Many are asking for the full story of what happened to my grandfather, Dr. Bob Smith. Our family is humbled by your concern and grateful for your prayers. I’m sharing the story here mostly out of selfish convenience to provide everyone the same information all at once. Please don’t read this and then not ask grandpa what happened the next time you see him. I don’t want to rob him of the joy of sharing how God is using this in his life in his own words.
Here are more details then you ever wanted to know.
On Monday, January 4 grandpa left to get the newspaper at the mailbox around 11:00am. The mailbox is located about 2/10 of a mile (1056 feet) down the lane where they live. He thought about driving but grandpa likes the cold weather and with a fresh coat of light snow he wanted to take a walk. The temperature was around 11 degrees with a wind chill just below 0. So he put on a coat, hat, gloves, and a pair of rubber boots and headed down the lane. Grandpa is 80 years old.
Once he got to the mailboxes he noticed a slick spot in front of them. He carefully got the paper but when he went to head back to the house he slipped and fell. He landed hard on his right side and being a retired physician as soon as he hit the ground and felt the strong pain he knew he had broken either his hip or pelvis.
There aren’t many houses along the lane but he started to call out for help. No one was around so he tried to get up on his knees to get back to the house. He got up on his left knee but was unable to put any weight on his right knee. He said he heard crunching which he thought was bone-on-bone however we learned later that there was no bone-on-bone damage. Unable to get on his knees he rolled to his left side and started crawling back towards the house. He used his upper body to drag his legs along and whenever possible used the snow and ice so he could slide, all the while praying that God would send help.
Grandpa has been reading Gripped by the Greatness of God by James MacDonald. One of the applications in the books says, “I want to love God so much that I trust His every decision no matter how hard that may be.” As a result grandpa was determined to grow more in his love for the Lord as one of his goals for 2010. God was giving him an opportunity to begin applying his goal four days into the New Year.
As he would crawl he would pray for help and while God said no to providing help God did provide strength and energy for him to continue inching towards home. At time he said he got so tired he would think about just closing his eyes, going to sleep, and waking up in Glory. He said freezing to death wouldn’t be a bad way to go as you just go to sleep and he is not scared and is looking forward to heaven.
The conflict became his desire to continue being a good steward of what God has given him and his desire to meet his Savior. Even though God was not immediately providing aid He was still providing energy so grandpa decided that as long as he had the strength he would press on. And so he did.
About half way home, 528 feet later, the neighbor boy came out and saw grandpa. He had rolled off to the side of the road under some pine trees to rest. The neighbor boy asked if grandpa needed help and he said he needed a blanket, his wife, and an ambulance. The neighbor rushed to get grandma, some blankets, and call 9-1-1. The tried to warm him up with some blankets until the paramedics arrived 15 minutes later. By this time he had been outside for over an hour crawling on the snow and ice.
When the ambulance arrived the driver and paramedics both recognized grandpa from his days as an Arnett Urgent Care physician.
My wife notified me at work that grandpa had fallen and was being taken by ambulance to the hospital near the church. I left the church and actually beat them to the hospital. While I was waiting for them to arrive in the ER I looked out the window and saw grandma’s car come up over the bridge on the way to the hospital. A few seconds later I saw the ambulance.
Once he was checked into the ER the x-ray revealed a clean break of his right hip. He was placed on the surgery list and was third for surgery the next day, Tuesday, January 5. They did their best to keep him comfortable during the night and 26 hours later, at 2:22pm he went into surgery. They installed some material to stabilize the bone along with 2 screws. At 5:45pm he was back up in his room sleeping, but having difficulty getting comfortable. You see, grandpa likes to sleep like my son, his great-grandson, by turning every which way all over the bed.
We appreciate your continued prayers for his recovery. While the hip has been repaired there is still a bit of healing to do. He is going home from the hospital on Friday, January 8. He will have 6 weeks of physical therapy after he gets home and then he won’t be able to drive for 8-10 weeks. The surgeon said his bones were strong and since he is in good health, with the physical therapy, he should be walking without assistance in 10 weeks.
No final decisions have been made about is speaking schedule for February and March. The surgeon thought it premature to start changing any existing plans.
It has been encouraging for us all to see how grandpa is using this experience to grow closer to God. He often asks those he counsels why a sovereign God allows things, just like this, to happen in their lives. Grandpa is a great example of practicing what he preaches and showing others the glory of his Savior through this experience. He is showing us that he is growing in his love for the Lord so that no matter what God does in His life he won’t view it as bad.
Cards of encouragement can be sent via Faith Baptist Church.
Faith Baptist Church
c/o Dr. Robert Smith
5526 St. Rd. 26 E.
Lafayette, IN 47905