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My name is Tina. I am a 32 years old and live in Southwest Florida on our family run farm. I work in medical transcription from home. I am currently the caregiver of my almost 32-year-old husband Jimmy. We have been together for 5 years now and have a 2.5 year old son, Little Jimmy. Both of us grew up in the area with Jimmy being the typical southern guy. He loved to hunt, fish, camp, etc. He was in charge of the preditor control on the farm. We live in a wooded area with bobcats, raccoons, opossiums, etc. I had the perfect family. Then came the accident.

 

On January 30, 2011 my husband was going out to shoot the preditors around our animal pens. We had put our son to bed and watched some TV. I was in the bedroom when I heard what sounded like a glass shattering on the kitchen floor over the baby monitor. I went to yell at him for not cleaning up after himself and he was on the floor. Before I knew what happened I had a towel on his head and 911 on the phone. He was bleeding from his nose, mouth and left eyebrow with the gun sitting on the floor by the door. After nealy 15 minutes on the phone the Sherriff Department and EMS arrived. Jimmy was rushed by ambulance to an awaiting hellicopter and flown to our local trauma center. I was held at our home for over 3 hours waiting for a detective to show up and question me for possible murder. The forensic team left our house around 4 am with every draw open, light on and trash can turned upside down. Thankfully our son slept through the entire event and we did not let them in his room. Around 4-5 am I arrived home from the hospital to clean the kitchen mess.

 

Jimmy spent 7 days in a coma, 11 days in ICU, 2 days in main hospital, and 32 days in rehabilitation hospital. The bullet went through his left eybrow shattering his orbit, grazing the sinus cavity, fracture of his skull, through his brain, resting about 1-2" from the back of is his skull. When he woke up he had stroke-like symptoms on the right side of his body from head to toe, was unable to speak because of trach, and severe memory loss. When he came home from the rehabilitation hospital he was still unable to feel the majority of his right arm and all of his right leg. He was unable to walk, transfer alone, move the right leg except for hip joint, was unable to move anything except fingers on the right hand, severe memory loss, etc. I had to do pretty much everything but feed him. After being home for about 2 weeks he was rehospitalized for aspiration pneumonia, unretractable vomiting, and finally MRSA.

 

We have seen neurosurgery, GI, neurology, ENT, oral/maxillary/facial/plastic surgeon, PCP, physiatrist, general surgeon, orthopedist, neurophyschology, psychiatry, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. We have managed to get rid of some of the doctors to now be p.r.n.

 

Now in October Jimmy is able to walk, stand, talk, read, write, and move both sides of his tongue. He has completed his physical, occupational and formal speech therapy. He sees a neuropsychologist once a week to work with him by himself, me by myself and then us together. The psychiatrist is working on getting the medical cocktail to work better for him. He is still unable to feel his right leg from about mid-thigh to the top of his foot. He has neuropathy in the bottom of he right foot, which is progress because now he can tell where his leg is when in the air for walking. The right shoulder will start to drop and huntch forward as the day goes by. I can tell he is tired when his left eyelid starts to droop.

 

Jimmy is currently disabled due to the brain damage and memory loss. He wakes up every morning with a blank. He does not remember anything pre or post accident. He does not know where he is, who he is, if he is safe, or why he can't remember. They say this is due to executive function problems due to left frontal lobe damage. He has problems staying on task, initiating tasks, mood control, anger, long and shot-term memory, memory recall, etc. His brain seems to store everything, it just has a hard time pulling it. Because he is so easily caught up in his own thoughts, he is no to drive, use power tools, etc.

 

Currently Jimmy is very angry at just about everyone and everything. Because I am the one he trusts, I usually get the brunt of it. He says he doesnt have to hide himself around me. He is not physically violent thank goodness. He blames me for him having to go through all of the rehab, the surgery, the medications, the doctors and the problems with his memory. He blames me for calling 911, for helping him to live. He does however know how to make our little boy laugh until he starts to snort and turn red in the face. He knows how to bait the hook they use to fish in our ponds. On good days he makes the best pancakes in town. There are times where he is nice, loving and kind to me. The bond we had has changed now. He does appologize more often these days.

 

I have been trying to put into place the things they say will help his memory, but he is not one to work on to do lists or what other people think he should. He throws tantrums when he does not get what he wants when he wants it. I am a little jelous that he gets to walk around doing whatever he wants, saying whatever he wants and knowing I will sacrafice for whatever he wants that we cannot afford.

 

Jimmy had lost his job about 4 months before the accident. He had started a chicken farm on the 13 acres we share with my parents. Thank GOD for my parents or I do not know what I would have done for the past 8 months. He was getting unemployment, but of course that stopped the day of the accident because he was unable to work if work was offered. For some reason he did not qualify for SSI even though my income has been cut in half this year and he now had none. Fortunately for us SSD did become available a few months ago. H has a child from a previous relationship who gets most of it plus the living dependent check (Im still working with the child support department with that one.). Since I am an independent contractor they take my income prior to any business/farm expense. We are getting by though. We are finding a lot of things that we can live without and I am spending more time with our son.

 

They recommended inpatient neuropsychologic rehab, but he does not want to go. His biggest fear has been that I will lock him away. I just have to work more on not doing everything for him. Our son is the one I worry about. He is 2 and does not understand that daddy is still sick. He doesnt understand when daddy turns his back and walks away while I am talking. Try telling a 2 year old not to do that when daddy does it. Little Jimmy doesnt understand why daddy gives him anything he wants and then later that same day is hard on him about listening or picking up his room.

 

Sorry this is so long, but our story is complicated. After full investigation by the local sherriff department and district attorney our case has been ruled accident self-inflicted gun shot wound. It will stay that way unless my husband remembers someone else being in the house. I do not remember hearing the door open first like someone else came in. We may never know what really happened. Because of the brain injury, they do not know the ending or how far he will recover. I know that the future, life as we know it, and our dreams were left on the floor that night.

 

Tina

Last edited by Tina
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(((Tina)))

 

Thank you for posting your story.  You have found a safe place to vent.  I'm so terribly sorry for all that you and your husband and little boy have been through and will continue to go through.  You sound very brave and strong, but you also sound very worn down.  I've known a few persons with traumatic brain injury.  They really are never the same, especially when there are memory issues.

 

I have no advice to offer, just all the positive energy I can muster to send your way along with a super big cyber hug.  Please do take care of you and continue to let us know how you are holding up.

 

(more) hugs,

Barb

Hello Tina:

 

I am so sorry for your tragedy! What an awful experience for you to go through not to mention the aftermath...

 

I imagine there are few words that can be of much help in a situation such as yours but as Barb has said - this is a good place to vent. We do understand the emotions and roller-coaster ride associated with caring for another. Sometimes it is hard to let some things roll off your back even if one understands the reasons behind it.

 

So we are here for you dear heart and hope to help keep your spirits up. It is so sad that your DH is so young... Your son is just a doll!

 

Hugs, Glenda

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