Last Monday, 6/21/21, was the start of what would become the most trying week at Back Forty Farms, by far.
June is one of our favorite months...usually. Ron's birthday on the 6th, their wedding anniversary on the 8th (30 years this year) Father's Day and then Lisa's birthday early July, we look forward to this time of year, but this June, provided everyone a twist.
Ron and Tony were finishing up work out in the field as Lisa messaged them that dinner was ready. On the way in, Ron lost control of the 4-wheeler and threw him from it, landing entirely on his right hip. The machine rolled onto its side and stopped next to Ron, which was a blessing, because had it continued it would have been directly in line with Ron's head. It missed his head by approximately 4-6", and that could have been, well, disastrous. This took place at 8:40pm and ironically Tony caught it with his phone.
Tony seeing this accident jumped from the tractor he was on, from the opposite side where the ladder isn't located, instinctively he just wanted to get to his Dad immediately. While quickly getting off the tractor to assist he grabbed the hot exhaust pipe, burning it. His hand was bright red/purple, no good. This took place at 8:40pm.
Our llama "Pacha" had been unable to walk and full of parasites, making him lose weight so we had moved him closer to the house and away from the animals to care for him. While we had an opportunity, we thought it was a good time to shear him.
Tony and Lisa were shearing him, when out of nowhere, Pacha jerked and kicked his back legs and his hoof struck Lisa in the face. Ron was heading outside to help when Tony came running into the house and told Ron that help was needed right away.
Ron and Tony rushed to Lisa and the scene was very scary to say the very least. There was an enourmous amount of blood and the kick had actually hit her nose and left eye. Tony called 911 and handed the phone to Ron who kept pressure on the gash until paramedics arrived.
The ambulance and fire truck arrived and immediately went to work. It was obvious to them that stopping the bleeding and patching up the wound wasn't going to be enough, so they transferred to St. Lukes in Meridian, as Ron followed in his car. This took place at 8:31pm.
The ER doctor (and the staff of 6) huddled over her and were extremely efficient and thorough. She, the ER doctor, called in an eye injury expert and once he arrived, we felt it may be stitched, given some antibiotics and pain meds, and go home - that wasn't the case unfortunately.
They eye doctor arrived and put on a head contraption complete with lights, magnifying glass, microscope and many other things, making him resemble something out of a science fiction movie. In looking at the injury and into her eye for about 15 seconds he said, "I need an operating room immediately, she has a burst eyeball." That was when Ron understood the severity of the injury but didn't know anything else. Ron wondered if she could see, what her vision would be like, and about 5,000 other questions, scenariors and worries filled his head.
Surgery started at 1:10am and Ron sat in the waiting room, which was completely vacant of staff, vistors, or anyone. It was a perfect place to pray, which is what he did. The surgery ended at approximately 3:30am and the doctor came out and relayed what he had seen and done.
There was a cut in the bottom left of the eyeball, about 2mm long, so fluid was draining from it, causing her iris/pupil to be pulled toward the opening. He found another tear in the muscle about 4mm in length, and repaired both of them. After removing as much blood from the eye as he could, he then put fluid back into the eye, and stitched the area back together. The cut was from her nose, across the top and bottom eyelids, and to her cheek. No broken bones in the orbital area, nose, or head, so that was wonderful (and surprising) news.
Lisa was in recovery for about 45 minutes and Ron was able to be back by her side. They provided meds and after a couple of hours were releasing her. Once wheeled down to the car her pain went from a 2 to a 9 within minutes. In 30-years of marriage Ron had never heard her say anything (injuries, giving birth, etc.) was that high of pain. Lisa described the pain feeling like acid lit on fire in the middle of her eyeball, so let's just say it was not good at all.
The nurse was trying to call the doctor to see if she could take an additional pain pill to ease the pain. This pain, was brutal, and Ron said, "What we are going to do is take her back inside, put the IV in and get this pain under control. After that, I want her admitted so IV pain medicines can be given if needed." This is exactly what happened, thankfully.
Pain was finally under control and once in her room a cot was ready, where Ron slept for about 3.5 hours. Lisa was in and out with pain and meds, etc. The following afternoon she was released, after the eye doctor saw her.
The Continued Aftermath
Ron's hip and entire front and back of his right leg are quite colorful with massive bruising. A video call with his doctor confirmed if he can walk and put weight on it, the worry of any breaks or cracks in the hip or pelvis was dismissed. It's stiff and painful, but can walk for short distances, and only time will allow the swelling and bruising to disappear. Today is the 7th day and it's still deep purple with some yellow and so healing has started, it was just a massive blow with deep muscle brusing and hematoma. Pain and healing ongoing.
Right now, Ron and Lisa are quite the pair!
Tony was able to keep his hand in ice for about 45 minutes and then wore a rubber glove with aloe and burn cream, and it hurt pretty bad that night and the next day. On the 3rd day there were no blisters and pain was minimul, thank God!
Lisa, as of now, is about 24 hours into it and is spending a majority sleeping and resting. Her eye looks pretty good considering, but rest and more rest is key, of which she will receive for certain. No other major "pain level 9" episodes, but droopy and groggy with the meds. Ron puts drops in her eye 4 x a day, antibiotic, and pain meds are followed to a "T."
Concerns & Needs
The major concern right now is what Lisa's vision will be. She can see out of the injured eye but it's very blurry and only time will tell how it will heal and what level of vision she will have. Lisa has an appointment tomorrow afternoon with a retina specialist to determine if it is detached or not and to take a closer look under microscope to ascertain the damage and healing. She may need another surgery on her eye and additionally plastic surgery to help minimize her scarring and damage she has. We have a long road ahead for her.
We have had so many amazing people offer to bring dinner, come help on the farm with weeding, harvesting, or whatever is needed and that has been such a blessing. To everyone who has already stepped up, it's truly so amazing and thanks isn't enough to convey how much it helps and how much we all appreciate it.
With both Ron and Lisa out of commission, all of the workload has fallen to Tony and Heather, which is an exceptionally large amount of work and responsibility. With a large garden and weeds, about 500 animals, an orchard and everything to do on the farm, it's overwhelming for sure.
If you would like to volunteer during this difficult time for the Kern Family, click here.
With so much to do and their workforce literally cut in half, any amount of time is super appreciated and there isn't anthing "too small" that wouldn't help.
We believe that prayer changes things and if you have a moment, we would welcome prayers for healing, that would be such a blessing.