Monday, December 16, 2013


Those of you who have been following these posts have probably wondered where I have been lately.  The following is a tragedy that is my life right now - very different from the life I had before.

My Husband and I

My husband, Dr. Ronald Hall, is a professor or Religion and Ministry at Northwest University, Kirkland Washington. We moved here in June of 2013. He worked for one month when the following tragedy occurred.

On October 5, 2013 he was swimming in the Pacific Ocean at Laguna Beach, CA with some former ministry students who had moved when we did from PA to Pasedena, CA to attend Fuller Theological Seminary.  He was to meet up with our son and grandson for a beach weekend.

Bristow Family - Ron on the Right
He was only in the water 10 minutes when a powerful wave picked him up from behind and toppled him over, hitting the sandy bottom and breaking his neck and back in 2 places. He was paralyzed immediately and began to call for help under water.

The Accident Occured in Front of the Montage Resort, Laguna Beach

His friend pulled him out of the water and when he laid him on the sand Ron had stopped breathing and turned blue. By the time the helicopter air lifted him to the trauma center, he was considered a drowning victim because he had ingested a large amount of sea water and sand. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph Hospital in Mission Viejo, CA, had surgery to fix the broken bones, and was in a medically induced coma for 4 days.

 Meanwhile I was in the northeast US doing a series of sewing and felting events for Baby Lock when I got the news. I flew to CA immediately and  we spent the next 5 weeks in the Intensive Care Unit in Mission Viejo, CA Hospital.  However, because this accident occurred at Laguna Beach, I had relatives in San Clemente who took me in to live with them and use their car for as long as I needed it. 

Because of the government shut-down at the time, my twins, who are both military Captains, were able to be on leave and stay with us and help us for 10 days.  My youngest son was travelling in the United Kingdom on a music tour and we encouraged him to stay there and finish the tour.

Ron struggled through 2 surgeries to rebuild the bones in his spine and to regain his health until stable enough to be air lifted back to the University of Washington Medical Center Spinal Cord Rehab  in Seattle, WA.  It took an entire day to get an ambulance to the Orange County Airport, to Redding, CA for refuel, to Seattle Airport, to ambulance to the UW hospital.

Ron in the Air Ambulance
Air Ambulance from Orange County Airport to Seattle Airport
 It just so happens that this Center is the model for other centers in the country and the best possible place he can be to recover the use of his body again.   M youngest son and his wife, Trevor and Erin Hall from PA came to spend Thanksgiving with us.

My Youngest Son, Trevor and Wife Erin at Thanksgiving

 He has been living in the hospital for 4 weeks now and another 4 weeks to go before he is
ready to live at home again. He is still paralyzed but has feeling and some movement throughout his body and in all his extremities. The doctors think he will walk again someday but it will be a long, slow process.  Each day something new happens that gives us hope that he may be able to fully recover from this tragedy.

Ron Hall Still Smiling Through it All
So my days are spent at the hospital, or running errands to maintain our new lives here in Seattle.  We are living in a faculty duplex on the campus of Northwest University where we thought we would be staying temporarily until we found a house to buy.  We are relieved we didn't buy a house after all and are so close to his work as a professor here on campus.  The University has been our extended family and has poured out their love and support even though we are so new to this area. 

I have taken a leave-of-absense from my job with Baby Lock, who has also been very supportive through this entire ordeal and have agreed to work with me on my sewing tours whenever I see my way clear to go back to those.

If any of you would like to keep up to date with our progress or would like to help us in any way, we have set up a website for him where you can see pictures and get weekly updates.  If you click on the tabs underneath Ron's face you can see the comments left by those who have known him over the years, or click on the update tab to see his progress.  You may be able to press your Ctrl button on your keyboard while you click on the link below to go right to the website.  If that doesn't work, try highlighting, copying and pasting the link into your browser address bar.

Some day I will return to fabric and felting but for now, I am my husband's primary care giver and will work toward his full recovery in the future.