THE FALL ACCORDING TO FACEBOOK.
On June 24, 2019, I fell approximately 80 feet off a cliff on a volcano near Tequila, Mexico, breaking 21 bones, including my back, shoulder, sternum, knee, and neck. I also suffered a punctured lung, a concussion, and severe lacerations all over my body. This is part one of the play-by-play account of the accident, hospitalization, surgeries, painstakingly slow broken bone discovery, and the beginning of my recovery, as told by my posts on everyone’s favorite least favorite social media platform, Facebook.
During the days directly after the fall, I was physically unable to post to social media, so some posts were written by Kathleen Royal, who was there for the accident, and Rahel Wells, who flew down two days later. These posts are attributed accordingly. A few grammatical and factual changes have been made to the original posts, as well.
I should warn you that this post contains graphic images of my injuries. Proceed at your own risk. Also, it’s not about autumn or original sin, if you were looking for a treatise on either topic.
Here’s Facebook’s account of what happened.
MONDAY, JUNE 24
It is with a heavy heart I come to you tonight. Jon had a serious fall today. Your prayers, thoughts, juju, mother nature vibes, whatever it is you believe in, is needed.
I know Jon is loved by so many. Please know I will do my best to keep you all as updated as possible.
We love you all.
TUESDAY, JUNE 25
1 collapsed lung and chest tube in, 4 head wounds stitched, lots of bumps, brusies, cuts and pain.
Jon is stable, in the best of care and being closely monitored. His dad Richard Davidson and sister Rahel Wells are on their way. Thank you to everyone for checking in, being here without physically being here, for your thoughts, prayers and love.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26
Here with Jon and Kathleen now in Guadalajara…he is stable, but looks like he has been in a brutal war zone, as he estimates he fell 60–80 feet down a series of cliffs…the tube is still draining blood out of his lung, he has 2 broken ribs, he is covered in lacerations and bruises, the wounds on his head are numerous, and he is in massive amounts of pain. Just so grateful that God has spared his life!! Please keep praying for continued healing and wisdom for the doctors and nurses here…
THURSDAY, JUNE 27
Jon’s lung is reinflating. There is still blood around the lung and air in the chest cavity, but it is improving. Oxygen and the chest tube will remain in. The head wounds are healing, and circulation is coming back. We did find that he does have two broken ribs and continues to be in an immeasurable amount of pain. He will remain on bed rest.
Your continued prayers and love are beyond appreciated, we thank you all for your check-ins and positive thoughts. Rahel Wells and Richard Davidson arrived safe and sound.
Last night and today have been rough… Jon is in immense pain, and has hardly slept. Please pray that the pain meds can make a dent in his pain, and for continued healing of his collapsed lung, broken ribs, and many deep wounds.
And yet God continues to work miracles through all this!! I am praising God that he is in a hospital that treats many trauma cases (just learned that this morning), and that his symptoms are normal for the almost life-ending fall he had (a doctor yesterday said he was “very lucky”, which means miracle to me!); his deepest head wounds have been regaining circulation (which was not certain, as there were large flaps without blood flow for hours before he got to the hospital); his lung is reinflating and not infected so far; Kathleen and I were able to safely retrieve and return the rental car (from near Tequila Volcano, where the accident happened) without running out of gas on the toll road where there was no exit for 73 km; and he has an amazing and heroic girlfriend, whom I am enjoying getting to know better.
I know there are many many more, at least some of which my tired brain will remember and add later! Thanks for all your continued support and prayers!!
FRIDAY, JUNE 28
Outside the hospital, these bougainvilleas bloom, reminding me that God is working miracles of new life every day… Jon’s pain is under more control, praise God, though every breath is still difficult and excruciatingly painful, and will likely be for several more weeks…Blood and air are still draining from his lung and chest tube, so he is doing breathing exercises to prevent pneumonia. Thank you all so much for your continued prayers for healing!!
SATURDAY, JUNE 29
Today, as I was getting wheeled into yet another CT scan, I saw blue sky. Through a window. For the first time in six days.
I have yet to sit, stand, use the bathroom, or eat by myself, either, in that timespan, or take a breath without excruciating pain, despite the morphine.
However, I’m thankful that there is less blood in my lungs, that my chest tube may be out by tomorrow, and that I may be able to sit up for small periods next week, too.
The broken ribs, though the least of my worries, should start to heal in three weeks, as the excess air finally leaves my chest cavity. I may never regain all of the hair on parts of my scalp that got peeled off, or use of the fingertip that got chopped off, though. I actually can’t even count the number of lacerations and bruises all over my body right now. Feel free to try.
It’s high time, though, that I let you know how incredibly thankful I am. Thankful that I fell down a 80-plus-foot cliff and lived to type about it. Thankful that I’m not paralyzed. Thankful that Kathleen, Richard, Rahel and an incredible medical team are taking care of me. Thankful for you, your prayers, your checking in, and your much-needed generosity.
MONDAY, JULY 1
I can’t sugarcoat this anymore.
I have never felt this comprehensively terrible in my life.
Ever since falling 80 feet off of a cliff eight days ago, I’ve been dealing with a collapsed lung, blood and fluid in my chest cavity, three broken ribs, searing pain every time I breathe, speak, eat or move, and 30 stitches in my scalp and lacerations all over my body.
I am not allowed to leave my hospital bed except for surgeries, CT scans and X-rays, although I did get my chest tube out with local anesthesia yesterday, which proved to be one of the most painful things I’ve endured in recent memory.
Furthermore, my insurance doesn’t cover any healthcare in Mexico, and it’s currently unsafe and forbidden to fly back to the US with a collapsed lung/pneumothorax, so here I am, hoping to be cleared to check out within the next couple days.
I’m so thankful, again, for Kathleen, Rahel, and my dad, who have been there every step of the way, and for the fact that the hospital’s food has been incredible.
THURSDAY, JULY 4
On Fourth of July, people talk about heroes. Heroes who go the extra mile. Who sacrifice. Who serve.
Well, I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for one hero in particular. A hero who dragged me down a mountain as far as she could after I’d been knocked off a 80-foot cliff by a huge boulder. Who called not one but two search and rescue teams. Who kept me from slipping back into unconsciousness during the entire 9-hour search and rescue ordeal. Who carried my oxygen tank all the way to the ambulance and wrapped her shirt around my head to help staunch the bleeding.
A hero who, for the entire time I’ve been bedridden at the hospital, fed me, helped me go to the bathroom, helped me sit up and lie down every single time, communicated with all my friends and family constantly, helped arrange for my dad and sister to come visit me, sat in a hospital room all day and slept on a hospital couch all night, kept my spirits up, answered emails and took care of my businesses for me, put ointment on the hundreds of wounds all over my body, listened to my constant screams of pain day and night, and put her own plans on hold to basically did everything for me since I couldn’t do anything, and still can’t do much, myself.
That is who a hero is, and what a hero does. Thank you for being the greatest hero I’ve ever met, Kathleen.
FRIDAY, JULY 5
Since a boulder knocked me off a 80-foot cliff in Mexico 12 days ago, I have had a lot of time to lay in this hospital bed and think.
First, I’ve been thinking about how I’m thankful I can still do a decent Blue Steel.
Second, I’ve been thinking a lot about how grateful and humbled I am by the outpouring of prayers, well wishes, and encouragement I’ve received. People reaching out from all over the world, asking how they can help, what they can do.
Finally, I’ve also been thinking about how I am so incredibly thankful for the financial generosity so many of you have shown. I am not one to ask for money, ever, but the fact that my health insurance doesn’t cover a penny of my surgeries, hospitalization, medicine, scans, or other medical care in Mexico, the fact that the hospital doesn’t offer cash patient deductions, the fact that my pneumothorax won’t let me fly home, and the fact that I have no sick pay at work to my name, has left me in a tight spot.
Without me saying a word, people like Evan, Rachel, Jamie, Peter, Tony, Brad, and more have stepped forward to raise money to help cover some of my constantly mounting medical bills. And so many of you have donated online and/or will be attending, performing at, or donating to the fundraiser that Labrewatory and Dawn Patrol Coffee are hosting.
I don’t deserve this. I’m a flawed human being who makes a lot of mistakes. You have shown me what love is about. Your kindness has brought tears to my eyes every single day of this ordeal. It hurts to cry with a collapsed lung and broken ribs, but it’s so worth it.
From the bottom of my heart (which is still very much intact), thank you.
MONDAY, JULY 8
From one bed to another.
I’m ecstatic to finally be out of the hospital, but still have to spend 23+ hours a day in a hotel bed due to nonstop, blinding pain when sitting or standing. Breathing hurts, too, but that activity is rather non-negotiable.
Believe it or not, we binge-watched a TV show. It’s true.
In other news, I have rediscovered my love for bendy straws, much to the chagrin of my environmentally conscious self but much to the appreciation of my broken ribs.
Today, it’s back to the hospital to get 30+ stitches out of my head and find out just how big my newfound bald patches are.
Thank you all so much for your continued prayers and support. And thanks, as always, to Kathleen for getting me in and out of bed, feeding me, and making fun of me at just the right times.
TUESDAY, JULY 9
There are times when the pain and hardship in this life are overshadowed by the kindness and goodness of humanity.
This is one of those times.
In the wake of my 80-foot fall and subsequent hospitalization and surgeries, so many people have continued to bring me to tears (yes, actual, literal tears) with their love and support.
An amazing example of this? The event that Labrewatory and Dawn Patrol Coffee are putting on for me this Saturday, July 13, to help cover my medical bills.
Incredible, free, local live music. Awesome food, friends, and sponsors. I hear rumors of a super secret special beer on tap, too.
It would mean so much to me if you could come out and enjoy some great tunes and great taps.
FRIDAY, JULY 12
Thank you. In advance. For tomorrow. You know who you are.
Thank you for planning this whole event. For coming to Labrewatory, whether from Portland or even from out of state. For performing awesome music. For giving. For putting together raffle baskets. For brewing beer in support. For donating. For hanging out. For being the most amazing support network that an undeserving guy like me could ever ask for.
I couldn’t have drawn my happy thankful face better myself.
SATURDAY, JULY 13
Labrewatory brewed me my very own beer!
Now kids, don’t go getting any ideas. Don’t go and get knocked off a 80-foot cliff just so a world-class brewery can brew a beer for YOU, too.
SUNDAY, JULY 14
Progress, but still a ways to go.
My lung is reinflating, but not as big as it should. There is still blood in my lung and fluid in my chest cavity, and the torn cartilage and broken ribs in front are pulling my sternum at a downward angle, making breathing even more difficult.
Long story short, I’m still not cleared to fly, but I’m getting closer.
On a much happier note, thank you from the bottom of my good lung for an incredible event yesterday.
FRIDAY, JULY 19
Tonight’s the night.
My lung has finally been cleared to fly back to Portland, and Kathleen and I bought last-minute tickets and are heading home.
I am in a metal chair of emotion right now.
I’m already in an excruciating amount of pain despite my near-OD on NSAIDs, and dreading the 5-hour flight.
I’m freaked out that my lung will collapse again in the reduced pressure of the cabin.
I’m so excited to see all of my incredible friends.
I'm sad to leave this city and country that have won a huge piece of my heart.
I'm happy that quite a few waterfalls in Oregon are wheelchair-accessible.
See you soon, PDX.
To be continued.