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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kimberly's Story

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while might have discovered a small link on the right side to the 365project.org. 365project.org is a web site where you can post a picture a day for a year. The description on the home page reads:
The 365 project is a photography project where you document a year of your life by taking a daily photo. We want to help you build a picture of the little day to day things that make your life so special and unique. Everyone can take part and join in! All you need is a camera.
The 365 Project has members from all over the world...professional photographers, amateurs, parents, kids...people who discuss frames, lenses, f-stops...and people who just point and shoot. It's a nice community...supportive and interesting.

A few weeks ago I discovered a 365 member, Beverly, who was telling the story of her daughter's automobile accident...and inspiring recovery which still continues.

The Aftermath on 365 Project

1st May 2011. The Aftermath
Late Saturday afternoon, my beautiful daughter, grandson and son-in-law were in a head-on collision. A woman just swerved right over the yellow line. My daughter has a broken ankle and had surgery this a.m. There will be an additional surgery on it in two weeks or so when the swelling has gone down...
Things were difficult for the next few days. Beverly's daughter, Kim, was not doing well.
4th May 2011. Black as My Mood
My daughter was taken into emergency surgery this morning for what was found to be a perforated small intestine, the result of the impact of the crash Saturday night. This explains why she hasn't eaten and has had such pain in her stomach area. They repaired that and all looked good for about two hours when she had a stroke or seizure -- they don't know what. She is now back in ICU and is considered stable for now... 
UPDATE MAY 12. Third surgery in two weeks, this time for a tracheotomy in her throat rather than through her mouth. Still unresponsive. Three parts of her brain have been affected by the strokes. She breathes on her own, her heart beats on it's own. This is strictly a baby steps/time-will-tell situation. Thank you all for your prayers. Please keep them coming. We are living in a never-ending nightmare.
365 Project is set up to post one picture a day, but with trips to visit Kim, Beverly posted intermittently for the next few weeks. As a parent it's easy to find empathy here. We've all had those fears that something awful might happen to one of our children.

With the comment to her next photo, Beverly showed the overwhelming nature of this sort of event...we are consumed with the problem and it's as if nothing else in the world matters. And it's true. As a parent nothing else does matter when your child is hurt.
16th May 2011 View From the ICU Waiting Room
My world is very small these days. Greenville Memorial Hospital and home.

Kimberly has been moved to a regular room on the neurological floor, taking what looks to me to be the same equipment and monitors she had in ICU -- feeding tube, trach, heart monitor, etc. She is still unresponsive. They will be doing surgery this week to do the final repair to her ankle as they need to get her prepared for therapy, which will start whether or not she is responsive.

I can manage to get small amounts of food down on occasion -- just enough to keep on keeping on. I can actually get some sleep at night and don't have to listen to my heart pounding away in my chest. It appears the human body will finally adjust and it takes about three weeks.

Thanks to all of you who have prayed for us. Please continue to do so. Your thoughts and wishes are greatly appreciated.
Difficult for the parent as well...no question about it. Finally, things start to improve.

The following entries may seem to go fast, but I'm sure that the hours and days passed very slowly when it was happening.
29th May 2011 A Little Sunshine
There was a slight improvement since yesterday. Kimberly opens her eyes...
In an email to me Beverly wrote an additional detail which increased her fear at this time and made the whole situation even more terrifying and stressful.
...there was a time just a week or so before we sent her to Charlotte for rehab that her neurologist felt that she should be given only two more weeks to respond before she should be taken off her feeding tube.
The entries which followed this for the next few days must have been difficult to write, but Beverly remained positive.
6th June 2011 A Little More Sunshine
Her second neurosurgeon is worried about her eyesight and the entire left side of her body as that still doesn't appear to be making any kind of progress with either. But my motto has always been "It ain't over til it's over," so we'll wait and see about that.
On June 9th Kim was moved to the rehabilitation center. This, in itself was good news...the neurologist who had "given only two more weeks" was wise to wait. Things were getting better.
11th June 2011 Daisy Bouquet
Kim has now been at Carolina Rehab for 36 hours. They have removed the oxygen which she has never really needed but they kept it there "just in case." They are going to leave the trach for the same reason and will be capping it soon.
16th June 2011 Carolinas Rehab
Can you see me smiling from where you are?

We visited Kim for the first time since she was taken to North Carolina for rehab. The difference in her is astounding! Amazing what six days of dedicated work will make....I haven't felt this positive in two months! Thanks again all of you for your prayers. The effect is miraculous.
19th June 2011 A Father's Day Visit
We drove up to Charlotte again today to see Kim. There were slight improvements again since we were last there on Thursday. They are no longer propping her head with pillows in her chair, but rather she is using the regular head rest at a slight angle. This is probably much cooler for her. She rotates her neck by herself now and is using her right arm more freely than just a few days ago.
I think this is about the time I read her first posting...then I went back and read the rest and have followed the story since then.
23rd June 2011 Kim's Bed
I just heard from my son-in-law, Matt, that he has completed his visit with Kimberly today. He said there have been remarkable changes since his visit 5 days ago. Can't wait until he's off the road so I can "grill" him on all that he saw today...
27th June 2011 Good News Monday
My son-in-law Matt just called to tell me how Kim's test went this morning. She passed with flying colors, better than they expected. So today she will be started on some real food.
30th June 2011 THE BEST DAY EVER!!!
We took the trip...to see Kimberly. . .She has vision...She can speak limited words!! We were about at the half-way point up the highway this morning when her nurse called to not only tell us that Kim spoke, but put her on the phone and we heard "hello"...She is now eating pureed foods...She could not get enough of looking at and holding hands with her son...I'm probably forgetting a lot of things, but...We are just so happy for now it's hard to get our thoughts straight. 
5th July 2011 Tuesday With Kim
...so much to report...it was delightful out on their patio garden where we sat with her for an hour...We made her really laugh with a story from Hayden's visit to our home yesterday...We then took her to her second speech session of the day. They are strengthening her "wind" by having her blow bubbles...Then it was lunch time. I fed her today -- green beans, yams, mystery meat (which she liked much better than the turkey the other day), and pineapple, all pureed of course. She probably would have licked the plate if she could have gotten it to her face...Rest well, Kim. There's still lots of hard work ahead.
11th July 2011 A Little More Progress
Today I learned that Kim is now eating solid food -- soft, but REAL food. These tiny baby steps are adding up. Keep up the good work Kim!
That's good progress...things are getting better and the entire family can focus on getting Kimberly well and home again. There are surely going to be many more days of hard work as she recovers, but it's clear that hard work is not a problem. Hard work gives hope...hope inspires hard work. The two go hand in hand. Beverly wrote to me,
[I] hope that it would go as a warning to people to fight for their loved ones
Maybe the doctor who said that he would give her two weeks was not being as negative as it seemed. He knew, perhaps from experience, that a certain time must pass before an accurate diagnosis can be made. Perhaps he just didn't know at that point. Beverly's point, however, is clear. Don't give up.
We proved him wrong. Where there's life, there's hope.
Her point was also not lost on her daughter. It's apparent that Kimberly was raised not to give up. If you read through the comments from her mother (link below) you'll learn that this young woman is determined to return to her family. She will recover...with the help of her medical team, her family and her own courage and determination.

This photo was posted on July 15. Beverly gets to end this blog entry with a comment on her photo.

A Glorious Friday! on 365 Project

15th July 2011 A Glorious Friday!
My child never fails to amaze me. This young woman, who was virtually given up on by some doctors less than two months ago, is nearing the date when she will be coming home to her family and friends...Her left leg is becoming increasingly stronger, but of course that broken ankle is holding her back. Her left arm is getting stronger also....Her diet now is real food which she eats with great enjoyment...Yes, it was a wonderful day indeed. This is her clasping her son's hand.
(To read the full story go to Beverly's 365 page...here's a link to her May 1st photo, where the story begins. Just keep clicking NEXT for the next picture.)

~~~

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kim is my cousin - we are only 2 years apart. When I was told that we may lose her for good I was devastated. Then, when I was told she would live, but would never be able to speak or see, I refused to believe it! I said to my Aunt that she is an amazing woman - she can do anything and everything: she is a wife, mother, she can cook, fish, draw, paint, play the violin, raise animals, grow a garden - the list is endless. There was no way my cousin was just going to lay down and take this! As the weeks have progressed, that is exactly what has happened. She has refused to accept this condition as her new way of life - she is determined to be herself again. Our prayers have been answered, and once again, I ask the question, "Is there anything this girl can't do?"