- THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC INJURY PICTURES - - VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED -
Let the longest week of my life begin... Thank you for being here... My story within a story.
Thursday, March 24th, 2022 - 6:30 a.m. I had arrived at work on time and was looking to start a productive day. Things that week had been going spectacular minus a few mechanical issues that exists at most production based businesses. A normal end of the week as we get closer to Friday, one would assume. We were going to start the morning by deep cleaning a big electric cooler. I knew we were going to have to transfer some water out of our HLT (hot liq tank) and into two medium sized buckets in order to thoroughly clean the cooler. There are two hookup valves, front and side, on the hot liq tank, and I noticed that a hose was already connected to what I thought was the front valve. I soon discovered that my assumption was wrong. Me, the man who double checks everything, had not doubled checked the most important thing of all - himself. All it took was three seconds of water at that temperature - three seconds to create an agony that was going to follow me around for the weeks to come.
6:35 a.m. The supervisor immediately brought over a bucket of cold water from our CLT (cold liq tank), which is basically water that is colder than cold. He told me to stick my foot inside it. I texted my wife a couple of pictures and decided on going to the ER. There was no way this was going to take care of itself. It was going to require serious medical attention. I felt embarrassed. Since I had joined the company, I had been accident free. I was the one to preach 'cautiousness over quickness', and I expected more from myself. As the pain grew more and more intense, I realized that this was not only going to affect me as a person but was going to affect my family, my environment, and my sanity.
8 a.m. to 2 p.m I went to our local ER, and they were not prepared to treat an injury like this. They gave me a tetanus shot and referral on where I needed to go to next, an affiliate burn center that was located an hour and a half away. It is known as one of the best burn clinics in our state. When I arrived home, my wife was a bundle of nerves. She was sick to her stomach. She could not believe this had happened and did not like seeing me in pain. Her father was going to drive us to Chapel Hill while the rest of our immediate family exchanged babysitting duties. When we arrived at the clinic, the staff was very nice, caring, and informative, and I was glad I did not waste any time on getting there. The doctor informed me that this was not going to be an easy fix and there might be a possibility that skin grafts were going to be needed in order to heal the wound properly. They said I could spend the night under their watch or go home with a list of things that needed to be done in order for my foot to heal. I chose the latter and, before we left, a physical therapist showed me stretching exercises to do at home so the skin on my ankle would not tighten up. I remember walking down the hallway as the therapist held my hand. With each hobble that shot a stampeding pain throughout my entire leg, she coaxed me to walk at my own pace. I kept looking down at my feet as I trudged forward and her next statement resonated throughout the fluorescent hallway - "Don't look down and keep your line of sight forward. You got this!"
3 p.m. to Bedtime Would it be okay to say that this was one of the longest days of my life? I had never been in this amount of pain before. People were reaching out to check on me. People were praying for me. I accepted these gifts as I writhed around on my couch. The pain meds finally started to balance my discomfort, and it hit me on how bad this was going to be. I was trying to be strong even though I knew I was going to have to lose a couple of battles before I regained the smallest fraction of high ground. I had immediate sympathy for any person who had ever experienced burns that covered their entire body, much less any other part of their body. I was humbled. I was scared. I was a traveler in an unknown territory. I knew I was going to be stuck in limbo for some time, awaiting my next dreaded trailhead - the first wound cleaning that me and my wife were going to have to do on our own tomorrow.
Friday, March 25th, 2022 Is it okay to admit that the next morning sucked horrifically? Is it okay to confess that, through immense amounts of pain, you will discover a foreign dialect that you never thought existed? As soon as I hung my foot over the side of the bed, the blood that gravity pulled downward felt like jagged, burning glass shards prodding me from deep inside my veins. I did not feel like it was going to relent but, in the seconds that seemed like hours, it did. Tears filled the corners of my eyes. I tried to breathe through the pain. With the help of my wife, I was able to brush my teeth, use the restroom, and make it to the recliner. I was not accustomed to starting my mornings off in this fashion considering my normal routine I had followed for years on end. I felt like a hostage to my current injury. Besides my stretching exercises and pain management, the next task of the day was our first would cleaning. "Don't Look Down..."
Pre Wash / Post Wash
(the gooey substance is the burn cream we applied the previous day. It needed to be lightly scrubbed off before fresh cream could be applied - that white flap you see is the skin that was instantly blistered by the hot liq water and peeled back when I yanked my sock and shoe off.) The doctor had said that burns do not stop eating away at the tissue the first day they occur. He said these types of burns keep progressing for forty-eight to seventy-two hours. My mind was in disarray because I thought I was already in the midst of battle when the real battle was just beginning. Day one was one of the hardest days to overcome, and all I wanted to do was go back to normalcy and not be in pain. This was going to turn out to be one of the biggest understatements of my life.
Saturday, March 26th, 2022 I had already been pre-warned that this day was going to be one of the hardest to get through, and it turned out to be an absolute struggle. Since I restlessly slept in past my medication time, my 'get out of the bed routine' made it seem like my foot was caught in a prickly, lava-laced cactus. I cursed myself for being so stupid. I spoke in my foreign tongue. I moaned. I gnashed my teeth together. Tears filled my eyes. I breathed as though I was blowing out a thousand candle cake. Every step, every hobble, every shuffle shot sparks throughout the lower half of my left leg. The pain shot over and made my other leg hurt. The battle was endless, as was the pain, and I knew I was never going to be the same. How could I go back to being the man that I was before? The unruly chore called 'the cleaning' laid in wait and prodded the back of my brain, me slowly having to scrub in tiny circles the flesh I wish I could instantly regenerate. "Don't Look Down", even if it hurts yet, for now, I know I have to.
Pre Wash / Post Wash
Sunday, March 27th, 2022 Today was a day of working through the pain and trying to remain level headed amongst the chaos that a burn wound gives you. The constant struggle. The endless shifting between comfortability and agitation, madness and lucidity, hope and defeat. With every flex, movement, and stretch, the discomfort of every nerve ending felt as though my ankle was being stabbed with ten foot flaming swords. The meds continued to fight off everything they could. I thought, where did my peace go and what is this hum I hear now, in silence, in my ear? The pain will not let me drift away. It keeps me here and drains every fiber of my being that I have left. I shudder around in agony after my cleaning but I know that I must do this in order to keep infection at bay. You must hurt now so you can hurt less later. Three seconds of hindsight creates hours upon hours of the most hated prods that this life yields. Am I okay? Am I really okay? When will the pain finally let me be, if ever? "Don't Look Down!" I'm sorry, but I have to.
Monday, March 28th, 2022 This morning, I wanted to be back in control of my life. I wanted a normal morning that I knew I wasn't going to be able to have but was still going to try to create. I woke up and completed ten minutes of stretches before hopping to the bathroom. Something is wrong, my brain thought because I could barely walk whereas yesterday movement was manageable though not easy. Is this the infection slowly infiltrating the opening on my foot? I wanted normalcy today because I was going back to the burn clinic tomorrow. I wanted my carefree cup of coffee at my kitchen island. I wanted to be able to walk to my kitchen window and watch the birds be chased away by the hawk that has made my backyard its home. I wanted to cook breakfast with my wife and son and enjoy the simple things like I used to. The little things are so often forgotten amidst our current struggle, aren't they? I came to realize that I cannot sit at the kitchen island anymore and prop up like I want to. I cannot stroll around my kitchen like I own the world. I cannot watch and admire the birds at my bird feeders. I see the hawk perched on the rooftop of my shop. We make eye contact. I've seen that stare before. He's seen mine. The predator. The prey. I am scared. I am not the same person I was or ever will be. The clear flaming liquid has baptized me. The scald. I have flashbacks. I twitch. The taste settles in my throat. I can smell the pain. Fear hits my palate like the residual film from a hot pepper. If I stay at the hospital, this will be the first night I have ever been away from my wife, my son, my home, alone but not alone, not by their choice but by the lack of mine. I am no longer the constant I thought I was. I am now the variable, and all it took was three seconds. One, Two, Three... Truth be told, I am scared for the first time in quite some time. I do not like this feeling. I am stronger than this. "Don't look down..." But what if I can't help it.
Pre Wash / Post Wash
Tuesday, March 29th, 2022 - 4:40 a.m. Today is the day of my appointment at the burn clinic and, even though I'm nervous about what they have to say, I'm glad we're going back so they can make sure we have been going through the proper motions. My morning stretches were the hardest they have been since the injury, and I was able to make it out of bed with due diligence. I do have to take my time hanging my foot off the edge of the bed because, when the blood starts coursing through it, the rush feels like a bunch of hot, tiny needles pogo sticking down my veins. The throbs pulsate in volcanic waves with every heartbeat. It finally relents, though not fully dissipating, and leaves my bare-skinned foot with a vapid tightness. I remember running in the yard a week ago then I flash back to the present, to my current situation, and I curse myself for not being more cautious. I begin to question myself. I take a deep breath through my mouth and inhale positive energy. I breathe out through my nostrils and exhale the bad vibes. I keep my mind on the task at hand. I am scared even though I am brave. I am an army of one. I am ready to proceed forward. I've hurt long enough even though I have plenty of hurt ahead of me. It's time for some peace of mind. I deserve that and, in a weird kind of retrospective way, I think all of us deserve that! Innocent, suffering souls deserve inner and outer peace. God, I know you are there and can hear me! I need this victory. Please!
2:00 p.m. The doctor told me that the pale patch on my ankle is build up of the burn cream that me and my wife had been applying. It had attached itself to my foot because I was not scrubbing it off well enough, which is common in these types of situations. It was time to get to the root of the problem. I was admitted to room 5226 and, almost immediately, I wondered who was lying here in the bed before me and what story did they carry inside their scarred body. If I was able to pick out a room myself, this would have been the one I would have chosen. It was a corner room on the fifth floor and had three windows, spacious sitting area with three chairs, personal bathroom, and a shower. From my window, I could see the clock tower at Chapel Hill. My nurse reminded me of one of my best friends, which soothed me even though one of the first things I had to experience was a blood thinner slash anti clotting shot to the back of the arm. I had the choice of these being inserted there or the side of my abdomen, every eight hours, for the duration of my visit. My mind kept dissecting the scenarios that lay before me: if they do the deep clean, I'll be able to go home by Thursday to recuperate, if they do a skin graft, the soonest I'll be home is by Monday or Tuesday. Regardless of my current suffering, things could always be worse. I just hate that this is my first hospital admission ever and, for the first time in over six plus years, this will be the first night I had to spend away from my wife, my baby boy, my home, my normalcy, my everything. I guess this is what trauma feels like, and all it took was three seconds. "Don't Look Down." Right?
Wednesday, March 30th, 2022 My surgery was scheduled for 7 a.m. The entire night, all I could think about was the road that lay ahead of me. I felt like a homesick child that was missing their parents while being away at camp. I missed my wife. I missed my boys. I missed my family, friends, and home. I could not settle my spirit. I wanted to be anywhere other than the hospital but I knew I had to go through this before I could start the healing process. I remember the two assistants who wheeled me to the operating room waiting area. They were talking about their work day and were very nice to me. The attending nurse consoled me as I lay in my bed. Hanging curtains separated me and another patient who was going to go under. My anonymous neighbor seemed more composed than me and that increased my need for bravery. I met my anesthesiologist and, for some strange reason, his head cap stuck out to me and was different than all the others. It had different neon colored patterns painted on it and seemed like something from the eighties. He introduced me to the surgeon who was going to be performing my operation and, before I knew it, I was being wheeled into the operating room. Before my eyes shut and I was drugged into the confines of a deep sleep abyss, I remember reaching over and lightly grabbing someone's hand. The person held my hand back as my eyelids grew heavier and heavier. In that moment, I knew I was going to be okay. It was time to begin the inevitable.
When I woke up from my anesthesia, it took me a while to reground myself. One second had turned into two hours and my body had to catch up with the current world. The nurse informed me that my wife was waiting for me in my room. That thought alone comforted me and helped pull me closer to the parallel I had left and returned to. The deep cleaning revealed that I did have third degree burns on parts of my foot and a skin graph was needed for it to heal properly. They took a small section from my thigh and attached it to the side of my foot, with all of this meticulous work being concealed behind a large splint. I spent the rest of the day on meds, eating high protein meals and drinking fluids, trying to chase away the mental grogginess and scratchy throat from them putting a tube down it. I was excited to see my wife and FaceTime my sons and receive text messages from my friends and family. It was tangible, unconditional love at its finest even though I knew I would never be the same man after an accident of the such. Will a future butterfly emerge from their cocoon in time? I would like to think so. I hope so. I know so because I hope so. We are all butterflies in some type of cocoon, right? Always remember - the struggle inside the cocoon is not seen, but the butterfly landing on the flower so often is admired.
Thursday, March 31st, 2022 I quickly realized that it's hard not being able to move your leg and be bed ridden. It is a mental and physical battle that wears on your spiritual body. I miss parts of my old life before the accident. I miss my comfort zone. I miss my morning coffee at my kitchen island. I miss freely walking to my toilet. I miss the smell of my house. I miss my pj pants and sleeping shirts. I miss not hurting. I ordered room service food all day, watched cheesy movies, and did my best to keep my heavy lead leg still so the skin graft would stick and attach to my deep cleansed foot. The visual thoughts of the procedure makes me twitch. It makes my wife's stomach churn. Her nerves are more torn than mine considering everything she has seen her soul mate go through. The pokes. The prods. The sticks. The scrapings. The discomfort. One thing that jumps out in my mind on this lazy day was when the Recreational Therapists stopped by and asked me how I was doing. One of them was finishing her training in three and half weeks. The previous day we had practiced breathing exercises, and I was open to what she had learned and wanted to teach me. Her supervisor stood at the door and answered the more technical questions. Part of their recreational therapy was called 'guided imagery'. During this practice, someone would read excerpts of a written passage while the patient closed their eyes and let go of the pain. Through this exercise, the therapist wanted the patient to propel their body to a place where they did not hurt. She asked me if I would be interested in participating. I asked, "so you are going to read to me? Right now?" She replied, "if you want me to - yes." I said, "I would love if you read me a story!" The RT opened her book of short stories and flipped the pages until she found one that she admitted to favoring titled, The Night Sky. As she read, her voice shook until it solidified into a strong, imaginative narration, I let her words and descriptives carry me away. While she talked about the night sky, I transported to a point in time when me, my wife, and one of my sons were at the beach. It was at night, and we were walking the shoreline with flashlights, looking for anything out of the ordinary. For hours on end, we explored the beaches that night and were amazed at what emerged onto the dark, salt soaked sand we currently walked on barefooted. When she finished reading and closed her book, there was a still silence in the room. I was amazed by what had just happened. I felt at ease and was very proud of the RT and how her words were able to help, even if it was only for a couple of minutes. It felt nice to be read to for the first time in quite some time, and I finally realized the power that words have when they find the right narrator or public speaker. The Night Sky. "Don't Look Down!"
Friday, April 1st, 2022 Even though it was a sleep that was not one hundred percent perfect, I rested heavily until one a.m. and, for some unknown reason, my body was like - EAT! DRINK! OKAY, BACK TO SLEEP! I indulged myself for thirty minutes, passed urine into my bedside container, and dozed off until five in the morning. I slept so hard that I did not feel my nurse hook my IV back to my antibiotics. One thing I wanted to do since I was feeling better about the two day bed rest - I wanted to watch the sun rise from my bed because I was really missing being at home, at the island in my kitchen, watching the sun creep through my blinds as I sip coffee from my mug.
Today was going to be a day of rest, meditation, and relaxation, with one of the biggest days being tomorrow when they undressed my cocoon and got me involved with Physical Therapy. I was excited to get back to walking on my own two feet once again. My journey had gone from instant pain, to being scared, to visiting hospitals, to wound cleanings, to throwing my wife's and family's schedule upside down, back to hospitals, back to surgery, back to pain, back to the scared unknown when it comes to reviving an extremity that has gone through trauma. With the overload of information in everyone's news feeds, we may think that our imprint will get lost along the way and not have relevance in the weeks to come; yet, if you've ever touched someone's life and let your memory imprint their soul, I think it will surprise you on what truly sticks with people and what is merely forgotten in the weeks to come. Through this, I am glad to have met the people I have met during this experience. I am also very thankful for my family and friends who have left their specific imprint on my life during these days and days past. I am not scared - I am confident. I am not embarrassed - I am proud. I am no longer concerned - I am at peace about the healing that needs to take place. "Don't Look Down!" The caterpillars struggle turns it into a butterfly. Be your own hero.
Saturday, April 2nd, 2022 I woke up this morning, tired. Frustrated. Exhausted. Mentally drained. I looked at the bathroom door, and it was so close to where I lay. I had tried using a bedpan the night before and it was not easy. I gazed again at the bathroom door, then down at my leg, then back at the door. I was at the point that if I tried to use my bedside urinal and push too hard then there was a good chance that I was going to slip up. With all of that on my mind, it was hard for me to eat my breakfast. Each bite that I chewed on and swallowed, I could feel the load inside my stomach get heavier and heavier. I looked out my window at the rising sun. The current frustration I was feeling made me anxiously stare out of it like a melancholic robot. Around the nine o'clock hour, the doctor came in and removed the splint from my foot. Almost immediately, the pressure around my ankle started to relent. I was able to bend my knee and stretch. I felt like a resurrected mummy freed from its eternal sarcophagus. A couple minutes after the doctor left, the physical therapist came in and asked me, "are you ready to walk?" This was the moment I had been waiting for. This was what was going to determine the upcoming days of my life, as well as my personal discharge from the hospital. These next couple of steps were going to be some of the hardest that I had ever taken in my entire life. The PT wrapped a couple of ace bandages around my foot, stretched it for a couple of minutes, and helped me to the edge of my bed. He detached the drain machine (Med Vac) from my bed and carried it in his left hand while holding his right hand out to me so I could firmly grasp it. When I put pressure down on my left foot, there was another countless burn as my legs and feet adjusted to feeling my full weight again. I felt dizzy for a moment, but it subsided. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other and second guessed that first movement forward. I finally decided to take the first leap. I was finally back walking after not being able to do so for over four days. My first quote on quote lap was not easy, but random thoughts about my well being, my wife, my sons, my family, and my friends who were rooting for me back home pushed me to be relentless and not give up. I took a step then mumbled to myself, "small step - big step - don't look down." I took another step and repeated it aloud. The burning sensation in my foot made me feel like I was going to tear something, but my physical therapist said that was not the case. Nearing the end of lap one, tears filled the corners of my eyes because I realized how far I had come. The little things - right? When we got back to the room, I looked at the bathroom door that had been teasing me the entire previous night and all morning. I knew what was going to go down, and I think the therapist knew what was about to happen. After four days of having to use a bedside urinal and bed pan, I was finally going to be able to take my place back on the porcelain throne.
4:30 p.m. One of my good, local friends stayed for a long visit, and I am grateful this person came by. It really helped my mental status considering I was on the down and outs. Me and this person were able to catch up after a year of not seeing one another. We laughed. We talked. We shared stories. We made a lifelong memory. We created a moment in time that I, personally, will never forget. Unconditional love - nothing will ever top this. It saves lives. It lifts spirits. It rescues souls in need. At the latter part of our time together, I told this person that I wanted to walk a lap before they left. I struggled somewhat to bring balance to my feet, yet this person cheered me on as though my life depended on it. "Come on, Vernie! You got this!" After our journey, my friend compared me to a baby sea turtle that was breaking out of its shell, crawling back into the ocean, being carried away by the next oncoming wave so I could finally return to explore the vast beauty before me. Two days remain before I can go home. Six days since I've seen my baby boy due to my floor not allowing anyone under eighteen to come into the room due to 'Covid'. Be your own hero! "Don't Look Down."
Sunday, April 3rd, 2022 You remember me mentioning the butterfly emerging from the cocoon, whether that butterfly is you as a person, an extremity, or your inner spirit? This is what I was doing at 12:00 a.m. last night. A couple of tears ran down my cheeks because I was scared what my new creation was going to look like.
With each layer of protective coating they pulled off from the Med Vac system, the closer we got to the big reveal of the new and improved left foot of mine. When they peeled off the crinkly orange material at the top of my leg, I felt like I was getting waxed by a thousand Brazilians, and I'm almost six thousand percent certain that I have no hairs remaining in those spots. Regardless, me and the nurses were able to free the foot of all obstructions and wrap it back with light gauze for a gentle night's rest. I woke up drained, tired, missing my family, ready to see what the day held for me and my scrub dressed warriors. The team had done an immaculate job so far and had not let me down in any way. This hospital has a deep love for their burn patients, and it shows in how they care for them. The doctor came in with my nurse, and they started examining the burn area as well as my grafting sight. I did not think my graft sight was going to be as big as it was, but I understand what needed to be done in order to repair my foot. I guess it's hard to see yourself in a different light, a light that you never knew you could shine in until forced under its ravenous beams. The ship is only as strong as the captain, crew, and boat.
They applied a fresh coated sheet of Bacitracin to the injury sights and took the remaining staples out. It was going to be up to me and my wife to keep it clean and medicated at home with the cleanings this go round not being as intense as the ones before the surgery but still very, very important. I was informed that Physical Therapy would be coming down to work with me for a final time and that I was going to be losing the IV in the next couple of hours. Relief upon relief upon relief. A win on top of a win on top of a win. Good news finally! The little things. Prayers answered. Then, they told me something my ears had been waiting to hear, something I was not expecting to hear because my discussed discharge day was supposed to be either Monday or Tuesday. The doctor asked: "are you ready to go home today?" Tears filled my eyes and a couple of streams ran down my cheeks. My soul tickled me from the inside out. My heart leaped. My emotions overcame me. I thought about my son, who I had not seen in six days. I thought about my wife. I thought about my family. I thought about my friends. The answer was plain and simple with no prolonged pauses. "I'm ready!" I sat in the recliner next to my bed and waited for my final round of PT. I thought over the past week and everything I had been through to get to this point in time. I reflected on those that had helped me, prayed for me, and had my back during this process. In today's world, you have to be strong, regardless of circumstance. You have to be your own hero. You have to surround yourself with the right people. Prayer works. Nothing beats a strong inner will that can move the biggest of mountains. You have to surround yourself with faith, hope, and love. You have to let the light absorb you while recognizing the darkness within. From my very first visit, I was told, "don't look down". You are stronger than anything you can possibly imagine. The only question that remains is : when will you start believing it?
2:15 p.m. I guess this is where the story ends for the time being since I've received my discharge papers. All I can think about is seeing my wife. All I can think about is picking my son up for the first time in six days. The tears fall. Not tears of defeat this time around. Not tears of sadness due to everything that lay in front of me but more so tears of strength. Tears of courage. Tears of accomplishment from one of the hardest things that ever stood in my way, me conquering the unknown with help from my family and friends. I braved the abyss of being wheeled into surgery so they could take flesh from my thigh in order to heal another part of my body. I braved the darkness with what little light I had, and I made it by slowly crawling through the web instead of getting stuck in it. I took every piece of myself, whether broken or whole, and I forged a weapon to shield me against the arrows that were shot my way. The water falling from my eyes baptize me. They cleanse me. They make me feel free. They make me feel human. They make me feel alive. What once was broken is still not whole but, by God, one day will mend again to be a different creature than I was before. Be the miracle you want to see in the world. Be your own hero.
Have you ever you thought, at the moment, things could not get any worse!
Maybe you thought you had everything figured out. Maybe you rushed something that didn’t need to be rushed. Maybe something had to happen so you would finally slow down and let the world spin on its own. Maybe you had an accident of some sorts and it set you back so you could reset yourself on the somewhat straight and narrow.
The little things – finding out what’s truly important to you and what is not.
Despite what I have written in this post, I do understand that things could have been a lot worse than they currently are. It could have covered my entire foot. It could have covered my entire body, even my face. I could be in the hospital, dying of cancer or the thousands of other diseases that exist. I could be blind. I could be deaf. I could have lost something that cannot be replaced. I could be dead.
I still have my morning coffee – I just have to drink it a different way for now. I’m surrounded by unconditional love and understanding instead of conditional love and passive judgment. I accept the fact that my angels were watching after me, as maimed up as I’m going to be for a while, and appreciate every positive thought or heartfelt prayer that was and continues to be sent my way.
I will overcome this.
You will overcome whatever trial you are currently experiencing.
One thing is certain, and I’ll tell you like I was told on those scary first steps a week and a half ago –
“don’t look down. Keep your line of sight forward, in front of you, and follow through with your steps! You got this!”
Due to this unfortunate accident, I am having to delay the trailer release and premiere of my second short film titled Inside Out. I do not think I will be able to keep the timeline I had already set in my head (I was aiming for the third or forth weekend of April). I want to be in a good frame of mind, mentally, spiritually, and physically, when that night comes so I can enjoy the experience, as well as my hard work, to its fullest. I apologize in advance while greatly looking forward to that special occasion. Sooner, if not later, right? I guess we'll have to wait and see, huh?