My New Normal
By: Dr. Kristian Henderson
On July 1, I was in a life threatening car accident in my dream car, a brand new Tesla, with my husband and newborn son. The car hit us, our airbags didn’t deploy, and I immediately lost consciousness. They sent a helicopter to airlift me to the hospital because I wasn’t breathing. They were essentially worried if I would live. They thought maybe the accident killed me and that I wasn’t alive. So the fight began.
They rushed me to the hospital. The helicopter landed at a shock trauma hospital while my son and husband took an ambulance to another hospital. While I was still unconscious, they removed half of my skull because my brain was swelling so fast. I had suffered a subdural hematoma, which means that my brain was also bleeding too much. They inserted a drain to remove all the extra fluids building on my brain. Ten days after the accident, they installed a trach in my throat to ensure that my brain would trigger a breath. They also installed a PEG tube in my belly to feed me, which was basically liquid diet food (Ensure was poured in tubes). During this entire time I was in a coma.
The neurosurgeon said I had one of the most severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that he had ever seen. The doctor prepared my family that I might be in a coma for years. Luckily, I was only in the coma for two weeks. Talk about grace. I slowly started to open my eyes, I smiled, and I showed emotions.
I eventually elevated past the capability of a shock trauma hospital and I needed to be transferred. The shock trauma team wanted to discharge me to a nursing home and made this suggestion to my parents. After they looked at my coma scale, my number was too low. The therapist and nurses saw me as a 3 and emerging 4. All of the acute rehabilitation facilities required a 4 on the coma scale to get moved to their centers. Thankfully, with a lot of my parents fighting (that’s where I get it from) they forced them to discharge me to an acute rehabilitation center and not a nursing home.
The rehab facility had therapy every day so I could start getting better. Daily, I had physical therapy to practice walking, occupational therapy to strengthen my hands and arms, speech therapy to practice talking and writing, and recreational therapy for a little bit of fun. And every day I started to get a little better and I started regaining my old self.
This is when I started trying to heal with BLK + GRN products. I did research on foods and ingredients that can help the brain heal. I saw turmeric come up, so I committed to having more GOLDE in my diet because that is made with turmeric. Every single day I would drink it with a non-dairy milk and MCT oil. I also found vitamins needed for brain health on Google, so I daily took a Movita vitamin, along with other vitamins, to aid in my healing process. Then I had scars everywhere so I used Sore Salve to rub on my scars, which my midwife gave to me. I later discovered that the owner is Black, so we are bringing them to BLK + GRN! My scars started to fade which is amazing. Now it’s one of our new products!
One of my biggest fears (after the normal why did this happen to me) was would the I (the “I” that I remember) ever return. My memory is not that good, which is a hard position to be in. And it’s easy (probably easier for others in this situation) to just get mad. Instead of thinking that way, I decided to have a different perspective. I choose to focus on what I can learn, accomplish, and possibly grow.
As I have learned to walk again, I am being told that I walk fast; now, this is feedback I have gotten my entire life. So at first I just kept saying, “this is how I walk,” and I rolled my eyes. But maybe there is something for me to learn. I move through life at 1,000 miles/hour and I do a million things at once, and maybe I can slow down. So I have tried to slow down (although my walking is still fast). I have decided to say thank you more, express myself fully, and maybe even take a nap and get some rest. It has been challenging, yet amazing. Another thing I have learned and plan to incorporate into my life is writing more for memory. Although that has not been my normal, it is my new normal.