With so much discussion of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and concussion in the news lately, I would like you to know more about these from a personal perspective. Most might say they know what a TBI or concussion is, but until you experience one, you do not. I know this because when I tell people I have had both, their eyes glaze over and they don’t respond.
In May of 2008 I apparently took a header over my bike handle bars and landed on my left cheek, ribs and thigh. This created chaos in my brain leading to internal bleeding, fractured ribs, deep thigh bruising and lung damage.
I say ‘apparently’ because I remember very little about the accident. Somebody found me on the ground and called an ambulance while my mind weaved in and out of consciousness for the next six hours.
Then this past September I fell backwards onto our stone floors and sustained a serious bleed and concussion in the back of my head, requiring staples. I am certain this accident occurred partially because of my previous injury, which affected my judgment and balance permanently.
The combination of these two accidents have caused me serious cognitive and physical impairments not visible from the outside. So when I tell others about these problems, they have no idea what I struggle with.
Every brain injury is different, but in my case, the long-term effects of my own injuries are: Memory loss, problems with balance, headaches, much confusion or feeling in a fog, amnesia surrounding the traumatic events, dizziness, ringing in my ears, great difficulties remembering words or spelling, delayed response to questions and extreme fatigue.
Ruth Curran, a hero of mine, also experienced a TBI in a car accident, and spent months trying to find the kind of help she needed to get better. Then she wrote a book to help others understand and feel better if they have also experienced brain injuries.
I just started reading Being Brain Healthy: What my recovery from brain injury taught me, and how it can change your life. I can highly recommend this book to those with brain injuries as well as those who want to maintain their present level of brain health.
I tell you these things for two important reasons. Please take care of the only personal computer you will ever have, and show compassion to those who have permanently injured theirs!
How did this happen? How did I end up here, feeling so fortunate?
It’s a long story, one I can now share with you in my new memoir!