A Daughter's Struggle, a Mother's Fight

Marilyn Martone shares her heart wrenching story about her daughter, who was struck by a car and now suffers from a traumatic brain injury.

Marilyn and Rachel Martone

“The fuller our lives are, the more apt we are to experience loss.”

On February 22, 1998, Marilyn Martone received the news that every parent fears. Her daughter Michelle was hit by a car while waiting outside her dorm for the campus van to take her to dinner. Marilyn’s husband answered the phone, and they dropped everything to be at their daughter’s side. Michelle was a senior in college and was a talented woman who had the rest of her life ahead of her until an accident changed everything.

When Michelle arrived at the hospital, based on the Glasgow Coma Scale, she was a three; which is the lowest rating someone can be without being declared brain dead. The doctors predicted that Michelle only had a 15% chance of waking up. She was moved to various hospitals and centers over the next several months.

There were constant battles and stress that the insurance company brought on. Michelle had health insurance but that didn’t mean that everything was taken care of. “The insurance company basically says that you have to make your progress in six months,” Marilyn said. So Marilyn and her husband were forced to pay for many costs themselves and in time were successful in formulating a law suit settlement to cover the rest of MIchelle’s treatment and care costs.

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After several set-backs and surgeries, MIchelle woke up and was conscious.

Eventually, Marilyn arranged for MIchelle to come home so that the family could take care of her. Marilyn also hoped that if Michelle were home that she may be more inclined to progress. Cognitively MIchelle is okay. Her personality and humor have stayed intact, but her memory has taken a toll. “Imagine waking up in the morning and not knowing what day it is,” Marilyn said. It is so important that MIchelle gets to live and progress at home because she is comfortable with her home. Marilyn said that if she were in a facility and woke up, then she would have no clue who everyone was around her. Comfort and stability are essential to MIchelle’s continued recovery.

Marilyn said, “The literature backs the insurance companies and says that progress needs to be made within six months for results to be successful.  Yet after 14 years Michelle is still continuing to make progress.”

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Angela Guzman
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