15 YEARS ON THE 15TH OF AUGUST
Wow! Can you believe it has been 15 years?
July 28, 2021
The story of Seth’s wreck written by his mom
Seth was born on Christmas day in 1983 and was always a great big brother to his younger sister Abby and younger brother Max. From the time he was 8 years old he began to play baseball in the local little league programs. By the time he was 13 he earned the name “the line drive vacuum”. The harder it was hit, the easier it seemed he was able to catch it and make the play. Although Seth played a lot of basketball, baseball was his passion. He graduated in 2002 from Wesleyan Christian Academy and was runner-up all state catcher and one of their star third basemen. He and three of his classmates started their freshman year playing college baseball for Montreat College. Seth continued to play college ball and had just come home to pack up before heading off to Maryville College in Tennessee where he would be graduating and playing his last year of baseball.
On the evening of August 14th, 2006 Seth went over to a friends house to cookout and catch up on summer events. Don and I went to bed as usual that evening, expecting to help Seth sort and pack his belongings the next day. In the middle of the night the pounding of a police officer’s fist on our front door woke us and changed the life of our family forever. Seth had been in an automobile accident and was being taken to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. The officer only said, it must be bad if they’re taking him to Baptist. I don’t even remember getting dressed. The only thing I remember is frantically looking on the internet to find where the hospital was. We had never been there and the officer had disappeared as quickly as he had appeared. We called one of our pastors who gave us generic directions and said he would meet us there. While in the car Don and I were screaming prayers out loud, not really paying any attention to what the other was saying. We screamed to God for the life of our son the entire 30 minutes it took to get to the hospital.
When we pulled in to the emergency area we had arrived before his ambulance by a few minutes. The ambulance arrived with no lights flashing and no sirens blaring. It pulled in quietly and the drivers somberly unloaded Seth’s still body from the truck. Don and I were desperately trying to see if it was him and could only recognize his long narrow feet. They took him to the back and led us to a family room where Max, Abby and our pastor and his wife sat and waited for any word of his condition. The doctors finally came out and said something about a head injury and a broken arm. We had no idea what it meant and no one was offering much information. The doctor left and said they would keep us informed. In a few minutes a hospital volunteer came rushing to the room to take Don and I back to see Seth. He laid on a narrow flat gurney, one medical staff sewing up his head while another was sewing up lacerations on his arm. There was a folded sheet lying across his body and the room was eerily quiet. Our hearts could barely stand to be in the room but were also afraid to leave. We went back to the waiting room to only be rushed back by the volunteer to look at his lifeless body again. Looking back now it is obvious that the slow, quiet ambulance; the somber quiet emergency response team and the rushed visits by the hospital volunteer were all signs of his expected death. We can only presume that our God of life was responding to our desperate cries already.
Within hours the hospital began to fill up with Seth’s friends, their families, our family, friends and church family. The horror on their faces and the tears in their eyes were overshadowed by their encouraging words and prayers. We knew that the only hope Seth had for life and healing would come from God alone and we coveted every prayer offered on his behalf. The next three and half weeks were filled with hopeless prognosis and stress filled hours of prayer and waiting. During that time Seth endured several surgeries to try to fix his nearly severed left arm, had 4 strings of pneumonia, developed blood clots in every limb and had surgery to remove his sinus cavity due to a fracture in the back of the sinus.
Though the doctors worked to sustain Seth’s life, no medical professional would promise us more that a vegetative body that we would have to visit in a nursing home. Seth had broken almost every bone in his head both front and back. The personality and inhibitions portions of his brain were dead as well as 40% of the bulb of nerves at the top of the spinal cord called the pond of the brain. They kept repeating, You know the core of his brain is dead, right. I don’t know if we didn’t know what that truly meant, or we knew God was able to heal anything regardless of what they told us. We just kept on praying and receiving word of prayers coming in from all over the world, even from as far as India. Our church phones were so inundated with calls that a dedicated voicemail line had to be set up to give daily updates and prayer requests to all the faithful prayer warriors. Seth was in a fight for his life and thousands stood in battle for him as he laid there with no signs of life for weeks.
Finally, after almost 4 weeks his eye lids began to flutter. Every visit we hoped he would open his eyes and show some sign he knew we were there. He began to track voices with his eyes a little and we were so certain God was answering our continual prayers. Seth was moved to an intermediate ICU unit and stayed 5 more weeks. We began to communicate with him through the blinking of eyes and started realizing that our Seth was indeed in there. He was transported from Baptist after a nine week stay to Carolinas Rehab in Charlotte, NC for another seven weeks. We lived out of suit cases and it seemed the whole world had stopped revolving during this 3 month time. Don and I had careers that we had all but forgotten and life for our family had been reset in a different direction. We spent the next two years caring for Seth and just trying to cope and provide any way we could. God was faithful to carry us through what He had allowed us experience.
Almost 2 years after the accident Seth had several more surgeries for his arm, eyes and throat. He lost all peripheral vision in the accident and still sees double. He has vocal cord palsy that makes him sound like he’s out of breath and also causes some problems with voice projection. Seth was also left with an overall nerve related weakness from the neck down and little to no movement in his feet and ankles. This weakness has left him in an electric wheelchair. Having reached a plateau and gone through the first two years of physical surgeries and rehab, Seth was ready to re-enroll in college to finish his degree. He was quickly accepted to High Point University and finished his degree with honors. Wow! To say that we were proud of him would be an understatement! After receiving his degree in Business Administration, Seth was offered a four month internship to work at the Atlantic Coast Conference corporate offices. That opportunity turned in to an exciting year and a half long journey. Seth finished his internship in March 2012. The A.C.C. hosted a 5K in his honor to give him one last chance to see what physical capabilities he might be able to recover. He was so excited to once again turn his attention back to the physical rehabilitation he so desperately needed. He went to Race to Walk, a brain injury rehab facility in Mooresville, NC for a four month intense rehab stay. He no doubt became much stronger and gained greater range of motion. He came back and got to work on his career. He began working for Wake Forest University in January of 2013 and has been there ever since. Here we are, fifteen years later, living a very different life than we all expected to be living, but marveling still in the greatness and goodness of our healing God and provider. Thank you all for your greatest of gifts, prayer, and we can’t wait to see all that God has planned for Seth in the future.