The Cindy Garrett Story. A Story Of Hope!

This story begins in Israel about 5 yrs ago. My sister Cindy Garrett, and her husband who was with the Defense Intelligence Agency were stationed in Tel Aviv he was an attache to the US Embassy in TelAviv.

The story begins on the same day that an alleged Terrorist was killed via helicopter strike some 5 yrs ago. My sisters vehicle with diplomatic plates, was rammed by a Bus. Witnesses said there was no effort to slow down or stop on the part of the driver. The official position was this was not a terrorist attack.

I received word of the wreck some hours later. I was given the impression Cindy would not live through the night. The emergency room doctors did not bother to remove the gauze and other medical equipment etc. used to stop internal bleeding and treat other trauma, as they were certain she was not going to live through the night. When the morning came my sister began to moan and was immediately rushed back into surgery to remove the items left inside her as they had underestimated her will to live. They had not over estimated her Injuries as she had broken every bone in her body and had severe head and neck trauma as well as Traumatic Brain Injury.

After some time she was transferred to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC. She was in a Coma like state there for a number of months, about 3 months I think. The shock and awe that I experienced at witnessing first hand, the dedication and professionalism at Walter Reed Military Hospital is another story in its self. After they had done all they could for Cindy she was moved to a Rehab Center in Fairfax Va..

After some time at the rehab center, 2 months maybe, it became clear that my beloved sister was headed for the "screamers" wing of the center. She had not regained consciousness in that, she could not communicate in any way and her only actions other than sleep or unconsciousness was to moan and scream in pain. My heroic mother who is in her 70s had not left her side. She was determined to be at her bedside constantly despite resistance, and surprisingly was allowed to sleep on a cot, at Walter Reed and the rehab Center. This was not because the Hospital or Rehab Center Administration policy, it was because my mother would not be denied.

My Sisters and my Mothers existence was tortuous. My sister was suffering greatly and my mother who was not in good health, was wearing down emotionally and physically. We were losing hope that Cindy would return to us in any fashion. The anguish at her screaming made matters very difficult especially for my mother. She was fearful that any day the Rehab center would give up on my sister and assign her to the screamers ward. That would have been a life sentence and a death sentence. At that point, we all prayed for was at least, the ability to know where her pain was so we could try to stop it. But it was if she was behind a concrete wall. No getting through.

One day, after talking to my mother on the phone my wife mentioned she had run across an article on the web about an auto accident victim in South Africa. The young man had been in the same condition as my sister Cindy. For 5 years he was only able to moan or scream as if in great pain while never regaining consciousness. His mother who also was by his side constantly asked the nurse if there was anything they could give the young man to sedate him. The nurse crushed a commonly prescribed sedative and mixed it with water and gave it to him by mouth.

Approximately 30 minutes later the young man awoke and spoke clearly to his mother. It was the first time since his accident, the young man had uttered any words. Not only was he able to speak but he could do other things like catch a tennis ball.

Unfortunately the young man would lose consciousness after about 15 minutes and retreat back to his previous condition. To this day (to my knowledge) the mother and son have their 15 minutes each day to have normal conversation and some greater measure of quality of life because of this common drug.

After reading the article I was convinced this would be a "chance" to break through the concrete wall that entombed my sister. I immediately called my mother and was met with confusion and resistance from everyone. I believed and still believe my mother was not able to cope with or process the information, as she was past her limit with overwhelming circumstances, that by now included a marriage on the rocks and trying to raise motherless grand kids for her daughter from her bedside cot.

I decided I would travel to Washington (Fairfax) and approach the top Doctor at the Rehab Hospital a Doctor Patel, and present my proposal to give Cindy this drug. I had convinced myself that he would not allow it. I began to try and figure out how I could give it to her myself if he refused to allow it.

Upon arrival at the hospital and visiting my sisters room briefly, I immediately asked to see Dr. Patel. I explained what my wife had found on the Internet and told him I wanted my sister to have this drug. To my surprise and without a moments hesitation, Doctor Patel agreed and only wanted to cut back on some other (similar) medications so as to increase the likelihood of a positive effect. As opposed to oral administration Dr. Patel ordered the drug administered intravenously and scheduled it 2 days away. Needless to say the next 48 hours were filled with prayerful anticipation.

After the first 5 AM administering of the drug there was no dramatic effect. My mother thought she noticed mys sister trying to answer her questions, but she did not trust her self as she believed she was too hopeful.. I was ecstatic as I was certain there was a difference in her my sisters behavior.

Prayers answered...

The next administration of the drug was about 2PM with a third scheduled for the evening. Upon the second dose my sister spoke! Faintly as it was, it was thunderous whisper. By the third dose My sister was laughing and singing along with us as we joyfully and tearfully sang Happy Birthday to her.

Fortunately for us, Cindy did not lapse back into a coma or unconsciousness and we are able to communicate with her regularly to this day and she is now living in Austin with my mother and has gained a greater measure of quality of life thanks to this miracle drug.

I have contacted countless Brain injury Centers and the Drug manufacturer I contacted the Wounded Warrior Project so as to reach out to Veterans with Brain Injury.

Sadly have found no other Dr. Patel to listen to this miraculous story. And there are thousands of Brain Injury Patients and families who may be so very close to communication with loved ones and a more quality life, and they dont even know it!

Even if it only helps only one person and their family awake from the nightmarish condition caused by Traumatic Brain Injury it is a worthy pursuit. What if it helps THOUSANDS? The risk / reward factor is off the chart. Pleas if you know TBI patients who are not fully conscious help be the hero and voice these Victims and their families need.

Ambien is the 2nd most prescribed medication in America, I feel certain it was the answer to our prayers and could be the answer for countless families of these victims who suffer greatly every day.


garrettstory garrettstory
1 Response Jan 17, 2013

Such an amazing story. My sister works in a transplant hospital. I will forward her this story.