IAmA guy who nearly died in a car accident when I was 17, only has 2 toes, no spleen, no gallbladder, and long term-short term memory loss AMA
I nearly died in a car accident when I was 17 years old (in 2005) and I have made an almost 100% recovery from it (memory loss is the only thing left, that and my lack-of toes). I hold the record for 2nd most days in the ICU at University Hospital in Cincinnati (76 days). I have had 2 seizures, and more surgeries (major and minor) than me and my family could keep track of. AMA
Edit again, thought of one more maybe-interesting fact, I only weighed 76lbs when I was 17 due to being in the hospital and being comatose and inactive for so long.
http://i364.photobucket.com/albums/oo84/laikacomehome/2014-04-09071844_zpsd4c4bc85.jpg <my toes, sorry the lighting is bad, took it with my phone and it was dark
http://i364.photobucket.com/albums/oo84/laikacomehome/2014-04-09071854_zps4d565116.jpg <my left arm, again sorry about the lighting
EDIT: http://s364.photobucket.com/user/laikacomehome/media/2014-04-09072436_zpsab219682.jpg.html <slightly better picture of my left arm
Well I'm I have a doctor's appointment from 2-3 and it's a about a half hour drive but I'll definitely answer more when I get home
Was it short-term memory loss that is lasting for the long term, or both long-term AND short-term loss? I am assuming the latter.
short-term memory loss that has lasted a long time haha
Imgur Mirror of the Photos:
http://i.imgur.com/NIM5tOF.jpg <my toes, sorry the lighting is bad, took it with my phone and it was dark
http://i.imgur.com/ufNTOeS.jpg <my left arm, again sorry about the lighting
http://i.imgur.com/7xVf6Hk.jpg <slightly better picture of my left arm
Do you have any pictures of the memory loss?
what memory loss?
I'm sure that this was meant as a joke and I get it but somewhat ironically the fact that I do have memory loss is one thing that I have never been able to forget. I've had numerous doctors/psychologists over the years reassure me that I face this problem and it's always kind of annoyed me because it is one thing that I have never been able to forget.
How forgetful are you? Do you remember anything from the accident?
Misread your question :/ my memory has gotten a lot better but there are still days when it's complete shit. As far as memories from the accident, none other than what friends and family have told me which aren't really memories.
Extremely grateful. For weeks they told my parents "he's not out of the woods yet" (they HATE that phrase). I really can't put it into words, it's a combination of thankfulness and a VERY deep appreciate for the amazing surgeons and doctors that took care of me.
So how bad was your crash?
Pretty bad, it shut down that part of the highway for about an hour from what I understand.
When I was a kid, a bit younger than you, I almost died prior to life saving surgery. When I woke up I was told this and my first thought was "Cool!"
What were your initial thoughts once you realized you could have died, but didn't?
Well, keep in mind that I was still pretty drugged up (vicodin, Percocet) after the surgeries since I did have so many (amputation of 7 of your toes is apparently very painful, thankfully I don't remember it) so as far as memories of "first thoughts" go there are pretty much none (haha). The first memory that I kind-of have is of being in physical therapy when I started trying to walk again. I remember partly the pain but also that my mom was crying because I was able to do it at all. The doctors painted a very grim picture for my parents while I was in the hospital. They said things like "he will never be able to take care of himself" and "he will never be able to live on his own" (I still live at home with them right now but I am working on moving out).
Glad that you're ok too!
I've always wondered - when they say physical therapy is painful, what's actually painful about it?
When you've lost almost all of the muscle mass in your legs, standing for more than 5 seconds in an achievement. My dad spent a lot of time on the phone with his parents during this time and would brag to them every night how long I was able to stand up for and when I was finally able to walk again how many steps I could take. Everything goes from being routine and easy turns into a milestone, at least it did for me. Remembering what I had for lunch an hour after I ate it was a big deal for me back then, it's still something that I struggle with occasionally but it has gotten a LOT better.
Do you live with them for medical or financial reasons?
No, financially I am in very good shape since I got a rather nice sized settlement from the insurance company. I still live with them mainly because my memory still kind of sucks (some days it's better than others) and moving out would be a pretty drastic change for me. I am very eager to move out on my own but there are still a few obstacles that I have to overcome in order for that to happen.
How do you remember your password?
They are all safely written down and I make use of the "save login information" function on websites quite often :P
You should also register your email in case you forget it. You can press forgot password.
I always do but thanks for the tip anyway.
How did the accident happen?
Me and a couple of friends were driving down to Cincinnati (from Dayton) and my best friend (the driver) was speeding, police said that he was going about 85 when the accident happened, and he came up on an accident that had already happened and went to put his foot on the break but hit the clutch instead and flipped the car. I was thrown from the vehicle and (probably) landed on my head (I had severe brain swelling) in a field on the side of the highway. He was usually a good driver but just a lapse in judgement led to him going that fast and hitting the wrong peddle.
I have to go to a doctor's appointment right now (followup with seizure medicine doctor, very basic stuff) but I will answer anymore questions that may come up when I get back.
Yea it's pretty obvious to me. If it's something important I will usually try to hang onto it and repeat it in my head for as long as I can and eventually once that thought has veered off into something else I will try to quiz myself ("quiz myself" meaning that I will remember that I needed to remember something and see if I still do remember it...kind of weird I'm sure). Since my memory has improved A LOT since the accident I am much better at it now but there are still times when it lets me down. There was a time when you could ask me what I had for lunch an hour after I ate it and I wouldn't remember, now I USUALLY will but not 100% of the time.
Congratulations on being able to see again!
My future right now isn't the brightest since I don't have any immediate goals other than just moving out of my parents house but I'm still pretty optimistic about it.
How similar is your life to the guy in memento?
Sorry, not 100% sure on what you are referring to when you say "memento"...
It's a movie where the main character has memory loss. He tattoos messages to his body to remember things.
I've never seen it so I'm not sure but I would not be comfortable getting a tattoo just to remember something that I might only need to know once or twice I can tell you that much.
How did/does this affect school?
I had to finish up high school with a home tutor. I was a second year freshman (experimented with drugs my first year and really wasted it) and had just started to really clean up my act and start trying (I dated a woman that REALLY had a profound effect on me and helped me to turn my life around) when this all happened. I have taken one college course (an English course since I always excelled in English before the accident) since then but I don't see myself doing much more with it, conventional schooling just isn't "my thing" I don't think.
You were a freshman at age 17?
I think college freshman.
No, he said high school in the first line.
Yes I was a high school freshman, I really screwed around in my first year (got into the whole drug thing for a brief while, really stupid) and then I started to date an amazing woman and she helped me get clean and stay clean and turn my life around (I broke up with her a little later on, a decision that I am still trying to figure out myself).
Can you go into detail about the accident? Were you driving?
Sure thing, no I was not driving, my best friend was. Me, him, and a couple of other friends were driving from Dayton (where we all lived) down to Cincinnati to play an arcade game, which, ironically, my parents owned the same one here in Dayton (they used to own a small business that had an arcade in it). We were right around the Solid Rock Church (where touchdown Jesus was) when we came up on an accident that had already happened and so he went to hit the brake but hit the clutch instead and because he was speeding (he hit close to 100mph there) he flipped the van (he might have flipped the van irregardless of speeding, I'm not 100% sure) and I was thrown from the vehicle (it was a big white van), I landed in a field (apparently) on my head.
I'm confused, originally you said that he was speeding around 80mph. Now you're stating that he pressed the clutch instead of the brake pedal, and this caused the van to scream past100mph?
I'm glad you're alive OP. Just curious, are you guys still friends? I couldn't live with myself if I drove over 100mph , crashed, and caused permanent damage to a best friend or loved one. Accidents happen, but 100mph is downright negligent.
Nowhere did he state the van "screamed past 100mph", he said earlier that the driver was doing "about 85", which is arguably "close to 100mph". Give the guy a break. The driver was speeding.
Haha yea, I know that he hit 100mph right around the Solid Rock Church where touchdown Jesus used to be but as far as specific speeds I'm not sure if the police were even 100% sure when they tried to put a story of what exactly happened together.
After how long do you forget thing? And what kind of job would you be able to apply for?
Thanks for doing this ama
It really depends on what it is at this point. My memory has gotten A LOT better over time but still if it's something very insignificant and not important to me at all there is a decent chance that I'm not going to remember it. It can be in as little as 15 minutes but since it's gotten so much better it's usually closer to an hour.
I could apply for any (obviously since there is nothing really stopping me haha) but the job that I am doing now and have been doing for 5+ years is ideal for me because it is very repetitive and doesn't really ever change. I've been applying to other jobs at various retail stores just working as a cashier but so far nothing has panned out.
Were you wearing a seatbelt?
No, the very back seat didn't have any seat belts available in it, they were tucked into the seat I believe so I couldn't get to them even if I had wanted to. The police and medics said that they don't know if I would have benefited from wearing a seatbelt or not since we were going so fast and hit the other car with such force.
Does the lack of toes affect your walking in anyway or do you have prosthetics?
No not really, I had custom orthotics made that go in my shoes that fill in where the rest of my toes should be so that my feet don't slide around much when I walk. I can walk just fine and in fact that is my main source of exercise, I try to walk close to 10 miles everyday total between walking outside if the weather is nice and on the treadmill. My job (I work as a magazine merchandiser, that probably would have been a smart thing to put in my original post...) requires me to be on my feet and pace through Walmart/Walgreens/CVS 4 days a week for a total of about 7 or 8 hours.
How does your memory loss affect your job? Did you mention it when you had your interview or are you able to 'hide' it (sorry, not a native english speaker so not entirely sure what being a magazine merchandiser entails exactly)
Well I've been doing the job for so long (5+ years) and it is so repetitive that I've got it pretty much down pat but occasionally I'll still have to call my boss if I'm not 100% sure on something and thankfully he is very understanding and friendly and willing to answer any questions that I have.
I did mention it when I had the interview and he knew about my "issues" when I went in and he stuck around and helped me out the first couple of times that I did it.
As far as what a magazine merchandiser entails, I go into each of my stores once a week and change out the old magazines for the new issues. Both of the Walmarts that I "service" I have to do on Thursdays and then go back in on Saturday mornings and clean up since Walmart customers don't like to put things back where they got them.
and clean up since Walmart customers don't like to put things back where they got them.
I cannot believe that people are that...horrible that they feel the need to just put things they don't want in the magazine racks. The sheer entitlement that some people feel is just infuriating.
You sir, are doing God's work.
You have no idea... When I worked freight I found things in the most bizarre places. Once I found batteries on the canned tuna shelf. I can't imagine what about tuna would make someone decide they didn't want batteries.
I have found cleaning supplies, women's underwear, one of those logs that you use to help start fires, and plenty of Matchbox cars and more in the magazine racks.
How long can we ask you questions until you forget why you are here?
Haha my memory isn't THAT bad :P like I said it was gotten a LOT better since the initial accident but it's still not perfect. If my boss gives me special instructions or my parents tell me to do something specific that I don't normally do I usually write them down just to be sure that I don't forget them but again, it has gotten a LOT better.
If there was proof, this would be an awesome AMA.
Fixed, sorry slipped my mind, had to wake up kind of early for a doctor's appointment (seizure medicine guy).
sorry slipped my mind
☜(ﾟヮﾟ☜) I see what you did there.
Haha yep, it's more proof!
Were you wearing your seatbelt?
No :\ it was a white passenger van and I was in the very back seat (it had two seats in the middle and then a bench seat in the back) and the seatbelt was tucked into the seat so I couldn't have even if I had wanted to (we were all just having a lot of fun so safety was not our biggest concern at that time). The police/paramedics (not 100% sure which) said that they couldn't tell whether it was a good thing or not that I wasn't wearing it. It is almost ALWAYS a good idea to wear your seatbelt but because my friend was going so fast nobody knows if having the seatbelt on would have been beneficial or if it would have hurt me from the force of running into something at close to 100mph. The van flipped and rolled a couple of times too so I'm not sure what effect the seatbelt would have had on me then either.
Is there anything you wish you had or hadn't forgotten?
Well I obviously wish that I hadn't forgotten anything but other than that, not really. I remembered the very basic things like my parent's faces, by brother's face, my cat (my parents brought him, the cat, into the hospital to see me, not sure if that was allowed or not, and apparently I had a hallucination that involved the cat too...), the first girl that I ever felt like I really "loved" and a few close friends. I am able to remember all of the important people and things in my life now since it's been so long and my memory has improved so much it's not really THAT big of an obstacle for me anymore (thankfully. I would almost say that I would like to forget that I had this whole experience but I honestly wouldn't. I think of it as having been a very hard and tough learning and character building experience for me). It taught me to appreciate the little things in life a lot more and to not take people or material things for granted.
I have lived in Cincinnati all my life, and I actually remember that wreck. I'm glad to hear you are making a full recovery. And congrats on the ICU record! :P
Haha thanks and thank you! It's my only claim to fame so far :P
Meh, as someone who doesn't have one either, the gallbladder is overrated.
Agreed, it just sits in there taking up space and using resources like a freeloader :P
awesome AMA. my boyfriend had a seizure and fell off the top bunk while at basic training. had a left temporal brain fracture and hemorrhage spent 8 months in the hospital. his memory sucks! he will randomly remember something from being younger he forgot about and get so excited. he told me he has a hard time differating between if it really happened or if it was a dream, he imagined it, ect. do you have this issue? also It drives me absolutely crazy that he forgets such simple things but I have to remind myself he tries so hard, have you been doing anything to help strengthen your memory? I suggested him playing those luminosity games but we haven't looked into it. any advice on what works for you would be cool! lastly, hello fellow Ohioan. we live in Springfield & are in cinci all the time at his moms. wish you well!
Yes. I have that EXACT same issue (thinking that memories are dreams) and it has bothered me dozens of times, I honestly thought that I was the only one who had that problem so thank you. :)
I don't do any brain exercises really, at the end of everyday I do my best to go through and try and recap everything that happened in the day to see if I can come up with the entire day's worth of events but that's really the closest thing that I do to a brain game. Nurses and doctors suggested memory games and things like Luminosity to me and my family and they worked when I was going through rehab and I do think that they played a role in "kick starting" my brain into remembering things again. I could never really stand to do too many brain games (no matter how many nurses tried to get me to do them or how cute they were haha) because it was just a reminder of what had happened to me and that kind of got me down. With your boyfriend I would just advise that you stay positive with him (I imagine that you do) and be patient, I guarantee you that he wants to be able to remember things as badly as you want him to be able to.
And hello to you fellow Ohioan as well!
Do you have a fear of being in cars or driving? Or are you fine with being in vehicles? Because if something like this happened to me I'd never get in a car again. (I'm a pussy)
Nope, not at all. I have ridden with the guy that was driving in my accident since then and I got my license (after failing the driving test a few times, god damn cones) about 2 years ago. I, myself, have gotten into an accident once while driving. I was on the highway and changed lanes without checking my blind spot well enough and clipped somebody, neither of us were seriously injured (we both walked away from it just fine).
Do you ever forget that you have short term memory loss?
Nope, I think that when I first got out of the hospital and started trying to do things again I would but since it's been so long I have accepted it and just go through life with that knowledge. It can get a little bit confusing because sometimes I will have a very vivid dream and when I dream I don't have any memory loss or scars so when I wake up it's a little bit of a surprise.
Sorry if this is a sensitive subject, but what was the cause of the crash and your injuries? Do you have any advice for the general public on safety while riding in cars that you wouldn't have said before the crash?
My best friend who was driving came up on an accident that had already happened, went to hit the brakes but hit the clutch instead (he hadn't been driving a manual all that long I don't think) and since he had been speeding (hit close to 100mph) he flipped the car and I was thrown from the vehicle and landed on my head. I suffered a TBI (traumatic brain injury), lacerated spleen, had burns on my left arm and each of my thighs. While in the hospital I developed a plug in my airway and had to have a tracheostomy (they put a hole in my throat through my neck so I could breathe...kind of gross I know but it was a good conversation starter...kind of haha)
The best advice that I could give would be to not be cocky and think that this kind of thing can't happen to you. When we were in the van we were all just having a great time, laughing, joking, just messing around, the thought of being in a car accident never crossed my mind and I don't think that it crossed anyone else's either. Basically, just be safe and keep in mind that you aren't invincible.
Why did your toes have to be amputated?
I was laying in bed for so long not moving at all that no blood could get down to them so they turned black and died basically. My parents saw them when they were black and said that they were really disgusting so I guess that it had to be done. I look at it like supermodels pay big money to get their toes shortened like mine to fit into smaller shoes but I had insurance pay for mine haha
Wait, so... they weren't injured in the accident? This was just a complication of your recovery?
No offense but that sounds like really shit medical care. Shouldn't the doctors/nurses have been moving you periodically so bed sores etc. wouldn't happen? Or at least have caught it before they were black and needed to be amputated?
I was in a coma and hooked up to numerous machines that were keeping me alive, moving around was not an option for me at that time.
I'm not talking about being up and walking around. Just moving your legs for you, maybe wiggling your toes. People have been in comas for years without losing 7 toes.
And anyway why would lying flat on your back keep blood from flowing to your toes? They weren't suspended above you.
No blood got down to them because I didn't move them for months, I couldn't obviously. I had these white compression sleeve things on my legs that went up to my knees to keep the lower part of my leg from turning black (I guess, I would assume at least) but I guess that those didn't make the blood get down to my toes. Those are my best guesses/assumptions, I only know what I have been told.
I'm honestly not 100% sure, I was told it was because there was no blood circulation in my toes and so they turned black and needed to be amputated, I have no reason to doubt that. I really don't think that the hospital was trying to pad the bill and tack on another surgery just for the money or anything like that. It
How has the accident affected you mentally? Are you afraid to drive anywhere now? Did you suffer from depression? Have you lost/gained friends due to the accident?
Well I still struggle with my memory loss sometimes which is really the only complain that I can make. I'm not afraid to drive anywhere, I've driven on the highway where the accident happened and see the mile marker that the car took out when it went off the road but I'm OK with it.
I never really got too depressed honestly, I have always been a very optimistic person so even when I was in excruciating pain I knew that it was just a "speed bump" of sorts for me to go over. My parents have said that they couldn't have gone through this whole ordeal if I hadn't been so optimistic. I was always the one telling them that everything would be OK when I was laying on the operating table waiting for the anesthesia to kick in before a surgery. I have been going to see a clinical psychologist since I was 17 and I was messing around with drugs in high school so he helped me a little bit in "adjusting" to my situation. At the same time though, even though I stayed so optimistic there were still times when the thought of just "letting go" did cross my mind but I always knew that it wasn't an option for me.
Glad you're ok! It must be a hard process to go through at just 17yrs old.
What are some things that you enjoy / make you feel better? Other than yourself, family and friends, what things in life do you live for?
Last question: What's the best joke you have for reddit?
Thank you very much :) and yes, it was.
Well I have always considered myself a "geek" or sorts meaning that I enjoy messing with and discovering new technology and keeping up with sites like reddit, Digg, Slashdot, etc. I also really enjoy going for long walks as a way to relax and clear my head. As far as "what things I live for", that's kind of a big question. I'd say that I live for myself, my friends and family, and the hope and possibility that better things lye ahead. I couldn't have gone through all of this if I didn't believe that better days were ahead (not that the past or present days were bad by any means, I just needed hope).
Awesome! You forgot to tell me a joke though!
Sorry hmm...well I'm not a comedian so I'm just going to C+P from cc.com:
Q. What do you call a dog that has balls of steel and is dragging them across the cement?
Hello, first I want to say congratulations on the recovery! Do you plan on going to college or getting education for a job? Or are you set with the one you have? (You put it earlier but I forgot, no joke:)
Haha it's ok :P
I have no immediate plans to continue my education. I wasn't a very big fan of the traditional education process before the accident and while I AM very interested in learning I'm not 100% convinced that I would like a "traditional" college experience. I enjoy learning things through trial and error on my own much more but it is a lot harder to learn new things this way I'll admit. Maybe someday I will give it another go but I have no plans to do so in the immediate future.
How did you afford your medical bills?
Thankfully the driver's father (he was still on his plan at the time) had GREAT insurance that covered pretty much everything and since I was 18 but not employed (and we were by no means rich) I qualified for Medicaid too which picked up the rest of the tab. I wasn't on Medicaid before the accident and my parents thought for sure that they wouldn't qualify (make too much money) but someone in financing at the hospital suggested the we apply and I got accepted. I'm sure that we would never have been able to afford it if it hadn't been for my friend's dad's insurance and Medicaid though.
What motivates you to keep going?
A lot of the time it is just my unrelenting optimism about life, that and the fact that I do truly believe that I have "more to do" in this life. I'm still not sure if I believe in a "higher power" per say but I do believe that I have more to accomplish in this life and I had numerous surgeons, doctors, and nurses tell me that too. I feel like I owe it not just to all of the doctors that helped me out on my road to recovery but to myself. I want to have some greater positive impact on the world and while that is an extremely lofty goal I don't like to think that it is out of reach or unattainable.
Hey, as a fellow short term/ long term loss myself, cool AMA! Mine was a high school wrestling, illegal move thing that got severe swelling too, so I'm lucky I guess. Can't remember names and can't name more than 5 or 6 things in a group, they get stuck and won't budge. I'm on Strattera and it helped me get short term into long term a ton more (2 years without it, now on year three with it- helped me a TON, just graduated college thanks to it, wouldn't have without it). Enjoy your internet points!
I've never heard of that drug but the Wikipedia page has a cool 3D design of it's atomic structure haha
What happened to the other guys in the car? Sorry if its too personal of a question.
Nope not too personal.
They were all better off than I was, driver walked away with scratches, girl sitting next to him in the front had some bruises, girl in the middle had a crushed pelvic bone, her brother who was sitting next to her in the middle had some bruises (black and blue eyes too I think). The driver was walking out of the ER when my parents got there and were walking in.
I had active colisistitus in my gallbladder a few years ago and had to get it removed as well! What kinds of foods have you been forced to give up? I can't eat Waffle House or varsity anymore, personally
Hello fellow "gallbladderless" person!
None, I was never told to avoid any specifically at least, did I miss something? I've eaten Waffle House since I've had it removed (chocolate chip pancakes, yum.) with no problems. Maybe your case is different than mine somehow? I'm really not sure, I'm sorry that you had to give up Waffle House though, that would be tough to do.
Do you forget things like the alphabet?
No, it was never that bad. My long term memory really wasn't effected at all, it was just the short term. Like I said, I was able to remember my immediate family and close friends pretty well even pretty close to right afterwards. The problems that I still face are with things that are not-routine for me and if it is particularly different than I would normally do. I remember the alphabet, basic math (I always did horrible in math in high school so basically fuck math), and the things that are stored in my longterm memory are fine.
How was the first few days out of the hospital
Well, again, my memory of it is pretty fuzzy since I did suffer a TBI but I recall just moving from the wheelchair to the bed/chair or going anywhere in the car being a pretty painful chore. It was an ordeal for me to go anywhere since we had to pack up the trachea supplies in case I needed to be "suctioned" (when you have a trachea mucus can build up and you have to suck it out with a special machine that they give you in order to breathe properly and prevent a "plug" from forming which stops you from breathing all together and I did develop one-one time). I was in a wheelchair for a couple of months right when I got out of the hospital too so we would have to pack that up too. For a time I was still in so much pain that we would carry around my Percocet in case it got too bad and I couldn't take it anymore. As far as my first few days out of the hospital specifically, sorry but I was still on so many drugs (I took as many Percocet that I was allowed to and then eventually went down to Vicodin, Tylenol 3, and finally just ibuprofen) that I don't really remember it. My parents have told me that it was very difficult and I don't doubt them for a second. I would have friends come over and visit and 20 minutes after they had left I would forget about it and I would feel really bad because I had forgotten even though I knew that it wasn't my fault.
Do you know if you've seen Memento?
The movie? No, I'm 99% sure that I have never seen it, would you recommend it? > Memento
WHat are we talking about, again?
Hey now, I'm able to keep up with things that are happening at that moment haha I'm not THAT bad
Lift some fucking weights
I have been doing more of that lately! I'm up to 35lbs which is a record for me but the muscle has not magically appeared and filled up my arms yet but one day perhaps it will.
How many times do I have to ask you?
I bet you don't even remember what I asked, do you?
Well I searched up and down the page and don't see you having asked me anything other than this question so I'm guessing that you are trolling in which case, good troll.
Are you going to visit your grandma today?
No :\ one of them lives an hour away and the other one lives four hours away so it's not that easy to get to see them very often. I COULD potentially drive to see the one that is only an hour away but odds are when I got there she probably wouldn't remember which grandkid I am (she has like, 7 or 8 at least then a couple of great-grandkids, that side of my family is too big IMO).
I have to leave for a doctor's appointment right now (not really medical or related to the car accident) but I'll be back a little later on to answer anymore questions :)
A lot of great questions here, but still a lot to be asked:
Why did the toes have to go?
I had no idea one could live without a spleen/gallbladder, how does that work?
How has the accident affected your daily functionality (eating, walking, sleeping, etc)?
Just answer the first two and I'll be a happy Orionator :).
*They turned completely black and necrotic, from what I have been told they looked extremely gross.
*Well from what I understand the spleen doesn't do anything that is all that vital to the human body so when you are badly hurt like I was it is one of the first things to go.
*Gallbladder is kind of the same way I guess (I very well could be wrong but oh well), I had it removed when I got gallstones from laying in bed for so long.
*It hasn't really at all. When I first came home from the hospital I couldn't eat solid foods, I had to go from strictly liquids, to apple sauce, to soft foods, finally to solid foods. They tried their best to get me to drink Ensure and I couldn't/wouldn't do it, too disgusting. I was at the point where I would LITERALLY rather starve than drink that stuff haha.
*I had a little bit of trouble staying asleep at one point because of the TBI it disrupted some of the signals to my brain which woke me up (I guess, that's the way that I have always reasoned it) but I went to a sleep specialist that did things to my brain (I can't remember exactly what to be honest since it was years ago) that helped to kind of "reset" it and let me sleep normally again.
Hope that those answers made you happy haha :)
So why did you lose all those toes? Just damage from the accident?
No, it was just that I was laying in the hospital for so long that no blood circulation got down to them so they just turned black and "died" (for lack of a better term). I had to wear these "things" (no idea what they are called) on my calfs that compressed and released to keep blood flowing down to my feet but the blood never made it down to my toes I guess. Oh well, I always look at it like super models pay a lot of money to get their toes cut off to fit into smaller shoes and I kind of got mine for free haha
Honest question - are you going to remember doing this AMA tomorrow?
Honest answer - not 100% sure. Hopefully I will and I think that there is a pretty good chance that I will but I won't know until tomorrow, it's like a really crappy mystery show in my own head! Haha
How well/not well did the nurses take care of you during your hospital stay?
Great, the only bad thing that I remember is annoying one of the nurses at one of the hospitals (no idea which one it was) by calling her too much on the in-room remote, help, thingy and I'm sure that I annoyed others with asking the same question more than once.
Five hours ago...
you probably already forgot about us I guess
No I'm still here but I do have an appointment that I need to leave for in a few minutes so if I don't answer that is why.
Did you have any spiritual experiences, like the NDE / OBE stuff , people seem to report after such long time in ICU?
None that I can recall. I vaguely remember praying when I first got into the hospital and when I was barely still conscious in the van but I've never been very religious and this experience honestly didn't do a whole lot to change that. The doctors said that they "had help" from some divine being I guess but I like to give them more credit than that really. I'm not an atheist by any means but my faith isn't very strong either.
are you very physically active now? what are your hobbies? Did you actively participate in anything before the accident that you cant now? Other than memory loss how else did it change your life? Are you happy? Was it strange finding your balance with your new toes?
Yes, I stay pretty physically active now. I do my best to walk anywhere from 5-10 miles a day for exercise (I have a bad habit of overeating :\ ). As far as hobbies go, I have always considered myself to be a "geek" meaning that I am quite fond of technology, news about technology, and pretty much anything else related to it and that didn't change from before the accident. I was a VERY avid DDR (Dance Dance Revolution, the video game) player before the accident and that was one thing that I was dying to get back to doing afterwards and am able to do so now (I don't play much anymore though).
There really hasn't been anything that I have wanted to do that I can't do at least somewhat. I know that I'm probably never going to win any male-modeling contests because of my scars (although I think that I was featured in a medical journal because my case is so interesting which is kind of cool) but I never really wanted that anyways. I'd say that it changed my outlook on life, made me more thankful just to be alive and not take things for granted.
I would say that I am happy, I have always been very optimistic (sometimes for no reason) and hopeful for the future even when I had no reason to be.
With the toes, I don't remember it being too hard to "find my balance" but I know that it was extremely painful since they had just cut off the ends of all of them (except for my two little toes and my left big toe which I have since had taken off too) and they were hypersensitive. Because I had been playing in bed for so long and lost so much muscle mass just standing up was a challenge. We would time how long I could stand up for and reaching 1 minute was a big milestone for me to hit. I had a really bad habit of turning my left foot inwards when I would try to walk for a while too that I had to break.
As time passes, do you find yourself just not caring about remembering important things with your friends?
I've been plagued with memory retention issues, and have long stopped apologizing for it... Some people understand, others think I'm the world's biggest jerk.
Not really, I want to remember as much as I can especially when it comes to things with friends and I try my hardest to do so.
I've stopped apologizing for it for the most part too since my memory has gotten so much better but on the rare occasion that I feel like it is warranted I will still give a casual apology and just explain my "situation" if it is a stranger and they have no idea of what I've been through. I have found that most people understand but not all of them understand to the same degree meaning some people try to talk to me slowly and softly like I am actually mentally retarded (I don't mean that in an offensive way to the mentally handicapped at all) which is kind of annoying but I guess that I can understand it. I don't get too many people doing that to me anymore but still once in a great while I will and it's more annoying than anything.
How many first dates have you been on?
In all seriousness, good on you to stay positive.
Well that depends on your definition of "first date" I think, I have "dated" 5 or 6 girls but as far as actual organized, "were going to call this a date and not just hanging out" things probably only 2 or 3 maybe.
Both grandma's are doing great, well one has had a double mastectomy and the other one is kind of crazy (she's in a nursing home and still talks to her dog that has been dead for a few years...it's sad) so...kind of well I guess.
Will you remember this AMA?
More than likely, like I said before my memory has gotten a lot better over time but it's still not perfect by any means. There is a chance that I won't but I'd say that it's a fairly slim chance in this case. If I don't though then I can always go back and look at my post history. I have had to learn ways to remember things without relying solely on my actual memory.
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How long until you forget you left this AMA running.
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