The myth of the traumatic brain injury or TBI

Years ago I suffered a traumatic brain injury which caused me to be in a coma for 8 months. When awoken I wasn’t able to speak but my mental capabilities were unaffected. As a part of my rehabilitation I underwent cognitive therapy where I was tested on basic math and English skills along with skills that the average person acquires during the course of their life.

I scored well on all the examinations, in fact some of the skills that I had the therapist didn’t know, yet people still try to treat you like there is something “wrong ” with you, because you are considered TBI, which is used in a derogatory way by those in the health profession who are not that professional in their training.

In fact, today again a nurse visited me to interview me about health periodic health updates. When asking the questions though she was directing at my aide who has absolutely no incline of my medical needs nor do I think she really cares. Also I don’t trust her to handle decisions making because I don’t believe that she capable of making good decisions after having around for some time. That when I raised my voice and asserted myself by saying that she not aware of my health situation which is completely true. The nurse though banded together and closed ranks by using that term TBI, in other words something is “wrong “with his brain. So I made a decision to educate people when they are going to use that term around that it doesn’t affect me because I know that I am smarter than they are, and can prove it if need be.

I am writing this for people mainly in the health care profession. Be aware of how you treat people , because you never know when you will want that same measure of empathy should your circumstances not be so outwardly “normal” in appearance.

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The real work begins.

After I came the harsh realization that this was now what life was going to be, I had to essentially reexamine not only myself, my core beliefs, but also any plans for the future. Being a movie fan this line was spoken in an action film that I like where the protagonist is essentially a loner type. I too am at my core a loner. Even though I have had many friends at one time in my life I never saw myself as a social type of person.

This I think stems from my childhood where I had a severe speech impediment. I stammered so badly that I couldn’t answer questions if the teacher called on me in class. The thought that I hearing impaired or mentally disabled so they had me tested for both. It turned that I had above average vision and hearing, I was reading math levels on the 12 grade levels this was in elementary school ,so upon graduation they sent me into a gifted class where everything was accelerated and I would skip a grade in school. When I got to high school I was a year younger that all of other students to begin with.

This is a story of my recovery from a traumatic brain injury, being in coma for 8 months, being put into hospice because no one thought that I would ever awaken, and finally my journey back to beginning to live a normal life again. It’s my own story from my personal point of view. I hope it will give insight into what someone experiences when his life drastically changes and he has to fight with everything he has to hold onto every spread of who he knows himself to be before the injury and to hold to that idea when present circumstances try to take it away from him. I remember waking up unable to speak or to move my arms and legs. It when my sister began to visit me that I began to learn what had happened to me. Now while laying in bed I couldn’t help but to think about what my life would be in the future. The funny thing is that I wasn’t depressed about my future, I was more occupied with how I was going to make change happen. The steps that I needed to take to do simple things like holding a spoon, or changing the channels on the remote control. Speaking was a whole different task that I needed to undertake. Even when I thought that I was speaking clearly no one could understand what I was saying. That was hard looking at people and seeing in their faces that they didn’t know what I had just said.

The story continues to get better. This was only the beginning of my journey of self discovery,  persistence, acceptance of the way things were, and my struggles to change them anyway.

You see, I am a for Olympic athlete. I participated in 2 Olympic Games in the sport of men’s foil fencing. I placed 10th, and 11th in the games which while being respectable finishes, they left me disappointed.  My dream was to bring home an Olympic medal. Actually I dreamed of winning an Olympic gold medal. I knew that it was an unlikely dream, but I just couldn’t shake it. It caused to work harder and harder and push my limits further and further. And then I achieved a dream that had been alluding me my whole career in fencing which was to win the National Championships. It felt like a weight was lifted when I  won and I could finally breathe easily for the first time.

These experiences is come to my disposal when I had to face the daunting task of recovering the strength to stand up for the first time in years and take a few steps. I remember sayings like the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step that I used to motivate myself when I was training and the pain was too much to bear.

Anything uplifting to overcome any mental barriers I would used.

Happy Holidays

I just learned that I have someone who is following my blog. This gives me a reason to write now.

I want to wish you a very happy Holiday.

My story starts when I was taking the subway in New York City.

The thing that made this time different than any other is that I had a seizure and fell on the subway track hitting my head. I suffered a traumatic brain injury, and went into a coma.

I remained commatose  for approximately seven months. The doctors decided that I would not recover, and moved me to hospice to make me comfortable until I passed away.

Then a miracle happened. I woke up. Fully aware of my surroundings, but unable to speak.

The doctors would ask me to blink once for yes and two for no.

Then they asked me if I wanted to live, and I responded yes.

The next move was to go to rehabilitation to begin to trip back to a normal life.

While in the coma my body contracted into a fetal position. But it stayed like that. My legs were no longer straight, so walking was impossible. The rehabilitation would have to help me regain my ability to speak, walk, and use my hands; since my arms and fingers were also contracted.

I woke up in May of 2012, and I have been working extremely hard in my therapies

Now I can speak again. And after several surgeries, I am learning to walk again.

I am learning so much about life through this. Like what really matters. I remember being in bed, unable to eat, move, or much else but listen and watch.

I will continue now, since someone might be reading. I have a lot to say about many things.

I hope you find it interesting.