Ben, 24, had struck the back of an 18-wheeler while traveling 100 miles per hour on his motorcycle. If matters weren’t bad enough, he wasn’t wearing a helmet. He was rushed to the hospital, comatose and minimally responsive. He had suffered a serious brain injury, and high pressure had built up within his skull.
What followed was a recovery that continues today. Karla took to the internet early on to keep friends and family updated about Ben’s condition.
“It was a way to provide information and support in his early days,” Karla recently told the Brain Injury Law Center. “To my surprise, what happened was it got shared widely.”
But she ended up finding more than just a network of support. She found herself telling a story of recovery more positive than she could have imagined.
Karla’s blog is Stepping Stones for Traumatic Brain Injury, where she says she is guided by three things: her faith, her professional training and her sense of humor. Over the course of Ben’s recovery, she has made ample use of all three.
She has shared her concerns about the medication Ben’s doctors have given him and noticed signs other professionals failed to notice. Her religious faith is evident in every post on her blog. And she still find time to smile – like when Ben’s spotty memory blends past, present and future with amusing results.
“We take it in stride,” she said.
Ben’s brain, his mother said, is on the same voyage as Alice when she fell into the rabbit hole. But, in recent months, the dots are connecting better than they ever have before.
“The other day, he remembered a phone number of a friend and called him out of the blue,” Karla said. “It’s really profound what’s happening in his life now.”
Through the blog, Ben has made connections with people from his past as they follow his recovery. An old hockey coach commented on a recent blog post, and Karla let him know that Ben was happy to hear his comments read by his mother. Despite his fleeting memory, Ben, a defenseman who began play hockey when he was 4, remembered his days on the ice well.
‘Leaps and Bounds’
Not long ago, in August, the blog received a special visit and a special post – from Ben himself. He thanked God, his loving family and all the people that had come to the blog to support him.
It was a wonderful surprise for Karla, and just the latest example of how his recovery had been making “leaps and bounds” in recent months.
“I woke up to a paragraph that he posted himself. I didn’t show him how. I didn’t help him do it,” she said.
Ben, she said, has been thrilled to learn that so many people, including some he has never met, have kept him in their thoughts and prayers. And Karla was thrilled to see Ben acting so independently.
“In my wildest dreams, I never thought Ben would ever recover enough that he would be able to read it,” she said. “It’s something that encourages him. He can see what a miracle he is.”