of her stomach.They repaired both of these successfully. She has two drainage tubes in her stomach and two in the retro peritoneal area. She has two fractured vertebrae, again caused by the seat belt. Eventually she will need a risser cast for this for 4 -6 weeks. This cast goes from the armpits to the pelvic area, with a hole in the abdominal area. She will probably have to stay here for 3 weeks before she can be moved closer to home. Overall she is stable. She is the most beautiful girl in the world!!! Her plastic surgeon has been incredible. He says they will rebuild her just like new, but it will take time.
Will,13,also had a pretty severe lacerations to his head.The scar runs from his forehead to the tip of his nose. Again, the plastic surgeon did a great job. He had no broken facial bones. Just one big macho "man scar!" Initially they thought he had internal injuries, but they did a laparoscopy (they cut three little holes in the belly and look around with cameras) and this came back ok. He also has 3 fractured vertebrae and will wear the risser cast for 4 weeks. They hope to put his on next week. His concern today was that his dad needed to shave!
Aaron,12, who we thought at first was fine, had a laparoscopy just to be sure. They ended up finding a ruptured bile duct. This is a tiny tube that drains bile from the liver into the intestine. After seven hours of surgery and 5 surgeons being called in, they basically built part of a new bile duct out of his small intestine and attached it to what was left of the old one(choledocho dudenostomy, I think) He has done well today, with all signs showing that things are working well. He has one fractured vertebrae as well and they are currently discussing whether to do a cast or brace on him. He is having significant pain, but they recently changed the med and he is doing better.
Lee, after dozens of tests, seems to be doing ok. He is not allowed up yet (none of the kids has been allowed up and they have to lie straight---because of the back stuff). They thought he might have a rupture inside, but opted to observe him, and he seems fine, other than general soreness. He and Will were both allowed clear liquids today.
There's the rundown. I hope this answers many questions for you. This hospital is incredible.They have taken care of Mike and I along with the kids. There is a Ronald McDonald house very close where we have a room and where we can eat. (I am staying with the kids at night, but Mike is going over there) A volunteer drove to where our van had been towed and got all our things for us...on Christmas day!!! Santa came and brought gifts...the kids all got ipods. So here's a cute story. We had been buying our kids ipods on their 13th birthdays. When Lee-age 10-opened his, he asked me if he'd have to give it back!! Our kids are tremendous!! They have been so brave, humorous, and constantly ask about each other and mom and dad. I am so proud of them!!! They are all currently in Intensive Care (in side by side rooms).
The address is Cliff family, PICU, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, 111000 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44106. Mike's cell is 336-688-4487. We can't take all calls because we are very busy sometimes, but you can leave a message. The number at the desk is 216-844-1904. They can only give us info, so don't ask them, but they will get us if we aren't busy.
And finally, you have no idea how much your prayers and concern mean to us. THANK YOU!!!! Phooey on patient confidentiality...you can send this email to anyone...we want everyone praying because we need it!!
Merry Christmas...hug your kids a little tighter tonight. 15 seconds can change everything. Oh, and always wear your seatbelts!
Thank you for everything!
Love Mike and Tricia Cliff and kids
Keep them in your prayers please! and feel free to copy and paste this.