There isn’t a lot I can do to “change the world” these days, but one area that I have too much experience with is serious brain injuries and how they can change your world. So this month I will try to educate everyone a bit about what I have learned on this topic.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one where you lose consciousness for a period of time and often have a bleed in your brain afterwards. It is a sudden injury that causes damage to the brain and may happen when there is a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. This is a closed head injury. A TBI can also happen when an object penetrates the skull. This is a penetrating injury. In my case I fell head first off of my bike while riding downhill. I was unconscious off and on for hours afterwards along with fractured ribs, a thigh injury, a wrist injury, and spent 24 hours in the ER and the hospital neuro-unit under observation. At the time I could not stand up without passing out.
How long does it take to fully recover from a TBI?
Depending on the severity of the injury, recovery time for a TBI may vary from a few weeks to six or more months. Each person reacts differently to injury and illness. Thus, recovery time will vary between individuals. The length of recovery time for TBI depends on how long a patient is unconscious and what parts of the brain are injured.
Are patients ever the same after a TBI?
Moderate to severe TBI can cause permanent physical or mental disability. Because polytrauma is common with moderate to severe TBI, many patients face additional disabilities as a result of other injuries. Even patients who appear to recover fully may have some long-term symptoms that never go away.
I would say it took a few years for me to feel “normal” again after my TBI in 2008. My main form of rehabilitation was writing books, reading a lot and maintaining my blogs.
Unfortunately, I have been prone to falls and further head injuries since then. I fell again with serious concussions in 2015, 2019 and 2021. My most recent concussion was most serious and caused permanent balance, memory and vertigo problems. I now use research, writing and game shows like Jeopardy to spur my memory and keep me sharp. I also love old movies, soft music, and nature shows on PBS. They really soothe my brain.
Does TBI affect IQ?
In the end, a brain injury does not make a person less intelligent. It does, however, make certain mental activities, such as learning, require more time and effort. This is because the brain works less efficiently after a brain injury.
My biggest pet peeve around my present condition is that others may look at me and assume I’m not quite all there. I am definitely as smart as I used to be, it just takes me longer to arrive at the answers. I do have trouble getting around because of my oxygen machine, but that doesn’t mean that I am someone to feel sorry for. I do not feel sorry for myself.
I think I have a great life here with Mike and my puppy Rasta, and this fantastic view of those beautiful Sangre de Cristo Peaks.