Hey! I’m Kathleen Hartsfield and here’s how I got in this situation: On Sunday, March 21, 2004, my “then” boyfriend and I were riding on his boat with his brother and his girlfriend. We all got kind of hungry, so my boyfriend was going to go to the store to get us something to munch on. Even though I told him a couple of times that I would go with him, he kept telling me “No, just stay here and have fun!” So he let his brother drive the boat.
We were in a pond full of cypress logs, and he hit one of them, or something, and wrecked the boat. Since I was on the bow of the boat, I went airborne and landed on one of the logs. I was knocked out and floating face down in the water when the driver of the boat found me. When he pulled me out, I was barely breathing.
It ended up that I had a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a cracked hipbone, and my vertebra was cracked in my neck. So I guess in some terms, I really did break my neck! The problems that I’m still dealing with are caused from the lack of oxygen to my brain. I spent three weeks in ICU and I wasn’t really “there” until around the 1st part of June. It took another 2 months in the rehab center before I was able to come home. I’ve had to re-learn to walk and talk again, on my way back to being as close to normal as possible, but I still have a way to go!!
Thanks to A LOT of prayers and by the GRACE OF GOD I’m still here trying my best to be a normal walking, talking human being!! The staff of TMH has been there and helped me a whole bunch!! Also, my family and friends have been a MAJOR help too!!!
In the 4 years since the accident, I have had physical, occupational, speech, and pool therapy. I have had it all as inpatient, outpatient, and twice by living in rehab facilities. As of now my “therapy” is just getting on with life. I now am living on my own, close to my parents mind you! I can take care of myself and my house. Also, I have a part-time office job two afternoons a week.
Being an advocate for people with TBI’s is important to me because I have dealt with so much and can relate to the feelings that the patient and their family, or loved ones, are experiencing. Sometimes even the smallest things can be SO IRRITATING!!
My goal for the blog to let people know that a TBI can happen to anyone, and CAN be overcome!