Learning from Wounded Warriors

BrainLine talks with Dr. Maria Mouratidis about the heroes she works with on a daily basis.

Our returning warriors have been tremendous teachers, tremendous teachers not just about brain injury or psychological injuries but about resilience, about how to keep going even when something has happened, something as devastating as a severe physical or brain or psychological injury, about courage and the courage to try again, try harder, the courage to share and to reach out, the courage to overcome and be victorious despite circumstances or obstacles that might be in our way. And serving our returning warriors and their families causes profound changes in, I can say, myself and those with whom I serve as a person, that not to be affected and changed by the witnessing of the power of the human spirit and the body and the mind to heal and to continue against often some very severe consequences and odds. There have been patients that really no one thought would live and somehow have made remarkable recoveries, have been steadfast in their commitment to healing and growth. When I asked a young servicemember, a young Marine, how he was dealing with giving his left eye he said, "Well, ma'am, my right eye is getting stronger all the time." That power of expectation and of hope has been a tremendous gift. And we continue to learn by listening to our patients and their family members of what they are going through, what they need, what they have learned and sharing with them in that hope and in those struggles. And it has in some ways been more powerful than all the science in the world, all the education in the world, and it is something that if we take the time to listen is there and to step up to the plate as a person.
Posted on BrainLine March 4, 2009.