Finding the people who saved me

I was in a car accident when I was a baby 17 years ago and suffered a traumatic brain injury. I shared a video on December 5, 2017 trying to find the nurse who saved my life after the accident. In looking for 1 nurse, I found dozens of caregivers who were involved with my care.

Saying thank you to my first responders

When I shared my video I had a lot of people reach out and tell me they were the first responders to my accident. A dozen people showed up to an open house we held and they shared their stories about helping to save my in my car accident.

We met Kandy. She was a flight paramedic who was on the helicopter that flew my dad to the hospital. She has thought about us many times through the years and she especially remembered my brother Andre. It was amazing to meet her and hear her side of the story. See Andre and that story in this video.

We also met Kelly. He was a first responder who helped get my brother Andre out of the car. Andre had his legs trapped by the seat in front of him, which caused two broken femurs. Andre was only 5 at the time and was screaming because of his legs. Kelly had broken his femur a year before so he knew from experience just how much pain Andre was in. Kelly was attentive to Andre and worked hard to get him out safely. It was amazing to meet him and be able to tell him thank you.

We loved meeting David. He was the very first person who got to the accident. He helped me out of the car through a broken window. When he was getting me out, he was only inches away from my sister, Alyse’s face. He said, “Do you hear that? Those sirens are for you. People are on their way.” After all these years, he said he remembered Alyse’s face and it was so good to see her well. He had some other cool stories that were very precious to us.

There were several other first responders that we got to meet and we loved hearing their stories. There was one fireman that couldn’t make it because he lives in Maine now, but his daughter was there to represent him. It was so cool to us that we were important enough to him that he sent his daughter. For everyone who came, thank you so much. You will never know how much it meant to us to see you.

Saying thank you to my doctors & nurses

First responders rescued me from the car and then drove me to Medical City McKinney hospital. And I met some incredible caregivers who helped treat me.

We had “met” many of them through a skype call in December, but it was so good to be able to see them in person and to hug them. Wendi, a wonderful nurse, gave us all t-shirts that said “Always Texas.” Texas will always be in our hearts.

We got to meet the doctor who was the attending physician at Medical City McKinney that day. It was the day before Thanksgiving and early enough that the night shift was still there. They wanted him to come to the scene, but there were too many people at the hospital that needed him so he couldn’t. He felt pulled in different directions and wished there was more he could have done. He was (and is) obviously very dedicated to his job of saving lives. We also learned that he was the one who told Dennie (my special nurse) to do the IO procedure that saved my life.

Later that day we went to Dallas Children’s Hospital and I got to meet the neurosurgeon who gave me my signature scar. The first thing I asked him was, “Why did you have to cut my head open?” I learned that I had a blood clot and swelling in my brain and they had to cut my head to get to it. He also told us about the shape. It was cut back and forth like that because it helps the hair lay flat. When he saw my video on facebook, he thought, “That looks like my incision.” Well, guess what? It was. 🙂

Saying thank you to my neighbors

Not only was I helped by medical caregivers, but my neighborhood and church family came together to help look after me and my family during that tragic time. Leslie was a member of our church and she went above and beyond to look over us, especially during those first 24 hours. Our closest family members at the time were about 5 hours away by car. Most of our family was too far to drive. But it was the day before Thanksgiving and almost impossible to find flights. Leslie wanted to make sure that none of us were alone, but without family there, it was up to her. She arranged to have at least one person from our church sitting with each of us until our family got there. We truly felt her love and dedication even 17 years later.

We had more church members who came and cleaned our house, prepped things for our family members, and even washed the towels while our extended family was there. They were instructed to sneak in, get the towels and wash them, and sneak back in to deliver them. My siblings remembered that the church and neighbors did a lot, but we all realized that they did so much more than we thought at the time.

Plus, 17 years later they were there to help again. Lindsay arranged places for us to stay and she showed us around McKinney and answered all of our questions.

Jenny offered her home for the open house that we arranged for the first responders and doctors that weren’t from the hospitals. It was incredible to feel how open their hearts were and how willing they were to help us.

What I’ve learned

I’ve learned saying thank you is the best thing thing in the world. It was healing for so many of us, both my family and the people we got to meet. Gratitude is truly one of the most powerful things in the world. There were too many people and stories to mention them all by name. For everyone we got to meet, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!



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