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State Council for Persons with Disabilities

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At 1:45 AM on May 19, 2015, we learned that our son had been in a serious car accident on the beltway in Alexandria, Virginia. He was alive, but in a coma due to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). But, after two and half weeks, he began the slow process of waking up again. He spent four more months in a specialist hospital in Baltimore, MD. At the end of September 2015, we brought our 17-year old son home and began our journey into becoming caregivers. Initially, John slept a lot, could not walk, talk, or feed himself. In December 2015, John found his whiteboard on his iPad at Speech Therapy and wrote with his finger: “I need to use the restroom”. That was a major breakthrough: John could hear and understood everything. We moved to Lewes, Delaware for a slower lifestyle. John graduated from Cape Henlopen High School in June of 2018. He has taken classes at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown. Four and a half years later, John still cannot walk or talk (he has an iPad on his wheelchair through which he can speak), but he can walk in a swimming pool and is able to stand on his own holding on to something. He is working on learning how to speak again. Mom and Dad are his parents and friends.

I feel like I’m superwoman (I’m not). I am amazed at my strength, both physical and emotional. In addition to caring for our son, both my husband and I work using the Internet. According to our older daughter, my personality has changed: “Who are you” and “What have you done with my mother”. I have learned patience. I’m tired and jealous of my peer’s ability to go wherever, whenever. But John is progressing and smiling.

John's words:

"I remember that I was a high school junior at Saint Stephens and Saint Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia. I don’t understand what happened to me. Confusion surrounds me. I understand that I have a traumatic brain injury (TBI). My parents tell me that a car hit the passenger side of the car I was driving causing me to make a left turn into a Jersey wall on I-495 (the beltway) in Alexandria, Virginia. I don’t remember a car accident; I just want this nightmare to stop."