January 5, 2019
“John was in an accident as a passenger in April. I had a knock on my door by someone bringing home our 3 year who was with him at the time. They told me he was laying in the road in a pool of blood and EMS was coming to get him. I had no words. I grabbed my daughter and ran as he was only 200 feet from our home.
When I got there I just thought (even based on what I saw) he had to get up, because nothing stops John. He is the strongest man I know and has determination like no other. His breathing was slowing down and he was rushed to the trauma hospital. I followed him there and after 2 hours of waiting to see him I was told he was unconscious and unresponsive, and brain surgery was possibly planned for the morning. They held off on the surgery trying to wait to see if he could heal some because there was too much blood and swelling on the brain.
For nearly a month night and day I waited for him to come to. There were a lot of, “if he wakes up” and “nothing we can do” and “if he wakes up prepare for him and things to be different”. I had no idea what that meant for our future or our 3 small children. Was the last time we joked the last time? The last time we walked downtown for date night the last time we got to do that? Were my kids going to play ball or dolls with their dad again? I cannot explain how many questions and visions I had of what if”s!
I would be lying if I said I never got depressed or thought I had lost some hope, it gets really real and hard. There were many setbacks while he was in a comatose state; things got scary.
When he finally woke he was not the person I knew before. He didn’t know who I was, he didn’t remember our life, or anything we had before the accident. I created boards of pictures of all our memories, but he couldn’t say anything.
After not being able to get off the ventilator, they had to perform trachea surgery to allow him to breathe, and with that, he could not talk. After some time the trach was removed and he began to work with speech therapists to form sentences and learn to walk and talk again. He had no idea still who I was. our marriage, or our life before. IT HURT LIKE HELL!!!!!
I was overwhelmed with the fighting I had to do with medical staff to have him treated like a person. The hospital was a huge let down. I had him transferred 2 times in order to get him what I felt he needed to to find somewhere to give him what I felt he deserved. I was also mentally drained dealing with all my feelings, plus our 3 kids and all that being a mom required.
The more time passed he got better physically but mentally there were huge changes. I don’t know how many times I cried over watching the strongest man I know resemble a 2 year toddler. This was not our plan. How did this happen?
With many setbacks and strength of character, he started to come around. It took alot of determination and reminders of the same conversation everyday for over 2 months (at that point) he got some things back. I still remember if he could just wake up to look at me I would forever be grateful for that. How did I ever take him looking at me for granted?
When he finally started to come to he was not the John I fell in love with. It has taken new ways to find our new normal. It was unbearable when I would go to bathe him, cut his hair, change his clothes and he didn’t know who I was. At first I told myself this is just a moment where time is standing still, but after a month of him relearning who I was I became so scared.
He was finally able to look at me and focus, hold my hand back when I held his and wrap his arms around me. These are things that are to never be taken for granted. It was not all the trips or the RV plans for traveling the world I was worried about, I was worried if we would ever be able to have that connection and to feel his touch again.
Soon after he went to an inpatient rehabilitation center in another state. Just days before this shoot they allowed him to come home and start outpatient rehabilitation. There are changes still, he is a new person in some ways, and we have a lot of work to do for his cognition and mental state, but if we made it through the start of this, we got it!
It has been a journey, and to paint a picture for people to understand the anguish of something like this is nearly impossible until one goes through it. There are a lot of things I had no idea we would face, especially in the hospital, but the most important thing is to fight for your loved ones. I did not care whose eyes rolled or who I pissed off that day, they would know where John stood in my life.
Our focus for the past 11 years has been our kids. John forgot so much about our past and life before, now that it’s coming back to him, new memories (after such an uphill battle) are a new chapter. He is a walking miracle!!! October will mark our 12 year anniversary and the rest will be a cakewalk after this chapter.
Thank you Kaila, for creating a wonderful memory for us to hold onto forever. You cannot begin to know what this means to us. That day was a little hard as we are trying to learn new territory as he has things that trigger him. Fast paced things and changes now upset him, so I am always a bit nervous being out with him. Though he looks well no one knows behind closed doors what happens with someone who suffers from a severe brain injury. Thank you again!!!!