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badge2Living with brain injury, whether it is caused by a traumatic injury, stroke, tumor, infection, or illness, is a lifelong journey for survivors, families, and caregivers. The Brain Injury Blog is about more than the care, treatment and rehabilitation of those who survive brain injury. It is about the journey of brain injury from the perspectives of those who live with it as well as those who provide care, treatment and support. Survival is just the first step in living with brain injury. Please join us in the journey of hope after brain injury.

Tucker Taught Me … Don’t Forget to Eat!

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It was a Monday night, over a candle lit dinner with music softly playing in the back ground, when my partner of ten years informed me that we needed to separate. I was shocked. “For how long?” I asked. “Permanently,” she stated. “Then that’s a divorce, not a separation,” I clarified. “Yes,” she answered. “When?” I asked. Suddenly, I was fired as friend, lover and life partner, with a few weeks’ notice. My world began to crumble.

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Reinventing Yourself is not Easy after a Brain Injury

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Kvetching (complaining) is no longer my favorite pastime. Yes I do get pissed off, a lot, but I let it pass, or move it aside and get down to work. There is so much to do and so little time so kvetching is now just a hobby. Before my accident I ‘invented’, my patent portfolio attests to this, or ‘discovered’ (my scientific papers chronicle those efforts) but now, since graduating from rehabilitation, I no longer invent, I re-invent. What do I need to re-invent? Plain and simply put, myself.

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WHEN? You Can’t Always be the Caregiver

When do you as a caregiver stop ‘caring too much’? You know what I mean, when do you stop second guessing yourself about everything? A sniffle, a cough, a tired look… is it a cold? Is it something more? Are they tired? Are they over tired? Is this the beginning of a ‘new development’ in your journey? When do we (here I mean me…) stop trying to fix everything before it is broken?

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Managing Anger and Agitation at Home

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Last week we talked about how to figure out what causes or triggers an angry response. Now let’s get into how to set up and use a behavior plan. I’ve also included important points to keep the survivor and family safe.

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All Systems Go

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What strikes me watching Gabrielle Giffords board the airplane is that first time out after brain surgery. I remember my wife Kerry pushing me on the wheelchair one bright August afternoon outside the hospital. Excited to breath fresh air, I couldn’t wait. The trip, however, did not live up to expectations—no warm and soothing but harsh and glaring.

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Managing Anger and Agitation at Home

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Brain injury can cause many changes in areas of the brain that affect a person’s ability to express and regulate emotions and behavior. When family caregivers of persons who have a brain injury get together in a support group, one of their most pressing concerns is how to understand and help manage anger and agitation at home. Sometimes we’re even reluctant to admit how serious the problem is to friends or professionals.

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Preventing Child Brain Injuries

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Over half a million children are taken to emergency rooms each year as a result of head injuries and, out of those trips to the ER, 7,000 children die as a result of traumatic child brain injury. While the number of children who die of child brain injury annually makes up a small percentage of the nation’s child population, about 30,000 children wind up permanently disabled as a result of their head injuries.

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Tucker Taught Me… Let’s Chase Rabbits!

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Sometimes, I get sad during spring. Winter has been too long and too cold. Everything is a muddy mess. And that’s when my father died. One day, it’s bright and cheering. Then it’s dark and gloomy. The birds magically reappear. Then they mysteriously disappear. Sometimes, I don’t exactly know why I am so sad or why the tears come so quickly. I’ve always been a person with a wide range of emotions. But ever since my traumatic brain injuries, I’ve had what is referred to as heightened emotions, while others might have dampened emotions. Almost everyone with a brain injury will struggle with anxiety, depression and other emotional changes.

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Resuscitating Life after Cardiac Arrest

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We’ve all heard the warning that brain cells start to die within three, four, or five minutes without oxygen. What happens when the brain doesn’t receive oxygen for forty-five minutes? A severe anoxic brain injury.

My husband Alan suffered a massive heart attack and cardiac arrest. This happened on an airplane as we awaited take-off in 1998, just before it became mandatory to have automated external defibrillators (AEDS) on all flights. A few things went right, and a few things went wrong in the crisis that ensued. It took over forty-five minutes of CPR before Alan’s heart leapt back to life. He was left with a severe brain injury that defined our lives for years to come.

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Grief Bursts

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Dr. Alan Wolfelt uses the terms “grief burst”, “grief attack” or “memory embrace” to describe those times when a feeling of deep sadness washes over the bereaved and renders them to tears.

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