Traumatic Brain Injury Basics

TBI Basics

Overview

Doctors say that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a catastrophic condition, like burns, amputations, and spinal cord injuries. But TBI is different. It upsets life on multiple levels: physical, psychological, social, and even spiritual. TBI affects the roots of who we are — our ability to think, to communicate, and to connect with other people. For approximately 85 percent of people with TBI, those problems eventually resolve, but the remaining 15 percent have lasting difficulties. If you’re dealing with lingering symptoms of a TBI, or if you’re caring for a loved one, it can help to understand more about the wide range of challenges that TBI can pose.

A tap on the head, and anything can go wrong. Anything usually does go wrong. Light taps — mild TBI — can result in daily headaches, agitated moods, or periods of sleeplessness. Stronger jolts may cause you to forget your name, or make you think you’re someone different. When you tell someone you’re sad, you may unintentionally yell. A TBI can introduce a frustrating amount of confusion and uncertainty into your life

TBI by the Numbers

TBI has a way of affecting everything and everyone in your life. It can make family life tough, and it can seriously impede your ability to work. It can affect the relationships you have and make it harder to make new friends. In the United States, TBI is a quiet crisis. As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with a permanent disability resulting from a brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 2.8 million Americans report a traumatic brain injury each year. Fifty-six thousand people die from it. Over a two hundred eighty-two thousand people are hospitalized. Some of them go home only to discover they no longer have a sense of smell or taste, or that their sleeping habits have changed, or that they can’t seem to do their job anymore. 

If you look at the numbers a little differently, they’re even more upsetting. So many Americans become disabled from a brain injury that each decade they could fill a city the size of Detroit. Seven of these cities are filled already. A third of their citizens are under fourteen years of age. Currently, there are at least 125,000 people with a brain injury so severe that it requires extended hospital care — a service difficult to find and even harder to access. Fortunately, the majority of people who experience TBI will be able to return to a productive life once they receive appropriate treatment

A Closer Look at the Brain

Even though the numbers are large, it’s important to remember that TBI is a human injury. It has a way of showing us that life is fragile and precious. Because the brain is a complicated network of cells, each injury is as distinctive as the person it affects. Our skulls are only a quarter inch thick, although male skulls are a little thicker, which is lucky considering the fact that men tend to get TBI more often than women. The skull is both protective and restricting; it is the brain’s best defense but also its greatest risk in times of trauma.

Surrounding the brain is an almost rubbery, clear layer of tissue called the dura mater. It helps protect the brain from moving around too much. Beneath the dura mater is another layer called the arachnoid layer, which looks and feels like wet cotton candy. The dura mater, the arachnoid layer, and another layer — the pia mater — all form what is known as the meninges, which keeps the brain floating inside the skull. If these layers get infected, ripped, or torn, it can cause serious damage to the brain

Types of TBI

Every brain injury is different, but there are two basic types: open head injuries and closed head injuries. Open head TBIs are a frightening mess. Whether the injury comes from a bullet, a baseball bat, or a high-speed collision, the result is always chaotic and distressing. The scalp bleeds a lot when it is cut, and when the skull is cracked or penetrated, pieces of it can get lodged in the brain. Because the brain is such a complicated tangle of tissue, it’s extremely tricky to remove objects lodged inside a brain. That’s why we put brain surgery right up there with rocket science in our everyday language.

In a closed head injury, nothing penetrates your skull, but a closed head injury can be just as complicated and vicious as an open head injury, sometimes more so. During a closed head injury, the brain may slam against one portion of the skull, then bounce against the opposite side of the wall. Doctors call that a “coup-contracoup” injury, where two injuries occur from a single blow. One of the most common types of closed head injury is a concussion — a strong blow from an external force. If a person’s head is whipped around, a small tearing effect called shearing occurs throughout the brain, resulting in a diffuse axonal injury. Axons are the hairlike extensions of nerve cells that transmit messages, so in a diffuse axonal injury, the messages either get mixed up, or they don’t come through at all

Treating and Living With TBI

An injured brain also has a tendency to swell, so if there is no room in the skull to expand, the swollen brain may start pushing against the eye sockets. The optic nerve eventually gets pinched, and eyesight is affected. A surgeon might drill holes into a skull to test cranial pressure. If the swelling is too extreme, the only option is to create an escape hatch by sawing away a portion of the skull.

The neurosurgeon is in charge of protecting the brain through medical procedures, but the survivor has to manage life with the effects of the TBI. Everyone reacts differently, depending in part on the severity of the injury, the quality of their care, and the strength of the social network around them. Many survivors feel pulled in different directions, feeling at times that the injury has made them less than what they were, and at other times that they can integrate TBI into their lives in a positive way. People with TBI are forced to confront a whole series of personal questions: How does my injury really affect me? Can I regain the things I’ve lost? What am I other than my brain? How can I make the most of my life?

Looking Ahead

Our understanding of TBI is changing in front of our eyes. As organizations such as the Brain Trauma Foundation continue to define the best practices in treating brain injury, medical care is slowly improving — at least for those patients able to gain access to early trauma care. The war in Iraq has already changed the way we treat TBI in America. Military surgeons who learned life-saving techniques like early cranioplasty are able to employ similar protocols in American trauma centers 

In the years to come, we may increasingly see brain trauma as a chronic but manageable condition similar to diabetes or cardio-pulmonary disease. That perspective might also help in reducing the negative stereotypes of TBI. For now, though, TBI survivors and those who care for them continue to face serious challenges in finding help and finding acceptance.

TBI is a much more manageable injury today than it has been in the past, but it remains a major health problem. As people with TBI continue to live longer and face the challenges of aging with TBI, it will be our duty to provide better education and long-term programs and services. We all have brains; let’s continue to use them — injured or not — to support TBI prevention, research, and treatment.

Posted on BrainLine February 13, 2018

BrainLine

Comments (194)

My brother fell out of his chair (at least that was the story I got) and broke his neck. He had just been transferred to an extended care section of a hospital. He now has a cervical collar on, but he has lost his ability to speak. He makes no sense at all and doesn't even whisper, it is more like just moving his lips. No one, even his doctors, can tell me why. I just wonder what is going on.

I am the caregiver of someone with many TBIs throughout his life. We are beginning to wonder with his increased short term memory problems if he might have some CTE. He is in pain every single day with severe headaches and he has issues with walking stability and the feeling like he is dizzy. We can’t even go on a car ride without dizzy episodes. He is the same person but our lives have changed dramatically. He has problems processing but works hard to do well. I feel so bad that his life feels so hopeless to him. He is stuck in our home and is unable to work. Feeling hopeless for him. I don’t know what to do to make him feel important again?

Suggestion
Set up a regular group of men, maybe just three, in the community or his friends to have a "playing cards" afternoon or "domino's" at a set time and let him have men's talk. Just set up a table with nibbles and coffee and relax in another room

I'm following a person that fell 25 ft and got a TBI plus multiple broken bones. They are now 9 days out from the fall and in ICU. Their eyes are open and they can do some physical therapy although they also do lots of yanking tubes out if they can, kicking pushing pulling and grabbing, wrestling with attendings etc... I was wondering if this is the brain trying to figure itself out since being basically bashed in from the fall? is this common when a person is becoming aware of their body? I would like to know what the physical movements constantly mean and is this to be expected? the left side is constantly in motion but the right side is not due to the left side of the head being landed in from the fall. I would appreciate anyone who has had personal experience with TBI or any advice from a caregiver that has experienced watching someone in early days after TBI. Is the patient frightened and the resulting thrashing and pulling and wrestling with attendings normal?

I was in a fatal car accident in 1996. I have a TBI from the wreck. I have been experiencing the feeling of being worthless and I have been lonely. No one understands and I am not sure how to cope with being alive. I have no friends and I am staying with my mother and her husband. I am depressed a lot and I think that I have lost all ambition to succeed or to do anything. I feel like I am lost. I don't know what to do. Thanks.

hi, Angela I read your comment and I see that you are depressed.I AM 100% SURE that you are not worthless. I don't have a tbi but I sometimes feel the same way that my life is worthless and that times is passing bye without doing something i like in my life. you are not alone many people without tbi have the same feelings about themselves .but you know what life gets better even if didn't the past years so you can be happy if you know you will be happy in the future. Also don't be shy to ask help from people. I know you will get better

All these feelings are very familiar..as I to have lived with TBI for 12 years..a left temporal lobe injury... from a few different blows to the head.
It isn't easy...but life is only what we make it...I live with constant nerve type burning of hot and cold in my head, and the same in my entire body, Some days I can barely crawl out of bed, but after I get up and start moving I set my mind to plow forward through it all...the hardest part is feeling like a different person while others see you as the same as you always been...we feel our injury at every moment thinking people can see or recognize it...and the worst part... trying to get others to understand....knowing that they won't completely ever truly know..I sometimes just cry, or even just laugh for no apparent reasons, and I always feels as if I'm living things in life that I've already done...is a very scary feeling..its hard to make others understand when we don't quite understand it ourselves...no matter what, injury or not your special, every single day I wake up I thank God for another day no matter the struggles...because this injury has taught me Every day is not garuanteed...so make each one count...they are more special then just anyone can realize...God bless...just be you and find reasons to keep you happy...the simplest things are most value of all...I've had to learn simplicity in life is most valuable... you're never alone we are never alone.

I was hit as a pedestrian by a pickup in 1975 when treatment was poor. My wife of 11 years was understanding. fatigue kept me from working for 2 years I was good at production but poor at office work. I could not read,do math or tell time but my 6 yr. old helped me. I developed seizures, have face blindness,have difficulty with music. I have retired from 2 good jobs.With some difficulties life is good. it is a battle, don't give up.

My husband suffered a TBI in November of 2015. This injury has affected our whole family. Those of us who do no physically have the injury do no fully understand how the person feels but we see and difference in them and know we have lost our loved one but we still love the person that remains and always will. The person with the injury does not know how we feel because we keep that to ourselves. Once we see our loved one gone we hurt so deep and with so much pain that sometimes we would be better off with the injury. Remember, you are not worthless, you are still valued by your loved ones. We may not understand how you really feel but we still love and value the injured as a human being and love them with all our heart and soul. Wish you all the best and you are not lost or alone in this. Someone who knows.

I had a fatal car accident in 2015 and still experience anxiety, depression, mood swings and more. I know how you feel and it sucks because alot of people don't understand us. They think we can just get better or that the accident didn't cause us to be how we are now. I hope things look up for the better for you!

i have tbi and no friends

I dont have a TBI and I have 1 friend that is my dog. So you can have a friend too — get a pet. :)

Isaac, I understand your sadness....despair. I thought I had so many friends, until I needed a friend, and learned I had not even one. It has been impossible to accept but there is no option. I spoke openly and honestly with someone pretending to understand and promising privacy with my thoughts and pain but upon the end of the conversation my front door was forced open and I was physically assaulted by police who took me against my will to an ice cold psych ward and left alone for hours until. My legal husband and "caregiver" who that morning had handed me my refilled pain meds turned and walked away. I knew what he was saying but due to that "private" conversation I was locked away temporarily until given back to the "caregiver". That "understanding" conversationalist has secured my "care" to someone else and turned her back on any responsibility. We do not have friends Isaac, I do know where you are, locked inside your broken head that was once such a comfortable place. Just hell now with no hope or help from it, no escape even allowed. Friends pass the responsibility to anyone and I cannot blame them. We would not wish this on anyone would we Isaac?

Hi Sadie and to Everyone Else reading this post. My heart goes out to each and every One of You. I do not personally suffer from a TBI but I have been a Caregiver for an amazing guy who suffered one about sixteen years ago. He was in a very bad wreck. Coma for four months and rehabilitation for another eight months in the hospital. I want to tell you that I am So Sorry for the overwhelming Pain and heartache you are dealing with. My husband has Muscular Dystrophy and it's not easy. I know loss and the feeling of hopelessness myself. I lost my 26 yr old daughter a few yrs back in a car accident. Please Don't Give Up. There are online support groups. I realize it's not that easy to pull yourself out of a dark place. Just remember there are People Who Care. Bless You All.

Yes issac I have same problem the ones act they r just use your kindness as there own advantage

I was struck by a car when I was 19 while running across a highway on a trail in my local community. I had 24 broken bones, my main being my leg and shoulder. I have definitely dealt with the effects of a brain injury. My main problems now are short and long-term memory loss, I forget things easily, trouble with word finding, impulsive decision making, loss of friends due to the fact they've advanced so much more than I, I'd rather just be alone. It's been a hard road. If I can get through it, anyone facing the challenges of a brain injury can too. I just wanted to add this for anyone feeling like their life isn't good enough because of your brain injury, it is. There's a reason we are here.

Ashley, your words hit me hard... I was thrown from a car at 15 and my best friend died from head injuries. I have had so many physical issues I never attributed to it until now. As I get older and realize I would rather be by myself than try to communicate with anyone. I have had 3 other MAJOR head traumas since then and just feel hopeless. I don't know why the world won't let go of me. I try everything "they say" but always end up worse than before. I don't know what else to do, no one understands me, they think I'm impulsive, depressed, bipolar, this or that but mostly hard to get along with or understand. I have wanted to die for so long and should've with the efforts. I wish I could believe there was a good reason for me to be here but it only seems to be I destroy myself and the 3 people in my life, my parents and significant other that has chosen to love me regardless of the horrible things I put them through. I don't know if they would be better with me here or if I were dead. I am tired of hurting everyone. My children have chosen to keep me from their life from a young age after an incident that I now believe is part of my brain injury and not the things they said about me. My kids were never harmed physically but I know I hurt them mentally and now I am alone and feel there's nowhere for me to be or no good I could ever do. My physical pain limits so much. I really want to be happy and have a good life with my son, my dogs and my parents but nothing seems possible anymore. I think I have crossed over to the place of no return for those who I love with all my heart. I wish there was a way to look into my brain and figure out if it is the culprit and correct it but I've not found anything pointing to that. I am glad for you that you are choosing to be positive and pushing through. I am so tired of trying. If anyone can point me to an answer of at least how to heal and if it's even possible.

Dear Erin, your words have touched my heart. I also was in 3 serious car accidents but one of the most critical was a tree falling dead across the highway which I was driving on... perfectly synced with the front of my car and flipped my car 3 times forward and skid 1 & 1/2 football fields upside down. I also fractured my head from a seizure on cement after I had finished art I had done and was showing my mother outside. When she said my eyes rolled back and boom. I remember nothing. I also flatlined for over 6 minutes from the flu and was deprived oxygen to my brain. I was once an artist, a writer, hard worker, class clown senior superlative and much more. I am now a shell. I'm not living. I exsist.. no one relates to my battle every day. My memory is gone. I forget everything. No taste. No smell. Find me on fb. For you are not alone and I would hate to hear you think this world would be better without you... it's because of you that I stopped and took 2 hrs just to type this all out (it's hard to process sentences ). You were worth that... and so much more.

Thank you Ashley. I, too, suffered a major head injury some years ago in a car accident. I have no one left in my life. My life is filled with constant effort with no seeming reward. No one knows what happened to me, because no one has wanted to listen. I am given no support, but I am expected to support everyone else. Life is very hard every day, most times torture. I have the same problems as the ones that you listed and am exhausted from the effort that it takes every day just to get through the day. Even though I can't figure out why God kept me here, it is His decision when he takes me out. Thank you for your words. They are the first to me since I was injured 32 years ago. It feels like I am wandering around in a dream with no connections. Thank you for yours.

Hi, Ashley! I hope you are doing well today. I would LOVE to listen to you story and offer as much support as I can. I suffered a TBI years ago as the result of a car accident. God kept you here so you can teach and inform others about TBI. You are a blessing and I will pray for you! Have you considered attending a TBI Support Group? Is there anything like that where you live? I facilitated a Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group a while ago for about a year and a half. I started by attending the group and one thing lead to another and I was asked to facilitate. I was very scared, but everyone in the group was so understanding and supportive because they have been through similar experiences. I have an on-line Brain Injury Support Group of Duluth on Facebook if you use Facebook, and everyone is welcome! Let me know if you are interested and I will help you out any way I can. God bless you and please stay safe and strong and know that you are not alone!

My son who was 15 1/2 at the time was hit by a van while on the rode is head hitting the windshield causing TBI and broken up hip and leg, we spent 2 months at savannah, Ga. he then was sent home, he had to learn to talk and eat again, although we had to feed him through a stomach tube for awhile, he has been in and out of rehab for the past years but still can not walk, there also was no big settlement so we could not get him the best of care, medicaid does not allow for much therapy, now he is 26 its a shame that he can not still walk because we do not have money or good insurance, my son has missed alot of things in his life and my heart breaks for him! it is just not fair!

I was in a car wreck in 2000 and had a TBI. I have had many problems on a daily basis due to this injury. Headaches, vision, confusion, and memory loss are a few of the areas I deal with every single day.

I hit my head about 8-9 months playing football and couldn’t even remember what year it was or what I did two minutes before. This was at school. I sat at the nurses for hours and it was intense. They gave me bad advice by saying I would be alright and that I just needed some rest and to be inactive for a while. A little after a month later, I was playing basketball in school and someone ran into me by accident. They must’ve knocked me out because I fell over. I’ve asked people, they all say “it was the loudest thing in the gym" when I hit the back of my head off the gym floor and ever since that I’ve been feeling the same way. I’m 14 now and I was just wondering if anyone else was going through what I am. And I was right, at least I know it's not only me. What I always feel is like I’m trapped inside my head, blurred vision and terrible headaches are a small part of what I’m feeling right now and will probably always feel.

My injury occurred in August 2015. How long after an injury am I still considered to represent someone with a TBI?

For the rest of your life.

When I was three years old I got hit in the head with a golf club by my brother. It was a complete accdient. I wasn't paying attention and ran out in front of him while he was in mid swing. I don't remember anything! I had to learn how to walk and talk all over again. The doctors said I was make progress & then I'd fall back down again. Which has already happened. I'm perfectly fine now, other than suffering from short term memory loss.

I think I may have had a TBI. For years I have had the headaches, from mild, moderate, to prostrating and meds have not helped. I have had occasional blurred vision from them, dizziness, numbness, tingling in extremities, ringing in my ears, emotional swings of irritability, anger, out bursts, depression, a general sense of malaise, short term memory loss, fatigue, and brain fog. I have been tested for almost everything except TBI. I recently found medical record that shows I had a fall from a stand while working on a jet and taken by ambulance while in the military. The record only shows injury to the soft tissue of my lower right lumbar area of my back. I had a follow up with bed rest.  Since finding this record and researching TBI I am wondering if I have it even though this fall occured 34 years ago. All the above systems have been there with me for a long time but cannot remember when they started. I have learned to push through but am finding it more difficult as I age . 

With my TBI I have trouble locating things and they can be right in front of me.

I was injured in a hockey game;  I played (non contact) men's hockey for many years (I'm a civil engineer and just always played on school/work teams).  A big guy decked me and I fell back and onto my skull.  That was 13 years ago.  I have seen 4 neurologists and tried every single alternative medicine there is.  I still work as an engineer, but part time, and still get headaches, vertigo and fatigue.  I'm sensitive to light, noise and confusion

 My short term memory is quite poor.  I find my friends and family still don't understand:  if I have to cancel a visit with them, they say I should just make an effort (though they are constantly telling me I should cancel visits with others). It is a very, very frustrating condition.  I find this site really helpful in helping me understand that I am not alone.

I suffered a traumatic brain injury when I was a young lad of 5 years old. I was at my uncle´s house and went down the stairs. As soon as I got to the last step and put my feet on the concrete cement. I looked around and to my astonishment I saw a stool and above the stool was a paper plane hanging. I looked at them and decided to climb on the stool to get the plane. The fact of the matter is that I do not know who put the stool and paper plane in the position where they were exactly? I am trying to put all the pieces together to find closure in the criminal case. Once I know who the perpetrators were they will be charged with attempted murder!!! The crime scene happened at my uncle´s home in 1975. He lives at 300 Evelyn Avenue in Toronto. I have discussed what happened with numerous people and they stated that the person who put the stool and paper airplane were trying to kill you. 

I put one foot on the stool and pushed up and then I put my other foot on the stool and I was on the foot stool and from there I raised my hand to grab the airplane and the stool started shaking because it was tampered with the legs were shaky and moving back and forth. So, that I last my balance and fell of hitting my left frontal lobe onto the concrete cement. I sustained left frontal lobe damage. My left frontal lobe was bleeding which is an open cut damage. I was crying and screaming loud and my mother ran down the stairs to assist me with medical attention. But, no one brought me to the hospital nor was my family doctor told about my traumatic brain injury which I sustained (TBI) I am working hard to find out if criminal charges can be laid against the person who devised the scheme to having me injured.

In 2006 I was 20 years old. I had a BAD car wreck. I was in the hospital for 3 1/2 months. My brain split apart, I have a sist in the middle of my brain at a 1.3, I gractured the c2 & c3 in my neck, broke my left hip and pelvis. I was told I was paralyzed from my neck down. September will be 11 years. I can walk, talk, feed myself, & dress myself. I was a new born baby at 20 years old. Im doing better than any doctor said I would be. Istill struggle with everyday challenges. I never can drive again or live on my own but im alive. I give lots of thank to LSU Hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana and Torro in New orleans, Louisiana.im now wondering if I could have a baby or not.

In 2001 I was hit repeatedly on the head with text books. When I got off the bus my shirt was covered in blood and blood as coming out of my nose and mouth. I don't remember anything after that but my parents told me I went to the hospital for tests. I remember stuff that happened a long time ago but anything recent I have problems remembering. New information is hard for me to remember. I have a hard time standing especially on moving trains and buses. I get headaches and shakes in my head. I have a TBI and I hate it. I can't multi task which makes it hard when I have a young son to take care of. I can't drive so I rely on transit or others to drive me around.

Thank you all for sharing your experience, thoughts, encouragement, and your hearts. I've suffered two major accidents that should have claimed my life and two massive blows to my brain and skull. For the past 5 years I have been researching for answers to what happened to me and life itself. Thanks for providing me with your testimonial experience. I'm am blessed because of all of you today..

I had been beaten yrs ago & had the base of my skull mashed into the base of a sofa sleeper. Yrs HD passed & I had been abused having my head smashed into the hard floor while my abuser was sitting on top of me. He knocked the wind out of me but I did not loose consciousness. Then that same year I smashed my head the top very hard into the frame of a metal door casing. Did not loose consciousness but wow the pain & headache that followed. Then 7 months later I fell on the ice in my driveway. This time I did loose consciousness. Woke only to peal myself out of a frozen puddle & get myself into my home. This is where I found that I lost bladder and rectal control. I live alone and had no help. Today I suffer from migraine and pressure in my head every 2 months. The doctors around here think I'm nuts when they can't find anything. I have a hard time sleeping, I'm tired all the time. I'm depressed because I feel that I have nerve damage that effects the nerves in my neck, shoulders, arms and legs. I'm very slow to get started & feel brain dead at times. Could this be TBI? What type of Doctor can I see that will LISTEN TO ME? I find myself confused quite often. Please help.

My niece had a horrific vehicle accident on 2-11-17. She has just been moved to a room out of ICU. She is trying to get out of her bed often. They have her strapped down now, and heavily sedated. Any help or words of encouragement are welcomed!

I had an accident an ended up having (TBI). Does this affect being hired by an employer?

I was T-boned in Sept 2015. I had a hematoma (brain bleed) TBI as well  as my hips were dislocated.  and had double vision, headaches. After much physiotherapy , massage therapy, speech and language pathology, psychology treatments I am now back to my old self. No headaches,occasional neckache but working 40hrs per week and feeling normal again. My faith in God is what healed me. Stay positive because it will get better if you believe.

I have a brother who had a TBI 7 yrs ago and recently I've been feeling really resentful towards him and my mother for expecting too much of me. I get no thanks for helping them. Not sure where to turn I want to run away from it and never come back. Any advice would be helpful

I'm sure your brother would like to run away too. I'm sure he wishes it never happened at all.

if it was you with the injury im sure your family would help you with the emotional and physical roller coaster the injury causes suport to your brother is what you should focus on instead of resentment for the injury he wishes he never got

I was involved in car accident at age 3, this accident claimed life of my mother. I am left with disability where functions of left side are not as stable or strong as of the right side. When speaking my mouth only moves on the right side;this is so humiliating when around strangers and people feeling sorry for me I wish to change this condition. I'm 35 years old now; having to explain to my children and them being ridiculed by their friends because of me is sad.

I had brain bleed March of last year. I've been recovering well until today. I'm shaking uncontrollably on the right side. I don't feel any different except the shaking. Can anyone tell me is this normal to develop new symptoms?

Hi! I have a moderate TBI I'm recovering from. It's been 8 months and some days since everything changed. Last night I accidentally hit my head. It had a bump for a while but ice helped. I'm wondering if I should do anything about it as my 'executive thinking' might be out of order. Btw, does anyone ever fully recover? And how? Hospital I went to, other than physical therapy to walk and glasses to correct some things (so grateful for!), they did not help. I've had more help with brain building apps. Anyone else in similar place and what can be done?

I was just shot 5 month's ago by a 9mm. Was in a coma a month and I lost my right eye also, It's still in my speech but I'm ok. I should be dead but I'm still kicking. I'm a 26 year old male.

I'm sorry to hear about your TBI. I also fell down the stairs in Sept 2016 and suffered a concussion. After 2 months I felt minimal improvement and then I visited an Osteopathic practitioner. The improvement after only two visits is remarkable and I now see light at the end of the tunnel. I hope you give this a try too. And I hope it works as well for you.

I am going through these problems. I've had to relearn everything including talking and walking. Some days I feel great and like myself. I was in a coma for about a month. I feel great physically but get turned around easily in new places. My memory is good. I remember old memories pretty easily. I would like to try to drive again soon. I do understand that I'm not the same but will continue trying to make life meaningful. My spiritual life has grown tremendously. I never take life for granite anymore. I used to see something once and have it but now it make take a couple of times. I thank my mother who has been with me since day 1 and my physical therapist who pushed me to greatness and to never settle

Wow!  I can completely relate to so many of ur stories. Most particularly from the person that split her head open on concrete at a concert. It is so similar to my own story! I woke up on my garage floor bleeding everywhere. i was unconscious for 45 to 1 hour! Thank God i woke up. spent 5 days in ICU, 10 staples, seizures, on and on... I have also lost too much weight, been at my job for 21 years and fear losing it too! I also broke my back and am currently in a brace, but remind myself how lucky i am to be alive!  Also now i am experiencing ALOT of the same issues all of u have. Emotions, anger, irritable, memory and just NOT being ME... Thank you all for sharing your stories. it has helped me immensely! It helps to know i am not alone.

I completely relate to your situation.I fell down my basement steps 18 months ago landed on concrete and was knocked out.I spent a few days in the ICU and had to stop nursing school, I am 40 years old and decided to go to college and then I got the TBI.I was at the Drs a few days ago and he corrected me when I said I had a TBI with a cerebral hematoma the Dr then informed me I had 2 cerebral hematomas, I felt foolish cause I don't remember, I have lost memories of my children can not work outside my home at times I will be driving and not know where I am and I grew up in the area we live in. My children remind me of dates, what time they get out school and the list goes on.At times I mean to say one thing and something completely opposite comes out, my kids understand and I try to play it off but it really bothers me.I have good days and bad and when there are multiple things going on in a room I can not focus and get headaches.It took me 5 times to pay 1 automated bill today....I take medicine daily and see neurologist. I don't know if I will ever get better. One doctor said after 1 year, the recovery phase is over, and that's just it???

When I had my stroke in 2003, they told me that the recovery period was 6 months. I'm glad that it has increased since then. Luckily I never put much stock into what the doctors told me about what is possible. The brain has a characteristic called plasticity meaning it will adapt and change to meet the insual's needs, basically it can rewire itself making new neural pathways. Combine that with our desire to heal and we can make great improvements.
Here's a brief synopsis of my shear will and determination vs what doctor's tell us is possible. After brain surgery I was in a coma for a month or so. While I was in the coma I was fully aware of what was going on around me and what others were saying. I heard the doctor tell my father that there was a good possibility that I may never regain consciousness, and that even if I did I might be a vegetable. Okay, I did wake from that coma and wasn't a complete vegetable. After finding out that I was paralyzed on the left side of my body, I was told that I may not ever regain the use of that side -Wrong again ( I'm pleased to report). When goal setting I told myPT that I wanted to get back to lifting weights and especially to once again bench pressing over 300 lbs ( I used to compete in powerlifting). She never believed that could happen until I called her over to spot me while I attempted 300. Hearing her change her point of view was as rewarding as actually achieving the goal. My next goal to to drive again. Of course I should forget about that and that can't be fixed. My OT told me to look online since there was no therapy for my homonymous hemianopsia (where one side of my vision is affected in both eyes). I researched and didn't find much, in fact I created my own therapy. I studied the DMV requirements and worked at it until my field of vision met those requirements. After I met those I took some driver training and then road test. You know what happened? Right I got my license in 2007. The rehab facility I was accepted and lived at for 3 years also offered vocational training.
I told them that I wanted to enroll in computer training. After being tested for placement suitability I was told that I didn't have the capacity to study that and that I should consider something in either the foo service or sanitation industries. One day I went to the computer lab to ask the teacher a question about an issue I was having with my laptop. We then got to talking and I told him I wanted to be in his program. He told me that he had openings and that he'd talk to them to see if I can take the classes on a 3 month trial basis. this course was a 2 year program. Which I completed in 6 months. I became A+ certified as a computer repair technician. Not only that I was the first person from the Brain Injury Services department to ever complete the course, and in record time! Enough of the boring details of my struggles.
The takeaway here is that we are limited by our own imagination and beliefs in our abilities. Don't blindly accept what others tell you as being dogma. Each stroke is different, so there's no one size that fits all of us.
I have wondered why the doctors couldn't tell me I would never be a millionaire , I would have enjoyed proving that one wrong!
One last general message to everyone reading this; is not to expect changes to happen quickly. They may take a very long time. So it follows that looking for improvements since yesterday or last week may not be as effective as looking back 1-3 months or where you were last year this time to see how much better you actually are. You may have to learn to self-advocate as I did, but set achievable goals for yourself starting small and then getting more aggressive. Use the lonely times to work on yourself. As a child it took a year or so to learn to walk why expect it to happen in a week? Remember your not a stroke ( or Tbi) victim, you're a (insert word here) survivor!
I wish everyone the best.

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