Karla Jennings Martin is a 30 year old divorced mother of 2. Her daughter Taylor is 10. Her son Brycen is 7. They currently live with their father Brooks in Gallivants Ferry, SC. Karla is loved by everyone who knows her. She was bright, funny and caring. Karla loved to sing Karaoke with Taylor and go to the monster truck rally with Brycen.
At the time of the accident she had just been accepted into the management training program with Dunkin Donuts, and like a lot of young Americans she has no medical insurance.
On February 18, 2012 she was in a car crash and has suffered severe brain damage, also known as ABI. In mid-march she transferred from Palmetto Richland here in Columbia to the Shepherd Center for Spine and Brain Injury in Atlanta Georgia. We anticipate bringing her home early June.
So What Happened?
At 4:50 AM my wife Pam shook me awake and told me that our daughter had been in an accident and was in the emergency room. I asked who called, the hospital or Karla. She said "The hospital".
After setting a new land speed record we arrived at the hospital and finally found parking. Then we entered the world where our nightmare began. As we were escorted to patient TF0008212 all we were told was "follow me and I'll take you to her". No words of warning. No preparation that we were about to walk into hell.
The thing on the bed was not Karla. I would know my own daughter and this was not my little girl. This thing on the bed was covered in blood. It had a tube in every orifice. It had an eye lid barely hanging on. As I get closer I taste the bile rise in the back of my throat. I realize that this is my baby girl. It does not matter that she was 30 years old; she is still my little girl.
The next few hours are a bit fuzzy. I remember my wife sobbing into my chest. I remember someone handing me Karla's blood soaked shoes. I remember a Plastic Surgeon coming in to sew up Karla's face. I remember Pam's sister coming in to help. I remember the Trauma Doctor telling us that if they could not stop the bleeding from her liver, Karla could bleed to death in less than five minutes. Most of all, I remember feeling completely helpless. Because I was.
So how did we get here?
At 3:08 AM on Saturday February 18, 2012, Karla was travelling at a high rate of speed when she lost control of her car and struck a tree. She was not wearing her seatbelt. She was thrown to the passenger side where her head struck the windshield with enough force to punch a hole the size of a soft ball through it. She suffered a severe brain trauma as the brain was not only thrown front to back but also side to side. She also broke her right clavicle, right femur, left forearm, several ribs, punctured her lung, sustained a level four lesion to her liver, and had numerous deep cuts and abrasions to her face. She arrived at the hospital in a helicopter. The EMT told the State Trooper that had Karla been wearing her seat belt she would have walked away. I have looked at the car. He was right. Other than the air bag being deployed there was no damage to the inside of the car.
Where Are We Now?
Cognitively, Karla is light years ahead of what we were told to expect. She understands simple concepts. She recognizes us as well as her children. She does have short term memory issues and is sometimes depressed, sometimes confused, and sometimes both. But over all we are happy with that area of her recovery.
Physically however is a different situation. At this point she has the use of her right arm and some small movement in her left. Her left leg does not work at all and in her right leg the bone has grown through the muscle at the break site. It is simply too painful for her to use. So in a nut shell, she has the use of her brain and right arm.
Status Report June 03, 2012