On the morning of January 13th, I awoke with a start at precisely 7:05 – the exact time eleven years ago that David and I began the journey of our new and unexpected life. We did not know what was in store for us. We didn’t even know if there was going to be an “us.” I relived the moments of David’s TBI: his excruciating pain, the wild ambulance ride, my signing on the dotted line, the taking of a saw to my husband’s skull (I didn’t do that – the surgeon did), my talking incessantly on my cell phone arranging – and arranging and arranging – flights and accommodations, my squeezing David’s hand and promising him that he would get better – even though I wasn’t sure that he would, my “threatening” that I would never forgive him if he didn’t fight to stay with me, and my telling the story – over and over and over – of how David stumbled into our bedroom with his hand clutching his eye and his falling into a coma as the paramedics strapped an oxygen mask over his face.
ALL TBI SURVIVORS AND CARE GIVERS NEED TO KNOW that improvement is possible, even years later. It always amazes me the amount of healing that can take place in the...Read more »
One thing that has confused me since my TBI is empathy. I want everyone to have it and forgive me when I'm rude, forgetful, and overwhelmed. More than anything, I...Read more »
Being disabled is not fun! A car collision for me in 2000 resulted in a coma, fractured C1-C4 vertebrae, a Traumatic Brain Injury, and one and a half years...Read more »
Writing for families gets little support or recognition in clinical and academic circles. It’s time to rethink biases and disincentives that leave families uninformed and searching for information about brain...Read more »
The autobiography of Brain Injury Survivor and five time cross country charity bicyclist Mike Heikes. Mike formed "helmets For Kids", giving away thousands of free helmets. It tells how Mike...Read more »
As I write this, the calendar says July 5, 2013, but my mind is pulled back to July 5, 1998. That’s because my husband Alan suffered the massive heart attack...Read more »
This week I had the pleasure of being a guest of Kim Justus, host of the Recovery Now show, on Brain Injury Radio. Kim is a brain injury survivor and...Read more »
My wheelbarrow tire suddenly goes flat. With the spring thaw, dirt and debris to be loaded on and carted around, not good timing. What to do? What turns out is a...Read more »
Since my accident, I’ve taken up an interest in nuclear physics. That alone is a bit of an oddity. Most of your Kids don’t realize that all the matter that...Read more »
Four years ago, I survived two Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries, one from a car accident in which I was broadsided while idling at a stoplight. My driver’s side and curtain...Read more »
Featured Brain Injury Articles
Developed to help veterans and their families recognize and understand the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), this 50 minute documentary produced by Korean and Vietnam veterans Norm Seider, Carl Ohlson, and John Drinkard features the voices of veterans who have returned home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans describe the impact of the invisible wounds of post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury and the effects on them and their families. Chronicling destructive cycles of depression, self medication, alcohol, and addiction, veterans and clinicians examine the search for a “new normal” after the devastation of war.
No matter how or where you served as a veteran, no matter how long ago or recently you came home… this documentary is for you, your family and those who care about you.
Have you lost your self?
Why is it that our reflection of our self in the mirror is not what others
see? I see a little less color, an imperfect smile, a drabby look,
while others see me as colorful, beautiful and full of life. I hear it all the time, “You look great”!
Yup… living with brain injury’s a daily struggle. I don’t see when I make progress–I just raise the bar and work harder. Eventually I’m overwhelmed and blame myself for not using strategies I know will help. And honestly, I still measure myself by my old yardstick.
A brain injury brings with it a confusing barrage of physical, emotional and cognitive changes that affects the survivor deeply and personally. The simplest expression of this is when we say, “I don’t know who I am anymore.”
This is also known as a loss of humanity. It has profound implications, manifesting itself as confusion, doubt and depression, and making our “recovery” that much more difficult. In my own situation, the hardships I encountered left me thinking, a number of times, that my life wasn’t worth living.
Mike Strand thought his speech was not affected by his brain injury. But when he listened to himself on a video and radio interview, he was shocked by how he sounded. Improving his speech became an ongoing goal, even after many years since his TBI. His experience shows the complexity of speech and communication in its various forms of answering questions, holding a conversation, and making a formal speech.
How many of us have heard these words over time since our brain injuries? I have realized that having a brain injury makes people uncomfortable. They don’t know what to say. Is it because they can’t see our injury? Is it because people who care about us just want everything to be okay? It could be all of the above. I don’t know.
I look good on the outside because it was my brain, an internal organ that was damaged.
How many promises and resolutions have you kept? Donna Figurski gives tips for tbi survivors, families and caregivers on changing habits for a healthier lifestyle and avoiding the pitfalls of excuses. Wellness is a critical part of rehabilitation and progress and can be built into your daily routine with some adjustments and accommodations.
Hope! As a brain injury survivor, Bill Jarvis knows how difficult it can be to hold on to hope when so much has been lost in one’s life and relationships. But he offers both hope and encouragement to survivors that it is possible to sustain hope and to build a positive future.
Losing her sense of self may have been the most painful invisible loss after her brain injury. Hilary Zayed explores the meaning of self and the process of “reinvention” of her new self through her artwork as she rebuilt her identity and explored her future and the meaning of survival. Her new book Regaining a Sense of Self describes the process.