Hope after Brain Injury – Never say Never by Jessica Smith

Brain Injury Hope is always possible 

Don't lose hope after TBI

Don’t lose hope after TBI

I’m Jessy. I would like to start off by saying that if anyone has any doubt about if your loved one or even yourself could possibility recover from a brain injury, I’m ecstatic to tell you there’s always a possibility of recovering if you have hope after a brain injury. Without hope, there’s really no recovery.  You have to remember that the doctors that you or your loved ones see are smart, but they definitely don’t know everything. You know your limits better than a doctor does and it always helps having support.

I know from experience that a brain injury changes some aspects of your life, but by no means does it define you. I know because I have a TBI (traumatic brain injury). The doctors all gave my mom (Mandy) absolutely no hope. They told her I would never wake up from my coma and if I did, I would be a vegetable the rest of my life. My mom didn’t believe them because she knew I was a fighter and that I would never just give up, so she informed herself with every book she could find on brain injury survivors. She was surprised that she couldn’t find that many books written about survivors. So she was basically on her own. That’s what I want to change because no one deserves to go into something with no real knowledge of what exactly they’re getting themselves into, like my mom did.

When I came out of my coma, they said I would never…

Since I had a fighter’s attitude, four months later I finally awoke from the coma. Well, you know how people say when people wake up from a coma, it’s just like being asleep for a long time… that’s completely not true.  In my case I was like a nine year old infant. When I came out of the coma, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t  even go to the bathroom, and I had to learn the proper way to breathe again.

I have always been such a bullhead and that helped me. I was a defiant little kid. Which was good in a way because I wouldn’t take no for an answer. There’s bad defiant like arguing with your parents and then there’s a good defiant which in my case was proving the doctors wrong.

Every one who saw me said that I would never wake up from the coma but four months later I did!

The doctors said that I’ll never walk again but within a month, I could stand up with the help of my walker! With my physical therapist (Amy) at HealthSouth Hospital and my occupational therapist (Cat) holding me steady, I was able to take my first three steps after the accident.

Doctors said that I would never talk again, but I did! In speech therapy they stuck a flavored tongue depressor in my mouth to get me to make a certain sound. A little time doing that and I taught myself how to say mama. I met mom out in the hallway and as soon as I saw her, I got excited and screamed. She smiled and I faintly said mama and she started balling her eyes out and ran to me.

The doctors said I would never make it in public school again, but once I was released from the hospital and was able to live at home again, I did some homeschooling to catch up to the other fourth graders.  Then my mom fought tooth and nail to get me back in public school and I did it! I had to do fourth grade twice, because they only let me in reading class to begin with. Then the doctors were like, well she’ll never make A’s or B’s again. The funny thing is that since the accident, I never made anything less than a B.

Believe in yourself and hold on to hope

Hope, help and support after brain injury for TBI survivor.

Hope, help and support after brain injury for TBI survivor.

So you see the doctors aren’t always right. I believed in myself and I think that’s why I recovered as well as I have. But the other really important aspect of my recovery is the fact that my mom was there.  Every week my mom would switch with my grandma (GG). My sister (Sadi) was in the accident also and my mom and GG took turns staying with us so we were never left alone. I think that also played a big part of my recovery process.

Even when I was in the coma, someone was always with me and even though I couldn’t move or talk or anything I could hear. My mom’s friend, Miss Tammy, got me this musical snow globe and its melody always put me at ease. I didn’t know why at the time until my mom told me she played it for me all the time I was in the coma. I was a softball superstar so when I woke up from the coma I told my mom I remembered playing catch with some dude I didn’t know. Then my mom told me there was a guy in a coma from a football accident in the room beside me.

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