Tom Segars Update - Page 1
My family and I have received many e-mails about our son, Tom,
who was one of the four patients followed in the HBO film,
Coma. Although I would like to
answer each e-mail personally, sometimes it is difficult so I am
starting this page to tell everyone a little about Tom's
injury and then to provide updates on his progress.
At the end of July in 2005, Tom fell off a balcony and fell
18' and landed on his head in a parking lot. He sustained
injuries to his frontal lobes and to the brain stem. He also had
a stroke which affects his left side. If all that wasn't
enough, he severed the nerve that allows him to hear in his right
ear, broke the little bones in his ear that affect balance and
sustained damage to the part of his brain that processes sound.
Three days later, while in a coma in the Trauma Intensive Care
Unit at Jersey Shore University Hospital in Neptune, New Jersey,
we were told that Tom would not survive another day. It seems
that God had other plans for Tom.
After six weeks in a coma, Tom became minimally conscious. His
first rehab was JFK Center for Head Injuries in Edison, New
Jersey. This is an acute care brain trauma unit. It was here that
we were approached by HBO to be part of this special movie. My
wife, Veronica, Lynda and I agreed to be part of this special
because we knew that Tom would have wanted to be in it for the
same reasons that we agree to do it. We hoped that it would help
other families to better cope with a situation like ours and we
hoped that it would raise awareness about traumatic brain
injuries. Often, the needed care is withheld because of financial
reasons or because of rejections by insurance companies. We
believed in our hearts that Tom would recover and he would be an
inspiration to other families and patients.
This picture was taken of Tom and his fiancee, Lynda DeLorenzo
on Thanksgiving Day in 2004. It was the photo that was used for
their engagement announcement. Lynda and Tom were engaged on June
3, 2005, a little less than two months before Tom's accident.
My wife and I believe that the love that they have for each other
was a major factor in Tom's recovery.
Tom had a lot to overcome. His ability to walk is hampered by
the broken bones in his ear that affect balance. He required
surgery on one eye because it would not move past midline and he
had problems with double vision. In the special "Coma"
Tom is seen with a patch over his eye. We were keeping the eye
lubed because of damage to the cranial nerve and its effect on
Tom's eyelid. His eye problem has been corrected by an
incredible surgeon in New York City, Dr. Mark Steele and another great eye doctor, Dr.
Vincent Vicci in Cranford, New Jersey. He also has to deal with
the inability to hear out of his right ear and the problem with
processing the sounds that he hears in his left ear.
Now for an update: The photo on the right was taken at
Christmas time, 2006. I am writing this in July, 2007 and Tom and
Lynda have moved into a condo of their own. Tom continues with
rehab and seems to improve every day. He is using a special
walker and his therapists have been trying forearm crutches in
their therapy sessions. We have heard of a new replacement bone
for the one that he broke in his ear but we have not been able to
learn anymore about it. If anyone knows about it, please e-mail
us at the link below. The sound central processing problem that
he has is improving. Quite often, when Tom is not looking at you
and you ask him a question, he answers it. Tom still continues to
have short term memory problems but we are seeing improvement in
Tom and Lynda are going to be married on May 30, 2008.
Veronica and I are truly blessed to have Lynda for a future
daughter-in-law. Veronica's favorite description of Lynda is
that "God sent us an angel and her name is Lynda."
I would like to add one last item that might help another
family get through this type of tragedy a little easier. Within
two days of Tom's accident, I started an e-mail update that
went out to more than 100 family members and friends. It
chronicled every day of Tom's journey for the next year and a
half. It was a lot of work and sometimes when I was very tired, I
had to push myself to get through it. The other day, I put all
the updates into a Microsoft Word file. I included some photos
that were in the original updates. The file is single spaced and
517 pages long. The e-mail updates were forwarded to other people
and I posted daily on one of Tom's friends guest books. We
were able to keep our family and friends and Tom and Lynda's
friends updated without having to answer and return countless
phone calls. We still wanted contact with our family and friends
but telling the story over and over takes its toll. The Internet
and e-mail has been a big factor in getting the work out without
wearing us down. We have also found out that it is difficult to
remember when certain things happened. We can find out anything
that happened during that year and a half by looking in the
updates. Why did I stop? It was time for Tom and Lynda to have
their lives and privacy back.
I want to thank all of you who are praying for Tom. Please
don't stop. Although he has come a long way, he still has a
long way to go. Thank you for taking the time to care and learn
more about Tom.
August 13, 2007
Our local newspaper, the Asbury Park Press, did an update
article on Tom last week. To read it, please follow this link:
Knuckleheads, a comedy club in Tom's
River, New Jersey is having a fundraiser for Tom on September 21,
2007 and September 22, 2007. Knuckleheads is located at 17
Washington Street in Toms River, New Jersey. Their phone number
for tickets and reservations is (800) 951-7365. Our family would
like to thank the owners of Knuckleheads, Christie, Kurt and Tom,
for doing this for Tom.
August 18, 2007
I have added two items today. First is a photo taken by Wes
Dalzell of Brick, NJ of Tom and I kayaking yesterday.
September 23, 2007
Tom's benefit at Knuckleheads was a huge success. Our family would
like to thank Knucklehead's owners, Kurt, Christie and Tom
for making it happen. We would also like to thank the great
comics that performed at the club. Tom
Daddario and Buddy Fitzpatrick kept everyone roaring on both
nights. They were amazing. I have some photos from that
Left to Right, Christie, Lynda, Tom, Kurt and Tom at
Knucklehead's Comedy Club. To see more photos of that night,
please click on the photo above or here.
More about Tom on the next page. Click here or below.