• Survivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Claudia Solis

HI there,

I am Cyndi Solis.  My daughter Claudia is a survivor. Her story is probably too familiar to too many people. April 15th, 2016, she asked to walk and meet some friends to watch "The Walking Dead".  I agreed and told her not to walk home, to call me or her brother for a ride if someone wouldn't bring her home. She agreed and with an "I love you" she was off.  

I woke up around midnight and got up to check on everyone. Claudia wasn't home. I checked my phone and then called her. No answer. She always answers.  I text and called and text and called.  Then I noticed a message.  It was a friend of mine with a daughter that Claudia used to be close to. The message was very strange "Hey Cyndi, Melissa heard from Josh that Claudia had an accident tonight. Hope everything is ok"

I flipped out. I called the police, I called the hospitals in our area. No one knew anything.  That made me feel better for a minute but why wouldn't she answer me??? I could see that the messages were being delivered. I begged in a text for someone to respond. It was read but no response. Finally, my phone rang. It was a nurse in charge of ICU. Claudia was on life support, they didn't know who she was but a police officer found her phone and took it in. 

I remember shaking so hard I couldn't even get the words out to my husband.  The drive to the hospital seemed like an eternity.  I went with my son inside while my husband parked.  No one knew what I was talking about. Finally, an officer took us up to ICU.  My baby, I just couldn't believe it.

Claudia's injuries included a completely broken right humerus, a pelvic fracture, bilateral carotid artery dissection, grade 2 renal laceration, subdural hematoma, left basal ganglion stroke and a small pseudo aneurysm. Because of the damage to her arteries it was impossible to do anything to alleviate the swelling of her brain.  The doctors were afraid to take her in the elevator to do scans for fear the elevator ride would kill her. On about day 25, suddenly, her numbers improved.  She had been off heavy sedations because she was comatose and the readings were skewed on everything. As soon as her numbers improved for a few hours she went to surgery to remove the intubations and place a tracheostomy, add a feeding tube and fix her arm.

The end of May Claudia was awake but not responsive.  She was discharged to a pediatric rehabilitation for brain and spinal patients.  I cried through the entire tour of the facility. I couldn't believe this was happening. I cried every day.  I spent every day going to work for a few hours, going to Claudia for a few hours. I would read to her or play music. I brought our dogs to visit. I helped bathe her and talked and talked to her.  It was overwhelming.  Her brother was graduating high school, we had family back and forth to support us and be with us.  I had dozens of texts and calls and emails. A great deal of support but so many questions that I couldn't answer.

In June Claudia had been back and forth to the hospital for a feeding intolerance and a respiratory issue.  She was breathing on her own without being connected to the oxygen but was not mobile.  She did not attempt to talk or communicate other than just hold my hand.

July, everything happened very quickly. The tracheotomy was removed and about 4 days later she started to talk a bit.  Her OT and PT ladies had her using her feet to push herself in the wheelchair and then trying to walk again. She got her groove back super quick and was on the go. She just needed to eat.  I brought mango and turkey and cheese and sweet tea and ice cream and all her favorites to entice her. She just wasn't ready.  By mid-July she started eating eggs and mashed potatoes. Then on July 20th she came home!!

She started the following week at an outpatient rehab. She hated it. She didn't like being with all the adults, she was very scared. It was far from home. By October the recommendation was for her to start back to school.  I was very apprehensive but we felt like we would try and if it wasn't happening we would adjust.  We had a conversation with the school and the counselors and admin.  They were all on board. 

Claudia went back to school. It was tough. Everything was different than what she remembered. She was lonely and kids are mean. 

But, it has been 5 months. She is currently getting A's and B's on her own. She sings with her choir still and has made some new friends. It is a work in progress. She suffers from short term memory loss, she is impulsive and has had some hiccups. The school and her team have been so supportive and helpful.

We are all confident that Claudia will continue to improve and heal, she already overcame everything so we can only go up from here!!

Thank you TBI One Love for such a helpful family!

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