A disabled man who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and his wife have opened up about raising their daughter together and whether they can have more children after his life-changing accident.
Luis Gustavo, 32, and his wife Lexie, 29, from Tijuana, Mexico, were only married for two months when he was in a motorcycle crash on April 2, 2013. He hit the frontal lobe and right side of his brain, leaving him with severe traumatic brain injury. Eight years later, Luis is still learning to walk and talk.
The couple has an eight-year-old daughter, Clover, who was born before the accident, and in a recent video shared on their YouTube channel, The Accessible Van Life, they answered questions about their life.
Love: Luis Gustavo, 32, and his wife Lexie, 29, from Tijuana, Mexico, have opened up about their interabled marriage in a video shared on their YouTube channel earlier this month
Candid: The couple has an eight-year-old daughter, Clover, who was born before Luis’s accident, and they answered questions about their family in the clip
It was the first video they had shared in nearly a year, and Lexie explained that their family had moved to another home.
‘We ended up moving, which was just a big, big change for us,’ she said. ‘We found a one-story house, which is very difficult to find where we live. I guess it is pretty accessible.’
‘The only thing with this house is the doorways to the rooms are very narrow, so Luis’s wheelchair can’t really go into all of the rooms,’ she added.
‘I had to take the door off of the room where we sleep because his wheelchair couldn’t go through it. But other than that, it’s a great place.’
Before they started answering their followers’ questions, which were written on pieces of paper and placed in a jar, Lexie pointed to the blue medical mask around Luis’s neck.
She explained that it’s covering the tracheostomy tube that helps her husband breathe through a hole in his windpipe.
Trauma: Luis suffered a severe traumatic brain injury eight years ago and is still learning how to walk and speak
Teamwork: While Luis can communicate with gestures and words, Lexie was there to elaborate on what he was saying during the candid Q&A session
‘The doctor was going to take Luis’s trach off back in October,’ she said. ‘But, because of COVID, he decided to keep it a little bit more.’
Lexie said they started looking for devices a few years ago that would help Luis speak, but they are expensive and he doesn’t have insurance.
He would need to try the device to make sure it works before they buy it, and they haven’t been able to travel to San Diego, California, to do that because of the pandemic.
While Luis can communicate with gestures and words, Lexie was there to elaborate on what he was saying during the candid Q&A session.
The first question they answered was about whether they can have children following Luis’s accident, and if so, do they plan on having another child.
Luis gestured, yes, they can have more children, but, no, they don’t plan on it, prompting Lexie to joke, ‘Well, you’re speaking for yourself, mister.’
Life-changing moment: Luis and Lexie, pictured on their wedding day, were only married for two months when he was in a motorcycle crash on April 2, 2013
Accident: Luis, pictured with their daughter before the accident, hit the frontal lobe and right side of his brain, leaving him with severe traumatic brain injury
‘We can have children,’ she said, though she didn’t elaborate further. ‘We can have as many children as we want.’
When she asked Luis why he doesn’t want more children, he replied: ‘No money.’ However, he then added that they would like one more.
‘I guess we would like to have another child,’ Lexie added.
The couple went onto say that they rarely argue, which they think is beneficial for their daughter.
‘We don’t really fight, so Clover doesn’t see that with us,’ Lexie said. ‘We’ve talked about how that will impact her one day when she’s in a relationship. She doesn’t see us fight. She has never watched like an awful argument.’
One of the questions was about how Luis participates in their daughter Clover’s upbringing.
Looking to the future: The couple explained that they are able to have more children, despite Luis’s injuries, and they would like to have one more child
Looking back: Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Luis went to physical therapy, but he hasn’t been able to go this year
‘With money,’ Luis joked, while Lexie noted that if she tells Clover no, she will go to her dad.
‘She doesn’t really ask for anything, but if there is something on her mind, she’ll go and ask her Papa,’ she explained.
‘I’m her favorite,’ Luis said, adding that he listens to their daughter and gives her his ‘unconditional love.’
Lexie went on to recall how someone once asked Clover how it feels to have a disabled father.
‘I think people ask that [because] it’s not just the wheelchair. It’s Luis’s way of expressing himself. They don’t really understand it,’ she said. ‘It’s normal for us. It’s just, you know, this is our life. But other people have a hard time comprehending that.
‘[Clover will] say, “No, this is my father, and I just don’t see a difference.” So I think that was very mature of her.’
Happy: The couple said they rarely argue, which they think is beneficial for their daughter
Love: Lexie recalled how someone asked Clover how it felt to have a disabled father, and she replied: ‘This is my father, and I just don’t see a difference’
At the end of the video, Luis said the best thing about being married is being with Lexie, whom he’s been with for a total of 13 years.
In another video marking their anniversary last year, Lexie recounted Luis’s accident and how she refused to give up on him.
Not only did he suffer a traumatic brain injury, but he also injured his right lung and heart. His radius bone came out of his arm, exposing him to bacteria. He had to be resuscitated three times and spent more than 20 days in a coma in the hospital.
‘I was only allowed to see him three times a day for three minutes, and during those three minutes, I would sing to him our songs,’ she said.
‘I would whisper in his ear. I would talk to him. I would tell him that I loved him. I would ask him to come back, that I was there waiting for him, that I was going to support him. It didn’t matter how long it would take, I was going to support him.’
The hospital eventually told Lexie there wasn’t anything else they could do and sent Luis home in a vegetative persistent state. She was the one who took him home and cared for him.
‘Slowly he came back. He came back to us,’ she recalled. ‘He started smiling, and almost a year after, he started talking and the first thing he said to me was: “I love you.” I think those are the most beautiful words I have ever heard in my life.’