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The Near Normal after Brain Injury

Brain Injury Blog by Nancy Ludowese

May 7, 2013

The Near Normal after Brain Injury

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 airbags deployed.  Contre Coup.  Less than a week later, I slipped and fell on the sidewalk at work; ice disguised beneath the snow, and hit the back of my head.   I coined the term, “the near normal,” instead of “the new normal,” in relationship to the way in which I function today, four years later.

I had suffered a multiple of injuries, some were obvious at the time, however, other injuries remained a mystery, until discovered one to three years later.   I knew that some things were different, and I didn’t understand why I would cry for no reason and why I couldn’t stop. Or, I asked myself, how could I be so tired after driving for an hour and have to take a nap.  If  I planned on driving to a location other than work or church, I would have to think about the route, instead of just driving there. I couldn’t read for long periods of time without getting tired.  I would miss lines or words on a page. Music seemed so loud in stores and restaurants. Fluorescent lights seemed so much brighter.  I found it difficult to follow the steps of a recipe.  I isolated myself from people. I had difficulty retaining information that I read or that was spoken to me. I wanted to name just a few.  At the time, I thought I was going crazy.  After much rehab, as well as my own research, I began to understand why.  I recognize that I have improved since 2009; however, some things will remain the same.  The key for me is self acceptance of my “near normal.”   Perhaps you know what I mean.