Monday, September 15, 2008

Four years after a massive stroke, Jason Crigler is back making music

This is a good news story that should be posted and distributed widely. When people are diagnosis as being in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS) they do not expect that a person will recover in the way Jason Crigler has.

There is a very high rate of falsely diagnosis for (PVS) and if you look further into the condition you would have to conclude that Crigler was never in a PVS condition, but was rather cognitively impaired by the massive stroke.

The story states:

While playing a gig in a New York City club in 2004, Crigler - a strong, healthy man in his early 30s - fell to his knees. He went outside to get some air and crumpled to the ground. His wife, Monica, three months pregnant with their first child, was by his side. By the time an ambulance whisked him away, he was completely paralyzed.

Crigler had suffered a massive stroke, the result of an arterio-venous malformation, known more commonly as a bleed in the brain. Doctors predicted either death or a permanent vegetative state.

After six months of slow improvement at Boston’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, doctors told the one-time ace guitarist he would always need round-the-clock institutional care. Nursing homes were contacted.

The story can only be understood within the context of the love of a family. Instead of living in a nursing home his family brought him home.

Crigler stated:

“My family’s love and support made all the difference,”

“It’s amazing how many fortuitous things happened. Certain doctors arrived at the right time. Playing guitar again was a big part of it. My work ethic, my strong will and my family’s support made the difference.”

“Ellie (his daughter) played a huge role in my recovery, and she doesn’t even know it,” said Crigler, who still can’t remember the 18 months after his injury. “In my darkest, deepest depressions, Ellie would walk into the room, and the darkness would vanish.”

The love and support of his family gave Crigler a new lease on life. The article states:

Before his stroke, Crigler was one of the top guitarists in the New York City singer/songwriter scene. He and his wife were members of the band Goats in Trees, and he played alongside Linda Thompson, Marshall Crenshaw, and Norah Jones. When Jones headlined a benefit show in 2005 to help offset Crigler’s medical bills, it pulled in $50,000.

Crigler’s parents set up a recording studio at his home. With their help, Crigler restarted the album project that had been half-finished at the time of his stroke. “The Music of Jason Crigler” features 13 diverse, expressive, self-written songs, with guest vocals by Crenshaw, Kenny White, Teddy Thompson and Eric McKeown.

“The album was a 9-year labor of love,” Crigler said.

He looked up, and, by chance, saw his mother and father-in-law across the street with his daughter, Ellie. He walked over and hugged her, smiling. This was one of the last facial expressions to come back to his once-immobile face.

Link to the article in the Boston Herald:

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