This site is dedicated to my brother, Tim, a Captain (and Eagle driver) in the United States Air Force. He suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury as a result of an automobile accident in Panama City, Florida on November 21, 2001.
I hope that this site will allow family and friends to keep track of his recovery progress, as well as keep in contact with him and his wife, Christina, as they face the many challenges ahead.
Prior to November 21, 2001, Tim was an active, athletic, generous, and loving person who was committed to his family, friends, and country. Tim's goal in life had always been to defend his country as a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force, just as his father had done.
Tim was in a coma for approximately three weeks after the accident. During this time, all his vital signs stayed strong, and all we could do was wait and pray that he would come out of it relatively OK.
This site is loaded with many pictures. What these pictures do not show, however is just how affected Tim is by his injury. If he had suffered broken bones, his healing would be much more visible.
With a physical injury, it is much easier to gauge recovery. With an internal injury--such as TBI--recovery can take months or years, and will also affect the injured person for the rest of their lives. Nobody is ever really "cured" from an injury such as this.
Physically, Tim may appear to be "just fine" on the outside, but w
hen the brain is damaged to the extent his was, it has to learn essentially EVERYTHING all over again--from the basics of speech and mobility to the more complicated aspects of life, such as the ability to concentrate on accomplishing a given task.
This condition is going to affect him in the long term--possibly making it difficult for him to hold a job, or deal with everyday responsibilities.
The confident swagger of a USAF fighter pilot has been replaced by an unsteady, shuffling gait (although this is improving with physical therapy), and more often than not, he tends to sit quietly, gesturing with his hands, or clenching his jaw tightly when trying to vocalize. From time to time, he does "wake up", and actively participate in conversation, cracking jokes or making appropriate statements.
There is no way of knowing "how much" of Tim will return, but there are encouraging signs every single day. He is becoming more aware of his surroundings, and is able to answer questions asked of him without much, if any, prompting.
He continues to struggle with names of new people, and sometimes with those of people he has known for many years. There are a few surprises sprinkled in here and there, with some amazing moments of clarity. But, almost as soon as we all get excited about it, he tends to draw back, and go into an "I don't know" sort of mode.
This is a normal occurrence in Traumatic Brain Injury situations, and it is frustrating not only to family members, but to the patient as well. However, those who know Tim are aware of his fighting spirit, and his will to excel at anything and everything.
We have all seen instances of Tim's unique brand of humor and goodwill, and you can rest assured that these traits are intact. With his drive and determination--and the support of family and friends--we know that even though the road ahead will be a long one, Tim will adapt and overcome, as he has always been capable of doing.
Tim received a medical retirement from the United States Air Force in September, 2002, and is currently living in Virginia, close to Christina's family. After bringing Tim "home" to Washington after the accident, Christina felt it was time for a change. She also wanted to be closer to her own family after giving up so much of herself for the past six years.
If you sign the Guestbook, Tim and Christina will be able to access your messages. You can also click below, send an email to me, and I will see to it that they receive the message.
The Mountain Man
in happier times
Mike's Montly Update
January 11, 2010
A belated Happy New Year, Everyone! The service I have been using to keep this site has recently updated, and I'm learning the new layout, tools, etc. I hope to have pics of the Merry Family's latest addition soon!