The following is a recounting of the ridiculousness that followed after getting my arm severely cut a few weeks ago. I go into quite a bit of detail with some of it, so be warned, it’s a bit off-putting.
Myself and Chase Glisson had decided to hang out and go down to Matanzas Beach on Saturday September the 15th. After having had our fare share of body surfing we decided to head back towards my car to leave. As we were walking, I saw an old, rather large, vintage bottle laying on the beach. So naturally I picked it up because I was going to keep it, use it for some cool desk ornament or some such thing. So we continued on, and began climbing up the rocks we had to climb to then get to the road that my vehicle was parked on. As we climbed, I had almost slipped once, and Chase asked me to toss the bottle to him so that I wouldn’t drop it and break it. Then probably around 10 seconds later, I slipped forward, catching myself on a rock, with the bottle in my right hand, which caused the bottom of the bottle to break out. Then I sort of fell again between a couple of rocks, this part has been hard to describe from the beginning, because I really can’t remember exactly what happened. As I sat up, I saw some red on my right arm, and thought to myself, “dang I’ve cut myself.” But then I saw blood squirt from my arm, and got a good look at it. I could see inside my arm, to the bone. The gash was in the shape of a backwards L starting towards the top of the inside part of my right arm, going down to an inch above the inside of my elbow, and across my arm to the right another three to three and a half inches. I stood up and just said “oh crap, dude, oh my gah!” while thinking “this is Saving Private Ryan bad!!” Chase heard my yelling and at first thought I was joking. Then he saw the nastiness that was my arm, and he had similar exclamations, haha. So at that point we both new I needed SOMETHING to wrap around my arm to stop the bleeding, because I was loosing blood rapidly. The problem was neither of us had anything on us except our shorts. And we weren’t going to get naked.
So I clambered up the rest of the rocks in what now seems like an instant and he and I sort of begin to jog toward my car. Probably the stupidest thing we could’ve done at that point, but I was holding onto my right arm with my left, trying to pinch just above the cut to help slow the bleeding. As we had gotten to the road, there was a car passing by with a man and woman in it, that Chase and I began to yell at “Hey stop! Help! Call 911!” The woman in the passenger seat just looked at us, scoffed, and they just drove on. So we continued to jog on when all of a sudden to my left a man yelled from an old beat up red truck “Hey, come here, I’m an off-duty EMT, I’m going to help you, just calm down, and come sit down.” At this point, Chase continued to ‘book it’ to my car so he could call 911. Chase got 911 on the phone and they were quickly on the way. The EMT, who seemed to be a little inebriated, had grabbed a shirt and began applying pressure on my arm, and was asking all the necessary questions, things like, had I been drinking, am I allergic to anything, etc. Then, some random lady, who Chase found out was the woman from the vehicle that passed us, came up yelling “oh my son’s an EMT and I have 911 on the phone.” Then for some reason gave ME the phone to talk to whoever was on the other end. I told the lady, I’m a little distracted by whats going on HERE, so you’re going to have to talk to whoever that is. She was no help. Had heart, but sadly, no help.
At this point, Chase grabbed my feet and he and the EMT rotated my body so my feet were above my arm, and then kept my arm straight up. At this point I asked a few times, “I’m not going to lose my arm am I?! Cause I can’t, I’m a graphic designer, and a musician, that ain’t gonna happen!” The EMT told me repeatedly, “no, you’re going to be fine, just be as patient as you can.” So during this time of trying to be patient I knew I should be praying, so I just began to pray in the spirit, because at that point, my mind didn’t know what to pray. After a few minutes of this Fire Rescue showed up, then an ambulance shortly after that. As one individual approached he asked if I had a question [due to my arm being straight up. His humor was much appreciated.] They switched the shirt out for some real bandages, and by this point, the major bleeding had slowed way down, but I had still completely drenched the shirt in my blood. I again repeated my question to the EMT’s, “I’m not gonna lose my arm am I?! Cause I can’t lose my arm! I’m a graphic designer and a musician, this ain’t happening!” They told me repeatedly, “no, you’re going to be fine, etc.” So they loaded me up on a gurney, and got me in the ambulance. Chase then followed behind because he was under the impression they were taking me to Flagler Hospital. Chase quickly fell behind, but had contacted my sister and brother in law prior to us leaving Matanzas to let them know what happened, as well as his parents, my pastors, to tell them to start praying due to the severity of the current situation.
I got an IV drip, but they didn’t want to give me morphine yet due to it opening up blood vessels. I was thirsty, but couldn’t drink anything. So I rode the entire ambulance ride, praying in the spirit, trying to invite the guys to church, answering questions, praying, joking with the EMT’s a little, praying in the spirit, hearing them contemplate if I needed to be life flighted, praying some more, and hearing them discuss that the cut on my arm was a lot worse than a surfing injury one of the guys had seen earlier that day. When we, from my point of view, FINALLY pulled into Flagler Hospital, it had been about 45 minutes since my arm had gotten cut. They had decided to have me life flighted up to Orange Park Medical Center because I would be able to be immediately admitted, and they have better doctors there that specialize in the sort of injury I had. This whole time I also prayed in the spirit, and in the natural, telling God, “I WILL NOT lose my arm because You have placed a specific purpose, and specific talents on my life that YOU KNOW I need my right arm for!” I repeated my stupid question to the EMT’s a few more times still. Prayed some more, all the while having a lot of fear creeping up that I would lose my arm, despite the EMT’s encouragement.
The helicopter then arrived, and I was transferred to a new gurney and loaded into the helicopter to be life flighted up to Jacksonville. It would be a 25 minute ride. I continued to pray in the spirit as the helicopter took off, and started it’s trek northward. I finally decided, probably half-way through the trip, that I would shut my mouth and just get quiet, quiet my mind, and listen for the voice of the King. As I did, a huge amount of peace just washed over me, and I really believe I audibly heard the voice of the Spirit of God tell me, “you’re fine, you’re going to be alright. You have nothing to be concerned about.” At that point I was choking back tears as I began to thank God, and continued to pray in the spirit. We arrived in Jacksonville, and I was wheeled into the hospital, and taken immediately into a trauma room. A million things then started to happen all around me, I was asked questions, told phone numbers to call for my parents because I couldn’t remember anyone’s phone numbers here in Florida, had my shorts cut off (awkward), my arm unwrapped, wrist bands put on me, and some x-rays taken. Finally, after some of this, they gave me morphine. The pain hadn’t really seemed that bad, but when the morphine numbed the pain, I noticed a distinct amount of clarity come back to my mind. The morphine was given to me after an hour and a half after I had initially cut my arm, and had lost an estimated 400 cc’s of blood. My doctor, Dr. Stankard came in, and had me do a couple tests, such as lift my arm up, which hurt terribly bad, make a fist, push against his hand, spread my fingers, twist my arm etc. After assessing the situation and saying a few jokes (he’s an awesome doctor), he said, “Oh yeah, you’re gonna be fine.” But, I already knew that. They then wheeled me down toward surgery while Dr. Stankard yelled something about the Florida/Tennessee game. I was handed a pen in my left-handed so I could sign a document saying I was ok with full anesthetic. I don’t think it was remotely legible, but they didn’t seem to care. I didn’t either. I remember them saying something terrible, like, oh yeah, we’ll have to give you a catheter (NO! NOT THAT!).
They gave me a shot.
Put a mask on my face.
Nothing but quiet sleep.
Sleep that only felt like seconds.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up in a recovery room, feeling near hung over, my arm in a sling wrapped up, a weird tube with a container at the end coming out of the wrappings (a drain), and all kinds of cables attached to my body.
Then, a nurse told me that he had to give me a new catheter, after which I responded, more like complained, “no! You’ve gotta be kidding.” Even still slightly under the effects of the anesthetic it was probably the worst pain I’ve ever felt. After a bit, I think they wheeled me to get a CT scan. A lot of that was a complete blur, and almost felt like a dream. I just remember waking up again, being told I would be taken to my room. After a quick elevator ride we turned a corner and I saw my sister Merideth, brother-in-law Marcus, and Chase excited to see me, sitting in some little lobby area. They said I didn’t quite return their excitement.
As we get into the room, we rewind back to what Chase, and Merideth, and Marcus went through after I had been loaded into the ambulance.
After Chase had basically gotten left behind by my ambulance, he headed to Flagler as fast as he could, meeting Merideth and Marcus there. They proceeded to ask where Todd Fooshee was, but there was no record of Todd Fooshee at Flagler Hospital. The Hospital called a partner Hospital in Palm Coast and asked if I was there, and they said they too had no record of Todd Fooshee there either. The three of them frustrated described my condition, again, to the attendant. Then, lightbulb. She did some searching and found out that they had life flighted an individual with arm lacerations that was picked up from Matanzas Beach, etc., under the name “Trauma Romeo.” I’m sure they cracked up a little. The hospital attendant told them, that’s the name most hospitals always give patients that don’t have any real form of ID on them when they arrive. They then called up to Orange Park Medical Center, where I was, and verified that I was up in surgery. So they ventured up to Orange Park, and waited on me. And waited. Hospitals are terrible places for waiting, they told me. At this point in their story, I looked down at my left wrist, and what do ya know, my name on my wristband read “Romeo, T.” We all laughed for a while.
From there I was in the hospital for 3 days, Chase stayed the first night, Marcus took the second, and Merideth took the third. I had great nurses, got my catheter removed (thank GOD!), took sponge baths, took awkward showers, took goofy photos, had surprise visits from my second parents (Randy & Melanie Clay, who are also my employers), prayed, read, slept, was visited by my Pastor Earl Glisson and my friend Brianna Glisson, had bandages changed, ate some decent food, ate some horrible food, had visits (some hard to remember) from my friends Josh and Caleb Clay, watched TV, saw the 26 staples in my arm, had my blood drain emptied, tried to write, dreamed, and also just tried to relax.
When I was finally released, I was so thankful. Once I was released, Randy and Melanie Clay decided that they would help out with taking care of me while I was in near helpless mode. Haha. They were ridiculously gracious and so helpful with everything. I couldn’t and wouldn’t have asked for anything more. I tried to immediately get back to life as usual. I went to church, I Skyped, I texted (sometimes much too late), and just continued to be thankful that I had my arm. That I was would quickly regain full use of my arm.
That Thursday Caleb took me up to a follow up appointment with Doctor Stankard. He said I would get my staples removed the following week, the 27th of September. That day I got my nasty drain removed from my arm. It had been almost 6 inches up in my arm. The following week, my mom came in town to then help with my recovering (especially since I couldn’t drive due to having been prescribed Percocet). I got my staples removed, and no longer needed to keep my arm in a sling. I realized then, I had some great opportunities to shut my flesh up as I continue to recover.
Which brings us finally up to today, in which I’m back working, gaining more range of motion in my arm everyday, gaining feeling back in my forearm more and more, and just continuing to live my life, and love it.
Regardless of the circumstance I had found myself in, God continued to show His faithfulness with bringing me peace when I was incredibly vulnerable and fearful, bring people across my path to keep me encouraged, keep me smiling, keep me focused on His word, and He continues to show His faithfulness as my arm continues to heal up and recover at a miraculous rate.
A big favorite of ours are the illustrations done in the early 19th Century by “The Sanborn Map Company.” Surprisingly, Fake Studio recreated one of these iconic pieces using 3D imaging techniques and design methods more commonly found in todays world. Mad props go out to Fake Studio’s for this one!
Create your own interpretation with our Sanborn Map inspired vector set available here.