A Simple Sweatshirt

startle Response

It is cold this morning. I knew I needed to find a sweatshirt to wear when walking Sparky this morning so I pulled out this white one. The routine is to take Sparky for a walk, pick him up about two houses away and then put on his muzzle. I then give him a bath which he hates which is why I have this routine.

sweatshirtAbout this sweatshirt. When I sustained my TBI on August 26, 1996. I was serving as an Associate Pastor at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA. On that fated day, my husband Michael Galovic and I had decided to get some frozen yogurt. We lived off a busy street in North Atlanta which meant making a left turn on our street to get home. Unfortunately, Michael was driving a manual transmission and was in the wrong gear when he made the turn so we didn’t make it and were hit by an oncoming car. I was in the passenger seat and got the brunt of it although Michael was hurt as well.

I was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition and put into an induced coma to help keep my brain from swelling. Michael was taken to another hospital. I have no memory of this although my body remembers. For quite a while, I was unable to ride in the passenger seat because it was too frightening for me. Even when I finally was able to sit there, I would jump at everything that even resembled the crash. The term is called “exaggerated startle” and it drove Michael insane because I would scream at the littlest provocation. Fortunately I worked on this until my screams became little grunts with me now simply pressing my hand on the arm rest while taking a deep breath. I rarely do this now but I am extremely sensitive when someone else is driving and I’m sitting in that seat so it does happen at times.

Back to the sweatshirt. When I was in rehab, at one of the youth group’s meetings they made this shirt for me. It says, “Someone from Mount Vernon Loves You.” Each person then signed their names. The children decorated a flower pot with their names and delivered it to me. I was pretty “out-of-it” those first couple of years. I thought I’d be able to work there again but as time went on, I realized that wasn’t going to be possible. They did continue paying me my salary and for this I’m grateful. Michael and I had married three months earlier and he didn’t have a steady, full-time job yet so we needed the money. I know stories of people who are not so fortunate and must try to get by until their disability kicks in.

It’s amazing what memories return after seeing a simple sweatshirt!

2 thoughts on “A Simple Sweatshirt

  1. Carol, thanks for your message. I didn’t use your name in the piece because I don’t like to use folks names unless I see them often. Good to hear from you. I hope things are going well for you.


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