TBI Part One
One of my most valuable possessions is a book in French. It was given to me by a priest-bishop who was my post thrombosis patient. On the fly leaf he has written a message…in his own handwriting.
It’s a bit wobbly, but it’s written by a man who was written off by one of the best rehab hospitals in the State. (Goldwater) He was told that his right arm was paralyzed and that there was no point in even giving him physio.
He had been stranded in a Respiratory Care unit for 18months, completely paralysed on his right side. He was intubated, in pain, fed through a stoma in his stomach, subject to frequent infections with concommitants. Was not responding to strong broad spectrum anti-biotics.
He was stable, moved from Respiratory Unit to a nursing home wing, given his own room, concelebrated Mass, went to the Papal Masses, etc. I didn’t see him for a while.
He had a stomach bleed – probably an infection from the ill fitting stoma – they took him in a bumpy ambulance across 59th St bridge to Bellevue, gave him a transfusion, returned him the same day, and he went into a coma. I was attending to a family matter in Ireland, and returned two weeks later to find a call from his order regarding his status.
He was now a different unit where I had no support for treating him, so I would read to him. Thomas Aquinas verses in Latin. There were certain lines that would be sacred and special to a priest. Always at those lines he would move his leg or arm. The orthodox “dox” said it was “decubital” movements, but I am convinced otherwise. He went to the Lord a week after my return. I believe that he was waiting to say goodbye.
I also believe that his intercession saved a young man’s life. The young man had lent him his shoes for a Mass concelebrated with Cardinal O’Connor as the hospital could only provide sneakers and his order was in another State! The assault took place very close to my friend’s hospital. He ran in there, his head and hands scut open with a machete, and the staff stabilised him, (even tho it wasn’t a trauma center) and then accommodated me with incredible kindness.
That is one emotion I can share with you,friend, and that is the outrage and pain of having a child almost taken from you by the violence of an acquaintance. At least your daughter’s assailant is behind bars. The perpetrator in this case walks the street more freely than his victim.
Another TBI patient was smashed in the head by a falling tree in Africa. He had no sensation in his left arm and it was completely paralysed. Again, “no point in physiotherapy.” He lived with it for years.
After three months of Homeopathic treatment, he had full sensation to the elbow and some mobility.
I recommended a return visit to the neurologist, but not more than three physio sessions per week, if any were prescribed.
The neurologist was so impressed that he started an accelerated program of nine sessions per week, and lost the patient to a cerebral hemorrhage (brain bleed) three weeks later. I was invited to the funeral, but not to save my patient!
There are many such “impossible” cases in my files.
Problem is, when they return to orthodoxy, the orthodox health providers to whom we refer patients for diagnosis or treatment not available to us, eg., physiotherapy, neglect to call us in when problems occur.
We have many TBI patients who are alive and well. The above are cases where lack of collaboration compromised the patient’s survival.