My first nightmare began the morning of Tuesday June 9, 1998 when a Lewisville, TX police officer rang my doorbell and came inside and sat me down to tell me that my oldest son, Harlan, age 25 ½, was killed, at 9 AM, due to driving more than 100 mph in an attempt to flee the Waco, TX police due to being on probation for drugs and having drug paraphernalia in his vehicle. My husband Randy had just left that morning for a business trip to Arkansas, my daughter Mardi was going to college and living in Arlington, TX and my son Daryl was at his first day of summer school.
My second nightmare began the evening of Tuesday September 21, 2004 when my husband Randy answered the doorbell and yelled to me that it was a Lewisville, TX police officer. *FLASHBACK TIME!!* The police officer told us that our child had been in an accident at 9 PM. We were told it was Daryl, age 21, and that he had been care-flighted to Parkland Hospital and we needed to get there right away. Randy called Mardi who is now married to Harlan’s good friend and living in Justin, TX while working in Southlake, TX and was on her way home from work. Mardi got to our home as quickly as she could and we headed out for Parkland Hospital. Daryl was on his way into the operating room when we got there but they stopped long enough for us to see and talk to him. He had brain damage, a ruptured diaphragm and a torn liver and spleen and was in a coma. Little did we know, until later, that Daryl’s heart had stopped and that the off-duty Denton, TX police officer who t-boned him cleared his airwave and did CPR on him until the paramedics arrived. While driving to see a co-worker after work, Daryl was doing 70 mph on a curving 35 mph road and lost control of his vehicle.
Daryl remained in a level three coma his entire two-week stay at Parkland. After two weeks of working with him, Parkland felt they could do no more for him and, in a semi-conscious state, transferred him to Select Specialties, a rehab in RHD Hospital, where he received respiratory and some physical and occupational therapy, for another two weeks until his tracheotomy was removed and they felt he needed more extensive therapy. The next two weeks he was in Baylor Rehab Institute, in their brain trauma facility, where he finally came totally out of his coma and was able to get neuropsychological, physical, occupational, respiratory, and speech therapy. When he no longer needed respiratory therapy and Baylor felt they did as much as they could do for him, Daryl was transferred to Pate Rehab, a home/rehab center where he lives in a home with other brain trauma residents and is driven to a facility for six hours of rehab every weekday. We get to see him every weekday evening and he comes home for weekend overnight visits.
From September 21 until now, December 8, Daryl has made much progress. He walks with a slight wobble as we hold his ambulatory/gait belt and needs help walking up the stairs to his second floor bedroom in our home. We thank G-d that he has no memory of the accident. Doctors told us that his brain injury was to the frontal lobe in the area where executive decisions are made. This was explained to us by, if he was able to balance a checkbook in the past, he may no longer be able to do so. Though he isn’t the same Daryl he was before the accident, we’re glad to have him with us.
To this day I dread Tuesdays at 9...be it AM or PM...Harlan, Tuesday 6/9/98 at 9 AM – Daryl, Tuesday 9/21/04 at 9 PM!
* ~ Early 2005 we had an opportunity to meet Barry Minoff, the off-duty Denton County Police Officer who Daryl hit and we heard his side of the story:
When Barry got out of his car and went to Daryl, there was no pulse as Daryl wasn't breathing. Barry managed to get Daryl breathing again so, if it hadn't been for him, we'd have lost Daryl. In fact, Daryl says that Harlan was with him most of the time! Each and every day we thank G-d that he and Barry hit instead of a driver who didn't care, a streetlight, or a tree!!
As of September 21, 2005, one year later, Daryl is now back to work, full time. He is not driving yet, due to his uncontrollable bouts of anger, but he rides his bicycle all over town. He still has no memory of the accident, thank G-d!, and frequently gets ‘off task’ because he forgets what he was doing. Daryl also looses his balance at times as he still walks with a slight wobble. ~ *
In my Yahoo! Photo Album, which can be found at http://photos.yahoo.com/five4ever1998, the album named 'Daryl 1/5/05 – present', the last picture, picture #5, is of Daryl and Barry. The certificate that Barry is holding states that he is Daryl's Guardian Angel. I made it for him. Barry has it hanging on a wall in his home office.