A Place To Share
On May 21, 2003, My husband, Robert, was home taking care of my oldest daughters, ages 4 and 2 at the time. I was involved in a ministry at church, and helped facilitate a class that afternoon. When the class ended, I went out to dinner with another facilitator. On my way home afterward, I was involved in a serious car accident. A Dodge truck slammed into the driver-side door at about 55 MPH. I was alone in the car, and I was six months pregnant with my third daughter. When the medics arrived a few minutes later, I was not breathing and had no pulse - I was clinically dead. When I was cut out of the car, that flight crew made preparations to fly to the nearest hospital with a NICU available for my daughter. In flight, the medics were able to restore my breathing and heartbeat, so they turned around and headed to Parkland Hospital. My purse was discovered in the car later, but my driver's license listed my previous address in West Texas. The only contact information that I had in my wallet was my husband's business cards. My husband had no idea of the peril that the baby and I were in when his co-worker called and told him to call Parkland ER. When Robert did call, the nurse would only tell him to call loved ones and get to the hospital ASAP. When Robert arrived, he was ushered into a room that was labeled Grief Room - his heart sank. He was told that I had a broken C2 vertebrae, a broken pelvis, a serious Traumatic Brain Injury, and my body was shutting down. If the baby had to be delivered at this point, she had only a 50% chance of survival. I survived, left unconcious, unable to breathe on my own. I was in a state of coma where I only responded to painful stimulus, so I stayed on a ventilator and was fed through a tube for more than two weeks. Robert tells me that the nurses had to pinch and twist the flesh of my upper chest every 45 minutes around the clock, just to get a reaction and be certain that I was not slipping deeper into coma. My family, Robert's parents, and my DYD Ministry Family from Fellowship Church converged on the Parkland SICU. They visited with me, regardless of my unresponsiveness, laid hands on my pregnant belly, and prayed over me and the baby. As I began to regain conciousness, I became quite combative. Though I have no memory of the first month after my accident, my husband tells me that I was swinging my legs in the air, pulled out IVs and nearly pulled out the tubes. The nurses stopped counting after six times, and resorted to tying my hands to the bed frame, Robert says. He tells me that he knew that I was going to be okay when I started using American Sign Language to try to communicate with nurses and family. Then Robert noticed that I was breathing more rapidly than the ventilator, on my own. He insisted that I be allowed to try on my own, and the staff took both tubes out. I was then transferred to Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation, where I spent the months of June and July. Eventually, my broken pelvis began to heal, and I was allowed to use one leg to transfer in and out of a wheelchair in the rehab hospital. The doctors agreed that my recovery was speedy, and that I was ready to go home at the end of June. They decided to keep me until my daughter was delivered at 38 weeks, on July 30, 2003. We named her Trinity Rose 'Rosie', and she shows NO effects of the trauma that she and I survived. My husband's parents live two miles from our home, and volunteered thier own wheelchair accessible home for us to live in with them while I continued recovery in my wheelchair. Baylor had a Physical Therapist and an Occupational Therapist come to my home to finish out my rehab after I was released from the wheelchair at the end of August. As of September 1,2003, I resumed my role as a full-time mother. In November 2003, I returned to my position as Facilitator for the DYD Ministry at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas. I seize every opportunity to share my story, and I've met many whose lives have been touched by brain injury. I hope that my story can inspire others to be more accepting of brain injury survivors. Though we may speak more slowly, walk more slowly, think more slowly, repond more slowly, we are no less human. There are brain injuries that leave wonderful people without their lives to resume. I've been encouraged to forget who I was before and embrace who I am today. TBI Survivors are more than survivors. We are ALL simply miraculous!