Who is Tina Taylor?
She's a beloved member of the San Francisco Bay Area artistic community, as she's a celebrated theatre director, teacher and beloved friend. Tina founded the groundbreaking Theatre Lunatico, which after her hard work and dedication, recently became the resident theatre company of La Val's Subterranean theater in Berkeley California, which for any organization, is an incredible accomplishment! Tina's also a dedicated single parent, raising her brilliant and beautiful daughter Zoe in Marin County, California.
On November 24th, 2017, our beloved Tina had a frightening, violent accident none of us think would or could actually happen: she slipped in her shower. It happened so quickly, that Tina didn’t break her fall, and instead hit the side of her head on the rim of the bathtub. The result was a bad concussion injury, with damage to her right eye and jaw.
That simple "little" accident turned her world upside down.
Tina is now over four months into post-concussion syndrome.
As Tina shared with me, there has been some improvement in her symptoms (Tina says, "I can finally open my jaw, and the constant nausea I was dealing with has gone"), but she is still far from being able to get back to full-time work.
Tina's financial situation has become very precarious.
Tina further explained to me that she cannot work more than short (1-3 hour) bursts, and there are still days when Tina can do little more than sleep and rest. Tina then told me this, "LeAnne, I have not had one day since November 24th without intense headaches and dizziness. My other symptoms include memory issues, disorientation, noise and light sensitivity, extreme fatigue, issues with my vision, sleep disturbances, and emotional volatility. Most days, the pressure in my head is still maddeningly intense. One of the hard parts about concussion is the lack of visible injury; you can’t splint your brain! There is no plaster cast over a broken bone, no crutches for people to see, so it’s very hard to explain to people just how impaired you are by the injury, just how much pain you feel in a noisy room, or how impossible it is to multi-task no matter how much you try, or how you have to silently endeavor to hold your emotions in check when you feel sudden rage over simple things like not being able to open a jar of marmalade. Last week I got completely lost going to a place I know really well, and I had to sleep for two days after spending a couple of hours in a noisy room."
Our home is supposed to be a sanctuary and safe space, but experts have said time and again that one of the most dangerous places we can be is our own home/apartment/yurt/whatever your home structure is.
Tina then shared this with me: "Before my accident, in addition to being a full-time single parent, I was working anything from 10-16 hours a day at 3-4 different part time jobs. I never stopped. I kept many plates spinning with ease all day long. No weekends off, no vacations. I have kept this pace up for years as a single mum; a necessary work schedule to survive the bay area cost of living. I can now only do one job a day, and only for 2-3 hours before I see a deterioration in my symptoms. If I try to push through that, I will have a couple of days of recovery where I can do little but sleep. Pacing myself is crucial, but extremely difficult."
Can you imagine if this was YOU? Would you have the resources to carry you, as you recovered from a massive concussion? When Tina shared this with me, I KNEW I had to help her heal, and the first step was calling on our community and circle of friends, to help her.
Just so you know: there is no treatment for this, but there are some therapies outside of Tina's health insurance that do help. There is also a local organization that works with concussion injury recovery, but there are fees for their services which Tina is unable to afford".
Tina just had a meeting at the Schurig Center in Larkspur, and they have some services that could really help her in her recovery, with sliding scale fees, but still, this is an added expense.
Tina's teenage daughter, Zoe, is in her junior year at high school. This is a busy, stressful year for her getting ready for college applications, and Tina is doing all she can to keep up with the demands of holding her through that. She has been working so hard, and having to shoulder a great deal of responsibility.
Tina has managed to keep a couple of small part time jobs going, teaching and directing theatre. Tina says, "Though it's exhausting, it is possible for me to do this work for short periods of time. However, the bulk of my income comes from administrative support and bookkeeping jobs, and this work is impossibly difficult for me. I simply cannot hold the complexities of it, and the screen time it requires is both physically painful (my eyes and head hurt a great deal) and unbelievably exhausting."
Because Tina kept her teaching work going, she found she was ineligible for assistance from most support agencies. Indeed, ‘navigating the system’ has been incredibly hard on her own.
Tina has been told that the recovery time is generally 4-6 months, but it could take anything up to a year. So she is, at least, another couple of months away from getting back to anywhere near her previous level of health, so that she can manage her original work schedule. Her rent alone (and her apartment is the cheapest she could find for she and her daughter Zoe) is $2,000 a month. Utilities, phones, food, gas, household expenses, a still-growing teen daughter all add up considerably, requiring $5,000 a month cash to cover the basics. Tina has had to borrow money over the past four months, which she still owes to, as well as her unpaid medical bills (cost of head scan, etc
Tina appreciates the generosity of friends, who have helped pay her rent, brought over cooked meals and bags of groceries. She has, through all these months, been stressing constantly about money, juggling household expenses, rent checks, and navigating calls about unpaid bills.
This $30,000 GoFundMe campaign is so Tina can handle her household expenses, her unpaid medical bills, her ongoing necessary medical care, and if it looks like she'll need additional time to heal, this money, I think, would be a great help to Tina, so she won't have to be further worrying over how to pay her bills, her rent, or how to put food on her table, for herself and her daughter, Zoe. I would think the heavy financial stress would set Tina's recovery way back.
Tina needs her community, everyone.
I know that Tina would be there for any of us, should something like this happen.
Let's all gather around Tina: let's dig deep, and wrap our arms around her. Let's show Tina we've got her back, and that when one of us is hurt, it hurts us all. Let's help Tina properly heal from her concussion, and when Tina is healed, she'll literally be able to get her personal show on the road again, and be able to thrive! Let's help Tina to do just that.
- Bridget Shore
- Ivan Skapik
- Mary Ann Rodgers
- LeAnne Rumbel
Organizer and beneficiary