Portrait: Rachel

Rachel had gone out on a scooter ride to check out the animals in her new farmland, but was then found nearly lifeless on the side of the road.

A little bit about Rachel

At the very end of 2021, my husband and I had just moved the last boxes into our new remote home. I called my mom to tell her that it was probably the happiest day of my life. In the afternoon, I took our electric scooter to check out the animals in our new farmland neighborhood. In what most of us would call ideal weather, an open landscape, and a small road with little local traffic, I carefully took off with my helmet on for what was meant to be a few minutes’ adventure.

“We don’t know exactly what happened, but I was later found almost lifeless by the side of the road.”

Somehow, I had fallen and hit my head. Still to this day, I have absolutely no memory of this. My husband had started to wonder what took me so long. He went out on the road and found neighbors doing CPR on me and heard sirens in the distance.


My hospital stay and early recovery

At the hospital, I was put in a medically induced coma to reduce the swelling of my brain, which at a certain point could have caused further damage. A pressure measuring device was also drilled into my head to monitor this. After a few days, when the swelling had stabilized, I still didn’t wake up nor show any signs of awareness, and combined with a dramatic-looking MRI scan of my brain, the doctors decided to manage expectations.

“My husband was told that most likely I would not wake up at all, and even if I did, it was highly questionable what life would look like.”

It took me six days to slowly wake up in the ICU room and to be able to follow a basic hand squeeze command from a nurse. About a month after some initial rehab, I was sent home to my new situation. I had to learn to walk, talk, see, and think again, remember who I was, and figure out who I am.


What I have come to believe

All of the many, many sessions of different rehab therapies, no matter how necessary they may have been, I was left convinced that love, music, and sleep are my biggest healers. While still working on some limitations, I am extremely happy and excited about life that is both new and the same at the same time.

For a severe traumatic brain injury survivor, I’ve been really lucky to gain so much recovery despite a terrible beginning. It could have been so much worse. Life is so unbelievably short and precious.

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