Category: TBI Survivor's Stories Written by Survivor
Summary - the cause - the injury - today's quality of life?
I received the TBI as a result of a blow to the head by a tree limb. I was 15. Now, I am 44 and working as a postdoctoral researcher.
Please share your experience at the time you became aware of the injury?
I became aware of the injury after regaining consciousness, more than two weeks post injury. I was not aware of the true effects of the injury until more than 15 years later, and have been continuing to accommodate my lifestyle ever since.
Tell about the experience immediately after the injury. Surgery? Coma?
I was in surgery for 3.5 hours. The doctors came out of surgery, look at my parents, and told them, "Your son is going to die." I spent 12 days unconscious/in a coma. I spent another 4 days in an acute neurological unit transitioning into rehab.
Tell us about the hospital stay after the survivor was no longer in a coma
After 4 days in an acute neurological unit, I went into rehab, where it was predicted I would stay for at least 6 months. I was released from the hospital after 6 1/2 weeks of rehab.
Tell us about the time in rehabilitation?
I got great occupational and physical rehabilitation. I progressed much faster than expected (while the hospitality was great, it was not home). When I was released, I was under the impression I was "fully recovered." Not the case!
Tell us about coming home!
I was released around Thanksgiving 1982. Since we lived only a block from the school, my (core) teachers came to the house and prepared me/helped me make up the missing work. I reentered the regular class schedule in the second semester of my sophomore year (Jan 1983).
"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"
Changed, depressed, confused, alone
Tell us about life today?
Today I have a PhD in chemistry and am working as a postdoctoral research associate at South Dakota State University. Getting a PhD has been a long road.
What do you want to tell others going through the same process? Treatments, understandings and actions that made a difference?
Baby steps. Take baby steps. We are different today; we have less than we used to. This does not mean we cannot cope or live. Naturally, nearly all of us do not know what we lost because we did not get 'tested' pre injury. That said, it is our job to find out what we are left with and learn to make accommodations in our lives.