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Racing for Recovery
Transcript of Racing for Recovery
BA in English-Creative Writing
Then, it happened:
First, a bit of background:
Grew up in Sullivan, MO
Returned to Columbia
Studied in Italy (summer)
Began working at Mizzou
Applied to Grad School
2008-2009, Taught HS English at Woodland HS
(Marble Hill, MO)
Friday, February 26, 2010
Work: didn't make it in-everyone assumed I overslept
After Accident: phone was dead, so couldn't find family numbers
They found student/employee ID, and looked me up in MU Outlook
Phone number to Admissions was linked to my email
Admissions checked voicemails ~8am
In the meantime, Mark had to call our friends to get Derek's number, as well as my mom's
"Why don't you answer your phone?"
The first words out of my brother's mouth when he got in touch with my mom after Mark reached him (despite living in Wildwood, cell service is not the best)
She panicked, called Admissions and drove to MU
My co-workers came to SICU, which is where my mom and Derek met up with them
All they were told was to wait...that is, after hearing of my injuries:
Graduated High School in 2004 at 17 years old
Laundry List of Injuries
While in the SICU...
...I said some funny stuff...
~Two Weeks later, Rusk
Rehabilitation clinic in Columbia
Friends/Family bringing Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc.
First memory comes after a few days (mid-March):
Dr. Wolf and Resident come in, making their rounds
Accident (saw all of family)
Racing for Recovery
Last Day of School!
February 26, 2010
Literary Discussion-Backtrack to 2009
Law and Order, my brother and my boss's coat
I thought I was there to work
My name changed hourly when they quizzed me
I went backwards in time:
I was in HS
I was in college
I taught HS
I went forwards in time:
I was married
I had kids
I knew who my friends were, though!
I told Jordan she should not have colored her hair
I apologized to Britt for missing her birthday party
I remembered I owed Candice Taco Bell from the New Year's Party (~2 months before)
And it was obvious who
I cared about most
I was awfully
My ex-fiancee came, and I was sincerely
to him (
he simply thought I missed him
All of my friends--I was not so friendly with them (
thankfully, they understood
I told my mom to call my mom--fortunately, she played along
I thought the Chemistry Advisor was my husband
The staff had to empty my room, because I would answer their questions by pulling from the materials there (calendar, tv screen, etc.)
I'd only listen to Darcy...my favorite nurse who braided my hair.
Every hour or so, staff would come and ask questions
and many others
While at Rusk,
Woke daily with food and an agenda of various therapies
Ate...more than while at SICU
Realized a lot: Felt out of place at
Hair (Derek and the wheelchair)
Smell (Steph-Choc Chip Cake)
Two weeks of...then, home on March 23
Went from OT, ST, PT to just ST and PT
The number of ST sessions was reduced
PT was worst:
Tore MCL muscle
Balance was awful
Paranoid without wheelchair
(and I had/have trust/control issues)
Everyone at Rusk was AMAZING!
While at home... (April)
Had outpatient ST and PT
Mom returned to work, Grandma stayed with me
Still in black brace at this time, straight and went to partial weight
HATED CPM Machine
Twilight, book two, AWFUL
Returned to reading Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen
Personality: very irritable and frustrated (lack of control over anything, no independence)
My Friends, Family and Hometown-
Because of us all being out of work for so long, they thought it best to throw a benefit for my family and me.
May 24, 2010
I returned to work, less than three months after the accident. (My co-workers were AMAZINGLY supportive.)
GRADUALLY (two hours, then four, then eight--it took a long time to return to full-time)
Dr. Wolf and Dr. Hart told me I would be exhausted
Upon my return to Columbia, I took a neuropsych evaluation, Dr. Martin
Average intelligence; avg-hi academic->arithmetic, spelling reading; mild decline in processing speed and moderate deficits in learning and recall of unrelated verbal information and confrontation naming
"Live like you were dying..."
Really got into Running
Had previously gone to Dr. Wolf at Rusk because of back pain and headaches after running
Turns out, left leg is ~1inch longer than right
Have to wear an insert
Also, back was messed up
Had to go to many outpatient PT sessions
Still FT in Admissions, and a Journalism student worker, Julia Bush wanted to tell my story in her multi-media project
...it is funny how things work out...
Fall Semester, 2010 (6months after)
Attended Graduate Welcome/Intro Course
Thought I wanted to do pre-med, though...didn't work out
Thought I was ready for two grad seminars--definitely not--withdrew
Dec-Jan Intercession, took Bio 2002, "How the Brain Works" and Phil 2440, "Medical Ethics"
Both new areas, C and C+
For Christmas, mom bought me brain books!
Decided to stick with/return to what I knew--English
Jordan, me, Dawn
MSVA Dinner November 2011
Within those two weeks:
I developed a blood clot
They debated replacing my whole knee, the break was that bad
I argued...a lot
had to be put in restraints
gave the two "thumbs" up (
I just wanted water
Didn't remember any of Tim McGraw/Lady A concert, so went in June
After therapies, I
Started paying attention to my personality, responses, cognition, etc. (aware of irritability, exhaustion, etc.)
Felt as if I had to do as much as possible in as little of time as possible--just in case something may happen
Therefore, I made sure to do a lot that summer and fall.
Muny, Fox, various
concerts and shows
Left job in Admissions after four years to return to Teaching
In exit interview at MU, Dr. Korschgen (Vice Provost of Enrollment Management) asked, "
What would make you happy for work? What would you like to do
I responded, "I don't think it exists, but I'd love to organize fundraising runs for TBIs."
She asked, "Well, why don't you try it out?"
Went home and Googled, "TBI fundraising runs"
Running Events, 2013
Earned As in both Grad English Courses in Ireland
Returned to Columbia, work and enrolled in two more graduate seminars, earning an A and B-.......while training for my FIRST HALF MARATHON!
Attended Missouri Student Veterans Association, or MSVA, Events with co-workers
Began reading/getting interested in the texts mom bought
After Mt. Vernon,
After MANY emails and MUCH time,
Met with English Grad Department Head
told him story of accident
he suggested I meet with Professor Kerwin
Kerwin has published many pieces on Medical Issues in Literature
Met with Kerwin
He suggested fiction writing, but agreed to advise me on my thesis--whatever I chose
I began to look into English Grad Classes for the Summer Semester
Found two graduate courses in Ireland/Northern Ireland--guided by Kerwin
Office allowed me to go, especially since I didn't make it to Italy in 2010
Spring/Summer of 2011
STL Rock'n'Roll 2:26
Running Events of 2012
10K and Half Marathon Runs
Fall of '12, during mock panel interview, law professor commented, "What you're saying, I like; however, what you have written in you statement of intent is much different."
It was then that I learned there is a disconnect from what I think and what I write...so I now read as I write.
Took two more Grad English courses in Spring, As
Still got exhausted from being busy (FT student/employee plus running), but slept more to pull through
Studied in Ireland/NI for one course, Peace Studies, B+
Fall, two more Grad Eng, B- and Incomplete (found out grandmother was sick)
Applied for Fulbright...learned a lot
Northern Ireland '13
Mt. Vernon, MRC 4th Annual
Photo Credit: Justin Kelley/MUHC
Photo Credit: Justin Kelley/MUHC
Tour of MUHC Trauma, Sept 2014
Grateful Patient Guardian Angel Program
Speaking at various events, such as this
March 1, 2015-Racing for Recovery
Help John Klay with TBI Fundraising Race Series (KC, COMO, STL)
MUHC, all my friends and
family, and all of you for
doing what you do to help with TBI!
When in Ireland...
MU Professor was originally from Dublin
Went to lunch with her former classmates
One man, Benard, asked, "What is your thesis topic?"
I responded, "Well, I would like to do something like my Senior Capstone paper, just with psychology or something pertaining to the brain...and not use Joyce. My mom bought a lot of Oliver Sacks and brain books for me. It's SO INTERESTING!"
Flann O'Brien's 'Third Policeman.' I work in a mental health institute. It's perfect for what you want to do.
So, I did and considered moving there to study the topic further
it was my goal to recreate their run in Columbia.
So, I used the trusty Google App, "How to organize a fundraising run." John and Charity emailed excel sheet to assist.
I contacted former doctors to get support/suggestions
Met with Dr. Hart, who put me in touch with Maureen Cunningham
Carol Fleisher, Director of Veterans Affairs at MU, put me in touch with Steve Gaither
Friend, John Quade (President of MSVA) put me in touch with MUHC Development Coordinator, Lauren Benoit
May, 2014--Thesis Defended!
argued this "fantastic" novel was more realistic, if read through a trauma lens--mainly head trauma--using Oliver Sacks, Eric Kandel, VS Ramachandran, E. Ann Kaplan, other neurologists and textbooks from Prof Jeffrey Johnson in Psychology--again-funny how things turn out...
When reading those books...
All in Red!
nonreactive pupils, GCS 3, multiple intracranial hemorrhage
large left subdural hematoma with shift (~5mm)
occipital skull fracture
Left tibial fracture, Left fibula fracture
"Look at the flying brussel sprouts, Thom!"
"I'm here to become an English Country Music Star, I thought..."
"What do we do with
OUR patients after they are done with therapies?"
I learned I was VERY lucky!
"You look a lot different not laying in a pool of
your own blood, you now..."
Mom and her friend tried playing matchmaker...
never give up or feel defeated-if so, get up
proving someone wrong sometimes can be beneficial...sometimes
optimism works wonders!
when trying to
plan run stuff,
I had to buy
and got to