This month is brain injury awareness month. I read it on a brain injury resource website. Ironically, most people who are going to that website, are quite aware of the impact mild or severe brain injuries can have on our lives. Where is the awareness in the media? Where is the awareness that everyday people like me suffer brain injuries just like athletes and military personnel?
Advocacy takes man forms, but it is the power of change. There are many faces and forms of advocacy. Whether you are a survivor of a brain injury or stroke, a family member, a caregiver, a clinician or educator, you can make a difference for building awareness, increasing funding, and developing programs. Stand up and let your voice be heard!
Whoever tells you that you can’t make a difference in our political system is wrong! I got to learn this first hand today. Brain injury advocacy can make a difference!
I attended a meeting at the state capitol building for people with disabilities. The MN Brain Injury Alliance had arranged for me to meet with my legislators to discuss an issue that I would like to see addressed. I chose workman’s compensation insurance since it had such a negative impact on my recovery. I suffered a mild traumatic brain injury in January of 2011 while on a field trip with my students. Because I was on the job, and unable to work, I was placed on workman’s comp. At the time I didn’t even know about workman’s comp, what it meant, or that there are lawyers who specialize in this field. With worker’s comp, you receive part of your salary, your medical expenses are covered, but you have to get their prior approval before attending medical providers.
I find it uncomfortable to have only one month to be aware of something. Be aware of Black History in February, and then put it away. Be aware of Brain Injury in March, and then put it away. I’ve heard someone mention one Disability Awareness Week in March. Only one week? That’s not enough. And during my month? That’s too much.
Life isn’t like that. We don’t get to put ourselves away, and why would we want to?
I was a schoolteacher who had an accident on a field trip two years ago. I suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. As a result, I have been faced with some challenges, which used to be my strengths, such as organization, sequencing, math skills, attention, and fatigue. Just to name a few. As I been on my journey, I have learned that I am not alone in my challenges.
Sitting across from my dad last Sunday at a local eatery, he shared something that caught my ear. “The principal of our elementary school was just fired,” he said as casually as if talking about the weather.
He went on to say that she had a recent skiing accident, hit her head, and was having trouble with her memory. Students names now escaped her. Teachers she had known and work with daily were also among the unremembered. And the town took action; action in the from of termination.
This article is part three of a three part series that will help you step into an advocacy role for your brain injury patient, feel more confident about your role as a caregiver, and communicate effectively with medical professionals. These tips and actions are practical and provide real life advice to help you navigate through the countless tests, doctors, nurses, therapists, medicines and other medical professionals and new terminology. Moving forward, accept that you have a steep learning curve and apply yourself persistently.
This article is part two of a three part series that will help you step into an advocacy role for your loved one with a Traumatic Brain Injury, feel more confident about your role as a caregiver, and communicate effectively with medical professionals. These tips and actions are practical and provide real life advice to help you navigate through the countless tests, doctors, nurses, therapists, medicines and other medical professionals and new terminology. Moving forward, accept that you have a steep learning curve and apply yourself persistently.
A Traumactic Brain Injury patient is rarely able to advocate for themselves and it’s important that family and friends know how to help properly. If your family member is to be in the hospital or rehab due to a brain injury for a lengthy stay there are some things that you can do to make the time less difficult. These tips are simple and non-intrusive. Also, when you have multiple family caregivers it’s essential to record the conversations of the medical professionals so that you know of any changes to medications, additional tests that were given and keep up to date on changes in the patient’s behavior. Tracking and sharing that information is the purpose of The Caregiver’s Journal.
Mike Strand reflects on how words such as brain damaged, brain injured, disabled, or crippled send powerful messages about the value of the individual. Survivor and recovery are also used freely but what do they really mean for the person who is living with a brain injury. As a survivor and a person who has lived with a brain injury since 1989, Mike Strand shares his perspective and personal views on the words that he chooses to use to describe his life.
Family are direct witnesses to the needs of survivors of blast injury and traumatic brain injury. Their testimony can have an impact that is far greater and more powerful than any data or reports. Anna Freese, Director of Wounded Warrior Project’s (WWP) Family Support Program and liaison to family caregivers, knows this. She has given powerful professional and personal testimony to Congress on the critical support services that families need for our wounded warriors.