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Brain Injury Survivor Stories

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tom Erwine

On May 20, 2013, I was on a well-deserved vacation riding my motorcycle with a group of friends when my accident occurred. I was on a twisty desert road in Arizona when somehow I lost control and crashed. My bike left the road and a tree branch impacted with my neck. My motorcycle flipped and I was catapulted forward. My list of injuries was extensive: Double broken right leg (tibia/fibula), broken right arm, collapsed lungs, massive rotator cuff tears in both shoulders, shattered larynx, and brain bleeding (despite having a good helmet on). The Lord must have had more work for me to do, as the first people who happened on the scene were a doctor, an EMT, and a nurse.  I was told I died a couple times at the scene. I was airlifted to St. George Utah, which not being a Level I Trauma center, could only stabilize me and airlift me to Las Vegas. I was in a coma, had a feeding tube and a tracheostomy.

I spent 2 weeks in ICU in Vegas before I was transported by plane to St Jude in Fullerton.  A week later in Fullerton is the first memory I have since the accident. The Dr’s had told my wife not to expect me to eat, talk, or walk again (and my neck injury is usually 95% fatal), and were unsure how well my brain would work. I was told that while in the hospital, I did not know what decade it was, who my family was, or even my pets. This put a tremendous strain on my wife, as we have on a daughter who has a brain injury and my oldest daughter not knowing if her dad would live or die, and might also have permanent brain damage. Luckily, we were friends with Lisa Moss and she helped my family through this (and with the help of the Brainstorming4Us family). After 2 weeks in Fullerton, I was transported to Care Meridian Rehab center where I started my recovery.   I went through speech and physical therapy session, and slowly my memory (and sense of humor) returned. I spent about 6 weeks in rehab before going home.  I actually returned to my job as a Disney computer programmer in just 5 ½ months. I still suffer permanent damage to my body and brain, but if you met me, you’d only notice the scar and dent in my neck and my raspy voice. My attitude was, and still is, you get hurt, you recover, and you go on.  You do the best you can with what you have. 

Author: Lisa Moss

Categories: Brain Injury BiosNumber of views: 6913

Tags: Brain Injury

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