By Natalie Griffith
To view part I of Natalie’s post, click here.
He called my sister to let her know I was in an accident and in the hospital. My sister then called my parents and they came to the hospital to be with me. I was on life support with a 38% chance of living.
The first three days were most crucial for my survival; I had two surgeries. The first surgery was to fix my head and my face. I had six plates and some metal screws put into my face, and my jaw was wired shut. The second surgery was to work on my very broken right arm; a long plate was put in place of the shattered bone.
Through all of this, I nestled in the Lord’s presence. While in a coma, God kept telling me He loved me; He is taking care of me; He has big things in store; trust and rely on Him and never, never give up!
I was in a coma for 2 ½ weeks, and then my eyes began to slowly open. Once I became semi-conscious, UCI transferred me to a rehab hospital in Brea named Kindred Hospital. I had to relearn EVERYTHING like how to walk and talk again, how to eat food, even how to use the bathroom! I was a quick learner; my spirit wanted me to improve.
I was discharged from Kindred on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2010. I was unclear about so much, but I listened and trusted the people helping me, plus the Spirit of God was with me encouraging me. I moved in with my mom and dad because I was separated from my husband, he did not want me to live with him and the kids. But I received many visits from my four girls. My mom picked them up or their dad dropped them off; they needed to see their mom they almost lost and I needed to be around them to help my memories come back.
After coming home with my parents, my mom drove me to Winways, a place to relearn for people with brain injuries. I received many therapies five days a week for two months. Due to the problems with my perception and not knowing much, it was recommended that I go to Coastline Community College, a program that focused on different strategies following an acquired brain injury. It also was recommended I continue hand therapy so I could bend and move my fingers, and that I continue outpatient speech therapy so I wouldn’t slur my words or often repeat myself.
I began Coastline College June 21, 2010 (my 32nd birthday). I wasn’t completely together in my mind, my spirit, and my soul; I wanted what was lost! I went to the ‘brain-school’ four days a week, four hours a day, for two years. OCTA took me every day until I got my license reinstated two months before finishing Coastline College in 2012. The Spirit of God was with me every step of the way! And just like He told me while I was in a coma, He was and is taking care of me, do not worry! I honestly do not get through my days without His help and guidance; He saved me for a purpose! I AM A MIRACLE!
To read first part of Natalie’s story, click here.
Meet Natalie Griffith
December 25, 2009 could have been the last time Natalie ever saw her children, who were 10, 8 ½, 6, and 3 ½ at the time of the accident. God had other plans for her, and she was given a second chance to live. Since she regained consciousness, her top priority has been to relearn the skills necessary to be the best mom possible. She is a firm believer that “you should never drive while intoxicated” because drinking adversely affects all of your senses. Furthermore, “drinking and driving can change your life.” In her case, it obviously did.
At the time this article was written — September 25, 2015 — Natalie (now 37), was still on her journey of recovery. Although she has significantly improved since the accident, she is still working on her organizational, name association, and processing skills.
Although the accident was preventable, and I am hugely opposed to driving while drunk (tipsy, slightly inebriated, intoxicated, etc.), I chose to include her story of success in Beyond Adversity posts because I like her attitude about recovery – “never, never, never give up.”