Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mixed Emotions

Did any of you catch American Idol last night? Did any of you see Chris Medina who had the fiance who suffered a traumatic brain injury right before they were supposed to get married?

Here is the video clip if you missed it:

Man, did that hit close to home. For those of you who don't know, last June, my father in law, Mike, also suffered a traumatic brain injury(TBI). He was basically in a coma for a week, in the ICU for 2 weeks, in live-in rehab for a month, and still continues some therapies at home. His recovery has been remarkable. He is almost back to normal. If someone he hadn't seen in a long time saw him, they would probably have no idea he even had an injury, but only those of us close to him interacting on a daily basis know how much further he has to go.

So last night when Chris came on tv and shared his story, Matt and I just stopped what we were doing(I was cooking) and listened closely. When it was over, I just turned to him and said "That sure makes you feel lucky doesn't it?" "Yeah" was his reply. Then we shared a brief tearful embrace, and that was it. But, I've been thinking about her all day. I feel sad and mad that she wasn't as lucky as we were. How unfair is it that she has lost nearly everything about her life. She was 25(I think) when it happened. She never got to get married. Never became a mother. She and her fiance will never have the experiences and memories they thought they would have. They won't get to raise a family together because it'll take all his efforts just to take care of her. They'll never get to take a family vacation or have pictures of snorkeling, or hiking, or dancing, or anything. We got life back that they didn't. It's not fair.

This isn't the first time I've felt this way either. When you hear about a bad car accident and the news tells of someone in critical condition, I never really KNEW what that meant. I never really thought about it. Now I've been on the other side of it. Been, scratched that, LIVED in the waiting room of the ICU and watched everyday as new families arrive scared and shocked because their loved one was just admitted. The vast majority were in car accidents. After a while, you end up talking to the other family members and finding out their story and comparing progress reports. "Have they opened their eyes yet?" "Are they responding to commands?" "Did they have any brain swelling?" I never thought I would know so much about brain injuries and their progress and the "waking up" phase.

We even kind of felt lucky then, because the whole time, Mike was doing better and responding more than any of the other patients. New family members came in and we found out there was a bank robbery and the suspect fled and hit a bunch of cars. Several of the victims came to that ICU. One was a 60 year old woman. And one was 20....crap. Why? Why did that piece of trash have to drive his car into all those people totally ruining their life. Even if our result had been different(worse), at least Mike has lived most of his life, raised his son, and had lots of good memories. I'll always know for every Mike Kelly and Gabrielle Giffords(who is also doing remarkably well) there is out there, there are many more people like Chris's fiance that don't fair so well. So thank God for your blessings and give your loved ones a hug, because in a split second it could all change.


  1. That was such a touching video!!

  2. oh jeez. i didn't watch american idol, but after watching that video, and before reading the rest of your blog, i was crying. so awful. and then i read the rest of your blog! oh man, praise the Lord for your father in law, and i'm so sorry you all had to go through that, and that now you have your own form of "survivor's guilt."



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