Treating Recovery from TBI Like a Job

Retired Navy Commander Bernadette Semple had always been an intelligent and highly motivated person. She applied those qualities to the rehabilitation of her brain and her back.

The symptoms scared me, but at the same time once I had gotten to Landstuhl, and Dr. Scully explained all this to me then I had an awareness. So, that was some comfort, but it was still disconcerting in some ways. You think of your legacy and how people remember you. That's how the people on that combat tour are going to remember me. I don't know if they're going to remember me as being dizzy or whatever. Because I think one of the things she said is I'm so highly intelligent that my 50% is some people's 100%. So, for a lot of people who don't know me, who just meet me, I seem totally fine. But, for the people who have known me for a long, long time they get it. They know that I'm different. What I did was I just treated my rehabilitation— once I accepted that this was it, this was the hand that was dealt to me then I just treated my rehabilitation—my cognitive rehabilitation—as a job. In addition to the brain injury, in an earlier admission, I had slipped off a helicopter, and I hurt my back. So, I was doing my back rehabilitation at Walter Reed and then my brain injury rehabilitation at Bethesda, Bethesda Naval Hospital. I had a great doctor, Dr. DeGraba, who is now the deputy at NICoE. I just feel blessed for the doctors that I had and the people— I can't say enough about the medical system both at Walter Reed and at Bethesda for what they've done for me.
Posted on BrainLine October 5, 2012.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Ashley Gilleland, and Jared Schaubert, BrainLine.