On February 18, Denver serial rapist Brent J. Brents nearly beat 33-year-old Tiffany Engle to death. She was his last victim—and she is also my friend.
Monday, March 7, midafternoon
After 18 days at Denver Health, which included brain surgery, a massive ear infection, daily blood draws, numerous CT scans, and long hours in bed, Tiffany was transferred by ambulance to Englewood's Craig Hospital, one of the premier brain and spinal-cord trauma rehab centers in the country.
She has only brief, fleeting memories of those first three weeks from the attack onward. Tiffany says she remembers a nurse named Ernest but doesn't know why. She remembers her best friend visiting from Iowa, because she was pregnant and Tiffany touched her belly. She remembers being embarrassed about getting an anti-seizure shot in the rear-end while a male coworker was visiting one day. And she remembers the day she called her own press conference. A bit confused, Tiffany got hold of a phone, called her cell phone to get her messages, and found she had a series of voicemails from Denver-area reporters looking for her to comment. Figuring she might as well get the hoopla over with, she called them back and set up a time for local news outlets to visit Denver Health. Her father, doctors, and Mitch Morrissey put the kibosh on the conference, as Tiffany could still barely sit up.
She remembers those insignificant moments with clarity but has no recollection of her attack, the surgery, doctors, friends visiting, or the pain. Although she appeared lucid and alert-to me and everyone else-for the three weeks she was at Denver Health, Tiffany says, "It was like someone took a roll of pictures but only gave me three."
Tuesday, March 8
For three weeks, Tiffany's doctors had focused on healing bones, blood, tissue, and nerves. Denver Health had saved Tiffany from death. Now, a whole new stage of recovery was beginning. Craig Hospital's doctors were now faced with restoring her life.
CT scans, blood tests, eye examinations, hearing assessments, memory evaluations, and physical exams prepared Craig's staff to take care of Tiffany. She had lost the majority of the peripheral vision in her right eye and nearly 30 percent of the hearing in her right ear. Her short-term memory was badly damaged, as was her visual and spatial memory. She couldn't walk alone, her ear was infected, and they had to constantly monitor her for seizures.