Sunday, January 3, 2010

Amarillo Update

by Pa Rock

All of the medical news on my nephew, Reed Smith, has been positive today. He is still not out of the woods, but his numbers and appearance continue to show steady improvement - and for that we are all very, very grateful!

I learned yesterday that Reed was being life-flighted from the scene of the wreck in Perryton, Texas, to Lubbock, but his condition worsened during the flight and they had to get him into surgery quickly. The helicopter set down in Amarillo. Dr. Franklin, a surgeon on staff at Northwest Texas Hospital, was the on-call physician who performed the first emergency surgery. Everyone on staff has told us that Dr. Franklin is the best surgeon in this part of Texas. He is getting ready to retire, and the staff is very reluctant to let him go. One nurse told us that he seldom works on-call, but just happened to be signed up for that night - so the stars were all aligned in Reed's favor!

Dr. Franklin told us that Reed very nearly died that night.

Reed has been a fighter his entire life, and it is not the least bit surprising that his body is struggling mightily to overcome this current situation. He suffered from some unexplained seizures when he was a toddler, and had to made numerous trips to the emergency room for evaluation and treatment. It was those trips to the hospital with her little brother that supposedly influenced his teenage sister, Heidi, to develop an interest in medicine. Today Dr. Heidi Pfetcher is here in Amarillo with her family meeting with all of the physicians and medical providers. She is monitoring Reed's condition and giving complete reports to family members and friends, reports that have been stripped of confusing medical jargon. Every family should be blessed with a medical advocate as knowledgeable and formidable as Dr. Heidi!

Reed developed testicular cancer at the age of fifteen, a condition that was obviously environmentally induced because several youngsters in the Prairie Grove (AR) area came down with various types of cancers - a number that was statistically significant. He fought that battle and won.

Reed is winning this battle, too. His age (23) is in his favor, as well as his physical condition. He is an athlete and weight lifter who works out regularly at the gym. He is literally a big brick wall with a big, kind heart!

Another important factor in Reed's recovery is the strong support of family and friends. Gail and I and his siblings have been here since day one. Jamie Carrey's family is also at the hospital and have been very supportive and helpful.

Yesterday, Reed's high school buddies rolled into town. Three cars of young people made the eight-hour drive from Prairie Grove to Amarillo to offer support and comfort to their friend. The gang from Prairie Grove includes A.J. Jefferson, Mason Pinkley, Clint Luond, Robert Staggs, Christine Staggs, David Taylor, Ashley Taylor, and Mallory Mounce. These are great young folks, and I have learned quite a bit about my nephew by sitting out of the way and just listening to them talking.

One of the stories I heard involved Reed's tattoos - he has three. I listened to them being discussed and then thought rather smugly that I now knew something that his mother did not. Wrong! It turns out that not only did Mom and his buddies accompany him to the tattoo parlor when Reed got his first tattoo, his mother got one as well! Gail and Bob always had a strong involvement in the lives of their children.

I had met A.J. Jefferson while I was working at Ft. Campbell. A.J., an Army Specialist (E-4) was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and serving in Iraq when he was seriously injured by an IED. Nephew Reed called me and asked that I get to the base hospital and check on his buddy. While there, I met A.J. and his parents - and gave him Reed's cell phone number. The first words out of A.J.'s mouth when I told him who I was, were these: "Reed Smith is a brother to me." He called Reed that night.

Tiffany and Justin are going back to Arkansas tomorrow to begin making arrangements for their father's funeral. These young people have had so much thrust upon them, but they are a tight-knit family and will get it all done. The service will be in Southwest City late this week - possibly on Friday.

Keep the love and support coming!


Jennifer Ward (Spencer) said...

Thank you for keeping us updated back here in Arkansas. We are all praying for Reed. We know he is a very strong person and will get thru this.God Bless all of your family.

Melissa Ezell Thomas said...

Thank you, Pa Rock, and don't underestimate your role in these stars being aligned, as you said. It's wonderful and no coincidence that you had this blog and the gift of communication to share updates with all of us.

Sarea said...

Thanks so much for getting this information out there! Reed is an amazing person, and I know that God isn't done using him just yet!

brenda Kilby said...

I'm with you in spirit. Thanks for the updates.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for updating your blog. I am a good friend of Jaime's in Alaska. Wish the best for the family and praying that Reed makes it throught. He sounds like a fighter.
Jenae Weisz

Jennifer Black said...

Tiffany has been my bestfriend for 14 years. Thank you for keeping this updated. I cannot imagine the feelings you all are going through. Tiffany has so much support from all of her friends here at home. I am still in shock over all of this. We are praying for Reeds speedy recovery. That guy has been through so much in his life. Thanks again for keeping us all updated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping us updated back here in Arkansas. We are all praying for Reed, Jamey,Justin and Gail. We know Reed is a very strong person and will get thru this. God Bless all of your family. Jessica Short (Catlin)