Jeff’s Journey: A Patient’s Recovery and Outreach
Jeff Damon was painting his living room when it happened. While perched high atop a six foot ladder, he lost his balance and fell.
“I hit my head on the floor and fractured my skull, creating two bleeds on my brain, front and back. Additionally, I broke my back, tore my spleen and popped my left eardrum! Adding to the difficulty of my care, I’ve had mechanical heart valves for many years. I take blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke…”
Jeff was rushed to University Hospital. Because of his extensive injuries and medical history, his case was complicated. He underwent a craniotomy and the doctors had to induce hypothermia. Dr. John Floyd performed Jeff’s cranial surgery while he was in the trauma center and attended to his lengthy follow-up care. Although Jeff spent two whole months recovering in the Neurocritical Care Unit, he has little to no recollection of his initial hospitalization.
“…I remember the days before the accident, but have lost any memories of the fall itself or the following six weeks. This loss of memory in many ways was a blessing. I was spared much of the pain and over time my body healed.”
When Jeff was finally discharged, he spoke to his family and learned how attentive his doctors and nurses had been during the course of his care. Drs. Augusto Parra, Rachel Garvin, and Ali Seifi took the time to update his family about his condition on a regular basis. They answered questions and explained procedures. Jeff was thankful his family had been treated with the same conscientiousness and compassion he received as a patient. After his experience, Jeff expressed that he had “developed the highest respect for the care provided by the medical staff”; he felt that they were sensitive to his needs and respectful of his dignity throughout the duration of his stay.
Convalescence during intensive care can sometimes be isolating and discouraging. That’s one of the reasons why Jeff has been trying so hard to reach out to others. In addition to giving us permission to share his story online, he has also visited with patients recovering in the eighth floor Neurocritical Care Unit of the University Hospital’s Sky Tower.
Jeff is thankful for the care he’s received and the progress he’s made, but understands that every patient has different challenges to overcome and different finishing lines to cross. His advice is to avoid comparing paces. Instead, trust in the guidance and outlook of your health care providers.
“It can be difficult and confusing, so I wanted to share my experience to let you know that there is help, and that you’re not alone…every patient is different. Some people with similar injuries can have very different outcomes. It’s important to remember that the doctors and nurses have experience with each type of injury and will do everything they can to help each patient recover as fully as possible.”