Traumatic Brain Injury Basics

Michael Paul Mason, Brain Injury Case Manager
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. Reviewed March 27, 2019.

About the Author

Michael Paul Mason is the founding editor of This Land, a monthly magazine based in Tulsa. Mason's first book, Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath, is an exploration into the harsh realities endured by people with brain injury. Mason's first book, Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath, is an exploration into the harsh realities endured by brain injury survivors. While currently a brain injury projects manager at the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital, Mason continues to advocate on behalf of Americans with brain injury and is involved with several national legislative initiatives. Learn more about Michael Paul Mason >

Comments (317)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

I was jumping my horse in late October of 2017 and took a sudden, hard fall to my head after a nasty refusal. I blacked out for a few seconds and then asked my husband where was I and what horse was I riding. After fear, I got a CScan and everything looked fine. However, I tripped, fell and hit my head (same spot) on my tile floor in the Summer of 2018 and it knocked me unconscious for I don't know how long (minutes or a few hours). I woke up on my own to find blood on the floor. I haven't been the same since. I get mood swings, super angry at nothing and don't remember why I got mad, short term memory loss, tired all the time but then randomly can't sleep. My head also itches constantly where I hit it, both times, and it has been nearly 7 months since my last fall. I can work, but my focus isn't as clear as it use to be. I can't focus on two things at once like I always did. Does anyone else have this problem or dealing with the same symptoms?? My husband researched and said for me to give it a year to see if it improves as reoccurring TBIs take more time to heal.

I was thrown from a 4 story balcony and you are not alone Im always angry , memory loss , I just feel like I have no emotion anymore . Hard to remember new things my old memories are great

Do not wait to see a specialist. I waited and now have permanent brain damage. My light head injury has continued to decline and now 4.5 years later, I am miserable seeking permanent disability and unable to work.

I am now 27 years with a TBI. Going through final stages of divorce. And still no one understands that I have limits on what I can handle. Like I suddenly healed because I am alone?
No, that's not how it works. I have the same pain, same problems, and no spouse to help me. My children have known only this mother. I was hit when my daughter was 18 months old and I was 8 months pregnant with my son. Stupid older woman ran a cold red light and t - boned me. She wasn't looking at the road. So the one thing I wanted so much in life , to be a mother, was literally destroyed by a careless driver who wasn't injured at all.
It also led to the deterioration of my marriage. My son has suffered the most. He has been with me as my caregiver, yet he doesn't really understand what it means to have a TBI. It robs you of all you ever hoped for. You are never again the person you were before. Yet there is nothing physical to see, no scars, nothing.
And the state denied that I was disabled.. while freeloaders sit on their porch drinking in the middle of the day collecting welfare and foodstamps.

I am at 6 years and cannot find a specialist anywhere on TBI in Chattanooga or Atlanta . Any suggestions, Please??????

I suggest you go to pituitary.org and find an Endocrinologist who can check you for damage to your pituitary gland. You may have to travel to see one of these doctors, but it is well worth it. The "run of the mill" Endocrinologists I've seen really weren't up to diagnosing my TBI. Also, you'll probably need an MRI. A CT Scan doesn't offer a high enough resolution.

My face twitches when I'm holding back feelings of anger.

If I drink I can distinguish no effects on me consciously. Like I can't tell when I'm drunk, I "feel" "fine". Which is different and scary. It gives someone who was a boozer frustration as there becomes even less of a point to drink so it makes you ask yourself why even bother.

Memories are distorted. I'll remember an event but remember the details of that event completely wrong. Different hair styles, clothes, weights, things that happened. I woke up in a different dimension. So that different dimension pertains to myself as a person as well. I don't feel like I know him, which is strange. Living in a body you don't even know the history of very well. Different languages as long as I think I've had some training in them are easy to understand and translate in the brain. Which is cool but...different. You'd be surprised. My body sensation is split in two, left and right. My right side is numbed, so taste and smell are effected. I was right handed so everything dominated by the coordination of that hand is effected in a negative way. I had to relearn to walk right, relearn to write. Relearn my own signature.

I have the same issue with alcohol. My mind stays crystal clear but my body gets "drunk". Like I stumble or even fall. I just gave up. What's the sense. Also, I don't know if you have this problem, but 1 small drink will give me the worst hangover. Very strange.

September 19,2012 my life changed

Successful business, what I thought was a good marriage, looking forward to the next step in life

All gone or skewed

Have struggled in some deep dark places

Couple of stints in the psych ward

I broke down and went to the VA for help

3 1/2 months in mental health until I found out about a poly trauma rehab in The Richmond VA

4 months as an inpatient there I can say my life has changed.

They helped me identify my purpose in life

I still don’t know if I’ll make it to the end but I do know there is a path for me

If you’re a veteran there are 5 of these places across the country

No combat injury required

Out of 18 people there was 1 CV
Everybody else had accidents just like the civilian world

I hope I’m not done yet, sometimes it’s hard to keep going, as long as I reach out there’s a chance

Trying to help others by sharing my experience helps me keep moving forward

Came across your TBI story. Been there. Decades ago I was a troop in Vietnam. Three mortar attacks, been shot at and missed, but decades later as civilian I suffered a brain injury in a fall in my bathroom! (those tile floors can be just as unforgiving as the Vietcong! :-) Recovered over much time and attention to my own thought processes. Here's wishing you a great transition to, in effect, a whole new life...that can, in many many ways, be very rewarding and offering new compassion for other folks who have been messed up in so many different ways.
My Best!

Can you tell me where the other trauma centers are? Thank you

I took a medication for acne that injured my brain.
I suffer from really heavy brain fog, constant migranes and preasure in my head, memory issues.
I also developed really heavy visual snow and i see really vivid colors when close my eyes.
also severe tinnitus..Im quick to anger, and feel very numb and depressed...I feel like a ghost of my former self in a sense.
It has been a year now...I had to drop out of medical school, i was admitted to a psychward for 2 months...
my life was changed dramatically, but i try to keep strong and rebuild my life.

Wow I thought I was the only one . I had a bad childhood have high blood presure ‘ I am now in darkness lost for words my eyes roll around I have so much fear in my head I loose my Direction have good and bad days

My friend was exposed to carbon monoxide. Since then, she has changed and lost a lot of weight. My main concern though is that she stole something from my home recently as she has a key to my house. She comes to walk my dog when I travel. She was NEVER like this before and I cannot trust her anymore. Could carbon m. poisoning have caused this personality change?

I have suffered from 7 whiplashes, none of the car accidents were my fault. I've also had 2 concussions and a broken tailbone which paralyzed me for some months.

The doctors and chiropractors I went to insisted on doing new x rays each time. I tried to get them to give me my x rays but they said I would lose them. Instead they lost them.

I think all the x rays contributed to the large brain tumor that nearly killed me 6 years ago. Fortunately, I had studied to be an Ayurvedic physician for 26 years. I wish I had known it was a brain tumor before I was incapacitated, unable to read or walk; but I thought the pain I was experiencing was the result of my past injuries.

I told my husband how to treat the cancer and he took care of me for the year and a half it took to heal. I've been doing very well, working 7 days a week helping others heal from cancer, then 5 days ago had a brain stem injury. I couldn't breathe well or swallow for a couple of days but I used some of the same techniques from when I had the brain tumor and I'm recovering.

To all my relations suffering from TBI, consider using natural therapies instead of surgery and harsh drugs.

My mom had a TBI 2 years ago and just fell on her bottom yesterday. I've noticed changes in her movement, speech and overall behavior. Is it possible that she was reinjured?

Not a new injury, the old 1. The old injury could have caused some sort of damage that wasn't detected then but over the years, has grown, moved or just taken its toll. I am a TBI patient that has been going through this for 20 yrs, ergo, I'm something of an expert. I strongly recommend you take her to a neurologist and get an MRI. Good luck!

At 4 I fell of the swing in Denmark. Was traumatized at 11 when my parents moved to Canada. Had a difficult time making friends and had to go through 5 grades in school in 1 year.Had to quit school at 13 to work. Fell off the roof of a house I was working on and had my second concussion. was forced to leave Canada at 15 and ended up in Chicago. Got a concussion at 16 from someone dropping a large timber from a roof where I was working. Joined the US Army in 1961 at 17. Had some very traumatic experiences in Korea when my buddies got run over by tanks and shot from the DMZ.
4 more concussions from falls in commercial construction. Had constant head aches and loss of vision for up to 36 hours. At 70 I was walking the dog and it pulled me down and I cracked open my skull and was out for over 10 days. 2 years later at 72 I had another collapse in my driveway and layed there for over 2 hours before the neighbor called the ambulance. I can remember at least 7 head injuries so maybe that is why I can't remember names but I have no problem with numbers, spelling and history only names and where did I put my car keys?

In March of 2008 I was involved in an accident at work. An engineered I- beem was dropped from 15 feet and hit me in the foreheadjust above the left eye. I am still suffering severe headache's anxiety and confusion. I have a lump the doctor told me is a calcium build up, am I being dramatic or could there be something wrong or overlooked? I have been refused tests when this first happened.

Hey if it makes you feel any better. From what you explained, you are the only one that I can relate to. I cut my forehead open about a year and 4 months ago. Developed a hematoma(calcium build up) weeks after the injury. I was not a huge cut. During this process I had headaches, which was my main symptom. Couple moths after the injury one day I woke up and everything just felt different. My memory wasn’t as sharp, brain felt foggy, headaches from time to time, Dreams were extremely different, left pupil looked disoriented, and My body needed more sleep. Doctor x-rayed my brain and found nothing. Tired of going back and forth to the Nuerologists just to hear them tell me that all tests are coming back fine. To this day, I have had slight improvement, but I can still tell that I’m not as healthy as I was before. It’s like the injury knocked my nervous system off wack. I feel where you are coming from and I personally feel like the doctors and neurologists are overlooking something in our case. No you’re not being dramatic because I feel your frustration, but hopefully eventually we’ll get to the bottom of it. Until than we just have to improve.

My son had a brain stem (closed head) Injury, he has been in a nursing home for 31 years, mentally he’s very good but it’s his physical body that has been affected. He is bed ridden. His hair now has very thick white stuff looks like dandruff. A strong shampoo has been prescribed and I wash his hair and comb it with a fine tooth comb and a real thick paste comes off his head. What is this?

My husband hit his head at work and was knocked unconscious. He lost his eyesight in one eye, kept falling asleep everywhere( including when he was at work driving a tow truck), always had headaches, weight gain, had fluid leaking from his nose and ears, and many more issues. His company doctor knew that there was damage but lied and said there was nothing wrong with him. We were trying to get someone to listen to him. He went through the rest of his life a different person than the man I had spent 23 years of my life with. He died 18 months after his injury.

I am so sorry for such a loss

When I was 3-4 my brother dropped a rock on my head (soft spot) and knocked me out. As I grow older I find that sinus issues/deviated septum w/bone issues by my teeth, and find that I have a hard time coordinating the left side to work with the R - playing piano, drums, skating or skiing. The r side is so dominant that the left doesn't know how to coordinate and as I get older I am finding recall is a bit worse. SInce that time I have hit my head several times but not knocked out . Is my left side a product of the blow to the head not corrdinating properly?

Hi my brother had a bad car accident in South Africa in 1989 and he was in a coma for about a month . Once he got out Hospital ,we had to teach him how to walk talk, eat etc. his optic nerve was cut off so he is blind in one eye. He made a lot of progress in 1994 at Roosevelt warm springs and was hopeful for a good recovery. After that he returned back to South Africa and has slowly went down hill. At the moment he can hardly walk as he looses his balance and can not stop himself falling forward. He has split his head open 3 times in the last month. We are looking for help in any way to improve his condition. He is 50 years old at the moment. Thanks for your time

I got hit by a car at 18 yrs old and lost a quarter of my right skull I'm waiting on a titanium plate I was in a coma for only a day now I am 20 yrs old and wonder if I'll live long enough for my daughter I never had seizures until I hit my head 3 months ago. I feel everybody is against me I feel like I can still do things I used to but I can't. My left hand coordination is weak I dont even work it out or do anything healthy, people tell me I should be grateful and stuff but I dont know why I dont do good for myself I'm always depressed and angry and blame people for no reason I just started taking keppra like 3 months ago when I actually had a seizure. I have bad thoughts I even explode on my family like if they're taking my things but sometimes I actually find it. But yes I'm waiting on my plate still, I think because I abuse marijuana I'm not healing myself it actually gives me inflammation in my head and makes my memory worst but I'm so lucky even luckier than most people the guy that hit me did it on purpose and is now doing 8 years in prison but he ruined my life. I can't even play with my daughter because I feel she will accidentally hit my brain. If people that see this please just pray for me my name is Angel Torres that'll help me.

Hi Angel,

My son was hit by a car 8 months ago and suffered a severe TBI. He had part of his skull removed for 5 months. He struggled with all of the things you are struggling with but is getting better day by day. He has started driving again and hopes to be back at work soon. Things got a lot better after his skull was replaced. Now anger is is biggest challenge. Try to stay positive, you are young and they say you have a good chance of the best recovery when you are young. You will be in my prayers.

My boyfriend was just recently hit in a car accident a few days ago and is in the ICU now with a Traumatic brain injury. They immediately did surgery when he got here and had to stop a brain bleed on the right side of his brain along with removing the bone on that side. When he is not sedated he does respond to there pain assessments and his pupils respond also from what they are telling me. I have seen him move when they pinch him or whatever but he isn't moving around as much as he was the 1st day. Now he doesn't move or do anything when he is sedated. He hasn't woken up at all or even opened his eyes or squeezed my hand. Im just wondering how long it would take for him to wake up since some of u have close to the same situation. Can someone please just give me some kind of peace of mind. This is just so hard watching him and waiting and hoping and praying that he can get thru this.

Hi

I feel your pain ...My boyfriend has just come through intensive care and woken from his coma he was induced for 6 days and in his own for 5. He can follow me with his eyes and squeeze my hand intermitedly we are still in intensive care and noone can give me answers. I do know this though he is improving every day and the word time has taken on a whole new meaning.

praying for complete healing for you.

i had a brain tumor removed when i was 13 and had a stroke during the surgery as a result of the brain reacting to the disturbance of being surgically removed 26 yrs. although im blessed to be alive i have issues with short term memory and alot of that year i cant recall. i have been told that everything i say makes no sounds or has relevance to the topic on hand or that not distancing a movie from 1992 from one made in 2012. i cant help but feel like im dumb in these situations. am i getting worse?

I recently fell and suffered a TBI. I fell 3 or 4 years ago and the same thing, a TBI.
They were pretty hard falls. (I am an incomplete quad) after both falls I experienced something that I’ve never heard of before. It’s hard to describe. It’s kind of an echo of my own voice. The first time it went away. This time no. It’s been maybe 6 months. It’s very distracting. Can you help?

I was told that when you get a Tbi the likelihood of another is better than 50%

I am 62 now but have a plate in my head from a fractured skull when I was 13 years old. I have noticed recently that the side of my forehead if the injury is changing. Are my bones not as well supported since the bone is replaced by a plastic plate. Are my bones moving and should I be concerned?

Wow you are an inspiration to me. I got hit by a car 2 years ago and I'm missing a quarter of my right side skull I always question my life expansion I will be getting a titanium plate soon. Do you think I will make it to 62? I never had seizures until I hit my head a year after my accident. I just started taking keppra as well because I never needed it until I hit my brain, very mild cut on the brain though. What do you think ? Also my left side coordination has gotten better. I got hit at 18 years old I am now 20

I take Keppra myself and it has stopped my seizure's as of now. My best to you and hope it will work for you also.

I also take the Keppra. I had a TBI so severe that I was in the hospital for 3 months. I don’t even know what happened but I know I fell out of the limo at my sisters wedding. I just have no clue. Scary and frustrating that I can’t remember anything.

After 2+ years, my husband had bone resorption...he had a defect and ended up getting another cranioplasty with a synthetic skull.. you could have almost put a golf ball in the depression. The surgery went well, but there were serious issues with the anesthesia. Fortunately, after several weeks, and additional therapy, it improved.
You might want to get a scan and have it reviewed.

I was wondering If I was hit in the back of the head at age four with a baseball bat did I experience a TBI. In addition, I lost a lot of blood and received stitches I am very curious. I came across this web page because I was researching in detail about students with behavior differences affecting achievement for a class I am enrolled in.

Thanks, Seni!

When I was 14 my mom got me a bicycle for Easter someday in April 2014. And I took it for a test ride. I stopped at a crouse street looked both ways and crossed. And turned around and didn't look both ways and a SUV vehicle was heading my way. And I got hit and I got thrown 30 feet West and landed on the pavement with a broken right femur and broken skull and I lost 60 percent of my memory. So I had to start all over on everything I new then.

Dude I got hit by a car and lost a quarter of my skull I can barely move the left side of my fingers my coordination is bad I was 18 now I'm 20 I tell myself every day I won't live long but I never had seizures until I hit my head a year after my accident and my memory is bad I forget things but I remember everything in the past after the accident just I forget like where my phones at and stuff lol do you ever feel like that? Are you on keppra pills ? Are we on the same page ?

A friend of mine fell over 18’ and sustained an open-skull injury over 3 years ago. He was forced to quit his job for over 30 years, become so disoriented at times, and ‘blank out’ for extended periods of time. TBI has affected his sight, hearing, teeth, and now is in that ‘coma-like’ state ... I’ve lost my loving friend in a sense ... as well as his family

Did he recover??

My daughter's fiance had a severe car accident 10 years ago suffered TBI but now he says he drinks 3 to 4 beers a day which helps it's better than taking oxycodone or any pain medications is this true or is he just trying to drink and use that as an excuse

I was in a car accident three years ago. My head shattered the windshield. I've struggled, but feel I've recovered a bit.
The headaches are disorienting and confusing. Excruciatingly painful, come with elevated blood pressure and changes in the barometric pressure (weather changes). I'm easily distracted, lack my old planning skills...
No, I don't drink. But, if I did, I probably would be.

I learned about brain injuries. I fought to recover, I was no longer myself and I hated it. I exercised, meditated, started new challenges on purpose to challenge my brain. I'm still not myself, but I'm better than I was. The headaches longer and are almost unbearable, and I have a high pain tolerance. My kids have suffered because of my changes. I'm not going to give up, but it's not easy. I'm different, and sometimes I can't explain it. It's hard. TBI is hard.

When I was younger I hit a pole and my sister also hit me with big rock both very very hard head injuries I think I may have tbi

When I was 5 my father dropped me on my head after holding me upside down by my ankles. I have no memory of this but my mom witnessed it and told me I had a concussion and was sick for days. I remember as a child having difficulty learning in school particularly in the second grade. Throughout my life I have suffered from depression/anxiety and have a great deal of difficulty with focusing and remembering what I have read when reading a book. Could this long ago injury still be affecting me at 60?

I received my TBI in January of 1974 at the beginning of the second semester of my senior year in high school. Luckily for me, I only had three classes because I had a job that started at 11:00 in the morning until 5:00pm. I was in a coma for two weeks and also had to learn to walk, read, math, etc. I too tried to pull out my urinary catheter and IV's and succeeded at removing the IV's so they restrained me. I remember, but later found out that it was only a dream, the nurses putting the IV back in and I thought they were looking for pearls in my veins...yeah right. I experienced a "vision of the future" I couldn't explain so I kept it to myself but I later realized that it was a vision...another yeah right. I did things in the hospital that I do not talk about because it is way too embarassing but the nurses were great with me. Came close to burr holes in my skull but the swelling went down on it's own. When I started to come out of my coma I had no "true" memory of my life. What I mean is "true" memory is I couldn't tell whether or not I had a memory or I was remembering a story someone told me. Back in 1974 there was no rehabilitation just told by the doctor that go home and if I had a headache do not take aspirin. When I decided to go to a "head bangers club support group" my father said to me "Now don't go finding something else wrong with you". I had no family/friend support system so I to lived in an isolated lost existence. Living suicidal for so long is not an easy path to go down so having no support sucks. I too feel that animals are better than most people so I guess that explains my four dogs and four cats. Nobody truly understands this other than someone going through it. It never goes away. I was 17 when this happened and now I am 62 and I am beginning to wonder whether or not I am just getting tired and it is just returning to a fuller force than I have had to live with. It is a lonely live. My brother was telling me a story once and looked at me for affirmation of what he was saying and I said "I don't remember" so he immediately looked at me and said "What are you stupid or something"...OUCH. Living inside my head is really lonely. I too do not have many friends. I had two but when my mother died last year one of them went away. OK, this is getting a little to wordy. Just wanted to put my two cents in. Never, ever, give up on anything. We are still here for a reason and we may not ever know the reason so just accept and improve on yourself.

I feel bad for you that had to be awful your brother should I believe that oh, I know it's very difficult living like that I'm seeing my son who got a car wrecks and a half years ago not wanting to take his pills but he has an injury to his right frontal lobe when he was induced coma for a week and now he struggles with a lot but he walking talking gotten a lot better . But he's like not even sure if you should drive but he has his license he but nobody should ever make fun of people who go through that it's a very big long hard battle getting better but do you have to take your medicine forever my son doesn't want to he got his front Lobel part damaged just got it renewed,

That was very inspirational, Patsy! Glad you shared your story with us!

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