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HOW I DIDN’T LOSE MY MIND
When three police officers knocked on our door January 17, 2012, I had no idea how much our lives were going to change.
The female officer told me I needed to go with them to the hospital because there had been an accident. I asked how bad, and they wouldn’t say. I walked to our driveway and saw my husband of two months’ car parked there. I couldn’t breathe, because then I knew he was in a motorcycle accident.
I finally saw him in the Trauma Unit, connected to hoses, wires, IV’s and machines. His face was swollen and cut, and he was in a coma. The doctors said he suffered a severe Traumatic Brain Injury, and based on his age, the prognosis wasn’t good. They weren’t sure he’d ever wake up, and if he did, the frontal lobe damage was so severe, he’d have to learn how to talk, walk, feed and dress himself. And forget ever driving a car again. That would be out of the question.
I was scared. We lived together for 14 years before we got married, and our wedding vows were still fresh in my memory. “For better or worse. In sickness and in health.” Every night I when I prayed to God, I told him it wasn’t fair – we didn’t get enough of the better or in health days. I didn’t blame God. I didn’t blame my husband – he sure as hell didn’t plan to whack his head on the pavement that night. It was just one of those “shit happens” moments, and I had to fix it.
To make a long story not as long – his coma lasted 21 days. After he woke up, the VA wanted him to go to a VA facility 3 hours from our home to wean himself from a ventilator. I said absolutely not – find him a place close to our home and friends. They found an acute care hospital 45 minutes from home. After 5 days of driving back and forth from home to the hospital, I bought a cot, sleeping bag and pad. Grabbed two weeks worth of clothes and moved into his hospital room.
It took three attempts and two and a half months to get off the ventilator. He survived infections, medicine allergies, a-fib, borderline pneumonia, daily respiratory treatments that suctioned mucus from his lungs and ALWAYS made his face turn red, and the inability to communicate so we couldn’t tell where his pain was and how bad it was.
The VA decided it was time for a nursing home. I said absolutely not and enlisted the help of our congressman at the time, John Mica. His staff intervened on our behalf and got the VA to review my husband’s recent medical records. They realized he didn’t suffer a stroke, it was a traumatic brain injury. I cried like a baby when our social worker told us we were going to the VA Polytrauma Rehab Center in Tampa, FL. It was the beginning of being a hands on Caregiver. I was a bookkeeper…what if I screwed up???
My favorite design of all time! I have said this saying over a thousand times, but I never had the t-shirt. Now I do!
A lot of my friends are into Yoga. Wearing the pants is as far as I get. They’re so comfortable! I think they’re made from puppies!
This is a true story. I loved golf with a passion but I didn’t have the f*cking talent to play well.