On May 3, 2012, My wife Jacqui and daughter Jenna were at our house having a garage sale.  My son Jayse, a kindergartener at the time, was in school.  I had the day off so I ran into town that morning to buy hanging baskets.  I don't remember anything else about that day, but it's a day I will never forget.  What happened that fateful morning changed my life forever.

On my way home, a driver ran a flashing red light, broadsided my truck, and slammed me into a cement utility pole.  I was life lined by helicopter to Advocate Christ Hospital, a Level 1 trauma center in Oak Lawn, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.  Neither the scope of my injuries nor my prognosis were known at the time I left the scene.  Given my status, they were unsure I would survive.  Based on the severity of the accident I am fortunate to be alive today.  I suffered several broken ribs and a collapsed lung.  But most significantly, I sustained a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) from my head hitting the cement pole.

I found all this out later.  At the time, I was oblivious to the happenings. Once I came out of my comatose state, I was suffering from a condition called post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) caused by the severe head trauma. This state of marked confusion lasted about 2 1/2 weeks. The first recollection I have is looking out a "hotel" room at the "ocean."  In reality, I was looking out my hospital room window (Rehab Institute of Chicago or RIC) at Lake Michigan.  Thus began my recovery  

Due to the severity of my brain injury, doctors thought I would need to go to another facility for a prolonged course of inpatient therapy.  But to my doctors' surprise, once my PTA cleared, recovery went very well.  And very fast!  After a month, I was able to go home and finish treatment as an outpatient.   I was under the impression that with time and therapy, improvement would continue.  I believed that I would make it all the way back to my pre-TBI self, or "normal."  Many well-meaning people had the same impression and that I was already there.  I would frequently hear things like "Glad you are back to 100%."  I wanted mightily to believe they were right.  But they weren't because I wasn't.

You will notice the title of this post on Finding Normal is Normal Lost. This minor variation in verbiage was intentional. This small difference in wording is significant.  I chose Normal Lost because it was a single, one-time event.  It happened in a split second.  My loss of normal was instantaneous.  I call my blog Finding Normal because it is an ongoing process.  It is never-ending.  It is a lifelong search.  My hope for this blog is that it accurately depicts all the ups and downs of this difficult, but exciting, journey.

 
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