My Mom’s Accident

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

November 28th, 2008 • Patient AdvocacyPrint Print

It took a while to put together the pieces of information I gathered from various sources, but I now know more or less what happened to my mom two Sundays ago.

First the background 411:

A few years ago, my mom devised a system whereby she could still work as a street artist, despite her increasingly severe chronic pain and resulting disability: She assembled three carts that she could fill with her artwork, bought a scooter and attached a trailer hook on the back of it, then installed a ramp climbing up into the back of her massive RV.

Each day she worked, my mom loaded the carts with her art, attached the carts to the scooter, drove the scooter up the ramp, then climbed down and hopped (ok, hobbled) into the driver’s seat of the RV.

Mind you, the RV is a monster truck. In fact, after being hauled away by the city, following my mother’s accident, it’s been impounded for two weeks (to the tune of $2000 and counting) — not only becuase I can’t find the freakin’ keys (not helpful that my mom still doesn’t remember shit) but also because there’s no way in hell I’m attempting to take that gargantuan machine onto the freeway.

That’s with me 6 inches taller and 34 years younger than my mom. Oh yeah, and there are friends (hers & mine combined) few and far between who are willing to do it either.

Anyhow, my mom always mentioned being afraid of falling off the ramp, and apparently last Sunday it happened — she toppled five feet backwards, landing on her head and back. She suffered a concussion with severe hemmoraging in her brain; several fractures in her pelvis; a broken hip; several broken ribs; a broken tailbone; and fluid around her lungs.

The day after the accident, doctors performed brain surgery and inserted a chest tube for drainage. They also inserted, oh, about twelve other tubes all over my mom’s body, along with a neck brace. My mom was unconscious for the greater part of a week.

Last Monday, my mom was well enough to go in for surgery on her pelvis/hip/tailbone area. She was then released from the Intensive Care Unit (having been there for eight days) and now has just a few tubes left in her.

She’s remastered the art of eating, is still working on the drinking thang, can talk sense every now and then, babbles incoherently the rest of the time, and suffers from excruciating pain all over her body — leading to bouts of screaming bloody murder that you can hear down the hallway and around the corner.

She hasn’t been able to get out of bed for almost two full weeks, though she frequently turns to me and hollers, “Loolwa! Let’s get out of here! Come on, let’s go!” while grabbing the sides of the bed and attempting either to catapult herself out of it or steer the damn thing down the hallway and on to freedom.

She hasn’t tackled any nurses recently, greatly minimizing my entertainment pleasure, and instead has taken up antaoginizing them (and me) by refusing to take her meds — reminding us all that she’s 47, no wait, 57, no wait, 74 years old and therefore doesn’t have to do shit that we tell her to.


Joyce Wieselmann November 28th, 2008

Hi Loolwa,

This is very good! I have been wondering how the accident happened. I kept seeing her “train” and suspected that it could have gotten out of control and run her over.

I spoke with her yesterday. She was lucid, but feeble. She said she was very happy that you and I are communicating. She said it would be wonderful if I would call her back in 3 days.

David called last night. He said he would go to visit your mom on Saturday. I don’t expect anything from him until it happens, but I would be very happy if he would do that.

Take care of yourself. Eat well and get some sleep!



channaoarah December 4th, 2008

Loolwa, what a blessing you are for your mom!! You would be a blessing
for any patient in the hospital. I hope her caretakers are paying close
attention to what you fax them. I still hope to go to SFO on either Sunday
or Monday, and my plan is to see EJ daily while I am there, or at least
until you come back. Is your plan to come up every weekend?

With affection and respect,


Stephanie December 27th, 2008

Glad to know the story. I’m thinking of you both all the time.


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