Posted by chylve on Jun 24, 2015 12:53 am

On June 6, my brother was driving home from making preparations for our father's funeral. He was rear-ended by an 18 wheeler. He has a C7-T1 complete, plus broken ribs, a punctured lung, and assorted other injuries. Of course, he is lucky to be alive, lucky that the injury wasn't higher, lucky to have been within reasonable distance to a trauma I facility. He is paralyzed from the chest down, but seems to have full use of his right hand and arm and partial use of his left. He has only been sporadically conscious since the accident, so it is difficult to discern the full scope of his injuries at this point. He had surgery to implant a rod in his spine so that he will eventually be able to sit up. He is currently on a venitlator and has a feeding tube. He is expected to be in the hospital for at least a year.

I've done the only things I can think to do (I'm in Virginia and he is in Texas). I had his daughter start a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for the family so that they can continue to pay rent and buy groceries. His wife does have a job, but there are two teenage sons still living at home. I've researched everything I can find on his condition and possible outcomes and complications so that I can have a better idea of what they are dealing with. I've tried contacting newspapers to get the Go Fund Me campaign some publicity and pleaded with all of my Facebook friends to share the link even if they can't donate. I'm trying to provide emotional support to my niece, mother, grandmother, and half-brother. I'm personally still an emotional mess because of this happening just three days after the death of our father.

If anyone has any advice on how I can help my brother's family, please let me know. I just don't know what else I can do. 

I haven't yet read the rules here, so I won't post the link to the Go Fund Me campaign unless I find out that it is permitted, but here he is with his kids and his wife. They are wearing Superman shirts for Father's Day because he is their hero. My niece (pictured top) did the heart border to post it on Facebook for Father's Day. She's a great kid. 

Thank you for your time. 

Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by TJ14 on Jun 24, 2015 8:22 pm

 I am so sorry to hear about your brother. He is lucky to have family.  My name is TJ Griffin I'm the program coordinator for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation peer mentor program. I would love to talk to you and your brother to see if you guys would be interested in having one-on-one mentors. I really think your brother could  benefit from talking to somebody that's been through his unique situation. Please give me a call my name is TJ Griffin, phone number 817-360-6869, email tjgriffin@christopherreeve.org.  Just to let you know I am also in Texas. 

Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by chylve on Jun 24, 2015 9:10 pm

Thank you so much, TJ! Brian currently isn't up to talking to anyone. He only today started staying conscious for more than a few minutes at a time and today is the first day that he has seemed to be aware of his condition. I live in Virginia, so am trying to do what I can from here, but I will forward your information to my niece, Ashleigh. She is the one who is handling the fundraising and everything down there. I know that having someone to talk to about what her father is going through would be a great benefit to her. Brian's teenage sons aren't coping very well either. I've suggested that Ashleigh see if the hospital has any support groups for families, but I don't know if she has followed through with that or if they just don't provide that sort of resource at that hospital. 

I really appreciate your help. 

Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by TJ14 on Jun 25, 2015 9:49 am

I'm glad you gave your niece my information. Please let her and your brother know if they need anything they can give me a call or email me I'll be glad to help with whatever I can. Don't forget if you or any other family members feel like they would like to talk to a mentor you can contact me. 

Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by chylve on Jun 25, 2015 12:10 pm

Thanks again. I'm really glad, too. I think this could be so beneficial for Brian, when he's ready, and the rest of his family even before then. I know all three kids and his wife must be terrified, wondering what kind of quality of life any of them will have. I love the idea of them being able to talk to someone who has been through it to hopefully ease their fears. I discussed it with my niece last night and sent her many links to the Foundation's website, but she says she'll have to run it past her mom first. That would be the only reason she might not contact you. Tina, Brian's wife, has always been reluctant to ask for help of any kind, which is often quite admirable, but in this situation, I worry that it will work to her detriment. 

If you'd like to see the updates on Brian's condition, you can find me on Facebook as Cheryl Self Gray. 

Again, thank you for offering to help Brian's family, and for all you do to help in general. 

Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Jul 29, 2015 3:37 pm

I'm so sorry for what is happening to you, your brother and his family. I'm Dan Gottlieb and I am a psychologist/family therapist in New Jersey. I am quite interested to know if your nieces ever got the counseling they needed from the hospital he is in. I would really appreciate an update about that situation and your brother's overall health as I would like to see what I can do, if anything, to help them get the services they need. By the way, in what city is he hospitalized?
Please take care
Daniel Gottlieb PhD

Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by chylve on Jul 29, 2015 7:45 pm

Thank you, Dr. Gottlieb. My brother was finally moved from ICU to an acute care facility a week or so ago. He's at Baylor Scott & White Continuing Care Hospital in Temple, TX. He is doing much better, all things considered, and they are hopeful that he will be able to breathe on his own and have the tracheostomy removed in the not-too-distant future. He has a feeding tube due to injury to his esophagus that can't be repaired right now because of a previous gastric bypass. He has pretty much full movement in his right arm and hand, and his left is improving, but lagging behind somewhat. He is scared, of course. I fear greatly for his mental health. Brian is bipolar, and wasn't receiving his meds for the first month or more of his hospital stay. I don't know what, if any, sort of counseling he has received up to this point. 

My niece has been in touch with the mentor who responded here, but I don't know if anything further has been done.She is 23 and will have to go back to Oklahoma for her job soon. My nephews are younger, 17 and 14 (I think), and are having a harder time processing everything. The younger son already had some anger issues, and this has exacerbated that problem.  

I do appreciate your desire to help. I should make it clear at the outset that the family was poor to begin with, although both my brother and his wife worked until a few months ago. This situation, of course, has landed them in some significantly dire financial straits, so any counseling would have to be on a pro bono basis.

Again, thank you so much for your desire to help. It's all such a mess for them and there's not a lot I am able to do. 

Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Sep 9, 2015 9:57 am

the important thing here is what your brother wants. Control has to be in his hands because of everything he's lost. And when this happens, everyone feels a bit out of control. So if he wants to talk to a counselor, I hope one is available at the rehab. Same with everyone else in your family. Let's not worry about money right now, let's just focus on what everyone wants and needs.

By the way, where does your brother live relative to Austin? I know some counselors who live there.

Please keep me posted as there are resources available.
And when you do, please come to "healing the mind and heart" discussion as I may have difficulty finding your response in this particular discussion.

Please take care


Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by prc_Beth on Oct 23, 2015 3:22 pm

Hi Chylve,

My name is Beth and I am a member of the Information Specialist Team here at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Please let your family know that we are here to provide them with resources including information for the newly injured and the Paralysis Resource Guide. We have a wide range of additional information and resources for individuals living with paralysis, as well as their family members and caregivers.  I can mail or email a package to you if you would like to receive it. Should you need any further information, please call 1-800-539-7309. My extension is 7220
Associate Information Specialist
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
Paralysis Resource Center
636 Morris Turnpike Suite 3A
Short Hills, NJ 07978
1-800-539-7309 x7220
1-973-467-8270 x7220

Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by symond on Jul 22, 2017 3:23 am

He is deadened starting from the chest, yet appears to have full utilization of his correct hand and arm and fractional utilization of his left. He has just been sporadically cognizant since the mishap, Coursework Service so it is hard to observe the full extent of his wounds now. He had surgery to embed a pole in his spine with the goal that he will in the end have the capacity to sit up. He is as of now on a venitlator and has an encouraging tube. He is required to be in the healing center for no less than a year. 

Re: Overwhelmed

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Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by SpearJanis on Sep 17, 2017 4:35 am

Hi.  I am so sorry for what has happened.  My husband was injured in a similar automotive accident, and I was also completely overwhelmed at first.  The best advice I can give you is to keep hope.  My husband also had a trachy, was unable to move, and couldn't breathe on his own at first.  It was frustrating for everyone concerned because he was not able to communicate with us, so it makes the burden of trying to help him worse.  

Take a moment to just breathe, and gather your thoughts.  You don't have to have the answers yet.  You don't have to know everything all at once.  I wanted to know everything, and felt like a failure because I didn't know much and wasn't really able to even take in the information at first.

There are wonderful resources on this site, but I would suggest you take it slowly, and try not to read all the information at once, it can make you feel more overwhelmed.  Also, ask questions here, and feel free to express your needs and feelings.  

My husband was injured ont he 10th of March this year, and now his trachy is out, he can breathe on his own, and after an extended stay in the ICU initially, then the rehab facility, he is now home.  We are learning together because we are trying to be kind to ourselves and each other.  This is important.  I still cry sometimes at night when I transfer him into the bed because I am just so exhausted.  We try laugh together a lot, and we both try to find positivity int he situation.  Perhaps you can't think of that right now, and having someone tell you to try be positive may feel like a slap in the face, but it helped me.  Find one thing each day to focus on, and be thankful for.  Perhaps just that your dog made you feel happy for a moment, perhaps you saw a blossom.  Perhaps someone said a kind word to you.  It is important to allow yourself space and time.

Read the literature, but don't focus too much on what the negatives are.  Be realistic, but also hopeful.  YOu never know how much the body can or will do, and some healing can come, in time.

The surgeon who repaired my huisband's spine (it was broken at C5) said a lot of things about what he would not be able to do.  I appreciate his realism, but we have already had a small amount of healing and he has biceps in his left arm which means he can drive his power chair bu himself, and this has already given him a lot of independence.

Also, learn from what others have done, and see what will work for you.  We may not have been along this road before, but others have, and there are road signs.  Learn to be patient with yourself and each other, and celebrate your successes.

It soudns like you have had a small step forward, and I am sure you will keep going onwards and upwards.

Use the resources you have, and read lots here.  It sometimes feels like walking through deep mud, but we are all here for each other.

Sending lots of love and light, and sunshine.  Good luck.

Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by SpearJanis on Sep 17, 2017 4:38 am

Also, it may be useful for you to go over and just do a few chores for them - maybe sweep the floor and wash the dishes.  It may also be useful to take them a meal or two.  Sometimes practical things are difficult to ask for, and sometimes the immediate family doesn't even know they need a meal made, or the floor swept, just because they are so overwhelmed. XxX

Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by lukenlow on Nov 7, 2017 8:56 am

I hope everything will be fine, with all my heart I wish you good luck and a speedy recovery

Re: Overwhelmed

Posted by malcom on Nov 22, 2017 1:16 am

I am so sorry about your brother and was overwhelmed by grief and revulsion such as I had never known before.dissertation writing service

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