Tuesday, March 20, 2012


The phone call came at 9:15 last night.

Rebecca apparently suffered brain damage that was undetected last Friday when they did her neurology work up. As time has passed, we have discovered she is not so fortunate.

She is now blind in both eyes and has coordination and cognitive issues.

What happened is this: When she coded, her brain was robbed of oxygen. The cells in her brain were killed. It would be like if the circulation to your feet was stopped. Your feet would die, but not all at once. You wouldn't even notice right away. That's what happened with her brain. Parts of it died last Wednesday, but the damage was slow to be noticed.

In typical Rebecca fashion, she was texting and doing work on her phone the second she was moved from ICU to the special care unit on Monday morning. She tried not to take note of her fumbling fingers, which wouldn't type what she wanted (the texts she sent were jumbled), the headaches, and her increasingly fuzzy vision.

But by mid-afternoon, she described her vision as "what the t.v. screen looks like right after you turn off the set". She can sense light, but she has no ability to see anything beyond that. This type of injury is very rare, and it can be reversible, but the more complete the blindness (and in her case, it is 100% loss of vision), the less likely it is to reverse. Brain tissue just does not regenerate. They can help her with the motor skills, cognitive function can be regained, but vision. . . it is likely not to return. The MRI shows damage to the areas of her brain that control vision and cognitive/motor function. There is nothing wrong with her eyes. But her brain simply cannot process the images that are being sent to it. While partial blindness and spatial recognition are common after brain injuries and likely to improve with time, this type of vision loss is. . . usually permanent.

My friend is a stubborn woman who has always prided herself on being self-sufficient and a career woman. When motherhood wasn't easy to acheive, her work brought her a lot of happiness and satisfaction. She is a pharmaceutical sales rep like me. This is not a job you can do without eyesight due to the requirement of driving. She has been with her company for a long time and it is the leader in the pharmaceutical industry. I know they will do what they can to accommodate her, but . . .

She was stoic, but scared, and very deflated.

I just don't know what to say, how to say it, what to do. I just sit there, hold her hand, and tell her that I am there for whatever comes next. It seems like, lately, whatever comes next is just a harder blow.

I know God has a plan for my dear friend, but that plan is so unclear right now. I thank you for your continued prayers and love. She needs every single bit of it right now.


Jo said...

I am so, so, so heartbroken to read this. The universe is so unfair. I cannot imagine how terrified your friend is right now.

I think you are doing the absolute right thing in just being there. What can you say? It's awful, life-changing, and she knows it. I would just continue to be there for her in the coming weeks and months, because this is going to be absolutely devastating for her.

I wish that things like this couldn't -- didn't-- happen to the most undeserving people.

Keeping you and Rebecca in my thoughts and in my heart.

Much love,

HereWeGoAJen said...

That's awful. I am so sorry. I will be keeping her in my thoughts and prayers.

Rachel said...

I am so sorry. The one thing she is lucky about is to have such a loving friend with her through this.

Ms. J said...

There is nothing appropriate I can think of to write, nor to offer.

Please know that I am thinking of your friend and her husband. And asking the universe to send you strength as you support them as best you can.

It Is What It Is said...

I am so, so sorry to read this. At this early point in her recovery, it is going to be a slow road of uncovering the extent of the damage and recovering from it, in terms of new skills, acceptance, etc.

I do not know her or her complete circumstance, and I am not a smoke blower, but knowing others with brain injuries, I will pray that her stubbornness and strength pays off in guiding her through these unchartered waters.

The Pussy Palace said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. My thoughts are with her.

Annalien said...

This is heartbreaking - I am so very sorry. I will continue to pray for her. All you can do is to continue to be there for her.

Michele said...

sending love and so many prayers

Amanda said...

Oh. Oh no. I'm so sorry for Rebecca. I will be hoping for her to pull through and make such a miraculous recovery they'll be writing about her in medical textbooks for years to come.

MNRN said...

I am so sorry about Rebecca. It sounds like though, that if anyone can overcome these challenges it is her. Especially with friends like you.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

I'm just getting to this and I am heartbroken for your friend. Thinking of you guys.