Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

A series of unfortunate [bike race] events and several answers to prayer (Weekend 2 or Happy Mother’s Day to Me)

14th May 2011

With Brian’s wrist still sore from the previous weekend of racing, we left Friday morning of Mother’s Day weekend for the last 3 races of the Speedweek series to be held in South Carolina, North Carolina and Atlanta (Friday/Saturday/Sunday). Traveling has gotten so much easier as the kids have gotten older. I can tell them to pack a bag, and they’ll get whatever toys they’d like to have. We’ve gotten pretty well-seasoned at knowing exactly what we need and how to do it.

But this Friday, I was having a bit of a pity party. Brian was a little stressed from the last day of classes/looming exams to prepare and a sore wrist and 3 hard days of racing ahead. The kids were edgy, probably in anticipation of a 5 1/2 hr car trip. And I thought, “This is my Mother’s Day weekend?!?”… before God reminded me, “Yes… with the ones you love, doing what you do as a family. You are blessed.” Indeed. I wouldn’t have wanted to be with anyone else, and this was where we were. [Thank you, Lord, for the attitude of gratitude!]

The Spartanburg, SC race was fine, the kids were well entertained with their scooters and sno cones, and I had the most amazing pork quesadilla for dinner. The kids were asleep within minutes of getting in the car after Brian’s race (all details can be found on his cycling blog!) Except that we had to wake them up for their first ever Waffle House experience, which they did not fully appreciate at 11:30pm. We drove 1 1/2 hrs to a suburb of Charlotte, NC, where we were staying with another really wonderful set of friends, the Timberlakes. Again, great kids for our kids to play with, wonderful “open door” hospitality as we arrived in the middle of the night, and they left us to stay in their house without them so they could spend Mother’s Day with their far off families. And great fellowship for both Brian and I with Darol and Donna. [Thank you, Lord, again and again, for amazing friends who make these bike race adventures so enjoyable!]

Saturday, was another quiet relaxing day with the Timberlakes and a long run for me. Brian rode downtown to his afternoon race in Charlotte, as the kids and I drove, and I managed to get my 2nd half-price Starbucks Frappucino of the weekend. Awesome! The course couldn’t have been more fun for the kids – around a fun park, and the kids played on the playground for the whole race while I stood up the hill on the edge of the course and cheered. The race was ok, but I think Brian was a bit disappointed with his lack of great results due to racing with a still sore wrist. To be fair, he’s racing with the fastest guys in the US, and finishing in the top 50 of 150 starters is not bad. But when you place in the top 30 in one race, you start to expect better results. We had a great pizza dinner, caught the quick running of the Derby which Analise loved, and treated the kids to yogurt and toppings. We went back to the Timberlakes to an empty house and an early bedtime.

Sunday, the kids decided I needed Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast. No argument there! YUM! Then we headed out for the long drive back to Atlanta for the final race of Speedweek. Hooray! I was looking forward to half-price Frapp #3 of the weekend, a long-anticipated trip to Trader Joes, and finally getting home by 9 or 10. I got the frapp, and the kids again were happy to ride their scooters while I cheered. Brian was riding really well, near the front, and I was thrilled for him and hoping he’d stay near the front for the sprint finish. With 3 laps to go, I didn’t see him come by, and the next time the lead pace car came by, Brian’s teammate and USA Cycling official, Stuart, leaned out the window and yelled, “Brian is down!”

I thought he said turn #4, so I hurried the kids (and their scooters) back towards the finish line, where the motorcycle official was coming through after the race was finishing. He knows me, and he yelled, “No, the other direction!” I hurried the kids back the direction we’d come from, now halfway around the course. I tried not to panic, thinking at first, “No big deal” until I realized that Stuart wouldn’t have yelled at me if Brian had just crashed and was walking his bike back to the pit or something. At the corner near where I had been standing originally, a police officer and a kind woman, encouraged me to leave the now-walking kids and go ahead, so I raced down the block. I found Brian laying in the grass, already in a neck brace, being attended to by the EMT’s. They were getting ready to put him on a back board, and he was in a lot of pain in his shoulder/neck/collarbone. The EMT’s were cool and calm, and were going to get an IV started so they could give him something for the pain. [Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord, that he wasn’t hurt worse and that no one else crashed from him going down.]

Stuart came up with Brian’s bike, and he offered to take the kids so I could ride in the ambulance. But I knew we’d eventually need to have the car, and the EMT’s told me I could follow them. Bill, the moto official, was there too, and the kind woman was nearby with the police officer and the kids. Stuart walked the bike back to the car, and I comforted the kids, telling them that Daddy really was ok. Bill carried their scooters, and the sweet lady helped us get settled into the car. [Thank you, Lord, for keeping me calm and for surrounding me with people to help me and stay with the kids.]

Analise was, of course, really upset, but we got settled in the room in the ER with Brian. He was still in extreme pain, but they took amazing care of him at Northside. Honestly, it couldn’t have been a better ambulance/ER experience. [Thank you, Lord!!!! and please let the billing be so quick, easy and painless!]

While we were waiting for xray results, the nurse was going to clean up Brian’s road rash, which I knew was going to be miserable, so the kids and I headed off to McDonald’s. On the way there, my friend Brenna, texted me to see how the race weekend had gone. Oh my goodness… the perfect timing… I told her what had happened, and she replied they were just leaving Atlanta for Birmingham, and they would come get the kids. [Thank you, Lord, for knowing exactly what we needed, for giving Analise a great end to a stressful day, and for giving me a chance to focus completely on Brian for the drive home and the next morning. Thank you for perfectly timed texts and perfectly placed friends and answers to prayers that hadn’t even been prayed.]

The kids were THRILLED to ride back with the Mabrys, and after the fastest shopping trip at Trader Joes (please don’t think I’m terrible… Brian was well taken care of and it was super close to the hospital/McD’s), I headed back to the ER. I walked in to find Brian sitting up, and getting ready to go… so much better than the state I’d left him! Although he was badly bruised and battered and scraped up, the only broken bone was in his toe. [Thank you, Lord! That is amazing and almost miraculous for hitting the metal barrier at 33mph!]

The nurse compassionately gave us a dose of pain medicine before we left since we couldn’t fill the prescription before our 2.5 hr drive home. Regardless, it might have been the longest drive of our marriage. [Thank you, Lord, for pain medicine and muscle relaxants. And this prayer is echoed at least 10x for this past week.]

We got home at 12:30 am, and slowly got Brian cleaned up and settled in for a painful night. It was so very helpful that the kids were taken care of at the Mabry’s, so I could just take care of Brian. Brenna got Analise to school with her kids, and she brought Josiah home mid-morning. [Again, thank you, Lord, for taking such good care of my kids so I could take care of my husband! Thank you for friends!!]

So it’s been a long painful week for Brian (again, more pictures/details on Brian’s cycling blog). After seeing the ortho again on Tuesday (they, of course, remembered him from his visit last week), Dr. Powell diagnosed a Grade 2 shoulder separation. [Thank you, Lord, it wasn’t worse!]

He’s still got tons of muscle spasm in his biceps/triceps/neck, his foot/toe are bruised and sore, and his road rash wounds are finally scabbed over. His shoulder is still amazingly swollen, but he’s making slow progress on regaining movement. Brian’s teammate, Chris Allison, is also a PT, so he offered some great help Friday. [Thank you, Lord, again, for friends offering help.]

I sent out a tweet/FB message on Sunday immediately after the crash as we were leaving to follow the ambulance. I was overwhelmed with the responses, text messages and phone calls I got. I *knew* we were being prayed for, and I couldn’t have felt God’s hand of calm more gently around us in the midst of the stress. [Thank you, Lord. I can’t say it enough… thank you, Lord. It could have been so much worse, but I pray that no matter how good/bad the situation, I can walk in your grace and calm and confidence that You are in control. Thank you, Lord.]

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