Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Little Darlin, PT day 44 by David

Day 8 at Shepherd Center.  To give everyone an idea of what is going on with Jan imagine you are me and Jan is the person you are closest to.  Imagine this like when you think about the actual accident, both extreme results (then and now) are consequences  of what was done to her.  Last evening Jan was lying in bed looking at me and spontaneously starts repeating David  help me, help me, help me.  The more she repeats it the louder and more hysterical she gets.  She got a look of fear on her face.  This continues into a sobbing cry with crocodile tears repeating I don't want to die, please don't let me die.  I calmly try to reassure her she is ok but it does not seem to make any difference.  She does not acknowledge hearing me.  This slowly dies down after a few minutes only to start up again with a frantic repeating with the same or something like i'm sick, i'm  throw up sick, I have a head ache or the I'm hot (I take the blanket off) followed immediately by I'm freezing (I put the blanket back).  These are all repeated randomly.  Sometimes she says, all in the same sentence help me David, please somebody help me, I'm hot, I'm freezing.  She will settle down for a few seconds appearing very comfortable and calm only to start up again.  This has been going on for a couple of days but was a bit worse last night.   I know this is part of her evolving confusion now with what appears to me as increasing emotional lability and there is nothing that I do that makes any difference.  There is no doubt she knows I am here and I think that has to help somehow, perhaps giving her some security in her confused world.  The worst part about this is she seems to be truly feeling inconsolable fear in those few moments kind of like she is having a nightmare.  The good thing is they pass fairly quickly.  Today she was started on a new medication that hopefully will help her with this extreme and what appears to be very uncomfortable agitation. This afternoon I read a note from a get well card sent by a friend at home,  she started crying "I want to go home".  She has not had any where the extremes she had last night so I think the meeds are helping, or she is too tired from todays therapy.  She did tell me when I ask her if she were in a hotel or hospital that she was in a hospital.  I ask her why and she told me she had a bike wreck.    I am told me she will not remember this phase of her recovery.  A neuropsychologist told me she has not yet started creating new memories which goes along with not remembering and TIGT.  Although telling me she is in a hospital and that she had a bike wreck suggest to my layman mind she is starting to form some memories (TIGT).  Anyway it makes me feel better to be here by her whether she remembers or not.  Thanks Mark and Robbie (my partners) I could not be here without their support.

Food for thought.  I would like to ask a theological question.  I would like if possible well thought out, wise and or academic but not emotional responses.  I ask this without emotion or anger, only curiosity.  If God is good, then why do things like this happen?  I would like an answer but realize there may not be one.  Do not get me wrong I truly am thankful for all of the prayers and thoughts but as I have told a few something like this will shake your faith.  I think we all question why.

I have had many responses not only of those letting me know these posts about Jan are being followed but that there has been good to come from this,  More and more seem to be noticing cyclists, runners and others on the road and giving plenty of room and encouraging others to do the same.  Many have said they no longer use their cell phones while driving.  Others have told me they have gotten off the couch and started doing something to help themselves.  This is all good.  Thank you all.  Keep it up.

It is truly sad about the two cyclists killed from this area (Atlanta) this weekend.  Keep their families in your prayers.  Their grief has to be overwhelming at this time.


 If you have not already

I Love My Little Darlin, she is gonna continue to get better (TIGT)


  1. You ask a very profound question. I don't know the answer, but I do know that it is one we have all struggled with at times. My husband worked in Jersey City (across the river from Manhattan) and watched the towers collapse and spent the day helping triage injured coming off boats (he was a former volunteer fireman and got recruited to help). Why did so many die that day and subsequently in the war(s)? I don't know. I can only reassure myself in knowing that God has a plan and perhaps while thousands died on 9/11 how many didn't die because the terrorists weren't able to pull off some other event?

    Why did God let this happen to you and Jan? You may never know. But what I do know is that he is there with you and Jan obviously knows you are there, which is more than some are fortunate to have (a story for another day).

    On one hand she did not die in the accident (worse case scenario) and I can not imagine the emotional and physical hell you are living through now, but what would Jan want you to make of this now and the future? Maybe it's not law school for her but therapy of some sort for patients who will be where she is now and she will be a shining example of what can be.

    We continue to pray for you both.

  2. Being an agnostic humanist Unitarian Universalist, I'm not exactly the biggest believer in theology, but I did go to a Lutheran school as a child, where the study was a requirement. At my Unitarian church, I also learn of many different beliefs, including Christianity, Buddhism, Paganism, Hindi, and Jewish philosophies to name a few.

    If God is real, I doubt anyone can truly say why they would allow bad things to happen to such good people as Jan and yourself, even the most devout and studied minister. I am belief that if God does exist, that we individually can only control our own actions, and that the actions of others may affect us in positive and negative ways, and that we can't always have control of what others do. As a physician, you may have seen many sides of this, and have been asked the very question you are now asking.

    I know you are hurting, as is Jan, and it will take a long time for that hurt to subside, and it may not fully. There IS positive coming out of this, though. You have reached out, and people from all sides of the country, if not the world, have been touched by what has happened to you and Jan. Out of what has happened, there is increased awareness among some, and that awareness may help spare SOME others that same hurt, although they may never realize it. It was learning of what happened to Jan, and following your account of her slow progress, and your account of what has happened legally as well, that led me to include Jan's plight in my own column, which had only begun three weeks ago. I've learned that there have been some influential people reading that, people who share responsibilities within numerous cities in my own vicinity, and even a congressman and his wife. Bike lanes in my area are being repaired and are set to be added in the future, people are being given safer routes to ride, and just perhaps, there will also be changes in laws not only where you live, but nationwide, to improve cyclist safety, not only on the part of those they share the road with, but for themselves as well.

    Just yesterday, I was riding on Mount Evans with three friends of mine. It's the highest paved road in North America. All of us were wearing brilliant fluorescent colors, to not only keep us safe, but to help keep those around us safer. Sharing the road with us were approximately 30-40 motorcyclists on various Harley models. All of us headed down the mountain at once when a lightning storm made things increasingly dangerous. My friends and I were keeping pace with both cars and motorcycles fleeing the storm. At the bottom, when we stopped, several motorcyclists commented on how we not only shared the road with them, but thanked us for being highly visible. Such things build a rapport between motorists and cyclists, build respect.

    You and Jan are helping to teach these things, and are helping to bring about positive changes. I know it stinks... really sucks that you and Jan are going through what you are, and you may never have the answer to your question of why, but I hope it brings some comfort to you to know that what has happened to you is helping to make things a little safer in MANY places, and will likely safe many others from having to go through similar circumstances or even worse.

    Kindest Regards,

  3. Dear David:
    I sit here in tears and shaking with fear as I have read ALL of your blogs last night. I too was hit by a 19 year old when I was on my bike. From what I have been told I hit the windshield and landed in the dirt on the other side of the road. I don't remember anything of the accident I was in ICU and a coma, ventilator for three weeks. The first thing I remember is waking up with the trach in the second hospital which was a Good Shepherd Pulmonary because I too had two collapsed lungs from the broken ribs. I broke my neck C2...had a brain bleed and dissection...shoulder was ripped open...many fractures but the worst was the compound tib/fib fracture of my left leg. I cry when I read what you are going through because I know my husband (who was a rock) probably went through the same things and I now realize how hard it must have been for him and my children. You know a mother would never want to put her kids through anything like this. But when you wake up and the mind comes back you realize what are the really important things in life and you don't want to miss out on them.
    This happened on 9/2/2010 I was released from the last rehab hospital on 10/12/10 with many days of physical therapy ahead of me. I too was an athlete..not quite up to your wife's standards but I worked out everyday and they did tell me that (besides all the prayers from family and friends) that becaue I was strong physically it saved my life.
    I am back to many of the activities I loved..however left leg will never be normal. I have been back on my bike but always go with a group. the day of my accident I was on a solo ride. However knowing that this happened to your wife when she was with someone doesn't make me feel any better..have to get over that though cause even though the accident took away so many things from me I didn't want it to take away the physical things I loved doing. The 19 year old was never charged and I was chastised for being on that road.
    Please know that there is hope and I am living proof..I will keep you both in my prayers and I know she will recover and you will both be together again.

  4. David - I cannot answer your theological question, since I am a secular humanist. However, there is a universal truth others have already mentioned that all people can find some comfort in.

    We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can choose what to do with the cards we are dealt. Ideally, no one would get hit by a car, but since it does happen, use your experience to help others, like you are already doing. Do not focus on what you cannot control, that way lies misery. Focus on what you can control, and know you help others.

    I think there is another thing we all should take away from this, and that is greater empathy and compassion for others. So very, very often, I hear people ask "Why?!" when something awful happens to them. (I am not singling you out at all, I am speaking in general.) I wonder why we do not ask the same question, in the same tone, when something awful happens to others. Do others not hurt and suffer as we do?

    If we, as drivers, think about the suffering we could cause through carelessness, if the thought of hitting someone hurts us as much as if we or our loved one had been hit, will we not be more responsible? You have been pointing this out, when you say "put the phone down, it's a life", and I thank you for that. By sharing your pain, you help others viscerally understand the consequences of distracted driving, and I thank you for that.

    I would of course have preferred that no one ever get hit at all, no one need be an example of what happens, and everyone be compassionate and responsible, but human nature is not ideal.

  5. As far as your theological question, I've wondered the same. It's scary that people put all of this faith into something that has done such horrid, wretched things to mankind, if he is real. I personally have lived to question everything, and not to believe in anything until I've personally confirmed whatever it is I need to.

    I've been reading here, and have posted a couple of times. I've been spreading awareness as much as possible, and with every bad thing, something good has to come as well. Jan will be inspiration for a lot of cyclists, though I'm sorry that it's at this cost.

    This may sound stupid, but since I question any kind of religion, I pray to my soul. I pray to whatever is out there, whoever will listen. I've prayed for both of you. I really have hope in your efforts, and Jan's well being. I don't know if you actually read the responses, but I hope that those of us who do respond give you some kind of hope.

    I'm here, watching, reading, caring, praying, crying, thinking, and most of all, hoping.