Break in Denial

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Alexandra Makenzie Malcomb

Tonight I had the realization that Alex was gone at the scene of the accident. I was reading about the different parts of her brain that were injured. I did this after hearing about another woman in a coma from being hit by a drunk driver. When I hear about other people going through this experience, I relive what we went through with Alex and my other daughter, Landria. I have been in a lot of denial about the extent of Alex’s brain injuries. Diffuse Axonal brain injury. Her mid brain was completely gone. Her Reticular Activating system had holes of dead areas through out, her pituitary gland did not function, her Basal Ganglia was damaged, she had damage to the of optic nerve pathway to her left eye. I know there was more, but that is what I remember. When brain cells die, they do not regenerate. I did not know this. When they first told us this, I thought I would die. I ran out of the meeting and locked myself in the bathroom. I could not handle hearing she was not going to come out of this. She would never walk again, she would never feed herself or be free of some kind of life support and she would never wake up..she would be in a persistent vegetative state.

After my sudden departure from the meeting, I took a deep breath, and told myself, I had to go back to the meeting for Alex. I had to keep fighting for her. This is when Neurology got involved. Her Trauma Surgeon kept them at bay to give us time to be ready for what I believe he already believed would be the outcome. In the meantime, I asked that he consult with Doernbechers Children’s Hospital in Portland, a hospital in Chicago and the East Coast. Three Neurology opinions later, besides the consults, we took her off life support. I am shattered right now. Reliving and having the denial lifted is horrible. Denial protects us at times.

This post is disturbing and hard to write, so I’m sure hard to read.
More later..hopefully not so dark.

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Approaching Second Year Anniversary of Accident

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It has been almost a year since I have written on my blog, Mother Of an Angel. It has been a very difficult year. Life isn’t any easier as more time has passed. I have become resigned to the fact that my pain is part of my existence, and it may not ever be any different. I have a glimmer of Hope that I may also be able to also allow more in my life to coincide with this pain.
Two days ago I found out that an acquaintance of mine has a son in the same intensive care unit as the one Alex died in. He was also in a car accident. He has severe brain injuries as well, but am not sure of the similarities other than that. Brain injuries are unique to each individual trauma. I learned that the hard way when Alex was in a coma. Friends with good intentions told us story after story of the people they heard about who woke up. What we didn’t know until almost the end was what each part of her brain was not only damaged, but gone, not coming back. I always thought the brain was miraculous and could heal itself. Yes, but not literally..brain cells do not rejuvenate or heal, but the brain tries to make new pathways to take over the job the dead brain cells cannot do any longer. What I didn’t understand was that Alex’s midbrain was completely disconnected due to the tearing and shearing of her brain during the accident. That was only one problem, but enough to make it impossible for her to ever live more than in a persistent vegetative state. I have had a lot of denial about this. I have wanted to believe and fantasize about the millions of possibilities that could have saved her. I have held myself completely responsible, and beat myself almost to death emotionally, on a daily basis for almost two years. This has been the natural course of action and my process. I wish it wasn’t, I wish people; therapists, friends, my other kids, my sponsor, my dad, strangers…telling me what a good mom I am, how strong I am, how hard I fought for and how she knows how much I love her..I wish all of that could have made these last almost two years different. Not even my other kids’ pain has been able to penetrate my shield of pain and self-hatred. This other mom facing this very real, very horrible unknown fate of her son has somehow been able to penetrate my shield enough to get me back here to write this. I pray her son has a different ending than Alex. I hope her fight is to help him rehabilitate and end at home someday.