On July 28, 2008 at 7:15 am I heard terrible vomiting coming from our second story bathroom. Karen was experiencing the worse headache of her life and her arms were tingling. This all said, Karen got in the backseat of our car and I flew down the freeway to the Mission Hospital. Karen collapsed at the trauma doors. She went to Cat Scan immediately after being intubated. The Cat Scan showed a ruptured brain aneurysm. Once the neurosurgeons coiled her aneurysm, the wall ruptured. Karen was placed a six week coma and placed in hypothermia. She was in grave condition and I was told she had less than a one percent chance of surviving. Karen did not drink or smoke and weighed 97 pounds. After three weeks Karen started experiencing vasospasm. She coded two different days in the Cath Lab. But she still survived.
After two months Karen sent to a sub-auto rehab where she had to learn to walk, talk, eat, learn her alphabet and numbers. It was a grueling two months. I was teaching 160 eighth graders and after a long day I would go to the hospital or sub-acute rehab to be with Karen. I never missed a day at her side.
Today, I am happy to say that other than short term memory loss, Karen is probably 95% back to who she once was.
Brain aneurysms take a horrific toll on the family as well.I felt like I was losing myself in the dark abyss of brain aneurysms too. I eventually decided to earn a second and third masters degree in creative writing and I went to an Island in Connecticut, Enders Island twice a year for ten days. We live in southern California. I was able to complete write a memoir and five essays that are currently published (Adelaide Press. 2018).
Thank you for reading our story. It is a success story that had so many boulders to attack along the way. But you or your loved one can survive this too. Love, strength, and commitment will be your best friends.