A Travel Fear (Almost) Realized

Since many folks have asked, we interrupt this regularly scheduled Egypt coverage for an uncharacteristically personal update from home. The only traveling I’m doing this week is back and forth from my parents’ house to the Shands burn unit an hour away in Gainesville, Florida. My little brother Alex, who just met up with me in Europe last month, was holding a gasoline can when it exploded in his hand early Sunday morning, just a few hours after he played a show with his band Master Radical in Jacksonville Beach. He was on fire for about two minutes before his friends were able to extinguish him by covering him in dirt.

Alex in London, December 2011

He has mostly 3rd degree burns on 20% of his back, legs and left arm. I’d put pictures up but they’re not for the faint of heart. Our poor dad turned white and had to leave the room when we first saw him after the accident.

We’re at the hospital now awaiting surgery and skin grafting. Not sure if he’ll have to have more than one procedure or not, but we’re praying he responds to pain meds and comes out like a champ. He’s a really tough cookie, so I know he’s going to be a.o.k.

Alex on drums

I will never stop thanking God for more time with my brother. It’s nothing short of miraculous that he’s still around to tell us the story, particularly given the first ER he went to released him to recover at home. Given the extent of his burns, his current doctors are horrified that any physician would give such completely wrong and dangerous advice. Despite agonizing pain and a challenging recovery, by the grace of God Alex looks like he’ll be alright in the long run.


The one constant fear I have about living this nomadic lifestyle, and I think a lot of folks feel this way, is that something bad will happen at home and I’ll be too far away to help. If I wasn’t here right now in between trips, I would be beside myself, stuck on a plane or a train somewhere across the world wondering how to get back ASAP. This time, I’m here. Doing the ER thing, switching off with Mom for overnight stays in his hospital room, keeping people updated on his condition, spoon feeding him pudding despite him grunting, “I’m a grown man! Don’t feed me pudding.” (He still ate it.)

After the Master Radical show Saturday night

Next week will be different though. I’m scheduled to fly to Jordan to kick off my new business and see Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea, and as long as everything goes well from now until then, I’m still planning to. But I know I’ll cry all the way to Amman and wonder every moment how my brother is doing and how my mom, dad and sister are managing without me. I was planning to be gone for several months, but I may have to amend that. I guess that’s the upside of nomadic life – there’s room for changes in plans.

Bro & Sis jumping time at the Louvre

Thank you for your prayers for Alex, especially as he prepares for surgery. I’ll be updating Twitter with news as I get it.

Have you ever had to come home for a family emergency? What’s your biggest travel fear?


***Jan. 25: Little bro had skin graft surgery on Thursday and was released from the hospital to recover at home yesterday. He’s in Mom’s capable hands now and will be ok in the long run. He still has a lot of pain ahead, but we all think the worst is behind him. Thank you for your prayers!

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23 thoughts on “A Travel Fear (Almost) Realized”

  1. Can’t remotely imagine what you are going through. Hope you make it over, but obviously as I’ve told you privately, the only thing that matters is that he recovers and gets back on track. Thinking of ya’ll in these tough times.

  2. Angie, I’m thinkin’ of Hodgie and I hope that he’s doing (relatively) well and I’m very thankful that you were home from your travels to take care of him. Tell him that I’m sending my best wishes for a quick recovery!

  3. Angie- I think about that every single time I’m on my way to the airport. I can’t imagine not being there if something happened to my family. So glad you are there for your family during this tough time!

  4. Anytime you are away from home, you can not help but think of the “what ifs”. But you press on anyway, otherwise life stands still, it is the nature of the beast.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery to your brother, and safe travels to you.

  5. I guess the only consolation is, like you said, that you were around when it happened and not halfway around the world. I can’t even imagine how scary that must have been for your family, or how rough it’s going to be for your brother in the coming weeks! Sending some good vibes your way…

  6. As a nurse, I understand how it can be very scary for family members when accidents and emergencies happen. I know Alex will recover very well; believe me a strong family support system makes a big difference with these kinds of situations. You’re a wonderful sister and he’s lucky to have you there by his side, pudding or no pudding! Hope your travels go as planned, and that your brother is well-taken care of. This will only make you guys a stronger and closer family =o)

    1. Thanks, Antoinette. I am just so proud of him – he must be the strongest person I know. I would be screaming and hateful if the tables were turned, and his nurses just came in and were raving about how he’s so sweet and funny and always smiling and how he’s the favorite patient on the floor. What a guy. Thanks for your nice words!

  7. Oh man, Ang. I didn’t know what had happened to him–only that it was severe–until reading this update. (Mom and Kari both have asked me, as well, given that they’re your FB friends.) It’s way worse than I imagined, and he is one lucky boy (both for surviving that and having an awesome family like you guys).

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