Some family vacations are blemished by bickering among siblings, or when Dad gets lost and won't ask for directions, or when you miss that connecting flight and sit for hours in an airport.
Governor Greg Abbott, however, probably would've gladly taken any of the above in exchange for what spoiled his own family vacation last week: third-degree burns.
Abbott was vacationing at a lodge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, when, on Thursday evening, scalding hot water severely burned his legs and feet, his office announced Sunday. Abbott immediately went to the hospital in Wyoming, and he has since been receiving treatment at St. David's in Austin. The burns are so bad that his office said that whether Abbott will attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week as an at-large delegate is "up in the air."
Abbott made no mention of his pain when he flew to Dallas from Wyoming for a news conference Friday following the deadly ambush on police Thursday night that killed five officers and injured another seven. The Austin-American Statesman reported Abbott insisted on flying to Dallas even as doctors were literally cutting the burned skin off his body.
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After making remarks at the news conference, where he spoke of unity and healing, he then gave six consecutive TV interviews. In one, the governor spoke of the accident that left him unable to walk, which he wrote about in his new book, Broken But Unbowed. This burn incident might as well be the epilogue.
“Look, here’s the reality that you can’t see on your screen, probably," he told Brian Williams of MSNBC. "That is, I’m a guy in a wheelchair. I had a back-breaking accident, literally, that left me in a wheelchair, and I learned from that that we have life-changing challenges, but from those life-changing challenges, we need to find the good that we can bring from them, and just as I was able to rise up and be governor of this state, the people of Dallas can rise up and have a very successful future despite this tragedy.”
Abbott is expected to see a specialist at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio today, and his staff is likely to have an update on his condition. The doc's advice may also dictate whether Abbott can travel back to Dallas tomorrow for a memorial service for the slain officers, which President Barack Obama and former president George W. Bush plan to attend.
Update July 11, 4:25 p.m.: The governor's office released a statement Monday regarding Abbott's condition. Doctors have determined that Abbott suffered a minor infection as a result of the burns and will need to stay in the hospital overnight. Abbott will undergo skin grafts on his feet tomorrow, July 12, requiring anesthesia. He will be discharged after the procedure, but will be unable to attend the memorial service for the five slain officers in Dallas on Tuesday. First Lady Cecilia Abbott will attend in his place. “The Governor continues to be in contact with staff, and he is grateful for all of the prayers and well-wishes from the public,” his office said in a statement.