I am a police officer who was on duty when I was hit by a car doing 55 mph. I suffered massive injuries and was comatose for 2 months. Since the accident, I have been questioning my faith in God. Is it normal for a person with a brain injury to experience religious conflict?
It is normal for anyone who has experienced a trauma to experience religious conflict. Traumatic events include brain injury, a relative’s death, war, job loss, the big 3-0, the big 4-0, etc. Events that make us consider the "big picture," the meaning of life, why certain things happen to us can trigger religious ponderings. Many people who survive brain trauma find religion; they may attribute a seemingly miraculous recovery to supernatural forces (i.e., God). Others may wonder why they bothered to be pious in the first place; why did such a bad thing happen to such a good person? Some people may even feel that God is punishing them for their irresponsible behavior, their natural depravity (but then if that’s the case, we’re all in trouble). Bottom line: it is very difficult to reconcile in ourselves why traumatic events occur; we often search for reasons in vain. Don’t blame yourself or God. Pat suggests that you rest in your faith, allowing it to sustain you, as you keep in mind that the things of this world are temporal and eternal peace awaits. (Or eternal damnation, whichever)
I had a brain injury in February 1995. I am 27 years old. Would it be extremely harmful to go out and have a few drinks with friends?
It depends on the drinks and the friends. Pink lemonade is OK; Yoo Hoo is great; Shirley Temples -- go for it. If you are referring to alcoholic beverages, think again. And while you're at it, think about your friends. If you drink alcohol, true friends will designate a non-drinking driver. If you decide not to drink, true friends will support this. Pat recommends the latter.
A brain injury can result in many cognitive and physical impairments -- problems which become worse under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. According to research from the Ohio Valley Center for Head Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation, the following is true:
* The use of alcohol or other drugs impairs recovery from brain injury. Keep in mind that recovery can occur for years after the injury.
* Brain injuries can cause problems in balance, walking, and/or talking which get worse when a person uses alcohol or other drugs.
* Brain injuries can cause a person to act impulsively, without thinking first. Judgment may be impaired. Alcohol and other drugs definitely exacerbate this, significantly compromising a person's decision-making ability.
* Brain injuries can impair cognition, causing difficulties with concentration and memory. Alcohol and drugs can make problems like these even worse.
* People with brain injuries can become depressed; alcohol and drugs can make someone more down. The high is only temporary, and the subsequent low is REALLY low!
* Alcohol and drugs can cause someone with a brain injury to have seizures.
* Alcohol and drugs can be dangerous when used in combination with prescription medications, (which many people with brain injuries may be taking).
* A person who uses alcohol or other drugs after a brain injury is more likely to experience another head trauma.
Think about that last statement, and consider this: alcohol is present in more than half of all head injuries. Alcohol alone is a factor in 66% of head injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents, the leading cause of brain injury. To all: think before you drink. To those with brain injuries: think about not drinking.
Resource: User's Manual for Faster, More Reliable Operation of a Brain after Head Injury. Ohio Valley Center for Head Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation,1166 Dodd Hall, 480 W. 9th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210. www.ohiovalley.org
My 29-year-old daughter suffered a TBI injury in February this year. She had a closed head injury and is experiencing left side weakness, and short term memory problems. She is doing a lot better now and making progress in all areas. I've heard it takes a lot of time maybe years. Is that correct? We’re just thankful she is here today and we feel blessed with her recovery, but it has been a lot of stress. If you know of any support groups in San Francisco…she would like to talk to others her age that are going through the same thing so she doesn't feel she is alone out there. Any advice from them would be appreciated. Thanks a lot!
Recovery from brain injury is a long-term process. The fastest recovery takes place about 6-12 months after the injury. Further recovery does occur, but it is more gradual. Many people experience some permanent changes after a serious brain injury. Short-term memory problems often linger, and most people will never get back to 100% of their pre-injury ability. However, there are a number of good strategies that people with brain injuries can use to compensate for memory problems. Many people use note-taking strategies, schedule books, daily planners, or computer calendar programs to help remember appointments, deadlines and "things to do". Some also find a tape recorder helpful to review important conversations (such as with your doctor) or lectures and instructions.
Your idea of a support group is an excellent idea! No one can quite understand the effect of a traumatic injury like someone who has experienced one. You are also right in recognizing that it is very important for persons with brain injury to understand that they are not alone. I can’t recommend a specific support group in California, but if you contact your state chapter of the Brain Injury Association, they can provide you with referrals to a number of resources – including support groups! This organization that helps thousands of persons with brain injury and I’ll bet they can help you and your daughter as well. The contact information for the California branch is below:
Brain Injury Association of CALIFORNIA
President: Claude Munday
Exec Director: N/A
PO Box 160786
Sacramento, CA 95816-0786
Contact: Terry Stimpso
Phone: (916) 442-1710
In State: (800) 457-2443
Fax: (916) 442-7305
I’m trying to find information, research, and written information on recreational activities or after-school activities for teens with brain injury. That is, not focused strictly on academics. There is life after school, and it doesn't have to be filled up with more and more educational tutoring/homework. My eyes are getting sore from finding so little on this subject, aside from a couple of general articles. Any bright ideas?
The answer to this really depends on how severe the child’s injury is and what the symptoms are. In most cases, persons with mild to moderate brain injury deficits can participate in social or recreational activities with non-injured people. Activities such as scouts, church groups, or art classes will provide opportunities for socializing and community participation regardless of ability level. In addition, the child may have talents that are unaffected by injury – such as music that provide enjoyable outlets. Many teens enjoy finding activities where they are not necessarily labeled as "brain injured." Obviously, contact sports such as football, basketball, or soccer should only be considered with a doctor’s permission due to the risk of re-injury. If the person’s injury was serious it may be better to avoid such sports entirely.
If the child has more severe symptoms or has behavior problems, you may want to explore some other alternatives. Hospitals that serve children and adolescents may have support groups for teens with brain injury – and some of these may also have social and recreational activities. There may be groups for teens with learning disabilities (or physical disabilities). Remember, in many cases, brain injury is a kind of acquired learning disability and many activities, groups, and interventions may be useful with children with brain injuries.