Ana E. Garcia: She is full-fledged Marine and she will tell you once a Marine, always a Marine. This is a kid who loves rules and regulations. Loves, thrived on the military.
Christina: I was a Marine for ten years before the accident.
Ruth Sigala: Christina had a car accident three years ago. She had been deployed four times. And every time, before she was deployed she would go home and say goodbye to the family.
Christina: And then I had an accident cause’ of the weather.
Ana E. Garcia: If there was any one lucky thing, she ended up under the car but there was an indention in the ground and she fell in to the indention and the car fell on top of her. I mean, she wasn’t broken in pieces, she was, she was there. She was whole. And just because of that lucky indention in the road.
Ruth Sigala: There were not many chances of Christina making it.
Ana E. Garcia: And eventually they told us that she had some kind of pelvic, slight fracture in her pelvis, some broken ribs. They had to induce her into a coma. The only thing that really concerned them at that point was would she have any brain activity?
Christina: I was in the hospital for two years. After my accident my first memory is when I was transferred to peatrip. I was shocked when someone told me what year it was.
Ruth Sigala: We have talked about it, Christina and I. And it seems like from two thousand six to the first three months of two thousand fifteen, she remembers very little. And she doesn’t remember her four deployments. Two to Iraq. Only the first one in two thousand five. But the second one, two thousand six to Iraq, she doesn’t remember it. She doesn’t remember her two tours to Afghanistan in two thousand ten and two thousand twelve. Christina doesn’t remember them.
Ana E. Garcia: She had to relearn everything. Everything. From brushing her teeth, combing her hair, eating, dressing, sitting. Everything had to be relearned just like if she was a brand new baby.
Christina: Hi, I miss you.
Ana E. Garcia: It means that you have to step in whether it’s comfortable or not. Because I was, I had a very comfortable life and all of the sudden I had to help. And the tendency is to say somebody else can take care of it. No, it’s got to be a team effort.
Christina: I was very surprised to find my family surrounding me.
Ana E. Garcia: And the doctors had said you know there’s nothing, she doesn’t have any broken bones. And we don’t see anything wrong with the pelvis so as far as we’re concerned she should be walking. But she’s refusing to get out of the wheelchair. So, I said you know why are you not walking? She’s like cause’ I like being pushed around. I said well that’s not good enough. I said you can walk and you’re going to walk. So I took the wheelchair away and she had a fit. We had a huge argument that morning and she refused to get out of bed. I’m not getting out bed cause’ you need to give me back my wheelchair. I said well I’m not giving you back the wheelchair because you can walk. So, needless to say by the end of the week she was walking.
Christina: I didn’t know what I could do until they made me do it. So, that’s when I started believing that everything is possible.
Ana E. Garcia: I stayed for a month and then we decided she needed some other kind of care. Which, this is when Ruth came in. Ruth has a more loving nature, a more understanding nature. I’m more like a Sargent. So, I was there when she needed that part and then Ruth kind of took over for the natural part of it. She doesn’t just want to do nothing. She wants to get educated. She wants to go back to school.
Christina: I want to study education in college and become a counselor.
Ruth Sigala: She sees people who are in need and she tries to help. Especially the ones that cannot protect themselves or provide for themselves. Like children and people who are older and people who are handicapped like Christina or in same situations. Even then she always tries to help from her heart.
Ana E. Garcia: This girl can do everything but you would have never have been able to tell when you first had that accident. When you see somebody who’s having to start to learn how to walk and talk, who can’t move, who you have to turn over. Who, I mean it’s just incredible, incredible. There’s so many things that you doubt until you go through it but you got to keep the faith. You have to believe that you’re going to get there.
Ruth Sigala: Because she shares with me her feelings, her fears, her anxiety, her joys, her hopes, her plans. Yes, she shares that with us fortunately. So we know how she feels and that helps us find ways to help her even better.
Ana E. Garcia: She’s going to be moving back to El Paso in a beautiful home that will be fully furnished.
Christina: It’s going to be one floor dedicated to me so that I can walk through easily and have an exit door in my bedroom.
Ruth Sigala: When we go back to El Paso I’ll be living with Christina in her home. The time, for as long as it takes. For as long as it takes. As long as when she becomes independent, then I will go back to my home. But all the time that she needs me, I’ll be there.
Christina: My family means everything to me. They’ve always been there for me. Up or down. I can always rely on them for everything.
Ana E. Garcia: She has a lot of cousins. She’s got uncles and aunts and friends. I mean, we’re a huge family.
Christina: I’m very grateful for them. Especially my Aunt Ruth.
Ruth Sigala: It’s important for me as a caregiver to take care of myself. To have what it needs to be able to provide to Christina the care that she needs. Otherwise if I’m not strong, if I’m not with faith, if I’m not hopeful, that’s what I will transmit to her. That’s what she will receive. Therefor, I need to be hopeful. I need to be loveable. I need to be rest, relaxed, happy with what I’m doing. And happy to be with her. And she receives all that.
Christina: Being a Marine makes you want to do a lot for yourself so you never give up. And so if I wasn’t a Marine, I don’t know if I could get through this.
Ruth Sigala: My advice with people who’ve had a loved one go through this situation, traumatic brain injury situation is god. My first advice is god. Always pray to god. Be hopeful. Always god. And also family. Always. Get close to family. First god, then family, and then friends. Ask for help all the time. Ask for help. Ask people to help you and share with them what you need. But yes, faith is my number one advice.
Christina: Everything makes me happy. Especially my family.