I saw a picture of him before his car accident. He was a good-looking guy. Notably cute, even. Joe's* in his early 20's, with medium build, lean. Nice smile, blue eyes, sandy hair. Definitely an all-American guy. If you worked with him or went to school with him, it'd be easy to develop a crush.
Crush is an unfortunate word in Joe's case...
He was involved in a car crash on the highway. Not wearing a seatbelt, he was ejected from the vehicle. They found him with his head wedged between the side of the car and the Jersey Barrier.
To manage the bleeding and swelling of his brain, the doctors removed a section of his skull. It's not immediately noticeable under his protective helmet. But the swelling has definitely gone down, and there's a cavernous indentation now. His head is misshapen and lop-sided.
If he were alert and conscious enough, I suspect he'd be horrified at his appearance. But he's not aware of his surroundings. His therapy is focusing on getting him to look at 2 different photos and figure out which one is him. The other photo is a motorcycle.
We had a good therapy session. I put a cleaning swab in his hand, and he tried to put it in his mouth. I spooned tiny slivers of ice in his mouth, and his eyes momentarily came alive as his mouth tried to chew it. He really is making progress. He no longer breathes through a tube in his neck. But his mouth hangs open, slack. He still has to eat through a tube in his stomach.
Miracles do happen. Healthcare providers pray for them daily.
But wouldn't it be easier if he just wore the seatbelt?
*of course his real name isn't Joe...