Category: TBI Survivor's Stories Written by Survivor
Summary - the cause - the injury - today's quality of life?
I've been blessed to recover from 40 documented cognitive challenges/brain injuries over the last 33 years. I was 12 when I suffered a three month coma. My greatest experience after surviving the coma, was walking on Christmas Eve in 1977 at age 12. I wasn't wearing a helmet when a vechile hit me in the right side of the head. I still have concentration,
patience, memory, behavior, coordination issues, physical jerks, tremors, etc. I'm a substitute teacher/tudor in the Smackover Public Schools & the local Boys & Girls Club, Director, Mrs. McBride, (870)863-8753. My quality of life is better than most.
Please share your experience at the time you became aware of the injury?
I was scared & great, because the Lord had a greater purpose for me. I had to relearn everything all over, again. I was hurt/disabled that everyone, now, called me disabled/retarded/handicapped, especially since all of these terms are negatively (inhumane) defined. I thought I was doing great considering a few months back.
Tell about the experience immediately after the injury. Surgery? Coma?
I was in a coma for three months. I had many surgeries. It was hard relearning everything, because my old ways of thinking were gone. I now had to study harder than before only to get average scores, whereas before the wreck I was #1 in my class. My family wasn't prepared for my needs, because my father & brother threw tomatoes at my head for punishment during harvest season. The didn't keep me from securing a 3.2 GPA in high school.
Tell us about the hospital stay after the survivor was no longer in a coma
The stay was great because students who played against me from other schools would send me letters/cards of reinforcement that I could recover. Even at home, some of the guys in my class took up a collection of money for me. The nurses were very supportive that I would make a full recovery.
Tell us about the time in rehabilitation?
It was great because the nurses were optimistic (Positive Psychology Center-optimistic explanatory learning style) about my positive attitude toward releaning to use my brain to walk, use my fingers & arms (which were clutched toward my chest) to use, legs, etc. During the third month of the coma, my father brought a girlfriend to see me & she got me to smile, then within two weeks I walked.
Tell us about coming home!
It was great because my family & friends were both excited about my recovery, because not many at that time had recovered from injuries. My head did swell to the size of a basketball.
"Please type some single words that describe how TBI has touched your life. For example: Frightened, confused, sad, etc. Enter as many or as few words as you like. Separate each word with a comma"
Extraordinary, adventure, shocking, challenging,
Tell us about life today?
I'm a substitute teacher/volunteer at schools/Boys & Girls Club/4-H Club, etc. I try to walk a mile each day to keep the brain active. As a substitute teacher, part-time, I get to show/demonstrate to children that all of us have cognitive challenges, which can be conquered to some degree. In his book, The Unschooled Mind, Howard Gardner points out that our linguistic intelligence (word smart) determines our future through authoritative proof/examples. I'm blessed to have many web pages published, please go to yahoo.com/google.com & type in "Challenged Conquistadors, Inc." I also focus on the optimistic perspective of life, www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu, vs. the pessimistic learning style, i.e., disabled, retarded, handicapped, etc., which are the terms that make up the disabilitity environment. I work to enhance the future of everyone by stessing that life is full of challenges, but some can be conquered. They said I would never finish school. I've two college degrees and a few awards, i.e., Robert L. Moody nominee, Joseph P. Kennedy award nominee, etc.
What do you want to tell others going through the same process? Treatments, understandings and actions that made a difference?
Please use your brain for what is was created? Think of your achievements as baby steps toward greater aspirations. Think of your self as positive, not negative as the great deceiver desires because with God all things are truly possible. Please be patient, because it would be thirty years before I got on the correct drugs. I'm doing things not done in 30 years.