To all my friends who are supporting me in reading my blog, you know that animals are one of my great loves. The animal shelter that I used to manage has a dog walk every year and I still love to participate whenever I can and The walk with the animals has always been my favorite event to go to. This year I am trying to raise a lot of money so they can continue in the mission in saving the lives of dogs and cats. In Riverside and San Bernardino counties over 60,000 animals are needlessly destroyed, will you help me, help them by giving to this great, and tax deductible cause.
I Spent around four and a half months in a coma but, after just a couple weeks of me being in the coma they realized that they had no way of knowing how long I would be Unconscious so they decided to take the tubes that were going down my throat into my lungs to give me oxygen out, and they performed a tracheostomy on me.
Your vocal cords are located at the top of your Trachea and I don’t really know if the tubes that were going down my throat did any damage, I suspect it was all or mostly brain injury but the right side of my vocal cords became paralyzed, which made talking almost impossible and then with the damage that my lungs sustained I had very little breath support to force the air out.
I felt that my voice was my strength, of everything I lost my vision, my leg, the use of my right hand and my right leg along with that the ability to write or draw and I will probably never walk independently again but if I had my voice I could still… something.
On January 3rd 2002 I went in to have an implant put in my right vocal cord. The problem was that the right side of my vocal cords weren’t closing; they just let the air pass over them without moving which made my speech even more incoherent.
Before surgery they wanted to put in an Intravenous catheter so they could give me antibiotics and other medications, hmm. But it was like my veins had a mind of their own. Every time they stuck me my vein would either roll, collapse, blow or just disappear; Ya, I was stuck by a lot of different highly qualified people. I suggested they try my foot but they didn’t want to so after trying both elbow creases, both forearms, both hands, a couple fingers and my wrist there was not a phlebotomist I didn’t challenge, we jokingly said that I would be a good final exam . Almost every different location was with a new person after what seemed like half the day they called in a pediatric doctor and he got a line started, of all places, in my foot. By that time I was pretty black and blue in my arms. I suggested my foot because when I was a toddler I got really sick and that was the only place those doctors could get an IV started; I used to look at that scar all the time.
Once they got me fully under sedation they put a central line in me and took the IV out of my foot.
. During the surgery the doctors had to wake me up so I could say something; they needed to hear me speak so they could try to position the implant in a way that would give me some kind of voice. Those doctors however had never heard me talk before and during that brief time I was sure I heard MY voice, the one I was so desperate to get back but as quickly as it was there it was gone again. they kept moving the implant around until they were satisfied with the placement of it and then woke me up. I was a little more than disappointed but my family and the friends I still talked to were not, I could talk better and that was all that mattered to them.
I still hate my voice and I don’t imagine that ever changing but I can talk and I suppose that’s what matters. In crowds and wherever it gets too noisy I don’t talk much if I talk at all. It is hard for me to talk loudly, it makes me cough and it will make me gag the longer I have to do it.
It seems so small, that losing my voice would be so big for me and, now, my voice doesn’t bother or embarrass me so much; I just want to have the volume that most people have.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.
I thought I would share some of my favorite Christmas’s with you. I am blessed to still have memories of them!
Our grandpa was great, he was actually our step-grandpa but he embraced the role wholeheartedly. There were many Christmases when he would always arrive on Christmas day with no less than 5, 32 gallon trash bags full of presents and he would put scratcher lotto tickets in our stockings, we never won big but it was still very exciting, at least for me.
When I was small our grandpa came over in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning dressed up as Santa Claus, my parents woke us all up and snuck us down the hall and as we looked around the corner low and behold there was Santa Claus. He was filling our stockings but as we were peeking around the corner our miniature Poodle Peter ran out barking and nipping at poor Old Saint Nick and I heard “Santa” say “shoo” as Peter grabbed onto his pants and “Santa” tried to shake him off. That is a great memory, God bless my grandpa!
There were a few Christmas’s when my brother would come and wake me up in the middle of the night, with flashlight in hand and we would sneak out to see if there was anything we got that couldn’t be wrapped for whatever reason. One Christmas it was a bike for, I think my little sister and there was a skateboard, the skateboard might have been wrapped but it was pretty obvious what it was.
I was never a girly girl I always liked to play with toys that were considered “boy toys” like He-man and his pet tiger, Sheara and her Pegasus, dinosaur transformers, (some of which I still have). This one year there was a movie out called The Ewok adventure, and the stores had the Ewok treehouse village. I think that was all I wanted that Christmas, or at least the thing I wanted the most that year. When I saw that village with all the trees and the bridges and tunnels connecting the trees together, I was so excited. I loved that toy. I would not only put the Ewoks in the treehouse but He-man’s tiger and my dinosaurs.
One Christmas I was continually being woken up by a noise I didn’t recognize, it was like a very high squeaking like metal on metal but then it would stop and I would go back to sleep. My brother knew what it was and he was excited to show it to me, so he comes and wakes me up, flashlight in hand we go out to the den and right next to the Christmas tree was a cute, fluffy hamster. I have always loved animals and I loved that little ball of fluff.
t tolerate my parents and she had a huge problem with the farrier.t have a horse of my own I could ride for at least a year or two. My mom took me out looking for another horse and I would ride those horses and that was fun but I wanted a horse of my own. t think there were a lot of presents under the tree for me but we always got great stockings and that year was no different. After everyone had finished opening the gifts in our stockings then it was time to go over to the Christmas tree and begin opening up those presents but I only had a few to open so I sat and watched and would get excited for them when they would open at yet opened all their gifts when our parents tell me that one of my gifts was outside. Huh? So we all walked outside and there he was, because it was winter his coat was extra fluffy so he looked super cute. His name was Spirit; he had a long white mane and tail that I enjoyed brushing and braiding.
Our parents didn’t always have a lot of money and there were a few years when they would tell us that they weren’t going to be able to give us a big Christmas but I don’t remember a single Christmas that we felt shorted. For me, I couldn’t have ask for better parents
! I HOPE EVERYBODY HAS A JOYOUS CHRISTMAS!
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.”
I am thankful, though some days are hard filled with sadness and pain, I must praise Him always!
I Wish everyone a Very Happy Thanksgiving! God Bless
The surgery on my nose was healing great but because I now had bone instead of Cartilage it was stiff and would hurt every time I touched it especially if I tried to itch it and forget trying to blow it. It took probably a full year for my nose to not be so sensitive, it still hurts occasionally but my nose wasn’t the problem.
The bottom of my foot had become extremely sensitive after that surgery. I had that surgery so I could start trying to stand and eventually take some steps but the nerve damage from him cutting me and splitting and moving the tendons around in my foot and ankle was almost unbearable. The doctor had to prescribe me a nerve medication so that people could touch my foot without getting a huge reaction from me. When someone would touch the bottom of my foot I would spasm and they might have gotten kicked. The skin on my foot had become so tender; it was like new baby skin and because of the wound on my heel I wasn’t even able to wear a shoe.
Until the wound was better. after my surgery my mom and I would have to drive almost forty minutes, one way to see the doctor so he could dress the wound. We did that for I think almost a year but the doctor preforming the wound care on me was not a wound care doctor and he was using a method that seemed archaic and wasn’t working all that well, so my mom found a doctor that specialized in severe wounds and we started going to him.
The drive was just as long but we had become hopeful, except now my parents job would intensify.
Instead of the old fashion wet/dry method that the surgeon had been doing now they would have to dress the wound twice a day and apply medication each time.
We had to drive out to Redlands twice a week for more than six months before seeing a change at all but I only had one foot and we had to get it better. . We saw only slight improvements in the beginning but the whole atmosphere was great. We enjoyed the people and really liked the doctor. . I still had a good pulse in my foot but the circulation was now compromised due to the scarring so healing was very slow.
Eventually we were going once a week but the wound just wasn’t getting better, they had hyperbaric oxygen chambers there that they used to help with wound care but somehow I didn’t qualify for that but thank God for technology. A medical manufacture had a new invention and they brought it to the hospital and they wanted the doctor to pick three of his hardest cases, wounds that wouldn’t heal and I definitely qualified for that.
They used a centrifuge to spin down my blood and separate the red blood cells from the white, which are the blood cells that heal and then they put the white blood cells directly on the wound. . It was only supposed to take three applications and mine took twice as many but hey it worked.
So after taking antibiotics that made my stomach bleed and countless injuries to my exposed toes and foot and only twenty-seven months my foot was finally wound free and now I could finally do some standing which would turn out to be harder than I thought.
The sore that had developed from my foot spasming in to the back of that cast was huge. It had become a fairly large wound, it was black, almost to the bone and it was now weeping onto my hospital bed but the pain continued and thus, so did my spasms, only increasing the size of the wound
The hospital couldn’t get my pain under control so they weren’t able to release me. They struggled with finding a pain reliever that would just make me comfortable and not sick.
My birthday was quickly approaching and I was stuck in the hospital, again but this time I was awake. Melissa, my younger sister didn’t want me to have to spend another birthday alone so the hospital brought her in a make-shift bed so she could be with me for my birthday.
However I wasn’t alone in the hospital room; there was an older woman in the bed next to me that just had back surgery and she was in a lot of pain. She continually moaned and would call the nurse for more pain medicine. My sister was so empathetic that the woman’s moans made her physically ill so in the wee hours of the morning she finally couldn’t take it anymore and she had to go home.
After twenty-one days they managed to control my pain so they were able to release me but they wouldn’t let me go home, because it was just my mom and I for most of the day alone in our house, if there were an emergency my mom would have no way to get me out of the house, because of the full leg cast so they would only release me to some kind of extended care facility and so the search began.
My parents didn’t have a lot of time to look for such a place but besides the obvious one, they must have kind staff, there were only two criteria, #1 it must be clean and #2 it had to be close to home. They found the perfect place… or was it?
The place they found looked great, the caregivers seemed nice; they had a doctor that would come in about once a week and I had my own room with a bed close to the window. I had to take a medical transport van since I couldn’t bend my leg but I arrived safely in the early evening. All the paperwork for my admittance was being completed and I met a couple of my caregivers, they seemed nice enough. My older sister, Kim was hanging out with me while my parents finished tying up some last minute loose ends. At about 7:30 that night my parents came in and asked me what I had for dinner… Nothing. They went to ask why I wasn’t brought a meal. The reason was I was checking in during dinner time but they said that they would bring me a sandwich but after an hour and nothing, my dad just went and got me something to eat, so that was not a good start and this place was supposed to be the 5 star resort of care facilities. But we just figured it was just because of the circumstances and let it go. The next morning they brought me breakfast, which I think was cold so I barely ate it and but I just watched TV and napped for most of that day. My parents liked that there was going to be a doctor there in a few days because they didn’t like the way my heal was looking. The next day they didn’t bring me lunch and same with the day after that. Later that day I took a nap and when I woke I had an itchy arm and I mindlessly scratched it without looking but I noticed movement on my chest and looked down to see dozens of those little black Formica ants crawling on me. I was shocked, the ants were coming from the wall, they walked across the phone cord onto my bedrail and then onto me, fitting don’t you think.
The next morning the doctor was going to be there and my parents wanted him to look at my wound and maybe put me on antibiotics. The “doctor” comes in my room in the late morning, my parents tell him what happened and asked him to look at the wound, he looks at it looks at them and they say “what do you think”? Then he proceeds to tell them, “O I’m not a wound care doctor”. Then he said that that facility doesn’t have a wound care doctor, my
Mom told them to cut off the cast then but of course they didn’t have a cast saw so my Parents with a lot of frustration said basically, “give me our meds and send Jennifer back to the hospital”. They said that they would need a doctor to sign for my meds because I had such powerful pain narcotics so my parents said fine, just send her back to the hospital and we will come back for them, hmm. When I got back to the hospital my parents made them cut off the leg cast and pull out all the other tubes. My mom questioned if that was the right thing to do; I wasn’t making her feel better about that decision because I threw up the entire way home
When I went into the hospital I was perfectly healthy and it was only supposed to be a three day ordeal but, while I was under the care of “health professionals” I got a painful U.T.I , an infection not to mention the oozing ulcer on my heal. But when they got every foreign tube out, it was like a miracle; everything cleared up and we quickly realized that it was the best decision for us; I had to go home to get back my health.
Later that same day my mom called up the facility to say she’d come pick up my pain meds now, they asked her to hang on when they came back to the phone they said, at first that they couldn’t find them, not acceptable! Then they said that they threw them in the trash, “to keep them safe and had forgotten and “accidently put them in the trash compactor and now they were gone”. again not acceptable, these were heavy narcotics that three different doctors had to sign off on. We were forced to file with the state board of drugs and the FDA but nothing really happened to them.
I was home and I was back to good health all we had to deal with now is
The wound on the back of my heal; we couldn’t imagine what a challenge that would become…
In order for me to progress in my recovery I would need more surgery. My foot needed to be put back in a walking position and tendons needed to be split and moved around in my foot and ankle also my stump would need revising along with my face. Although I had many bones broken in my face the only thing that they felt comfortable about fixing was my nose. Somehow we got in touch with an orthopedic surgeon, that specialized in feet and he is also one of the top back surgeons, he was so sought after that he stopped seeing new clients but he decided to see me.
The plastic surgeon that actually did all of my emergency repairs came in to revise all the scars on my face, he took away the scar that was on my neck and he fixed my nose.
My mom again had to fight; they wanted to perform the two surgeries at different times but that would have been way too risky for me. I spent a while in a coma and I have a pretty serious brain injury and with those two factors, putting my brain to sleep would be a setback in my recovery. I wasn’t afraid to get the surgeries though; it was just the month and the day that were unfortunate.
Surgery day was set, in preparation for surgery the doctor wanted me to go to unit-lab and bank a unit of my blood just in case. So my mom and I went to the blood bank, the hospital had set up the appointment and the lab would make the transfer to the hospital for us and them. When we got there and they couldn’t take my blood because my heart rate was too high, over 100 beats per minute but after a couple hours my heart rate was just below 100 bpm and they got it, I think they might have took extra as a precaution. I was feeling fine afterwards, I ate a bag of cookies or chips that they always offer after someone gives blood and we went home. Later that afternoon my dad stopped by Subway to pick us up sandwiches for dinner, chips and a drink. I got diet Coke and he transferred it into an empty water bottle so I could hold on to it easier, I took a big swig a ended up getting a very large, very painful air bubble stuck in my esophagus, I was trying to swallow it but I forgot to breath and the next thing I remember is my dad saying my name with a bit of panic in his voice. He quickly realized what happened then he yelled for my mom to call 911. I tried to tell them what happened and that I was fine but they knew better, I guess. Maybe they were right because I got very light headed and sick. I threw up the whole way to the hospital. I didn’t spend long in the hospital though, after a few tests I was released later that night. For me now, the simplest things become huge ordeals.
Surgery was scheduled for July third, my nephew’s birthday again. The doctor said that I would be in the hospital for about three days but how could he know that really. So the two doctors were all lined up to do surgery at the same time; one on my face and one on my legs. The surgery lasted around eight hours; the doctor that did surgery on my leg had to split tendons and move them around on my foot and he had to shave the bone and revise the scarring on my stump.
The plastic surgeon reduced the visibility of all the scars on my face and neck along with repairing my nose. We had to give him a few pictures of me before my nose got smashed so he could try to make my nose look somewhat like my old nose. I don’t know if that worked but since he and the orthopedic surgeon were doing surgery on me at the same time, the plastic surgeon got a piece of my tibia that the other doctor had to shave off and used that to create my new nose. How many people do you know that can say “my leg bone is connected to my nose bone?”
After the surgeries were done I woke up with a bandage on my nose and a cast that went up to my knee. The morning after my surgeries my older sister called me on my bed side phone but I couldn’t reach it so the nurse handed it to me. As she was giving me the handset she dropped it square on my nose, ouch.
They propped my casted foot up on a pillow but still The pain was intense and my foot continually spasmed into the cast not knowing what else to do they took me back into surgery and cut the tendons in all five toes, if I could hardly move them before now I would never be able to again. He also cut the tendons on the back of both knees and the tendons in both groins, which did not do any good in my opinion.
This time when I came out of surgery I had on a full leg cast; they cut those tendons to stop the spasms but when your mind is damaged you need to calm the mind down and the best way to do that is anti-spastic medication. This time the pain in my leg was nearly unbearable, my leg was forced to stay straight and my muscles didn’t like that one bit. My thigh would cramp so bad my dad would try to get his hand under the cast and try to rub out the knot so my muscle could relax. They finally called in a neurologist and he told them to increase my baclofen Meanwhile my leg continued to spasm driving my heal into the back of the cast and although we couldn’t see with our eyes what was happening my mom knew. She had to fight for them to listen, she repeatedly said “cut off the back of the cast”. It was now day five and they cut a small window into my cast, that’s when they saw it, it was too late, the damage had already been done.