Life Savers

March 24, 2012

Pictured above from left to right are Captain Ron Munro, Tom Parks, Gary Liddy, and Mike Todd of the Virginia Beach Fire Department.  Needless to say these guys are heroes. Ron was the firefighter who, when I first arrived on the scene, kept me from going to Meg and interfering with Tom who was in the process of extricating her from the car and securing her for transport.  Gary was on the scene assisting Tom and was the one who drove the ambulance to Beach General which was her first stop before being taken to Norfolk General after her initial CT scan. Mike is new to the department and was not on the scene that night last June, but Meg thought he was pretty darn cute so we included him in the picture.

While Meg was still in a coma at the Norfolk General NICU, Ron stopped by on a number of occasions to check on her.  He asked when she recovered if I would bring her by the fire station for a visit. Of course I said I would, even though it took me nearly nine months to make good on my promise.  Somehow the plate of chocolate chip cookies we brought to show our appreciation and to say thanks seemed hopelessly inadequate. Ron said just having Meg stop by was all the reward he and his fellow firefighters needed. Tom mentioned that this was only the second time that he could remember when someone stopped by to say thanks. It was fun to see Meg joking around with the firemen telling them stories about her recovery. It was also a little sad when she was explaining some of the struggles she continues to face.

Meaghan continues to improve, only now things are moving more slowly and less perceptively. On the plus side, we’ve been seizure free for about 3 months now. There are also days when she seems completely normal and Tracy and I tell ourselves that we have our old Meg back. Other days not so much. We’re also anticipating Meg’s next surgery to repair the hole she still has in her skull and possibly even repair the damage where her skull sunk in slightly after her initial surgery.  We hope to have it scheduled sometime in June. On the downside, Meg struggles with agitation and anger issues directly related to her brain injury and has been going to Christian counseling in the hope of finding some tools to help her to cope with the residual damage cause by the accident. According to one university website dealing with Traumatic Brain Injury: “Agitation and restlessness are sometimes described as a stage in the recovery process following TBI. However, it is difficult to predict who might experience agitation and restlessness and if it will be a short or long-term problem.”

Concerning her anger issues the same site noted: “Often a TBI occurs to the frontal areas of the brain where the damage causes individuals to be unable to hold back their emotional and verbal responses.”  That certainly has been Meg’s problem and she admits to feeling a lot more angry since the accident.  At one point recently I thought perhaps medication might help.  However, I also read on same site that medications can slow the recovery process.   Even more importantly Meg told me she doesn’t want to go on any medication and wants to learn how to deal with her agitation and anger on her own.  Praise God.  I guess the first part of correcting a problem is admitting you have one.  Of course, while knowing you have a problem may be the first step in recovery that doesn’t change the reality of Tracy and I having to sit on the sidelines and watch as even some of Meg’s closest friends, friends she has had since elementary school,  come and go as they think Meg is back normal only to realize she still has some distance to go.

Below are a few pictures from Meg’s her recent ring ceremony where Juniors are presented with their class rings.  Tracy and I were thrilled to see Meg walking across the stage when her name was called to receive her ring. Tracy even got a little booey-eyed.  I never thought I would say a ring ceremony was “thrilling.”  Also, a little over a week ago at Meaghan’s school they had a mandatory presentation for the students called Every 15 Minutes, which is a graphic dramatization of the dangers and consequences of drinking and driving.  Munro, Parks, along with other Virginia Beach firefighters and EMT’s were there and even participated.  Evidently these dramatizations are given at high schools all across the country.  Needless to say for Meaghan and the rest of our family we would give anything to only have to live through a graphic dramatization rather than the graphic reality we’ve been living through.  At the same time we know we are extremely blessed to still have Meaghan with us.  As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, we were only a pupil flicker away from having things turn out very differently.

He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength . . . .