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Yolanda and Our Story
July 20, 2015
Hi,

Flickers aren't the easiest bird to capture.

This one's in the neighbor's yard as it gorges on aunts.

So many of you have inquired about Yolanda and our story.

It's only fitting.

While some of you have been with me for years, many of you are recent subscribers and are confused when I write about her and things around here.

Sit back and take your time, as I attempt to give you a 'Reader's Digest' (short story) version.

Still it is lengthy.

Enjoy.

Like most teens, Yolanda was a vivacious, yet laid back person.

Some twenty years ago, on a Friday night our lives were changed forever.

Coming home from the roller rink, Yolanda and some friends were in the car of a friend of a friend.

A brand new 'Geo Metro'.

A tin can on wheels.

The driver was a young man, 18 years of age.

Well, like most guys he had to show off for the young girls (15 & 16 years old).

The road was wet, the car lost control and jumped lanes.

T-BONED.

A full sized Lincoln smashed them.

No seat belts and in the middle of the back seat, Yolanda was hurt bad.

(the driver, a few scratches. A couple of the other girls suffered broken bones and some contusions.)

Only later did we find out she was clinically dead at the scene, and the Jaws of Life were needed to remove her from the wreck.

The phone call comes.

Your daughter has been in a serious accident.

Severe head trauma.

She probably won't survive.

Lives Forever Changed.

God wasn't finished, however.

An army began to pray.

On total life support for 30 days.

Machines keeping her alive.

Karen and I somehow managed to work shifts or spend time at the hospital and time to shower and sleep a bit.

A tracheal tube to assist the machine with breathing.

Other complications and complete reconstruction of her face once she was past that 10% survival rate.

The fleshy part of her nose sat on and under her left eye.

Teflon eye sockets, reconstruction of her jaw bones were possible because of her braces.

Her Orthodontist had a mold of her jaws and the oral surgeon was able to piece things back as well as possible.

A hole was drilled in her skull to relieve brain pressure from fluids and swelling.

Two shunts were surgically placed to drain excess brain and spinal fluids into her stomach cavity.

I know I'm leaving out some stuff, and I also need to keep this short to some degree.

FINALLY.

After 10.5 months in hospitals and rehabilitation, she came home.

By coming home, I mean with 24 hour a day nursing, and a feeding pump hooked up.

Not to mention an IV and pump for medications.

This continued for two more years.

Then she became very, very sick.

A trip to the hospital and emergency surgery was performed like 'Right Now' to remove the shunt tubes.

A bacteria had found its way up the tube to the brain.

Doctor said, had we waited longer, she would've died from the bacteria.

A special thingy called a 'Swan' was in place, pumping 'penicillin' directly to the heart for 30 days, none stop.

Again, Our God is good.

Behind the scenes, I worked two full time jobs so Karen could spend more time at the hospital.

I didn't know it then, but after several months, I was in the process of a major breakdown.

I was already running a newspaper distributorship for the Detroit Free Press (a night time, early morning gig), seven days week responsibility.

To help with the loss of Karen's income, I also delivered pizza full time (Flexible hours).

This allowed for me to stop by and spend time with Yolanda during the night.

I never missed a night for those 10.5 months.

In the mean time, we move from a two story to a ranch type house to help with accommodations.

A Side Note:

Michigan is a No Fault insurance state.

Which means anything auto related, The insurance (catastrophic fund) is responsible to pay.

The Catastrophic fund is something every insured driver in Michigan pays into.

Anything auto related, and Yolanda is covered the rest of her life.

Insurance companies want to stop this and keep the funds,

Some drivers think we pay too much for insurance.

Anyone that has a family member covered, will never complain again.

We don't.

The driver had minimum insurance which was $10,000 at that time.

There wasn't any bag of gold to be had, we aren't wealthy (financially), by no means.

Eventually, life started giving us a regular schedule to live by.

I'm not a fan of routines, but for now it felt good to have my family under one roof and finally no in home nurses.

The feeding tube came out, even though the so called experts said she would never eat again.

Through hard work, our once thought to be paralyzed daughter was home and using a power wheelchair.

Again, more hard work and we got her into a manual wheelchair.

Back then, power chairs were big and bulky.

Over time, some of her physical abilities have waned.

Simply Traumatic Brain Injured (TBI) related.

Life Forever Changed, in the blink of an eye.

Eventually, life started giving us a regular schedule to live by.

I'm not a fan of routines, but for now it felt good to have my family under one roof and finally no in home nurses.

The feeding tube came out, even though the so called experts said she would never eat again.

Through hard work, our once thought to be paralyzed daughter was home and using a power wheelchair.

Again, more hard work and we got her into a manual wheelchair.

Back then, power chairs were big and bulky.

Over time, some of her physical abilities have waned.

Simply Traumatic Brain Injured (TBI) related.

Life Forever Changed, in the blink of an eye.

Just like that, we made sure she is home with us full time, where we know she is loved and cared for.

Not simply shoved in a room and ignored for periods of time.

'Hope Network' has always been there, but who knew.

The so called experts supposedly help you with your plan and life, not just the one in need of care.

'Hope Network' is a Christian based outfit that assists and cares for the needy.

Not just people with TBI, but all people in need of a place to live, a place to stay while family is a work.

Hope also has classes and facilities for PT, OT, Real life classes, little work shops.

Respite centers for when Karen and I get our yearly trip to the Bed and Breakfast.

And much, much more.

A person learns over time.

Not everything you learn is all that good for your loved ones.

You Know Your Loved Ones better then the so called experts.

Speak Up.

Don't be walked over if you think something isn't right.

One regret on our (my) part, I never thought of keeping a journal until years later.

Early November of 2014, Yolanda had her gallbladder removed.

No big deal right.

Two weeks later on November 20, 2014 (one of the worst days weather wise of the winter), Karen thought she was having another seizure (common for people with TBI).

She's not breathing!

She stopped breathing!

I'm calling 911, while Karen is trying to tend to Yolanda.

Erratic breathing.

Within a few minutes, first responders are here.

While they attempt to stabilize her, She 'Codes' (flat line).

I never realized how violent of an act CPR is.

Please God, No.

Off to the hospital.

Karen in the ambulance and me following on ice, snow slicked roads.

Again, she codes twice in the ambulance and at least once more in the hospital.

We are told the worse.

Things don't look good, and if she lives, there will be more brain damage and loss of kidney function.

Just like the God of the bible,

When things look hopeless.

When all is lost.

He comes through.

Our baby shows signs of stabilizing and a temporary pacemaker is in use.

We get to see her and she smiles at us

All is well, we get some rest.

A couple days later, a permanent pacemaker is given to her.

IVs of every type are working.

Eventually a feeding tube (Peg tube) is surgically put into place.

In doing so, they nicked a blood vessel, and that night emergency surgery.

She was throwing up volumes of blood and mucus.

She was given two whole units to replace what she lost.

Three weeks later, she gets to come home.

(I might had we had no Thanksgiving and really not much of a Christmas.)

Gradually, she gets back to Hope Network and her regular schedule.

I drop her off at 10:00 AM and pick her up a 4:00 PM.

We are almost on our regular routines.

Early spring and she complains about severe abdominal pains.

Wouldn't you know it, something else.

A bowel blockage.

Which leads to bladder and other infections.

Which lead to respiratory issues.

After a couple of weeks she comes home, only to return the same day for respiratory issues.

Yolanda's lungs were filling up with liquids and she was having a difficult time breathing.

She was pumped so full of liquids (IVs), her body couldn't dispense it fast enough.

Being stationary, fluids often go to the lungs.

A few weeks later and we are back home again.

Yet, this time she never seemed to get stronger.

PT. wasn't doing a thing.

About three weeks later, Yolanda begins to complain about headaches.

Her doctor and Hospital both dismiss as sinuses.

Three days later, back in ER.

We aren't going back home until we get to the bottom of this.

CT scans were good, now a spinal tap.

I watched this one.

Cloudy spinal fluid.

Meningitis.

Bacterial meningitis, the bad stuff.

Another week in one hospital and transferred to another for surgery.

The baclofen pump (mentioned earlier) must come out.

Because it is attached to the spine, bacteria would always be a problem.

Another week in the hospital, three weeks at a rehabilitation facility.

The spinal incision isn't healing properly.

Back for more surgery and to make sure the spine isn't leaking (it was).

I can't recall, five or six more weeks in rehabilitation.

Three weeks flat on her back (so things can heal) and the rest of the time rehabbing.

We have been home for a couple of weeks now.

Standing firm on the word of God.

What the enemy intended for evil, God has turned into good.

We believe and we had/have an army praying for us.

Wherever Yolanda goes, everyone comments on her smile and disposition.

We can only say it is her gift from God.

Some people understand.

Some people get real uncomfortable.

Even Yolanda and through yolanda, we plant seeds.

She is back to Hope Network four hours a day (M-F).

We Pray that she continues to grow stronger

That is a very short version of Yolanda and our ventures.

No regrets.

No whys.

Understanding we live in a fallen world and things happen.

We also know that our God is still on the throne.

I must say, the past eight months have been a challenge for all of us.

I'll add this........

Yolanda's memory before the accident is as sharp as a tack (long term memory).

Ask her what she did five minutes ago and she can't tell you.

She is legally a quadriplegic.

Special needs people and families on the most part aren't looking for special attention.

Only some understanding, and that comes through education.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"It's a good thing to have the props pulled out from under us occasionally.
It give us some sense of what is rock under our feet, ans what is sand."

Madeleine L'Engle

Faith must be built on solid rock.

Are you building yours on rock or sifting sand?

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Matthew 7: 24-27

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson



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Gardening For Wildlife.


























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