Brighter Days Are Coming
Summer of 2022 is one we will never forget. We received a call that our 16-year-old daughter, Layla, was being trauma hawked after an ATV crash. We didn’t know much about brain injury then, but we were about to get a firsthand look. Layla was in a coma. She had multiple brain bleeds, a dissected carotid artery and a broken jaw. They explained her type of injury was typically fatal, a grade 3 DAI. They said at best, she would survive but potentially remain unconscious or be severely disabled the rest of her life. We sat bedside watching our little girl fight for her life. Day by day we prayed for another day with her and clung to the hope she wouldn’t leave us. During the next 20 days, she remained stable enough to get tracheotomy surgery, her jaw wired and a stomach PEG. Finally, the day came that the hospital could do no more for us. We had Layla med flighted to a hospital in Georgia. She was admitted under the disorders of consciousness program. They prepare you that each step may be the most you get, and we had to find peace in that, our baby was still alive after all. Brain injury can be cruel, especially to the caregivers. Layla was the strongest girl I knew; this didn’t seem possible. To everyone’s surprise, Layla began responding to commands. It started with wiggling toes and fingers and eventually evolved into her learning to walk and talk again. Fast forward to today, she made, what doctors call, a remarkable recovery. We never expected to get so much of our daughter back, and we live in gratitude for that every single day. We took a lot of lessons from the experience, and we have new eyes. We were able to return to the hospitals who cared for her and say thank you. We were able to meet the first responders who played a huge part in saving her. We have also had the privilege of working with other families navigating TBI, almost like we were meant for it all along.