I’m a college student at Mary Baldwin, and I’m a mother. Her name is Kennedy She’s three. I was in a car accident I hit a tractor trailer. I was in a coma for two weeks at UVA My brain like swelled up. She was going to pick up her daughter and traveling in some bad weather and a tractor trailer and her collided and she suffered a head injury they took her to UVA and immediately put her in a trauma unit and they put in a device that would measure her brain swelling and they put in a coma. She was in a coma for over 12 days, she didn’t respond They told us after 72 hours that if they didn’t need to go in and remove part of her skull. That she was through the rough part and so 72nd hour we were like, yes But then the 76th hour it started the measuring device that tells you her brain swelling started going over 30 and they couldn’t get it to come back down So then they gave her like a paralytic medicine which put her in even deeper a coma. Then we were told This is the best you’re probably gonna get and one of the nurses there noticed that I was staying in a corner crying and he came and talked to me and said what’s going on. So I told him what I was told and he went and got neurology and they came and they said no, we’re not giving up on your daughter. The seventh day I was sitting there and I looked and I said well she looks like she has her eyes open so it was wonderful to see her eyes open. From that point it was you know bam, bam bam, she just progressed and progressed and progressed. They got to a point where they said this is the most we can do and she needs to go to, they said an acute type nursing home and I said well no, this is not acceptable because I want more and I know I could have more So one of the therapists says yes, you can and she recommended Parham Doctors’ Hospital, their rehabilitation center. And I did some research myself and read some reviews and I said yes this is where I want her to go. When I met Tara she was NPO meaning she couldn’t take anything by mouth with a feeding tube She also had a tracheostomy which was opened so the first thing we did was placed a speaking valve on it and Tara within the first minute of having the speaking valve on was able to say I love you to her mom, and she was able to say mom So that brought tears to everyone’s eyes Morgan her occupational therapist who then started working with her At just hand exercises just talking to her Kristen and Morgan and then Sarah who’s her physical therapist came in and it was just the progress. It’s like every day. I thought I could see a little more before I knew it I walk in the room and she’s setting up between the two of them And before I knew it she’s setting up by herself and she’s rolling over and and she’s talking a blue streak and The next thing I know they have her on her feet. We had her up and walking first in our vector system and Then you know progressing to a walker. She’s just blossomed ever since then. She’s climbing full flights of stairs now She’s getting in and out of the bed by herself on and off the toilet by herself. We’re walking inside outside Learning to walk again Has been really difficult. It’s getting better. I can bath pretty much by myself now Before I need to you know a bunch of people there So that’s nice that I’m a little bit more independent. In terms of eating we quickly progressed Tara to eating she was able to take in regular foods regular drinks within about two weeks of coming to Parham which was exciting and now leaving, she no longer has her PEG tube, and she no longer has her tracheostomy tube Never once has anyone come in Tara’s room That didn’t talk to her as if she was actually able to communicate and and explain what they were doing talk about the medicines every one of them are friends to Tara I mean she even convinced one to dye our hair for and They banter back and forth just like friends. I feel like the staff here has been really caring and on top of things with me. So I really appreciate that Dr. G I think is probably the most awesome doctor either one of us have ever met I mean that man is right there for you I don’t I mean he even wants to talk to her school advisor to help her continue her education That’s over and beyond I’d like to finish college and to be a teacher and teach. I fully anticipate she will be able to go to school and become a history teacher, which is one of her really big goals and we’ll be able to resume a normal life. In my opinion these therapists invest a lot of themselves in their patients. It’s not just a job It’s just not you know at the end of the week a paycheck. It’s they truly care that you succeed and you continue on with a fulfilled life I have worked with a lot of patients with brain injury and I have not seen anyone improve as quickly or dramatically as Tara has She is gone from essentially nonverbal, not eating not really doing much but laying in the bed to up and walking and talking and talking about the future and talking about things that she wants to accomplish. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. It’s a wonderful facility wonderful. She’s our miracle.