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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Background for current project

Here is my transcription of my dad's journal. He wrote this in the time period of my accident and shows his deep love and commitment for me.  I love my father more as my wisdom grows with age.

This is a transcript of a journal by my father Harold C. Walmer D.O.,
written upon notice of my automobile accident Dec. 31,
1977 .  I am enclosing this to remind you, and inform anyone else
who may need to know, of the severity of my injuries from  this car accident
[ Had Walmer, 02/18/99, Lake Oswego, OR (]

"Notes to our much loved son Had - a time of agony, love, sense of loss, and hope, encouragement and realization that you have been given life because of your unfulfilled destiny.
The year is almost over.  Dixons with us, here in PA to celebrate New Years Eve.  Deloches to arrive shortly -- telephone rings.

Social Worker calling from UC Davis, Sacramento Medical Center.

You and Teresa have been involved in a serious auto accident on I-5 near Woodland on your way back to Oregon.  Initial reports indicate you have crushed left eye, skull fracture
Probable need for brain surgery.  All other information muddled.  We call Sacramento neurosurgeons but they are too busy with you to respond.

I make immediate plans to fly to Sacramento.  First plane out
From Harrisburg, PA 6:38 PM.  Uncle Marlin drives me.  Too choked with fear for you my son whose life has hardly started to talk on way to airport.  Supported by Marlin and Merv.

Flight to St. Louis - 2  hour layover, called home - Mom talked further with Dr. Mims, Neurosurgeon - you are still alive. 

Rental car at S.F. and numbly drove to Sacramento Medical Center, 3AM I arrive at neurosurgery intensive care unit.  You are in the bed just inside door on your back; naso-gastric tube in nose, constant EKG monitors attached to chest wall, bladder catheter, numerous stitches, contusions around head, shoulders and arms, left eye lid swollen and ecolymiotic with sutures in upper lid - you are restrained with restraint belt. I check your pupils - dilated and fixed - grave sign, no response. No response to light. I talk to you, no response. No response to pain stimuli.

Dr. Mims comes in and shows me pictures of CAT scan of brain, evidence of swelling and severe contusion and pressure of frontal and temporal lobes - basal skull fracture.   

Got permission from Dr.  Mims to use acupuncture needles at key points G.V. 26 and G.V. 24.  You move involuntarily to this stimulus.  Otherwise condition static and critical

I.V. running - no decision on surgery at this point - BP pulse and respiration. normal.  Exhausted, physically and emotionally, no idea as to outcome - stumble into first motel 5 a.m. only to find room has no telephone.  Get two hours of restless sleep - back to hospital, no change in your condition.

Now Jan. 1, 1978
Spend most of day in and out of ICU, sitting by your bed holding your hand, which you squeeze tightly, almost breaking my fingers with your carpenter strength.  

No other signs.  Your body at times jerks uncontrollably and you thrash about needing restraints of hands and feet. 

Jan 2
No real change in your condition, I'm trying to get temporary hospital privileges so that I may stimulate your brain with acupuncture.  

Dr. Tate, Chief resident thinks your injuries may be worse that he thought, so orders another brain scan.  No change noted.  Called Dr. King Liu, neuro-physiologist at Tulane Medical School.  He too wants me to use acupuncture- Dr. Rasford, a noted ophthalmologist from Atlanta calls, he wants me to give you massive doses of vitamin B, E, and C.

Jan 3
Still no responding, sit in the waiting area and by your bed watching for a sign that you will respond.  Pupils still fixed.  

I put a call in for Connie Newton, Chicago, to do a psychic - diagnosis on you.  Your girlfriend Teresa with me much of the time, she has lost a front tooth, lacerated chin - neck brace - fracture body of cervical vertebra - watchful waiting and hoping for you my son.
Have a meeting at home of 'Friends Of the River' home with insurance adjuster and an atty. Charles Bloodgood whom Brad Walton, who knew you, recommended for you and Teresa. No apparent problem w/ liability,  the drivers of both cars are at fault. You were innocently injured while reading a book when the crash occurred.  You flew forward into the dash - hitting your head, your glasses apparently lacerated both eyes, at 62 mph.  You are so lucky to be alive.

James Stewart calls to tell me of his relationship with you, had a vision last night that you were out of your body and hadn't decided if you would go back to your broken body.  He urged you to do so because so many people love you. I understand that thousands of people are praying for you recovery.

Jan.4   Mother came last night, I waited for her anxiously at Sacramento Airport with no especially good news yet, you still haven't responded.  

We went immediately to the ICU; you respond partially for the first time.  I think you said "Hi Mom"  --  "Hi Dad".    Not much, because you can hardly be aroused, but at least a sign that you might respond.  Father Donnelly, hospital priest in ICU, mother, and I pray for you.  

Jan.5 - Jan13  Times blur together in my mind, but each day a new small sign of recovery.  Up in the chair with assistance, even though you are semi comatose.  

You seem to respond reflexively to food and have a ravenous appetite. You respond to questions, "How is the food?" "Great!""Horrible!",  etc. 

Even though your care is excellent, I am concerned that the cellular nutrition to your brain be maximal.  I called Dr. Klennon, Riedsvile, N.C., considered to be the most knowledgeable physician in the country on vitamin C therapy.  He wants you on I.V. of 700 mg. Per kilo of body weight, appx. 40 gms per day plus B complex - A glutamate and zinc.  

Since the hosp. won't do it I had Ruth send me many of the nutrients from my office.  We are now supporting your diet and the nurses are permitting mother and me to feed you.  I slip 6-7 pills per day into your mashed potatoes, buns, etc. and you chew them down with no comment. 

Your cognition is still largely a blur, and your memory totally gone.  Only occasionally do you know Jan and Eric, and with no sense of feeling.  Your affect is still so diminished.   Occasionally I hug you and rub my whiskers across your face, you say, "that’s great".
We want so much to bring you back to reality, knowing that it may take months or years to accomplish this, but you are alive and responding a little each day. 

The days feel lighter now,  someday you will recover.  Psychic Connie Newton said you will recover.  She says your 'destiny in life is unfulfilled', you will be making important contributions, that will beneficially affect many people in 12 years and 32 years from now.  

She says you may change your life objectives.
A new male nurse tonight - Richard, tall with a black beard and moustache, very sympathetic and helpful.  He looks like Jesus.  With his help, we walk you to the bathroom for the first time.  You are successful both ways and subconsciously marvel at the results, no mess in bed this time.  

After supper, Richard and I support you for your first walk - approx. 20 steps.  You are dragging your left leg and perspiring profusely.  When you get to bed you drop immediately into a deep sleep.
Recollections of next day, Richard still your nurse.  We walk you 40 steps today and we encourage you to write, you scratch illegibly "HAD WALMER" with coaxing and "TERESA MAPE" -  no more this time, too exhausted - not interested in writing today. 

Next you are writing,
Each day a little improvement.  Several days ago you said, "I plan to fight this.  Its like being a freshman again."
Several times during the past few weeks early in the morning, at our motel, Merv Dixon called.  He offered to come out to Sacramento to help bring you home when we move you.  

Dot Forney also calls us, to give us the benefit of her experiences with Sandy, her daughter, who had a serious brain injury approx. 15 years ago, falling off her horse and needed a brain surgery.  People who go through this traumatic experience have a much more helpful way of relating to a family with this tragedy.   

There is another couple we got to know very well whose daughter Betty was in intensive care with you.  She has had two brain clots removed, a tracheotomy and has been recovering very slowly, we try to give them all the support we can.  

Their daughter was also in an auto accident.  Her response is agonizingly slow.  Her father Bill at times sobs uncontrollably.  What can I say?  Nothing; Just put my arms around him and hold him tightly.  

They are from Yuba City.  As you progress in intermediate care and we walk you, with assistance down the hall, I tell you I would like you to meet Betty's parents.  I must explain to you who Betty is, the girl next to you in NS/ICU.  

You respond unexplainably - "Hello Bill" "How are you?" to Betty's father.
I don't recall telling you his name was Bill.

You are having a great deal of trouble with sight, most things just a blur to you.  This is 14 days since the accident.  I give you my blue bifocal glasses. You tell Bill he looks good.  He is encouraged, with the progress you are making; hoping eventually for the same from Betty.
Annette Nation called mom on the phone in your room, you say, "who is that?"  It’s the first telephone call to your room.  You take the phone and talk.  It must jog certain thought patterns.
She says, "You sound wonderful."  You respond, completely normally, "You sound wonderful too."
Almost at all time you have total amnesia for any recent conversation.  Sometimes you know me sometimes you think I am Paw Paw.

You like when I put my arms around you to hug and rub whiskery faces together.  You say that's great, and hold your lips for kisses.  How close we've become.  I know that subconsciously you feel my presence, tomorrow I must leave after 15 days, to work a week in the office while you recover further.  

Mother will be with you this week, but I feel such a sense of emptiness, not being with you each step of your progress, but I am confident now that with time most of you will return to normal.

Teresa and James come in this last evening, you have a hazy memory of them, but not of recent events.  You still don't comprehend you were in an auto accident, or that you are in the Sacramento Medical Center.  

I try to tell you I must go away for a week, but would come back to take you to E-town.  You say, "that's what I want" and then to Teresa, "there goes half my life."  I feel the same way.

Several days ago I asked you if you still planned to be an architect. "I certainly do."
Went to Radio Shack several days ago to get you a radio to help jog your memory into reality.  You liked to move the dials and rapidly change stations.  You obviously do this by feel  - not sight.  

While sitting by bed, you sense roommate Joshua, I tell you his name, you, "Hi Joshua", and give him a big smile. One of the first signs of emotion.

Fri. Jan.13th  Teresa and I want to go back to your room to see you one more time, knowing you will be asleep.  It’s the last time I will see you for a week.  I kiss you and whisper "goodnight" and leave with a heavy heart; the same feeling I always have when you leave home and go back to school in Oregon.

Several days ago I received a special delivery folder from Uncle Marlin.  He has, with his engineering and pilot's background, investigated all of the information which will make for the safest trip home for you even to the extent of sending me a study of all the accidents that have occurred on commercial flights, the result of air turbulence.  

Wheelchairs,  pre-discussion of your condition with the pilot so that he can modify altitude and course, slightly to avoid turbulence.
There are so many people concerned for your welfare.

Jan. 14  On flight home, told there will be a one to two hour hold over in Chicago, because of weather.  I wanted to call you from O'hare. Maybe this won't be possible.  I'll have to discuss the choices of avoiding a holding pattern next week, when we bring you home.
On ground at O'Hare after 3 hour holding pattern over the airport.  When landing finally occurs, I find my flight east to Harrisburg has been canceled.  It is four more additional hours until a new plane is scheduled, also the walk from United terminal to T.W.A. or Allegheny is a very great distance.  

This type of travel home for you will be impossible.  We will have to schedule a non-stop flight somehow.  It will have to originate at San Francisco and go into Phila. - Balt. or Wash.  

I will make the best arrangements, to make your flight home as easy as possible.  You certainly won't be able to stand a 14 hour trip, like I had to take.  I will arrange a trip for 6-7 hours.

Jan. 17 When I do talk to you I can sense your repeated and continual progression.
When possible I try to get Eric on the phone with you.  Through this whole ordeal he has been terrific; he has stayed with Cerullis, Marlin, Cooks in Lancaster and with me alternately. He has never complained and has adjusted fantastically. He is to be a source of strength for all of us. The eye chart he has made to help you when you come home was entirely his own idea.
Expressions of love and concern for you are being expressed to me constantly in the office.  I am certain that the people praying for you number in the thousands across the country.  

Yesterday in the office a Carol Jackson, who doesn't know you, but is the second mixed marriage (color) in E-town put her arms around me told me of her prayers for you.  She is a close friend of Peeps and Rick Morton. She said she knows that you are like your dad and that she feels instinctively close to you.

All of the coaches in the E-town College athletic department sent me a card expressing their thoughts for you.  Snavely called to offer any help possible, when you come home.  Marion, a friend of  Joanne Walmer and a teacher in Philly has a group praying for your recovery.  

For the past two weeks there has been an article on the front page of the Elizabethtown Chronicle on your progress.  Ralph Clouser tells me he is besieged with inquiry on your progress from E-town H.S. students.

Jan.19     I've tried desperately to get a call to mom at the Motel since 9PM, its 2AM when I finally get through.

She has spent more time than usual with you this day and you fall out of bed, even with restraints. Your comment, "someone is not taking very good care of me."  I feel desperately that I must get back with you. 

Tomorrow, Friday I am scheduled to fly back to Sacramento.  We've had two severe storms already this week.  Another is reported on the way. I pray this will not block my trip West. I tell you on the phone I will see you Friday,

February 20   Arrangement made to have Charles Burris plow our driveway,  as the snow has already begun falling.  It snows more than 30 hours straight, the biggest storm in 20 years. Early AM flight canceled, now to go at 4:05 PM.  

I keep digging out driveway as Borough plow blocks entrances, even if it goes by.  Marlin takes me to Harrisburg Airport.  We hardly make it with snow and wind, the flight is canceled and rescheduled, and finally canceled  permanently by PM.  No chance to leave now until 4:30 PM

Jan.21  Terribly disappointed and depressed at not being able to fly out, but Eric stays the night and keeps spirits lighter.
Called Jan and asked her if she has any messages for you.  She said, "Just tell him I'm thinking of him."  She called back 10 minutes later and said, "Tell Had I love him and am laying in bed thinking of him all the time."  Sometimes it is hard Had, to express family love, but it is there whether spoken on not.

Jan 21 6PM I'm finally en route to see you.  Tonight I will get to your room by 10 to 11 PM, hopefully.  

At any rate I will see you, hug you, and kiss you tonight.  Just as I did when you were a little boy.  As I look out of the window of this 707 the moon is almost full.  How much effect do that moon and the planets have on one life and our destiny?

(end of  HCW  D.O. journal)


  1. Had, congratulations on setting this up. You are on to something good. Your father's journal entries are touching and give good insights into who you are and what you're about.


  2. This was so moving, Had, thank you for sharing it. Best of luck with the Mindfulness Meditation Project!