Archives - About the Crash
About the Crash
On December 8, 2001, Mark was hit head-on, by a drunk driver. In the months following, he underwent multiple surgeries and much therapy and rehabilitation. With the help of friends and family, we have documented his recovery, resulting in this story of the power of God that touched and preserved his life.
December 10, 2001
Mark Williams has been in a serious car accident. On December 8 he was hit head-on, by a drunk driver. It took 45 minutes for the rescue team to free Mark from his car.
We praise God that Mark is alive! While he has broken bones from his face all the way to his feet, he was spared spinal injuries and brain injuries. No vital organs were seriously injured. He is considered a miracle-man at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, where he is in their trauma center.
Please pray for Mark as he has many serious injuries. Both feet are broken,his left kneecap is broken, his right wrist and right shoulder are fractured, his right hip is broken, his face has numerous fractures including cheekbones, bridge of nose (involving sinuses), his jaw and his eye sockets.
Many repairs are necessary. So far he has had one extensive surgery to repair his left foot with metal. His left kneecap has been repaired and his right wrist has been repaired with metal. His right foot, right shoulder and face have been too swollen for surgery.
Mark had an emergency tracheotomy. He has been removed from the respirator and is breathing on his own but the trach remains until all surgeries are complete. This is very difficult for Mark as it is exceedingly uncomfortable.
Please pray for healing - pray that he will experience bones mended even BEFORE more surgeries! Pray for complete healing, for comfort from pain, for peace and patience in the long weeks ahead, for good health, for reactions to medications, for good lungs, and pray against infection. Pray for his parents as they make decisions regarding his live-in rehabilitation location.
Mark has not been able to talk because of the trach. His eyes have been mostly swollen shut, but at times he'll use his left hand to say he needs to write something. We hold up a tablet and he scrawls across it.
True to the person he is, one of the first questions he wrote was to inquire about the person who hit him. Another time as his mother and a friend told him how sorry they were they could not understand what he was trying to communicate, he scrawled, "You 2 have a hard job."
Not to minimize, Mark is fighting a very difficult battle and needs your prayers. But he, and we, praise God that his life was spared by a true miracle. We praise God for the quick and complete recovery & healing that we believe is taking place. We confess with our mouths that which our heart embraces:
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen
December 13, 2001
Yesterday Mark had his 3rd surgery (the first, on Saturday, repaired left foot/ankle, knee, and right wrist; the second, on Monday, repaired hip and shoulder). This was to wire shut his broken jaw and fix the fractures in his face. They put small plates in his chin, 2 on either side of his nose, and 1 on his left cheek/under eye area. They fixed his broken nose, too. This surgery was expected to take 8-12 hours, but was miraculously over in just 4!!!! Praise God!!! He is taking care of every detail!
The surgeon said that although Mark had many fractures in his face/jaw, that none of them were very far displaced, so it was fairly easy to put him back together. His jaw will be wired shut for 2 weeks, and then he'll have rubber bands for another 1-3 weeks.
This doctor, as well as all the other doctors/nurses/paramedics/police, etc that have seen Mark and/or his car, said that it is amazing that Mark has no internal injuries or brain damage! So even in the midst of this really difficult time Mark is going through, there is a lot to be thankful for!
The surgeon who operated on Mark's foot, leg, hip, etc, said that it is going to be at least 6-8 weeks before Mark can put any weight on his feet. In another week or so, they'll have to do surgery on his right foot, but the swelling is still too severe for them to work on it now. He may have to have another operation on his left eye a little later to repair the broken bones around it, but again, the swelling is too bad right now.
Mark is going to be in the hospital and then probably a nursing facility, then rehab for a very long time. Last night and this morning he seems to be feeling more like himself...he's had some rough days to be sure!
The trach in his throat really bothers him, and he gets frustrated that he cannot talk. His friends from the restaurant where he works brought him a dry erase board that he can write on with his left hand (he's right handed, but can't use it because of the broken wrist), so at least he has a way to communicate. The trach, though, is below his vocal chords, so there should be no effect to his voice.
Please pray that there is no infection from any of the surgeries, that Mark will stay positive and get lots of rest (he's had trouble sleeping), for quick healing, for very little to no weight loss (he can't afford to lose much!) and also for Mark's parents. They haven't had much sleep, either. They need strength to be able to keep supporting Mark.
December 21, 2001
Mark got moved today! He's in Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital and will be in intense therapy for quite a while.
Mark's spirits are pretty good most of the time thanks to all your prayers! Keep praying for all those bones to heal!!! :)
Another quick update...
Mark had surgery on his right foot/heel yesterday and everything went really well. When he came out of recovery, he was in a tremendous amount of pain, though, like he had not felt before. They seem to have gotten that under control, and he got a few hours of good sleep last night.
Tomorrow Mark has surgery on his left eye to give support back to his eyeball, that was lost when the orbital bone was broken. This surgery does have risks involved, so please keep this one especially in your prayers.
Thanks for your prayers and encouragement for Mark and his family!
December 27, 2001
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!
To update everyone on Mark ... he's doing really well in spite of the circumstances he's in! His bruises have faded and he looks really good. He has been sitting for longer periods of time each day in an electric wheelchair ("Jazzy 1120"), although he's not moving around in it yet. Today was 4 hours as opposed to 30 minutes a couple of days ago! The physical therapists are working him really hard, but he is ready and willing and does not complain at all!
Please pray for the continued healing of his feet, knee, hip & tailbone, shoulder, jaw & other facial bones, and wrist. It will be a few more weeks before he can try to stand up on his feet, but he is already building back up his strength as much as possible to get ready.
He had the wires removed from his mouth yesterday (Wednesday) and now has rubber bands that allow him a little more room to talk and hopefully start eating some soft foods soon. He is enjoying shakes, ice cream & sherbert, and not so much enjoying Ensure, and will soon be indulging in baby food?!?
Mark has really been encouraged by the number of visitors, cards, emails, and phone calls that you all have made, so please keep it up! He also knows that God has a big plan for him through all of this, and He is going to use the testimony he has been given for God's ultimate glory & praise! This is ultimately what gets Mark through the hard times. God has been so faithful, and it is evident that he has prayers from all over the world going up on his behalf.
Mark's dad and brother were with him in Nashville this week for Christmas but have now returned to Minneapolis to work and continue to sort out "business", so please pray for them and Mark's mom that there is peace and comfort even when they can't all be together.
As always, thank you for your prayers and support for Mark and his family. He has come a long way in the past 3 weeks!
January 9, 2002
Well, it's been a month now since Mark's car accident, so here's the latest...
Yesterday Mark went for updated x-rays on everything except his face. He and Lana got to look at them. The casts on Mark's right arm and his legs/feet were removed, so they also got to see those for the first time...although somewhat reluctantly. They removed the staples (29!!!) in Mark's left knee and left it uncasted so he could start moving it some in therapy. He has wires and screws holding his knee together, and someday the wires may have to come out.
Mark's right foot is mostly metal inside all the way from his toes to his heel! The pins will stay in for at least 3 more weeks, if not longer. His left foot was actually the most severely damaged, but everything is healing well.
They recast his legs from below the knee down, and it will be 3 more weeks before he can put any weight at all on his feet. For this reason, Mark will be moving out of rehab, probably into a nursing facility for the next few weeks, until he can move back and start rehab to get him on his feet (this is for insurance purposes...they will only allow so much time in a rehab center, so he has to move out for awhile to heal).
When they removed the cast from Mark's right arm, he had 2 pins holding his ring and pinky fingers together down in his hand, so they removed those. They also removed the stitches in his hand and wrist, and also in his feet.
He has a metal plate in his arm that will stay. His wrist is tender, but he can now move his elbow since they put him in a functional cast (more like a splint), so that is progressing also! It will be 3 more weeks before they remove the pins in his right shoulder as that is continuing to be held into place while healing.
The pins in his hip will stay, and his tailbone is very sore also when he sits up, but it doesn't seem that there is much they can do about that.
The doctor said Mark's wounds all look very good, and there is no infection! He did tell Mark and Lana, though, that there is a good possibility of post-traumatic arthritis in his hip, knee, and feet, so this is something that we really need to pray against for Mark's future well-being!
The doctors at Vanderbilt have told Mark that he was one of the top cases as far as the most number of fractures of anyone that has come through that hospital. Mark's orthopedic doctor is one of the premiere surgeons at Vanderbilt, and we are thankful that he has had such great care from such a talented team of doctors and nurses!
Thank you, as always, for all of your prayers, love, and support for Mark and his family! He is reading your emails, and appreciates the calls and visits!
January 29, 2002
Great news!!! Mark is now weight-bearing on both feet!!! He went back to the doctors today and had more x-rays, etc. They have now permanently removed both casts from each leg and also removed the pins from his toes on his right foot and pins from his shoulder. He has special boots he'll wear on his feet for awhile.
He'll move back to Stallworth sometime either today or tomorrow, hopefully! We'll, of course, let you know that info as soon as we know where, when... So now comes the hard part...rehab to get him UP on his feet for the 1st time in almost 2 months!!! The doctors said he'd probably be at Stallworth for about a month.
Mark is also now able to eat normally (not steak, quite yet), so he'll be loving that! And with the combination of all these things, he should start gaining some weight back!
Please pray for this time in Mark's rehabilitation. There will probably be some great pain involved in being on his feet/legs and trying to walk again, so pray that Mark has the strength and endurance to get through it so he can go home! And also pray for Mark's spirits...God has answered every prayer, and Mark's faith is strong, but let's pray that he stays encouraged!
Praise the Lord for all He has done for our friend, Mark!
January 30, 2002
Mark got settled in late this afternoon at Stallworth and will start new rehab early tomorrow! Keep praying!!!
His dad and some friends from Minnesota are coming in tomorrow to visit through the weekend, so he's looking forward to that [and so is Lana :-) ]! Thanks again for your prayers and support!
February 1, 2002
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. Psalm 147:1
I am the Lord, who heals you. Exodus 15:26
Well, it has finally happened, the moment we've all been waiting for...Mark was able to walk nearly 30 feet in his first rehab session on Thursday! PRAISE THE LORD! He is using a walker, customized to accomodate his right arm and height as he walks. We know this has been such a LONG journey for Mark - and we are so happy for him in this time of incredible breakthrough!
Dave was in town with some friends from Minnesota and was able to video the momentous occassion - so we're sure some of you will be able to celebrate with them very soon. His right foot is in pain, but that is to be expected two days after getting pins taken out and casts off.
Please continue to pray for a speedy recovery and that the pain he is experiencing will go away. God is good!
Mark is getting his own room at Stallworth Rehab Hospital today. He is being moved to the third floor (pediatrics wing) where they had a HUGE room available. With all the visitors and attention he gets it is a great blessing to have lots of room.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support of this wonderful family. Dave, Lana, and Mark have blessed us in so many ways. We can only imagine how they've touched your lives too.
February 4, 2002
Today is Monday, February 4th. It was less than one week ago that they "pulled the pins" that had been holding critical parts of Mark's feet and right shoulder. Last Thursday at 4:00 p.m. Mark stood, using his two "moon boots" and a walker. Within minutes he walked for nearly 30 feet on his own. (The "boots" are actually huge shoe/brass devices that take pressure of critical parts of his feet and go all the way up the calf.) I was alternately crying and taking pictures. Carole just cried.
At the end of the "walk" the therapist seated him in a wheel chair and he was able, for the first time, to propel himself . . . slowly, but with no help. Considering the right-hand fingers and forearm were broken (6" rod will remain in the forearm) and the shoulder shattered, this is HUGE.
We then wheeled him into the courtyard of Stallworth Rehab for some fresh air. Within the next few days he had his first real shower since Dec. 8th describing it as "wonderful." One more step towards feeling human.
In addition, he is able to use his jaw and is eating real food, though cautiously. Therapy goes on daily, and there is much to be accomplished in these next five or six weeks. They work him hard, and he does his part.
Mark is also keenly aware of the part of you, the prayer warriors and is very, very grateful. Keep up the Good Work!
March 2, 2002
Mark was discharged from Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital and has gone to his home in Nashville. He is in an out-patient program.
Mark is walking with Bledsoe Boots and a walker. He is moving his shoulder better and beginning to use his right hand. He will be using Hydro-therapy to gain strength and mobility.
He has been using this time to write songs and to develop a deeper relationship and more intimate knowledge of the God and Savior who has shown him such mercy and love. Thank you for your prayers, please continue to hold him up as he continues his rehabilitation.
June 3, 2002
Mark is in Minneapolis and continuing with Physical Therapy. He is attacking the physical therapy as well as personal work-out sessions with vigor and is encouraged with progress. He is walking with a cane and working on getting range-of-motion in all the areas of his body that are mending.
We expect Mark will be able to begin performing concerts in the next few months. Meanwhile, he wants to get out to churches to share his testimony and a song or two, so if your church is interested, please contact us through the website!
We offer praise to our precious Lord and Savior for the healing that continues to take place in Mark's body and for the power of the testimony that is his to share. We continue to pray for complete healing because we believe and confess that our God is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us." Ephesians 3:20 And we believe for Mark, and encourage you to believe with us for the circumstances in your life: "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
We thank you for your continued prayer support as Mark walks through this time of healing.