Response Letter to a Lovely Lady

Don’t Mean To Scare You Away, But…

Dear Kina,

Kina at Robinson’s Apartelles, Mandaluyong, Manila, Philippines – 1998

I find it more admirable that you are not online constantly, though I also understand, that the computer affords you time away from real life and that it is a way to pass the time in your beautiful land.

You asked about my injury and mainly about my shoulder?  I do not understand why that particular area?   I can tell you about the traumatic brain injury, but in the words of my friend, Edie, “Nobody gets TBI…unless they get it!”  Yes, I am disabled; my entire right side is partially paralyzed and I walk with a noticeable limp.

Allow me to tell you what happened:  July 31, 1988… I was driving a car that flipped end over end at 100 MPH and I was not wearing a seat-belt. I flew out of the top of the car as it was equipped with t-tops and that day they were off because the temperature was a record setter – 107∘ F.  That was the end of my blessed life!

Finally, I emerged from the coma in late September of ’88.  My friend, Mike, gave his account of what happened a year later after successfully suing me for the insurance money.

Mike told me, “I remember looking at you while you drove – you were driving fast – but you always did!  You had both hands on the wheel and were looking straight ahead talking about the car we were in because you had just bought it for Nancy.  The next thing I heard was, uhh – ahh – ahh and sticks, branches and leaves were coming inside.  Then the car stopped and all was quiet.  I undid my seat-belt and tried opening the door, but I couldn’t.   I made myself skinny and went through the roof where the panel was gone.  There I was, in the middle of a field, dazed and a huge bump on my knee; I looked around but didn’t see you, I hollered your name, but there was no answer.  I began walking towards the road and there was still no sign of you.   After wandering the field for a while I noticed a man and a woman bending over somebody lying on the ground. I don’t know why, but I began running towards them shouting, don’t you die you sonofabitch!”

That guy was from a house across from that field and back from the road a bit.  He gave me CPR until the ambulance arrived and it was lucky for me, I guess; that the ambulance was at Cedar Lake Speedway a quarter mile down the road.  Actually the accident proved unlucky for me but lucky for all others involved.  Who I was, died in that accident (not physically, but in every other way).

The ambulance arrived shortly and loaded me in the back. They then sped their way to Holy Family Hospital in the nearest town of New Richmond, Wisconsin. They were not able to do anything for me except to ready me for an “Air ambulance ride” to North Memorial Trauma Center way off in a suburb of Minneapolis about fifty miles away.

I spent the next two months there in a coma. I had seven broken ribs on the left and right sides. I had a punctured lung and a collapsed lung, a broken collar-bone and my right-side at that time was completely paralyzed. I was unable to speak.  The discharge summary from that place said that my brain stem had been completely severed (though, the doctors must have been mistaken.) it was hanging on by the sinewy veins, I guess because I have recovered pretty well, considering.

The brain stem connects with the nerves and tells you what you should feel, how to move and how to feel, well that is why I still walk with a limp; the nerves are not receiving the correct signals.  I had a traumatic brain injury and was pronounced dead twice, given “Last Rites” and the family was told that if I did live I would be a vegetable. Obviously, the professionals were wrong once again.

I spent over a year in different hospitals, nursing homes and a physical and cognitive rehabilitation center.  I attempt improvement with every breath I take.

I am raising my, now, eleven- year old daughter .  I am trying to instill in her independence, “Ask for what you need and don’t be timid or afraid of things such as spiders and bugs, face your fears,” I tell her.

2012 - Just before her dance performance with CSFA at Burnsville Performing Arts Center...
2012 – Just before her dance performance with CSFA at Burnsville Performing Arts Center…

She just now hollered from the couch, “I love you, Dad”

She is involved with things such as Girl Scouts, horseback riding, violin playing and karate.  284744_10150240113614565_562909564_7247656_2877354_n


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