By: Dr. Kristian Henderson
On July 1, 2019, 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.
I believed in BLK+ GRN so much I tried to speed up healing with my BLK + GRN products. I did research on foods and ingredients that could help the brain heal. I saw turmeric come up, so I committed to adding more GOLDE to my diet because it was made with turmeric. Every single day I would drink it with non-dairy milk and MCT oil. I also found vitamins needed for brain health on Google, so I took a Movita vitamin daily 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. My scars started to fade, which is amazing. I later discovered that the owner was a Black woman, so I immediately added the product to the BLK + GRN marketplace! In addition to adding specific foods and supplements to my diet, I've started seeing a physical therapist 3 times a week to aid in the healing process.
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'm 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.
I used to ship all of the BLK + GRN orders myself. During the time I was in the hospital, I clearly wasn’t shipping orders. Although my friends and family held me down by packing orders while I was in the hospital, we ran out of stock so some orders were unfulfilled. I want to thank everyone for sticking with BLK + GRN! Thank you for helping us thrive!