In January, Oregonian columnist Elizabeth Hovde had a skiing accident on Mt. Hood. Her fall caused a traumatic brain injury and a coma that kept her in the hospital for two weeks, and then a rehabilitation center for another three weeks. She came home in February, but didn’t write her next column until the end of May. In it, she explains waking up:
I remember the ridiculous. And I remember the day I came back.
I used to think all the nurses and doctors around me were “Star Wars” people that I had to escape.
And I remember the morning I woke up in the hospital knowing that I was in fact in a hospital, not a rebel ship, and thinking the doctors, therapists and nurses were good people who were there to help me. I prayed to God the entire day for the suspicious, scary days to be over and for the “everyone is good” days to stay.
Three days before Hovde’s accident Arizona Congresswoman Gabriele Giffords was shot outside of a supermarket in Tuscon. Hovde says she feels a kind of kinship with Giffords, who survived the shooting but suffered a traumatic brain injury. Earlier this month, the Congresswoman’s office released the first public photos of Giffords since the shooting. Comments from her staff reveal she still has a long way to go in her recovery.
Hovde’s recovery has also been dramatic. She had to learn how to walk, eat and write all over again. She says that adjusting to life at home with her husband and two small children has been challenging. “I am getting to the point of normal where I can see how not normal life is,” she said.
What would you like to ask Elizabeth Hovde? Have you or someone you love experienced a traumatic brain injury? What has the recovery process been like for you?
More Think Out Loud
OPB | Sept. 22, 2016