For family of brain injured woman, a sad quest for a happy ending

via Facebook

I only met Shaina Briscoe once; volunteers with The Current were helping to build a Habitat for Humanity house in Minneapolis. She was the kind of drywall expert I want to be when I grow up.

The Minneapolis cycling community knows her much better, of course, but whether you were best friends, met once, or just have followed her progress on NewsCut, everyone is pulling for her. Everyone wants a happy ending.

So far, it hasn’t been enough. She still hasn’t emerged from wherever it is she went after she collided with an SUV during an impromptu bike race in downtown Minneapolis two months ago last week.

Her father, David, a very gifted writer, has been updating her Caring Bridge site, allowing us all to experience the reality that is behind news stories like this, a reality that goes on far longer than can sustain the interest of the news.

I had imagined that the graph of my pain and anguish which began in July would slowly slope toward zero and become … bearable. I had thought that by now I would get to a point where I would not start sobbing unexpectedly, and that being out in public, working on a roof, or driving on the highway would be risk free.

I predicted badly. Of course you’d think I’d know by now that driving with the radio on invites the possibility of hearing a song that makes me think of Shaina. A smarter person would listen to the news. That didn’t work so well either. Behind every headline of a mugging or a murder I see the faces of the broken victims on gurneys, and the hollowed out eyes of the families trying to cope. I see these people every day in the hospital.

Anyway, I wrote several things last week but chose not to post them because they were too dark, and spoke more about me than they did about Shaina.

She got her arch bars off Friday, and her trach tube out yesterday. We hope these 2 things will move her up in the candidacy list for someplace like Courage Center. We’ll know more this week.

While a young person who suffered a near-fatal TBI 2 weeks after Shaina’s sat in the lounge making snarky comments about the Vikings on Sunday, Shaina sat next to him unresponsively. Her eyes follow the motion of the TV, she tracks the birds in the cage and the fish in the tank down the hall, she makes eye contact with the people who come into the room.

Occasionally she will be awake enough to follow a simple command to raise 1 or 2 fingers. Sue had her make the peace sign a few times yesterday.

Parents keep watching, medical staff keep caring, Facebook messages that can’t be read by the intended pile up, and friends keep visiting in scenes that are carried out in thousands of hospitals all over the world, each group wanting just one more happy ending.