• Survivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Chris Wilson

Hello, my name is Mrs. Wilson and my husband’s and our entire family’s life changed on February 18th of 2017.

I sit here thinking about what our life was before all of this. We had the ideal life, the American Dream, really. Four beautiful children, 2 successful businesses and more love than most people could ever hope for. We truly had it all!

 I think a lot about what we had, and then I wonder how we got here, to the current state of our life. I can't dwell on what was lost for too long, it's too hard, it causes too much anger, resentment, pain. The past gets me nowhere, it doesn't heal what has been done, it only opens the gaping wound a little more.

On that day of February 18th of 2017 is a day I'll never forget, it was a beautiful day, we were having a cookout. Chris, being the good husband he was offered to go to town and get the remaining items needed. But, he didn't get far, a few miles from our house he was involved in a serious car crash.

An out of state man, with no license, and several other questionable behaviors ran a stop sign. A man that should not have been on the road to begin with took my husband away, his actions ended our dream. Chris suffered a severely torn aorta, 8 broken ribs, and a broken clavicle, he was life flighted to Lutheran Hospital where a team of surgeons operated on him for 8.5 hours.

I'll still never forget the look on the lead surgeons face when we came out of the operating room. I'll never forget the blood covering his scrubs. I'll never forget the words he spoke "it's not good, he may very well die tonight". I'll never forget holding my husband’s hand and begging him not to leave me and our children as I counted every breath he took. Nothing can erase these memories, nothing can repair the damage done. Hours passed, then days, then weeks, Chris was a miracle!

He had survived the unimaginable, he was the 10% that live to tell about an aortic tear. He survived but not unscathed, during surgery Chris had to receive 40 minutes of manual heart massage (i.e. a doctor manually pumping his heart to keep him alive) this in turn left his brain without the proper oxygen it needed.

I was told there was a high likelihood he would be paralyzed due to where the surgery was and that he could very well be severely brain damaged! The last thing you want to hear is a brain injury!

Chris had sustained hypoxic brain injuries due to lack of oxygen, & a TBI from hitting his head on the window, the extent of those injuries was unknown at the time. While in inpatient rehab Chris had to relearn to walk, feed himself, care for himself and work on all basic processing & cognitive functions.

Essentially, he had to start from scratch. fast forward to today, he is still regaining strength and the ability to walk with assistance, as far as his brain injuries go, that is a day by day struggle. We have good days and bad, brain injuries do not have a cookie cutter recovery, there is no end to recovery, you are forever a work in progress.

He is slowly starting to accept his brain injury and we are now looking for an acute brain rehab facility where he can continue to work on his memory, higher level thinking and of course walking. Brain injury is hard, it's changed our entire life but Chris is a miracle and we will continue to work towards our new normal and be thankful we have the chance to!

Thank you for letting us join this helpful family, we look forward to learning more!

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