Adjustment & Acceptance


DEAR PAT:

I suffered a brain injury in a cycling accident. Within a month, in between surgeries to treat my injuries, I entered into a depressive episode that has continued to this day. I have been on no less than four anti-depressant drugs in an attempt to keep my depression in check. The "treatment" has worked to the extent that I am able to function well enough at work to remain employed. But in my private moments of reflection, I feel that I "died" in this accident and in my current state I am little more than a zombie, the living dead. No one, especially my doctors, seems to understand my perception of reality. They seem satisfied that (a) I'm still alive, and (b) I can make a living. This is hardly a consolation.

DEAR PAT:

I was a teacher for many, many years when I was beaten unconscious by one of my students. I am now learning to accept my brain injury. My husband walked out and has a new girlfriend. My school is trying to make me retire early, but I cannot afford that. I have lost my creativity as well as my spelling ability. Everything seems so pointless. I do not know who I am; will I ever?

DEAR PAT:

I am the caregiver of my 48-year-old wife, who survived a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in an auto accident 2.5 years ago. Although she underwent a CT scan which showed no damage, my wife has a "mild" brain injury. While she has been able to hide her deficits from most people, she has expressed concerns about her cognitive and physical functioning to me. I have observed many problems in her, such as personality change and difficulty understanding conversation. However, I have not been able to convince her to pursue further treatment. My wife doesn't want to accept that she is different since the accident. She has put up an emotional/prideful wall. We are dealing with a highly educated person, a dedicated mother, friend and wife. As the spouse of someone with TBI and a parent, I am almost at the end of my capacity to cope. Please offer suggestions or someone I may speak with that has experienced such difficulties dealing with the mild TBI survivor who cannot move beyond the "public denial" to get the help needed.

DEAR PAT:

I am writing regarding a friend with a brain injury. Do you have any recommendations for a person who refuses to seek professional help to deal with his behavior? He thinks it is going to get better, but it is only getting worse.

DEAR PAT:

I read your response to my brother Rusty. He’s in Tierr hospital and is doing O.L. It’s a really great hospital. I think they will help him with a lot with different things. They’re giving him botox shots to help the spasticity in his body it seems to be helping already with his eating. Do you know anything about the botox shots that may help him? He tells us that he feels lonely and lost and that he has lost at life. We asked the doctors to give him Prozac to help with the depression. Mostly he wants and tries to be the way he was. This is a terrible thing to be alive when you can’t function normally. He’s just a shell of what he once was. Its so hard to look at a relative day in day out for weeks and months hoping they come back to have some kind of normal life. Sometimes you wonder why they’ve even lived through this. We’re thankful for his life because some part of him is better than nothing at all, but I know that my brother would not want to stay like he is forever. But I guess there’s no way to tell who’s going to make it. No one should have to experience these things. The saddest part of this whole thing is that people won’t know what kind of person he was or what he had accomplished before this happened.

DEAR PAT:

My friend had an accident when he was 19. He was hit by a truck and his head was split open. He was pronounced legally dead but was brought back. They put his brain back in his head and sewed him up. They did some tests later on and informed him he only had about 6 years to live because his brain is deteriorating. Well, his 6 years are almost up. He never did any research or anything to find out about this so he doesn't really know if he can be helped. I'm sorry I don't have more info for you to go on. Do you think there is anything medical science can do? Can you tell me more about this condition? And if there is no hope please tell me what is going to happen so I can best be there for him. He just told me this so there's not much time left. Please help.

DEAR PAT:

I think what you’re doing here is a wonderful thing. I'm 16 years old and my boyfriend was in a car accident a week ago and in a coma for three days. He has now come out of ICU and he can have visitors. I love to go see him, because he is always so happy to see me. He had some major brain trauma, and is acting like he is 6. I'm not mad at him at all or anything of the sort. I've just become very impatient with this whole waiting process. I've never led onto him that I'm impatient but I can't eat, I can't sleep, and my mind is some where else at work. I would never think about moving on with him in this condition. We were close before his injury, almost too close at 16 sometimes. Could you please tell me how long it usually takes some one to recover and if will ever be the same? If not, what are the chances he will never be the same?

DEAR PAT:

I was very impressed with this site. I found it helpful and informative as well as emotional. Thanks a lot. Here is my question: My sister suffered a TBI almost a year ago. She has had a great recovery, so far. She is now back to work and functioning quite well. Now she is having a problem admitting that the TBI has had that much of an effect on her life. She is in denial, she is a much different person because of the injury but won't admit it. It has been really hard all of the family. I have suggested therapy but she doesn't see that there is a problem. I have come to terms with the fact that I can't have my sister "back" the way she once was but I want to establish a new relationship her but I don't know how. If you can help – thanks so much. If not -thanks for listening.

DEAR PAT:

My husband had a traumatic brain injury in 1996. He has responded very well to therapy. He walks with a walker, speech is somewhat impaired, however, we can understand him. He is still incontinent and gets very frustrated about this. Is there something that we can try to help this situation?

DEAR PAT:

My 18 year old sister was involved in a serious car accident on December 21, 1999 and sustained serious head injuries. She was not breathing on arrival at hospital and was put on life support for 2 days. Three weeks down the track she still has Post-Traumatic amnesia, but not seriously. She can remember most things long term, although without a lot of emotion as we lost our mother in a car accident in October 99. She is still in rehab now although insists stubbornly all the time that she wants to go home, and has to go back to work. I feel that she used work as a means to cope with mums death but what the family is finding difficult is that before the accident she was a loving, caring person but now she doesn't care how others feel, ignores visitors and constantly tells us that no-one visits. She says that we are just family and have to be there even though we have been with her everyday, with a loss of money and time etc. I love her dearly and am at a loss as to how to find the sister she was. Is there anything I can do apart from going crazy?

DEAR PAT:

My sister (she's in her mid-20's) had a traumatic brain injury during a car accident almost one year ago. She's been home from the hospital for several months and is doing a lot better. She continues to have weakness on the right side of her body and some memory problems, though. Also, her confidence seems low. I wonder if she'll ever get back to being like she was before the accident. How long does it take to get better after a severe brain injury? What can I do to help her? Thanks, Pat!

The contents of this website were developed over time under a series of grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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