A birthday party with family, friends, and neighbors is supposed to be a fun event. For Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) Senior Coordinating Producer Russ Aaron, it turned out to be a nightmare last month when his deck collapsed. 7 people had to be taken to area hospitals by ambulance.
Many people think Facebook and other social networking tools/software are useless. They will say things like "If I want to tell my friends something, I can just call or email them." or "That is for kids."
These people are missing the boat, and do not understand the real power of these tools. Russ knows and wrote up a summary of what happened on Facebook tonight.
I have worked for Russ a few times on various productions, and he graciously gave me permission to reprint what he wrote here. As you read it, think of how hard it would have been for Russ and his family without social media.
My Birthday - How it all went Down...
by Russ Aaron
Sorry, probably a bad title, but here goes. There were lots of folks on Facebook that came in during the middle or even the end of our ordeal, and wanted to know what happened. With so many posts, it's really had to keep scrolling back down to find out details, so I thought I'd write it out here.
Long story, but to try to sum it up, my wife was throwing me a birthday party at our house on June 26th. Several friends and neighbors over. We were all out on the back deck where I had the grill fired up and ready for burgers when disaster hit - the deck fell. 7 of us were taken to area hospitals by ambulance, and another family of three drove themselves to the emergency room.
Our house is built on a slope, so the deck was fifteen feet in the air. When we heard the cracking, I think my friend Sean and I both knew what was about to happen, and we both knew that there was nothing we could do to stop it or even get to our wives or kids. It was an awful feeling looking around the yard and seeing friends and loved ones sprawled out like we'd just been hit by a bomb.
Sean and his wife Jen were sitting at a table on the deck when it went down, and Jen was holding their 8 month old baby Audrey. Sean had several cuts, Jen had to have 26 stiches in her knee, and Audrey broke her arm at the bicep area and also broke her clavicle.
But, the baby is doing very well, and the doctors say she'll probably heal faster than any of us just because she so young and her bones are growing very fast. In fact, the only bandages she has now are the "ace" type of wraps on her arm, and Sean says she is using that arm again almost like nothing ever happened, which is GREAT news.
Our son Max, however, was on another deck and that part did not fall, thank God. My wife Molly shattered her L1 vertebrae and had to have surgery to correct it. She has two pins and 4 screws in her back now.
She's home and recovering but has a long road ahead of her. She has a walker and can walk from the bedroom to the living room and sit for awhile before the pain hits or her meds kick in and she has to go lay back down. But the doctors think that she will recover fully and be able to do almost everything she could do before the accident.
Her friend Mary suffered the same back injury AND a broken leg. Mary had the same surgery as Molly on her back, and also has pins and screws in her leg to repair that break. She went home last week and is doing pretty well - able to walk very short distances with crutches.
Another friend of Molly's - Jennifer - also suffered a fracture in her back, but her's didn't require surgery, but she is in a brace and recovering too.
Two of our neighbors who were over had mild concussions, some torn ligaments, and they may both require reconstructive surgery on their knees. A teenage neighbor had several cuts and a severely sprained ankle.
I had a few fractured ribs and some cuts - a couple of other people on the deck were treated at the scene for cuts and bruises. My brother Jody was on the second part of the deck with our son Max and with his son Luke and none of them were hurt at all. Another friend, Angela, was also on that second deck. Angela's kids were running around in the backyard, but miraculously, they were far away from the deck when it went down that they weren't hurt at all.
Everybody helped everybody else until the paramedics arrived, keeping each other calm and awake. The police officers, firefighters and paramedics were so well organized, and did a great job getting all of the injuries assessed and treated and folks transported to the places they needed to go.
Molly and I went to different hospitals, and that was hard. The last time I had heard her speak, she said she couldn't feel her legs or feet. That was scary. I wasn't mad that they took us to different hospitals - I knew why they had to take her further away - her injuries were more severe, and they were taking her straight to the best hospital in Atlanta for her type of injury.
She and Mary rode in the same ambulance together, which I'm sure comforted both of them. It was good that Mary and Molly were both in the same hospital, so that we could check on each other and our families could visit. The same surgeons did both Molly and Mary's procedure. We kept checking on the others through phone call and text messages and through friends and family.
It was horrific, and scary, and bad, but it could have been SO much worse, and for that we are all very thankful. Everyone will eventually walk away from this with no real permanent damage. That's just a miracle, or miracles... God was certainly with us through the whole ordeal, and continues to be with us daily. We've had SO much support from friends and family, and continue to hear from folks almost every day!
Again, thanks to everyone for all of your thoughts, but espeically your prayers. Every little message or text or IM or Facebook note to let us know that you were praying for us lifted our spirits every day, and continues to do so.
Thanks for sharing Russ!