Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wow! Another tale of brain injury survival

1/20/11 Thursday
Wow! I read this comment on yesterday’s blog post, and boy did it bring back memories, along with a renewed appreciation for how blessed I am to be alive, and to have the quality of life I enjoy. Read this and understand it describes very well the state I was in when I began to wake up from the coma.

hi this comment isnt about the current post. i found this blog while researching life after a coma. my friend has just woken up from a 2 month coma/ vegetative state after a car wreck that would of killed most. he has sheer damage to his brain and the doctors said he would be in a vegetative state forever. but a few days ago he started waking up and today he is talking and moving and seems almost like before the accident except that somethings seem different he cryed when his icecream was too cold and says things that dont make sense sometimes. he laughed at jokes and spoke normally but a little slower but sometimes said strange things like "its dangerous" and gas chamber or electric chair and things like that after napping. Will he progress from here and be less confused or is this pretty much it. thankyou

This picture is of the car I died in. Was flung out of the rear window as it rolled end over end, and pronounced dead at the scene. Still listed as a fatality by the state of Oklahoma.

Like this person’s friend, I was not expected to live, and if I did I was expected to be a vegetable till I finally died. We all have been hearing about Gabriel Gifford a lot lately, and will continue to as she recovers from her bullet wound to the head. Think of this, despite having a bullet pass through her brain, she is in better shape than either I or the person talked about in the comment were. Our coma’s were not medically induced and the brain trauma’s we incurred involve the entire brain, not a specific portion of it. Gabriel is already able to process information, to see, walk, grasp, and many other tasks. She has a long road ahead for sure and there will be issues that will only become apparent as time moves on. She has family, friends, and the best medical help available, so will do well, just as journalist Bob Woodruff did. I wasn’t that lucky. I had a brother who refused to understand and for that matter was upset when I did seek out some help from the Brain Injury Institute in St. Louise. As soon as I started therapy there I was extradited to Ohio, where I was eventually dumped onto the streets and wandered homeless, seeking help from any place I could.
I carved this from a piece of wood that had been in the car I fell asleep in and wrecked. Click on it to enlarge and read it. Says what I believe

God intervened, and I suppose had a plan for me. After being featured on ABC as “Toledo’s John Doe” I was reunited with Cherie, my first and then third wife. Cherie read the above comment and cried, telling me of how hard it was for her to understand and endure the problems that came with my TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). But she loved me and that love enabled her to keep going. We’ve run into so many church people who would say they understood brain injuries but in reality chose not to see past the eccentric behaviors and rejected us instead of showing the love of Christ I had hoped for. This is why I desire to increase others awareness of TBI and the problems that come with it. A key to helping those with brain injuries is simple, listen, and talk, communicate and work to understand what is going on in their heads. Sometimes we interpret what we see wrongly, or when we try to express our thoughts the wrong words come out so we say something we didn’t have in mind.

Part of the problem with me is that I am so smart. It’s hard for people to accept that I have a problem when it’s so obvious, to them, that I am lucid. Before the accidents my tested IQ put me in the top 2% of the nation, and that was how I was able to build successful companies and got paid so much to advise others on how to run theirs. Part of my brain still operates at that level, but other parts don’t. I can’t remember what I am doing and require written to do lists in order to complete anything. I don’t get hints or understand subtle signals, tending to take what others say very literally. Ten percent of my brain simply isn’t there any more and the rest has billions of little hidden tears and misfirings in it. Each day I am improved and am an amazing testament to the power of God and the wonder of our human body and brain’s ability to repair itself.

Enough of that. Cherie is still sick. I need to go heat up some of the chicken soup I made for her earlier. Then I will run to the jail and minister to the two guys who are incarcerated there. Cut enough firewood to keep warm all day and through the night. Need to see what I can do to keep Buddy warm when it goes down into the low twenties tonight. Time to go.


Anonymous said...

thankyou for sharing your story, it has given us alot of hope.when something like this happens that involves the brain the doctors and nurses dont really know anything, because they just say everybody is different and they dont know what to expect. Like your accident my friends (who is also my sisters fiance) was also a bad car crash that split his car in 3 pieces and then rolled 5 times, he had to be cut out of it. The sheer damage to his brain left him in a coma for 2 months and we were told by several ICU nurses and doctors that he could be and probably would be in a vegetative state for life, which is a fate worse than death in my opinion. being stuck in a bed unable to do anything but sleep with tubes covering you. he had severe braqin sweeling and damage to his frontal and temperal lobes..By some miracle he woke up and can speak and see and laugh and he has almost all of his memories, he is more child like now though and having a band-aid removed for him, he reacts as a child would scared and crys out how painfull it is. Its probably one of the most traumatic and scary things i have ever dealt with in my life everyday in the hospital was something new- one day good one day bad like a rollercoaster..But after reading your story of survival i understand he will need lots of support and will get through it with time. thankyou

Bob said...

When I woke from the coma, I was like a child, unable to understand what people said and being very emotional, crying easily and getting angry. With much of my memory gone most of the world was new to me so, like a child, I had to learn all over again many social skills. Have patience and understanding. It was hard on my wife but she hung in there. Took me ten years to get here.

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