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Jordan's Road to Recovery

Jordan was in a horrific head on collision on March 15 while on his way to visit his grandparents. The accident has left Jordan in ICU in Ohio with multiple fractures in [...] read about page

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Big Small Miracles by James Gayfield

Big Small Miracles
I was in the carport cutting wood for some shelving I was building in the garage when I received an out of state phone call that shook me to my core. My youngest son had be involved in a head-on collision in Ohio while on his way to Indiana to visit his grandfather and dying grandmother for spring break. After discovering he was alive and conscious but had severely injured feet, legs and hips, I was ready to jump in the car for the overnight drive to see him. But first I had to tell his mother. We wanted to go so badly but realized that we would put ourselves in danger attempting to drive all night. As we began to talk with some of our other adult children (Jordan is the youngest of eight) they suggested patience while solid plans could be made. We were comforted significantly when we found out a few hours later that a friend that had been on a robotics team with Jordan during high school in Virginia was going to college only an hour away from his hospital and was able to be there with him before and after his critical surgeries that night.

That same evening, four our of our other children were traveling as well. Three were leaving Denver, CO on separate flights after a weekend vacation and visit with an aunt. The other was preparing to traveling from a business trip in NYC. We sent texts and left voicemails about their youngest sibling's accident and known status. Moments later I took a call from my daughter who was boarding a flight in New York for Atlanta, GA. I quickly filled her in on her brother's condition before she had to turn off her phone for takeoff.

Moments later I answered another call from a son who had just landed in Atlanta from Denver on his way home to Florida where he is stationed at a US Naval base. After relating the news I mentioned his sister had just boarded a flight moments before and was heading his way. Atlanta has a huge airport so chances of them meeting were slim at best but in the first of several travel miracles that night their gates ended up next to each other and they were able to connect for a few moments before taking off in opposite directions.

While flying home from Colorado to Maryland with his wife, my oldest son was passing the time plotting their flight path using several internet tools and identifying the geographic locations he could spot out the window. When he noticed a small city in the distance he discovered it was Lima, OH, the very place his brother was being prepped for emergency surgery. We received this as a tender touch of grace reminding us that despite the miles between us we are connected by love and kept close together by God.

These "coincidences" would be a wonder under normal circumstances but happening simultaneously and within hours of the worst incident our family has faced, they were strong reassurances to all of us that God was indeed watching over our beloved son/sibling.

The next miracles I will share are seemingly small choices that were made before the accident yet very likely made a huge difference between life and death or permanent disability.

Years ago our oldest daughter went car shopping. She was set on a certain model but when she actually sat in one she did not feel right about it. As she looked out the car windows she felt too exposed and vulnerable. She ended up going with a step up model that was more substantial physically. This vehicle eventually ended up as Jordan's and was what he was driving that day.

Sometime during the week before he left for the ten hour drive to Indiana Jordan had started setting his seat all the way back. He found it was more comfortable and safe. On the trip he had also reclined the seat back slightly although he was sitting up away from it. Finally as he drove through the flat countryside on single lane roads he remembers planning possible moves if a passing vehicle was coming straight for him.

The impact was like hitting an object at a combined 120 mph plus. The investigating officer's report indicates Jordan had begun evasive action a split second before impact, possibly saving his life. The front of Jordan's sedan was shoved back into the dashboard area crushing his feet, breaking one leg and both hips and dislocating one hip. It was discovered later he also had a wrist and thumb fractures. The airbag deployed, saving his life, but it possible knocked him out and gave him a concussion. He was conscious during the rescue where he had to be cut out of the vehicle and pulled out through the back seat area though he remembers nothing of the accident and subsequent hours of helicopter transport and ER activity. He was able to give the attending ER nurse my number and other details. He did ask her to tell me to call his school because he didn't think he was going to be there the next day. The ER staff thought he must be going to school locally because of this but he was simply confused. He was on spring break and goes to school in Lynchburg, VA. He doesn't remember any of that either.  His ribs were bruised and perhaps cracked from the steering wheel jamming up against him but because the seat was slightly reclined and in the furthest back position these injuries where minor and no internal damage was found. If he had been in the position he had been driving in only the week before the results would be a lot different. Thank God for small things!

One final miracle to share that left us in awe and tears. Jordan is a volunteer EMT for our local squad in Altavista, VA. He rides on the weekends while he is in school. When the rescuing EMTs and firefighters discovered his badge while removing him from his crushed vehicle they felt a real connection to him beyond the normal rescue. One of the local squad leaders looked up Jordan's squad on Facebook and wrote on their page what had happened to their fellow member. My wife had called and left messages with them as well but somehow the messages were never heard. The Altavista EMS leader, Jason, and his son, Matt, who is Jordan's best friend and fellow EMT, made the trip to Ohio a few days after the accident to see their brother EMT. While they were they told us that when the time came to transport him back to Virginia we must call them and they would handle everything. We had just come to think about that very thing right before this and realized this was a gift beyond dreaming of. A flight would have been impossibly expensive and even ground transport would be prohibitive. So Jordan made the trip home in one of "his" ambulances while spending the long hours playing games with his best friend. To Jason and Matt and the Altavista EMS, you are truly our heroes and we thank God for you and this amazingly generous miracle.