Tuesday November 1, 2016 started like every other day. Trey got up at the crack of dawn to head to work. He taught his two biology classes and then drove over to the stadium for soccer. As he frequently does, he went over to help the kids hang the soccer net on the goal. As he jumped up to attach the net, his ring got caught on the hook. In that moment, he looked down and saw his bone was exposed, thinking he had just cut his finger to the bone. He hid it from the students, telling them he cut his finger and ran to the training room.
Around 1:25pm, I received a call from Trey but couldn’t hear anything. I immediately texted him asking if he called on accident. At 1:37pm I received these texts:
“No, call 911.”
I tried to call him but all phone services were down. My cell phone wouldn’t let me make calls and our home phone had no dial tone. The perfect scenario for panic to set in. I read the text again. Was he asking me to call him? Did he need me to call 911 because his service wasn’t working either? Was there an accident so bad that he needed an ambulance? A million thoughts rushed through my head. After attempting to call him half a dozen times getting the sound one gets when calling a number that has been disconnected, I decided to call for help.
The operator probably thought I was crazy.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“I don’t know!”
I gave her as much information as I could, which included his location and the fact that there was an emergency. She asked his name and informed me that someone had just called and an ambulance was on its way to his location for bleeding. Bleeding? Bleeding from what? Who was bleeding? My heart was going ninety to nothing. Those were all the details she could provide so I hung up, hoping I could try to reach my husband. No luck. Calls were still not going through. My heart hurt. Was my husband injured? Was a student hurt?
At 1:44 I texted Trey. “I called 911. What is going on? Please call me!”
Once Trey reached the training room, the reality of what had taken place became apparent when he finally had a chance to really look at his hand. It was then he noticed his ring was missing. They sent a student trainer out to look for it. She returned upon finding Trey’s ring still on the hook with the skin from his finger puddled on top. That picture is the epitome of “A picture is worth a thousand words!” (And we didn’t see this picture until days after the surgery.)
After what seemed like an eternity, I received this text: “Headed to hospital. Ripped my finger off. In ambulance headed to Baylor Dallas. Coach Smith is trying to call you.” As I was making arrangements to get all the kids taken care of after school and find someone to meet me to get our two-year-old, he finally was able to call me. He seemed to be in good spirits and informed me that he was hooked up to an IV and getting ready to be taken to the emergency room. He explained that while trying to attach the soccer net on the goal, his ring got caught when he jumped up to place the net on the metal hook, ripping his finger off.
By the time I arrived, he was in a trauma room just waiting for a doctor to come in to assess the damages. We were then informed that the man who would be doing his surgery was the best in his field and people fly in from all over the world to see him. One nurse said we hit the doctor lottery with this one because if he didn’t happen to be there performing another surgery at that very moment, the odds of saving Trey’s finger wasn’t in our favor. But this wasn’t luck. This was a God thing.
Trey was taken back to pre-op before we actually got the chance to meet Dr. David Zehr. Once he came in, he looked at the finger, examined the skin that was sitting on ice, then turned to us and asked what we wanted to do. We both looked at each other as if that was the dumbest question we had ever heard. My response was to reattach it. He then explained that the odds of saving his finger were very slim. In order for the finger to live after re-implantation, it needed live arteries and live veins so the blood could flow in and out. We could tell he was very skeptical and he left us to talk so we could decide if that was really what we wanted to do. Our only other option was to amputate the entire finger. We both agreed that we needed him to do everything he could to try to save it. He returned and our stance hadn’t changed so he said okay, a very reluctant, unsure okay, but we felt this what we were supposed to do. The nurse came in and explained that they would take him back for surgery and while putting him under, Dr. Zehr and his team would take the skin and attempt to find arteries and veins under a microscope. If they were successful, the surgery would begin, but if not they would amputate. Both Trey and I were at peace and off we went. Him to surgery and me to the waiting room.
About thirty-five minutes after taking him back, I received a phone call from the nurse informing me that they were able to find what they needed and surgery was about to begin. After almost three hours she called me back letting me know that the surgery was complete and Trey was doing great. So the waiting began.
Trey was in the hospital from November 1st-November 6th. During that time, he was to rest, keep his hand elevated, and keep it warm. A nurse came in every 2 hours to take the temperature of his finger and it was always a few degrees warmer than necessary from day one, which was a great sign. Dr. Zehr stopped by once a day to check in and said everything was looking good considering. On Saturday, he came in and said it looked like the finger was going to make it and said this was the worst de-gloving he has ever seen. He also wanted to discuss going back in to do another surgery in an attempt to save the fingernail. He explained that doing so could traumatize the finger and increase the risk of losing it. We both said we weren’t willing to take that risk. Trey laughed saying he never thought he would have a fingernail anyways so he was good. He did explain that another surgery may be necessary in a couple of weeks to remove scar tissue but we would just have to wait and see.
Trey was release to go home Sunday morning. He was to rest, take his medications and do nothing. Trauma of any kind could result in loss.
On November 21st, one day shy of three weeks after surgery, we went back in to have his wrapping removed for the first time. The doctor said everything was looking really good at this point and he didn’t think another surgery would be necessary but he wanted to take a look again in one week after the swelling subsided so he could get a better look. He said that this accident was so rare in all the details that it could be accepted into the medical journals. We had no clue what that meant at the time, but apparently it is a big deal.
We returned back on November 29th, four weeks post op. Although to us, Trey’s finger still looked horrible, the doctor and the physical therapist said it looked great. During each appointment, Dr. Zehr uses a dictation software. On this particular visit, he states, “Patient has had survival to the entire part. We will now begin to mobilize him.”
After seeing the doctor, Trey went back for his first therapy session using his injured finger. It was painful to watch. Now the hard part begins. Up until now, Trey was just been keeping it wrapped and avoiding contact to his hand. Therapy will dictate wether or not he regains full mobility.
This entire process has been nothing short of amazing and we thank God every single day for His blessings, His provision, and His plans for us in the midst of this freak accident. As we were sitting in the hospital room one day, Trey said we should start a business selling silicon rings and raise awareness to the dangers of wearing a ring in certain situations. I got to work. Upon doing research and talking to a very successful businessman I know, those dreams were shut down very quickly. He told me that this market was too small of a niche to ever be a success and there was no point in trying to contact manufactures in China. Luckily I don’t give up that easily. I knew this accident had a purpose, but it wasn’t until November 29th that I realized this was Gods’ plan and He was opening the doors. The day after Thanksgiving, my friend Linda at All Sports gave me the name of a company that just so happens to be locally owned and that company was “Rings for Life.” After speaking with Terry and discovering that we actually live in the same town, I know without a doubt that God has amazing plans in store. I have personally struggled with not knowing how we will pay our bills as a result of this accident. I knew God would provide for our needs but it is not easy for me to remain at peace when I don’t know where the money is going to come from. We have had several close friends and loved ones step in to help and so many have been praying. After hanging up from my conversation with Terry yesterday, I was in tears. I have spent so many wake less nights on my face, crying out to God. Praying for a miracle. Praying for the gaps in our income to miraculously to be filled and it was in that moment that I saw God’s perfect plan unfolding right before my very eyes.
I don’t know where this journey will take us but I do know this: We can always trust an unknown future to a known God. When we trust in Him and let Him do what only He can do, we will be undone by His unfailing love for us.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story. We would love for each and everyone of you to not only purchase a ring to help us raise money during this time, but to also raise awareness to the dangers of wearing metal rings in certain situations. To purchase, visit http://www.ringsforlife.com and use coupon code: Trey. You can see more images of his injury by clicking the link on the home page titled, “Help Trey Vaut.”
In His Name,
Trey and Shannon Vaut