Shawn Goldblatt  ~  Survivor

On November 25, 2022, my husband Hal was hit by a car while crossing the street in a marked and well-lit crosswalk. His story is posted on this website. I would like to share with you what it is like to live with the consequences of that crash for me and my family. Hal and I have been married for almost 50 years and we are blessed with ten amazing children and 29 wonderful grandchildren.

On that Friday night (the day after Thanksgiving) I was waiting at home with several of my children and grandchildren to celebrate the Sabbath dinner as soon as Hal and our sons-in-law returned from services at the synagogue. One of my sons-in-law came in and said that the others were following. A short while later our next-door neighbor came in and told me that Hal was hit by a car and it didn’t look good. My son and daughter immediately ran out of the house to see what happened. I followed as soon as put shoes on. When I got to the corner of my street my daughter stopped me and would not let me get close to the accident site. My son went in the ambulance with my husband to UMC Trauma ICU and my daughter walked me back to my house. Because we do not use electronics or drive on the Sabbath, My neighbor from down the street came to my house with her cell phone and called UMC for me. She put the phone on speaker so I was able to find out what was happening with my husband, but because of the extent of his injuries they couldn’t tell me much. Early Saturday morning my son, daughter and myself walked to UMC (about 3 miles) in order to be with my husband. When we got to the hospital the doctor was able to give me a complete update.

His major injuries consisted of two smashed bones in his right leg (tibia and fibula), one broken bone in is left leg (fibula), two smashed bones in is right arm (radius and ulna) and one broken bone in his left arm (humerus), a smashed T-10 vertebra (center of his spine). He also had 5 broken ribs and a skull fracture with a brain bleed. During the night and into the morning two surgeons performed three surgeries on his right arm, right leg and back. They were also watching the brain bleed closely. He had been put into a medically induced coma to help with the healing process but for the first couple of days the could not assure me that he would even survive. After 48 hours they saw that the brain bleed was diminishing and could assure me that he would survive but they did not know how much damage was done by the brain injury and wouldn’t be able to assess that until after he woke up. He was in that coma for ten days and I was by his side from before visiting hours until long after visiting hours when the nurses would send me home to get some sleep. They also could not tell me with any certainty whether he would be able to walk again.

We spent ten days in the ICU when they felt it was in his best interest to come out of the coma. Over the next several days they removed the feeding tube and breathing tube. I spent this time explaining to him over and over again where he was and what had happened to him. Once he was able to remember and understand the circumstances, and the doctors saw that he was steadily improving (approximately two weeks after the crash) Hal was moved out of ICU and into intermediate care. After a month in the hospital, he was ready for the next step. But because he was not able to walk (one must be able to walk to go into rehab) the choices we were given were to send him to a Skilled Nursing Facility or to opt for home health care.

I did not feel that he would be getting the care and attention he needed  at such a facility and therefore I opted to bring him home. We acquired a hospital bed, wheelchair, Hoyer lift, commode, and other items I would need in order to care for Hal at home. He was completely bedridden for 4 months and during that time I took care of his every need; physical, mental and emotional. Physical and Occupational therapists came twice a week to work with us. After a great deal of effort on Hal’s part and constant encouragement from me, he has come a long way in the last 11 months. He walks mostly unassisted now. He can’t rotate his right wrist so I got him bendable flatware so he can feed himself. He is able to drive short distances. My life has had to change dramatically, however. My days are devoted to helping Hal and so I have had to let several of my activities be on hiatus. We were supposed to travel to see our children and grandchildren but traveling is hard on Hal so we have not been able to do that. I am also afraid of crossing in that crosswalk and yet must do so on a regular basis. I know that this accident  has changed my life forever and it was totally unnecessary because someone just wasn’t paying attention while driving. Before the accident Hal and I were equal companions and now he is so much more dependent on me that although our feelings have not changed for each other, the dynamic of our relationship has changed.