It is hard to believe it has been over a year since Patrick's car accident/traumatic brain injury. While Patrick was forging ahead in therapy, he suffered a major setback due to an allergic reaction to a larger dose of Botox. This treatment was supposed to help minimize the muscle spasticity in the right arm and leg thus allowing for increased range of motion. However, in Patrick's case, the increased dosage caused a severe allergic reaction for which there is no treatment but time to allow it to get out of his system. While suffering through this Botox nightmare, Patrick was also seen by the Neuro Ophthalmologist at Stanford and unfortunately, there is no visual corrective procedures or glasses that will help Patrick's limited field of vision. This is why often you will see Patrick turn his head to look at you and although it looks like he is turning away, he is actually looking straight ahead through the limited field of vision that he has remaining. It is truly a miracle at how well Patrick is adapting and we are learning each day what works best for different situations and environments.
Patrick continues to challenge himself despite the setback. He is determined to take off the extra weight he put on over the past year. He continues to work on walking (which was nearly arrested in its tracks by the Botox toxicity). He changed from a cane to a "hemi-walker" which is specifically made for those with use of only one arm (see video) and Patrick is starting to ride a recumbent bicycle with the aid of custom adaptive equipment to allow for his right leg to remain in a cycling position as he pedals. Outside of formal therapy, Patrick is enjoying spending time with both his friends and his daughter, Haylie. Watching Haylie and Patrick interact is a gift in and of itself. Haylie helped her father with his exercises by counting to twenty for Patrick as he did his physical therapy repetitions, they viewed Pokémon cards and watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles together. It was amazing to see Patrick's natural fatherly tendencies reemerge i.e. - checking his phone at 9 p.m. and then telling Haylie to "Go to Bed" or "Eat your dinner".
Patrick is also enjoying spending time with all his close friends whom are like brothers to him and sons to me. I thank God each and every day for these blessings as I watch the kids all interact and Patrick regain his life one small step at a time.
In honor of Patrick and all others around the world struggling to recover from whatever life crisis you find yourself, your loved one, friend, neighbor, coworker, etc. I am proud to announce the Grand Opening of TBI, LLC (Take Back Independence) Custom Inspirational Apparel and Accessories.
May 14, 2015 - 1 Year Anniversary as a TBI Survivor
A year ago today one of the most precious gifts god can give us, my son , was on the brink of death following a car accident on the way home from college with one of his best friends Edwin at 3 pm. The words that follow were written by a close friend of Patrick's and I could not have said it better myself. God Bless you, Lyla.
"A year ago today, I thought Patrick got into a minor accident. I thought I would go to the hospital, talk to him, give him a hug, and talk about the shit we would be doing after he got out. A year ago today, I walked into that hospital and saw my friend being pushed on a stretcher, unconscious and fighting for his life, his shaved head and the hundreds of needles and wires coming out from his body. A year ago I sat on the hospital floor and cried. A year ago today, I realized there are more important things than going to work everyday and doing laundry every night. A year ago today, I felt the regret of saying "I can't hang out today, maybe another day". I realized that going to Stanford at 10 pm at night to hold Patrick's unconscious hand was more important than sleeping a full 8 hours. I realized that taking an extra long lunch to see his eyes open for just a minute was worth getting yelled at by my boss. I realized that thumb wrestling with him, helping clean up his puke, trying to get him to talk, or reminding him not to pull at cords and keep his helmet on was more rewarding than sitting at my computer. From his first words and first steps to the uncomfortable leg brace and just getting up every morning to do it all over again, all the hurdles he has overcome in the past 365 days, shows he has been fighting continually for the past 365 days. Not a day goes by that I don't regret spending more time with him. Watching Patrick come so far in a year, when the doctors said he wasn't even going to live, is a miracle in itself. They said if he did live, he would be unconscious for 9 months and never walk and/or talk again. But look at you now! Walking, talking, laughing, talking back and showing everyone how strong and loving you really are! "
As Patrick struggles to regain his independence, we take each day as it comes. As I have said for a year, this a journey for which we have no set road nor path. Each twist and turn brings new revelations (some good and some horrible) but, we endure and make the best of what we have for Patrick is alive and doing better than all doctors predicted. He continues to gain progress in therapy and his daughter, Haylie, is doing very well with her Mom and visits with Patrick as frequently as we can arrange.
Attached are videos and words to live by that have carried me for the past year. The video was made last night. Also, in honor of Patrick's 1 yr anniversary, I have formed a new company which I pray will carry Patrick and Haylie financially into the future and allow our family the ability to allow Patrick to continue to focus on his recovery. Please visit and share the links to both this site and our company site http://www.TBILLC.net as we hope to inspire all those around the world suffering from any crisis and fighting to Take Back Independence.
God Bless everyone who has supported us for the past 365 days and continues to give us strength as we continue this journey of Patrick's recovery.
All the best with a warm and thankful heart on this very special day.
10 Months: Patrick is Home - Gratitude and Giving Thanks
I know it has been awhile since I posted. There is good reason for it. They say you never see it coming… that one day, you’re walking around living your life normally, and the next day, boom, everything changes. I have learned over the past 10 months that nothing is for certain no matter how hard you want to plan. At that time, I was told that my son would not live through the night, his skull need to be removed for three months and put it in a freezer with no guarantee he would not be a in a vegetative state thereafter, to expect him to the be in a coma for upwards of 9 months, that his pelvis was fractured in 5 places and there was no guarantee he would ever walk or talk again. Well thanks to the Good Lord, all the amazing medical staff at the Stanford, therapists at the rehabilitation facilities, Patrick's amazing spirit and Irish heritage, I am so happy to report that Patrick has been home now for three weeks. He is walking, talking, laughing, interacting with friends, went to Haylie's 4th birthday party and is so very happy to be as he puts it, to be "home forever"! Patrick may have sustained a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), but as his mother and motivator, I have given Patrick a new phrase for those three letters "Take Back Independence". Remember your mothers words, "you can look at the glass half full or half empty…your choice."
Patrick is attending outpatient therapy (OT, PT and Speech) and continues receiving his medical management at Stanford University Hospital. Patrick uses his wheelchair very sparingly (only when tired or needs to ambulate long distance). He will be receiving a hinged AFO leg brace to help him walk with greater flexibility as he develops his gate. His speech is limited, but improving daily. He is receiving Botox injections to minimize the spasticity of the right leg and forearm and will be seen by a neuro ophthalmology specialist, if his case accepted.
Patrick appears to be comprehending much more than he can express. I can only imagine how frustrating this must be when you have limited memory of what happened and can’t always express what you need. Patrick amazingly handles it well. He more often than not has a smile, says "Hello, How are you?" to everyone, still has his incredible sense of humor and is quick to let a pretty girl know his name is "Pat". It is a very slow process for Patrick to acclimate to new environments, surroundings and routines due to the brain injury. Patrick does require someone to be with him at all times. Patrick has a caretaker while I am at work and his incredible circle of friends once again rotate in and out of the house like before. I feel very blessed that there is a small circle of young men and women who would rather kick it with Patrick on a Friday night at our home when they could be out on the town. Thank you kids for not giving up on Patrick when it would be so easy to walk away as many have from his life.
Thank you everyone for all your support over the past 10 months and going forward. Please continue to share Patrick's amazing story of survival and this link as Patrick and Haylie will need our ongoing support for a lifetime and government assistance for a twenty year old young man with limited work history is very scant. Enjoy the photos of Patrick's arrival home, reunion with his friends and celebrating Haylie's 4th birthday party. A joyful sight to see father and daughter reunited even if few words can be expressed. Touch and feeling with the heart can mean so much more than words when you have no options.
May this Sunday bring you lots of joy with your friends and family!
As I reflect on Patrick's recovery over the past seven and a half months, a few (among many) words that have become part of our everyday vocabulary are "miracle", "faith", "strength", "courage" , "recovery" and "journey". As I struggled with what to include in this update, I opted to compile a photo video to music as it best chronicles the events since the car accident on May 14, 2014 which has changed our lives forever.
Thank you for all your support, prayers and love.
Please give Haylie and Patrick the best fighting chance by taking a few minutes to share this link. Patrick's journey to recovery and regaining his life has just begun.
Today marks the 7 month anniversary since Patrick's car accident and he remains an in-patient at the Centre for Neuro Skills in Emeryville. On that Wednesday afternoon when the police knocked on my door to inform me that Patrick was on the brink of death my heart sank to a level that I hope nobody ever experiences. This evening was almost as difficult when Patrick called me and affirmatively stated, "Go Home!". Trying to tell your son whether in person last night or by telephone today (while trying not to let on that you are about to burst into tears) that he will be home soon, to hang in there and word hard in therapy is heart wrenching. Patrick has become aware of where he is and is fighting to regain his independence. He wants to come home and last night showed signs of physical aggression toward his caretakers when I was leaving for the night and he was not allowed to leave with me. I left and cried all the way across the Bay Bridge and then some.
We had a very nice time at home over Thanksgiving and Patrick enjoyed spending time with his Haylie and Jessica (see pic). We took walks in the neighborhood with the dogs, played UNO and did puzzles. Our rendition of Black Friday shopping was a stroll (with Patrick propelling himself a great portion of the way) about 1/2 mile from the house to a local tattoo shop for Patrick to get a new pair of gauges. He was elated to be back in his element and shopping for himself.
Since Thanksgiving Patrick has made great strides in every therapy discipline. He's regained most of his continence back and happy to be back in boxers. His verbal skills are increasing from single words to being able to carry on a very short conversation both by phone and in person along the lines of "Hi", "How are you?", "What are you doing?" This exchange, along with Patrick listening to whomever is talking to him (he can understand much more than he can express), repeats itself over and over until Patrick is ready to hang up. Patrick is essentially presently trapped inside his own body and struggling to express himself. Patrick continues to astound everyone with his physical abilities. We always joked that he and his Dad are built like an Ox and for that I'm thankful. Patrick is able to transfer with less than moderate assistance and his gait is steadier. A true indicator that he is indeed getting better slowly is the ability to have the day pass and spend time alone out with Mom and friends. These outings bring joy back into his day and I feel very lucky that he is close enough for me to do this on the weekends because many of the patients at CNS live too far away for family visits. In order to bring some holiday cheer to those patient and Patrick, I baked cake pops and Christmas cookies for everyone at CNS (see pic)
Patrick is looking forward to being home for the holidays and got a taste of home yesterday when we spent a few hours visiting with the animals. Patrick also enjoyed listening to his music and his rendition of singing again (see video).
As we all steamroll towards Christmas, I am reminded daily of just how fortunate we are today despite this terrible injury Patrick has sustained. We can’t turn the clock backward and can only move forward learning each day how to navigate through this journey. Many are not aware of this, but Patrick saved my life 4 years ago. On December 23, 2010, Patrick brought me home after 4 months in the hospital. On December 23, 2014, I will bring my son home for Christmas. Thank you God for giving us back our lives.
Some days it feels like Patrick's accident was yesterday and other days it feels like it was a lifetime ago. The accident was six and a half months ago and I am very thankful for the patience and strong will I learned from my own mother that I have thankfully passed along to Patrick. Patrick has an amazing work ethic, cheerful disposition and wonderful sense of humor despite his severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) that keeps him in a hospital today.
In the past two and half weeks, we have learned firsthand how much patience is needed and how difficult it is for Patrick to communicate when he knows what he wants but can't get the words out correctly. A couple weeks ago, Patrick started pointing at me or in my direction while repeating what I thought were the words "Day Done". I thought Patrick was trying to tell me he was tired, wanted a donut or to see his friend "Dakin". When he rejected all of those iterations of "Day Done", I kept guessing as to what he was saying. Patrick would shake his head and laugh at me. This went off and on for three days. But after playing the equivalent of charades and "Am I hot"/"cold" our patience and laughter along the way led to me finally understand that Patrick was asking for his "Gauges" and wanted them back in his ears. He was so elated when I said the word "gauges" he practically came out of the recliner to give me a big hug. So, the next weekend I ventured to a local tattoo parlor on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley and was able to pick up a couple pair of gauges that Patrick liked. I've attached a picture of Patrick wearing one of the new pairs of gauges.
Patrick's ambulation continues to improve weekly. He really loves his walks and strolls outside. A continuous beat is used in the form of a clicker or recently more recently music therapy was started wherein someone strolls along with Patrick playing the guitar and he keeps the beat with his stride. I've attached a video of Patrick, myself and the therapist walking last Tuesday outside at the CNS rehab center. Patrick continues to need his loaner wheelchair at the CNS apartment and on outings for safety and due to his limited endurance when walking. I continue to pray that Patrick's permanent wheelchair ordered back in August will come in before Christmas.
In addition to making gains with ambulation, Patrick is moving the right arm more. I pray that his brain continues to heal the synapses and that he will gain more independent mobility. Patrick works on a number of different modalities to help improve his vision too, one of which is a board that lights up similar to an eye exam and Patrick uses a flash light to match playing cards taped to a wall. Patrick got 100% on the day that I was watching him and was very happy that someone was there with him (see attached video). In order to keep up Patrick's spirits and provide some sense of stimulation other that the TV and eating, I've taken Patrick his guitar and got him a lap piano. A friend is getting him some sheet music in large print since we know that Patrick's vision in the right eye is impaired but, we can’t have it tested because he can't follow an eye exam yet. Last weekend, Patrick and I had fun attempting to play the piano together. We made a pack with each other that we could practice each time Mom came to visit and he promised to play me a song that he learned.
Haylie is doing great and Patrick asks for his daughter and Jessica (Haylie's Mom) each time I visit. He was able to see Haylie a few weeks back when we went to the Zoo and they had a nice time. Patrick was very happy tonight when I told him that Haylie would be visiting him this weekend.
I don’t know how long Patrick will be able to stay at the Centre for NeuroSkills because he has exhausted the in-patient rehabilitation coverage for the year. God willing it will all work out. Thank you all for your continued prayers, generosity and support. Please take a few moments and pass along this link to help us spread the word about Patrick and TBI in general, if you feel comfortable doing so. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) effects so many (primarily young and middle aged men) who suffer in silence because there isn’t much public awareness about TBI. This is a horribly debilitating injury for the entire family but your support and prayers keep us going daily. I recently received the following quote from the TBI daily inspiration board which I read daily, "Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape".
Hi everyone! I hope you understand my delay in posting. I apologize but I was away on business for a week and then busy catching up with Patrick as we enjoyed watching the Giants on TV in the evening.
Patrick has made amazing gains since my last post both cognitively and physically. His strength, balance and gait have all improved. Patrick is now able to walk with a quad cane almost 100% independently while at the Centre for Neuro Skills. To regain his endurance the therapist have Patrick walk laps around the center (see video). Patrick remains in a wheelchair when he is at the apt. or out in public because cognitively he still requires constant supervision for safety reasons. Patrick is still very quick to move and he doesn't completely understand his limitations.
Patrick's right arm remains essentially non-functional but he's working to increase range of motion and strength on his entire right side. Patrick still requires the AFO brace on the right leg but the foot drop on the right has decreased which helps Patrick's gait be more normal. Patrick was incredibly strong for his size before the accident and he works daily to rebuild this strength to allow him to independently propel his wheel chair, increase his endurance and allow him to manipulate more objects with his new dominate left hand. Much of his increased strength can be attributed to his appetite being back to 150% and his favorite word is "eats". Patrick is now able to identify many food items (especially bananas) and let us know when he wants a drink. Patrick does continue to point at objects when he can’t recall the word but fortunately we have slow and steady improvement.
Patrick's personality and verbalization are also slowly emerging. Patrick recognizes familiar friends and family consistently now. He enjoys our visits and upon arrival will be the first one to say "Hi, how are you?" with open arms and a big hug/kiss for Mom.
The Centre does a great job at taking the patients out into the community as tolerable. It is wonderful to see Patrick and his new friends out shopping, watching a movie and/or enjoying a meal together when not in therapy. Each of them have amazing stories and remarkable families. We all learn a little something at each of these outings. Our next outing will be the Zoo with Haylie.
Patrick continues to work at every level to regain his cognitive functions. This is such a grey zone. I'm so grateful and thankful for the recovery to date and the fact Patrick has not suffered any major setbacks. He loves to listen music, look at pictures and play games on his iPad. One game in particular Patrick enjoys is "Don't Touch The White Tile". The game progresses with black and white piano tiles, plays Beethoven as tiles progress and can be set at multiple levels. The object being to tap only the black piano tiles as the tiles scroll. It has been really fun to watch Patrick's progress in this game over the weeks. Another milestone, is that Patrick's regained nearly 100% control of both his bowel and bladder. He's cued by a picture of a toilet seat that hangs from his wheel chair and he will tell us when he need to use restroom. This is also a psychological boost for Patrick as he can now make a trial run at not being in a Depends 24/7.
As we approach six months post- accident, I am reminded that Patrick wasn't expected to survive the night of the accident and thereafter most likely be in a coma for 6 months. All the prayers, good wishes and support have given Patrick the strength to exceed those dismal expectations. Patrick is such an amazing kid, both before the accident and even more so now. His delightful and humorous personality are emerging as he continues on his journey of recovery. We all laugh as Patrick loves to joke around. Now when anyone says "Thank you" to Patrick he quickly responds "No, No, No…Thank you!" and follows this with a tilted head and beautiful smile. That’s just part of the “new Patrick” who we love so much. I try each time I visit Patrick to think of what I can do to make him smile and laugh. He works so hard for eight hours a day and to see him smile is so heartwarming.
Patrick also is quick to play fight when his friends engage him and he commands complete dominance in "Left-handed thumb war". I hope you enjoy the additional pictures of Patrick enjoying visits with Mom and friends.
Thank you for your continued support and for keeping Patrick and our family in your thoughts and prayers.
Day 147: Additional Pictures of Patrick's Miraculous Survival
There are so many pictures and videos I want to share with everyone, but the website limits each update to a combination of three videos and/or pictures. Therefore, I have posted 4 updates in the past 24 hours. To view them all please click on the link and then select the option "show all" updates at the bottom of the most recent post. This will allow you to scroll through all the postings.
The photos are an incredible reminder of how fragile life is and how thankful we should be for our family, friends, co-coworkers and everyone else who come in and out of our lives each day.
Kindness and compassion go along way towards inner peace and happiness. Our family is learning this each and everyday we embark on this journey of Patrick's recovery.
Please continue to share Patrick's story and fund link.
Our 19 year old son, Patrick Fisher and his 3 yr old daughter, Haylie, needs your help and support now more than ever. Patrick is not like any other college student. He is very passionate about Environmental Engineering and landscaping. He re-landscaped our residence and the day of the accident he sent me a good morning photo of "Mom's Garden" that he had just finished before going off to class. Patrick is a single dad and a loving son, but his life changed drastically on May 14, 2014 at 3:04 PM, when he was involved in near fatal car accident.
Patrick suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, multiple pelvic fractures, bruised internal organs, multiple contusions and lacerations. Doctor's did not expect him to live through the night. Patrick showed all that he is a fighter. He has spent 14 days in the Neuro ICU both in and out of an induced coma, had brain surgery, pelvic surgery, cranial drains, chest tubes, tracheotomy and other tubes.
Patrick transferred out of ICU sooner than expected and his prognosis will remain uncertain until all the brain swelling subsides in the coming months. Doctors are amazed at his rapid progression in two short weeks, but with this type of injury there will be many up and downs with unforeseen obstacles as Patrick embarks on this journey towards rehabilitation.
He has months in the hospital and a long road in front of him. His youth, Irish will and love from family, friends and worldwide prayers will go along way, but he needs support for his medical care and rehabilitation expenses.
Please help our family help Patrick to have the best fighting chance possible at an excellent recovery.