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This fundraiser ended on 12/25/12

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I suffered a massive hemorrhage in January 2012, leaving me unable to generate income for my 2 daughters and myself.

I was born with a malformation of veins in my brain called AVM (Arteriovenous Malformation). I’m not sure if my mother knew about it but even if she had known, there is nothing that can be done to fix it. Apparently, prevention is the key. Well, if I had known about it, maybe I would have done something differently, such as eat less Chinese food and drink less Starbucks. Highly doubtful. High blood-pressure is the main cause for my rupture.

The day of my accident, January 6, 2012, was like every other day to begin with. I was working with Paul installing closets for Bayou Closets, Inc. on Julia and St. Charles. It was a huge apartment building with about 30 apartments. I think there was roughly 3 closets per apartment. Four stories of apartments, no elevator, materials and tools to carry up and down the stairs. We had already finished the first and second floors. We were then working on the third and fourth floors. I remember having a headache, like most days, and I thought nothing of it. I continued to carry materials (200 lb. boxes) up to the fourth floor. We were starting to get hungry at around 10:3, so I walked to a little store just down the block to get sandwiches and drinks for Paul, myself, and Scott. Scott is the nephew of our boss, and older than both of us, but a great helper. I ate as soon as I got back, and began feeling sick. I thought I was getting a migraine. The headache wasn’t all that bad yet but nausea was setting in. I finished eating and got back to work. Within an hour, I told Paul I had to go to the truck. I went to the truck, laid the passenger seat back and turned the air conditioner on. The headache was getting worse. The pain wasn’t in my head so much as the back of my neck and jaw. I felt enormous pressure like my jaw and neck would explode. I called Paul’s cell phone and told him that something was wrong and I needed to go to the hospital. I hung up and climbed over to the driver’s side. The truck alarm was acting stupid and began to go off and in order to turn it off, you had to roll the window down and unlock the driver’s side door while still sitting in the truck. So, I unlocked the door, turned the alarm off and to be sure it wouldn’t go off when Paul got to the truck, I opened the driver’s door. No alarm, but I fell out onto the ground. I was in so much pain at this point. I was on the ground, my eyesight was going in and out, and I was now throwing up. Knowing how Paul is when he sees vomit, I started covering it with dirt. I was throwing up, my body was releasing everything inside of my bladder and bowels, which your body does naturally as you begin to die, and there I was, worried that Paul would get sick seeing vomit. Suddenly, everything went totally black. I was on the ground, crying, vomiting, and dying. I heard a man asking me if I was ok. I can’t imagine what he must have thought. I later learned that he and the paramedics thought it was an overdose.I begged him to call 911, and he did. The very last things I remember from that day is telling him that I wasn’t pregnant and wanting to bang my head onto the concrete, I was in so much pain. I am still being told of the events that took place after that and I will talk more about that later.

There are going to be so many details that I will leave out but I just don’t know them all. I was brought to West Jefferson hospital in an ambulance. I went to West Jefferson Hospital, then to University Hospital back to West Jeff and finally to Touro. During my stays at West Jeff and University, the doctors performed two brain surgeries and two other procedures. My head was shaved in the front and back only, leaving a strip over my head from ear to ear of long hair. Lovely, right? Anyway, a craniotomy was performed where part of my skull was removed so that they could get to my brain (I will post a video of a craniotomy), and tubes were placed to drain any excess fluid from my brain swelling. I’m not sure of what the procedures were and how long they took. I just know that my family was being told good news then bad news within minutes of each other. The doctors weren’t sure if I would wake up, or if I did wake up, that I would lose my memory or all functions of my brain. I wasn’t aware of all the things going on in the hospital room, the surgeries, the procedures, nothing. What I was aware of were horrifying hallucinations and dreams. I was sure that a nurse, Victoria, was trying to kill me. I had a tracheotomy placed in my throat to assist with breathing because I wasn’t able to breathe on my own. I believed she was ripping out my breathing tube and suctioning out my throat (a long suction tube had to be put down my throat to suction any phlegm) jut to hurt me. I won’t go into too many details on the hallucinations and dreams. Just know that I was in constant fear of someone trying to kill me. I remember very few moments from the early days. I remember staring out of the window one night and trying to plot how I was going to escape the hospital. My brain was fine but my body wouldn’t move. I remember not being able to talk so writing everything down, very illegibly, was my only means of communication. I wanted food, preferably Mini Chips Ahoy cookies, and nobody would get them for me. I remember telling my mom that I was purposely being starved. I didn’t know that a feeding tube was inserted into my stomch and I wasn’t allowed to eat food because my throat didn’t “remember” how to swallow. Paul left my cell phone with me so that I could get on Facebook or text him if I needed to. He didn’t realize what a mistake this would be until I began calling everyone in my contacts and would just lay the phone down letting them hear what was going on in the room. I tried to text everyone, and couldn’t, to tell them that I needed to leave immediately because I was going to be murdered, and all that would come out in text was hfjhvb.blyljb.j hliugbn Our T-Mobile account was in danger from being canceled because so many people called and told them that someone was prank calling them at all hours of the night. Paul had to call every one of them and explain. Apparently, I was just dialing numbers and hoping someone would rescue me. It wasn’t until I was transferred to Touro Infirmary that I began to awaken and understand what was going on. This was roughly two weeks after my accident.

I remember the ride in the ambulance to Touro. The paramedics were so nice to me. The paramedic that stayed in the back with me was a woman who held my hand the whole way there. She knew I was scared and didn’t understand.I can still remember exactly what she looked like. Heavy, dark hair, manly.She was the very first person that I liked. But she was gone so fast. They brought me to Touro and disappeared.

I was put in a private room at Touro.The hallucinations and dreams stopped the moment I was brought there. The nurses and doctors were great. I was beginning to be able to move and realize that my left side was partially paralyzed. My ears were hurting, I wasn’t able to hear, my vision was impaired, I was catheterized because I wasn’t able to walk, I was hungry and just wanted to go home but the nurses took very good care of me. I remember how great it was to be able to watch the Food Channel, though I couldn’t hear and could barely see, I knew Giada was making something Italian and chocolate.

I was there for only a few days when they started pushing me to do therapy. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. This, I hated. I hated to get out of my bed at all. But I did it. I was taught to walk again, sit up, get dressed, brush my teeth, etc. I still hated to go pee because I wasn’t allowed to go alone. A nurse had to come in, put me in my wheelchair and bring me into the bathroom and put me on the toilet. I kicked my occupational therapist once because he came into my room at 8:00 in the morning to get me up for therapy. He kept wiggling my feet and telling me to get up. He put my shoes on the bed and expected me to put them on alone. I was thinking, “Are you serious? I can’t sleep at night with nurses coming in to check my vital signs all night, and you want me to get up and put my own shoes on?” Well, I did, and he became my favorite therapist.He pushe me hard because he knew I could do it all. He even told Paul that of all his patients, I was the toughest. His name is Bryce. Abby was my speech therapist. She administered IQ tests, in which she said I was the only patient to EVER answer all the questions as quickly and correctly as I did. Her main duty with me was to retrain my throat to swallow so that I could eat. The first thing I ate was a blue sucker. I’ll never forget that blueberry bliss. Then she gave me ice. I was never given hospital food. I didn’t eat until I came home. The feeding tube was still in place. I had my trach removed and was able to start talking. That was good because I had a lot to say. But I am loud. I talk loudly because I can’t hear how loud I am. To myself, I sound low. My third therapist Betty, was my physical therapist. She had me walking up stairs, down stairs, around the nurse’s station, lifting weights, doing leg lifts, etc. I was never allowed to walk unassisted. Someone was always holding me up. Betty would stand about 3 inches in front of my wheelchair and say, “Ok, Amy, stand up.” So many times I wanted to say, “Ok, back the hell up, give me some room.” But I didn’t. I know she was just being cautious. Finally, there was Linda. I am not sure what kind of therapist she was, sort of an occupational therapist, who on Tuesdays and Thursdays, would come in to play games with me. Mainly to make me strategize and use my hands. We played games, that I would always win, and she told Paul, “There is nothing wrong with this girl’s brain.” Oh, the irony. I had a brain hemorrhage and nothing is wrong with my brain. I still didn’t like to go to the bathroom so I made them catheterize me. Yes, I was being lazy, but they stopped catheterizing me and made me get up.

I was given a one-day home pass. I came home with Paul and the girls and went to bed. I slept the whole time. My bed is extremely high so Paul had to kind of pick me up and catapult me. I fell face down into the pillows and laughed so hard that I could barely turn myself over. I hated to go back. Car rides made me car sick, I missed my family and I wanted to stay home. But I had to go back for my tube feeding.

I was released to come home permanently on February 17, 2012. At first, Paul had to walk me from the bed to the bathroom or the kitchen, or anywhere. I did nothing on my own. He had to help me get in and out the tub. He dressed me, tucked me into bed, gave me my meds, gave me my tube feedings, etc. Cheyenne started tube feeding me soon after. It gave her a sense of accomplishment. I had to have someone here with me at all times. My sister came over to help me a lot. Soon, I needed the alone time. So, I told my sister not to come over, the girls were in school and Paul was at work. I could finally begin doing things on my own.

As of today, I am walking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, doing everything on my own. I still can’t hear very well. I can hear deep voices but they are muffled. I read lips. My vision is still double but has gotten much better. Although I am not supposed to, I drive. I still use a wheelchair everywhere I go because my balance is really bad. There are so many details I left out and am sure I will talk about them all later but this post pretty much catches you up-to-date. I would love to answer questions and I am in no way offended by any statements or questions. I’ve come a long way and have a very long story to tell.
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