From a Mother's Perspective

March 07, 2023
Megan holding her son's hand
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By Robin Gregg

As March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, too often, brain injuries and survivors are ignored. During Brain Injury Awareness Month, I'd like to share my cousin, Megan Western's experience with her son who is currently hospitalized from a Traumatic Brain Injury.

Bryant Western, my 14-year-old cousin was involved in a rolled side by side accident in their driveway on January 25, 2023. This is Megan Western's (Bryant's Mother) experience.

"When I got the call from his friend that they rolled the side by side and Bryant was "hurt bad," my entire body went numb. I couldn't hardly stand, but I put on some of Joel's boots and a coat and drove down our driveway. I happened to be home from work that day and the accident happened in the driveway, 100 yards from the house.'

`When I pulled up, the roof of the side by side was blocking the view of Bryant, so I had to go around and he was lying there, with his left arm pinned under it. He was unconscious, but breathing! I knelt down in the snow, and held his head and started immediately praying to God to save my baby. I kept telling his friend to tell the dispatcher to send a helicopter. They said they couldn't because of the weather. They took him via ambulance to Kirksville. They were trying to see if they could get him flown to St. Louis or Kansas City but no one was able to fly. I honestly feel like Kirksville pushed for them to fly to Kansas City because they knew the severity of the situation. I truly believe if they would've brought him via ground ambulance instead of helicopter to any of the facilities, he wouldn't have made it. He needed immediate surgery when he got here to Children's Mercy. His skull was broken in several places. To relieve some of the pressure from the swelling within his brain, they removed part of his skull in order to give his brain space to swell without causing additional pressure and then hopefully, reduce any damage.'

`It was touch and go the first 72 hours; he was breathing over the vent from like day 3. You could see little blips on the monitor where he was breathing over it. Respiratory Therapy did breathing treatments multiple times a day to clear out his lungs. We had a doctor tell us like day four or five that "this is how Bryant is going to be". I couldn't even look at the doctor. My husband, Joel, did all the talking. I was so mad. But we know that the doctor doesn't make that choice. God is in control and He will heal Bryant. I have felt helpless, sad, mad, and scared. But I have also felt happiness when he does things like wiggling his toes on command, sticking his tongue out on command, flickering his eye lids when asked to open his eyes. I felt joy when he came off the breathing tube and when the feeding tube came out of his nose. Now I can see his handsome face again.'

`They wanted to show us the MRI about a week after it happened and Joel and I chose not to look at it. It's not going to change anything and our belief is he's going to be healed. He will have to get his bone flap put back in. It's scheduled for March 27, but if we move to a Disorders of Consciousness facility before then, he will just come back at a later day and have it put back in. They have only told us that there "is significant brain damage."

Brain Injuries takes a long time to heal from. If Bryant does well with everything and is ready to graduate to a rehab program he will and they will go from there. Megan's job has been amazing and working with her to make sure they still get her benefits for Bryant. Joel will eventually have to come back home to plant their farmland. They do only have six cows, six calves and a couple bulls so they are being watched after right now.

Not only has their community and school been wonderful supporters to all of the Western's but there has been an outstanding support from all over the United States, even Parker Schnabel from the show Gold Rush from The Discovery Channel, KC Cheerleaders and Montana Fouts the pitcher for Alabama softball. Family and friends come in and out, especially on weekends.

Hold your babies tight. Life can change in a second.