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Brain injury blog by survivor

Brain injury blog by survivor



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Brain injury blog by survivor

Brain injury blog by survivor



Medias responsibility on expectations of brain injury survivors.

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It is truly amazing what the human body can do. We all see how incredible computers are and how they have changed the world we live in, and yet they are still not a patch on what we carry inside our own skulls. It is estimated that the human brain is still 30 times faster than the most advanced computers. I’m sure the gap is closing, but scientists have a long way to go. It’s a tall order when we still don’t understand much about the brain at all really. So why does the media rate some brain injury survivors recovery as “miraculous” when they don’t understand what is happening?

How media is raising expectations and putting pressure on brain injury survivors.

Every strong brain injury recovery should be celebrated. But it’s not just luck that got the individual to that point. It’s hard work from the individual, their family and a team of skilled medics behind them. So I think the media need to be more careful with their language, as not all of us are given access to the same tools.

One example is a story the Daily Mail called a miracle recovery. Sam Schmid had an awful accident, spent 2 months in a coma and was close to having his life support turned off. But he held up two fingers, showing he was still there and his medical team commenced the next stage of his recovery. 2 years on, he left rehab, went back to playing basketball, and started college.

I’m delighted for Sam, and it does give hope to others. But I worry that those who have no prior experience of brain injury would hold this as a benchmark. As every injury is different, putting these expectations on survivors can be unhelpful.

Diagnosis and rehab facilities aren’t the same across the board.

Sam was in rehab for 2 whole years, and he deserved the support he received. But many of us don’t even have our brain injury diagnosed properly as the MRI scans don’t always offer enough detail. But even when they do recognise the injury, there isn’t always rehab facilities available, or even discussed.

After I left hospital, just 10 days after my accident, I was offered nothing. My partner James had to fight for me to be offered some support from an OT, to make me more able to cope at home. And I had to ask my GP to keep referring me to specialists to deal with individual symptoms. But there was no overall package in place for me, no cohesive approach. If I was held to the expectations the wording in this article creates, I probably wouldn’t be considered remarkable. I am not employed, study nor am able to participate it contact sports.

High expectations are not fair on survivors or their families.

Whilst I had to give up my job, I do not consider myself a failure….. anymore. To begin with I thought that was the benchmark by which to measure my success. And so for a long time that dragged me down, a lot. But now, I see my life wasn’t ruined just headed in a different direction.

I think it’s important that the public understand that if someone’s recovery isn’t a “miracle”, it’s not due to the survivors lack of effort. Believe me, survivors want to get things back to how they were more than anyone. But without the right guidance that is very difficult, maybe even impossible even with it. And in reality not everything can be the same again. We might get close, but some things will be altered. Maybe better, maybe worse.

I wish everyone the best in their recovery, and I love to hear good news stories. Just lets remember that medics aren’t mechanics, and our brains are not machines. Therefore the restoration process has many more variables.

If brain injury survivor has a recovery which beat the odds it's fantastic. But are other families expectations too high after reading these stories?
If a brain injury survivor has a recovery which beat the odds it's fantastic. But are other families expectations too high after reading these stories?

Do you think peoples expectations of brain injury recovery has been tainted by the media? What would you like others to know about your day-to-day life post brain injury?


15 replies on “Medias responsibility on expectations of brain injury survivors.”

This is a fantastic, well balanced response. It is very appreciated. And hopeful. So often you are just expected to be better or to accept that this is good as it gets. Meanwhile you (the survivor) and any family or friends or bothered to stick around — still struggle daily. You truly captured the heart of my experience in the sharing of your own. Thank you for lending a voice to TBI Survivors everywhere; the remarkable and in-remarkable alike. 😉

I just hope that people understand one person may have can extraordinary recovery, but another person may only have a fraction in comparison. It’s not easy to predict, if at all, and it’s certainly not a competition. I’m glad you feel I’m doing justice to my fellow survivors.

I am always amazed how quickly rugby player concussion injuries are portrayed on media and quickly they are back within a few weeks. Not the same for me

Yes and I think it leads to why people underestimate the consequences of concussions. Not that people are wrong for returning to sports quickly if they’re ready. And it’s not their fault that others might get the wrong impression. But the media need to try harder to balance it out.

I had a severe TBI in May of 2008. 4th cranial nerve damage behind the eyes. You can look up my story in the 417 Magazine issued June 2009. I myself had to relearn everything over again from square 1. I thank the doctors and everyone involved in my case every chance that I get. I was in a Coma for about 15 days I believe then had to be placed in a medically induced coma after I awoke from that to total about 2 months. I give 1000percent of the credit to God the Father. They had seen this exact injury 9 times in Springfield Missouri at cox South, out of the nine one may survived and he had a 5 percent chance that he would not be a vegetable for the rest of his life. I left the hospital two months after I awoke with no medication and played college baseball for three years after that. God will take you places that you don’t believe are possible. Remember that anything is possible with God.

Well my accident happens on a day I’ll never forget 2-2-2000 peace with three the Lord, Jesus and Holy Spirit. Ha in coma for three months my knee was sticking out , other leg n hip was placed with metal rod, my braces jammed out my mouth to chin scare. But no comparison to closed head injury, I lived in four different city homes. As therapy good, shall never fully stop. But being watched taking a shower is addition brain injury, I’ve switched in court from alcoholic mom to gma in Florida for 13 years until she passed away in it got transferred to father which I had no request. It seems like money mostly and communication shall be worked out. I have worked at college volunteer and took several classes. One right independent world would I like to drive. I can handle strict rules. I need more then I get. I have hope and desire to mature.

Ashley I love your positivity. You have and continue to face many challenges. But you still grow and find new ways to develop. Thanks for sharing your story.

Hi Jonathan, this is Shari Van Every from North Bay, Ontario, Canada and I was in a terrible car accident that I caused and was also in a coma for some time… I have since done my upgrading and have come along somewhat OK. I also asked my COMMUNICATION’s Teacher if I could do my “THESIS” on comas, because they are not quite known about and she ok’ed that. I did tat about 15 years ago, but there was not much info. on tem, because they are unknown. Thank you for your story, maybe I will be understood one day? Have a GREAT life and it sounds like you are doing GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you again, Shari

Shari, thank you for sending your kind words to Jonathan. It’s great when we can use this blog as a community and support each other ?

Has anyone who have experienced a traumatic brain injury used medical Marijuana? I’ve read that TBI has been healed with MM.

Interesting question Freya. I don’t think it’s used much in the UK, but it would be nice to hear others experiences.

I don’t know about healed, but it certainly does make things easier. I received many injuries in the accident. besides my skull I have mostly metal right lower extremities, pot helps a lot with pain! but not only that but it really helps with anxiety/panic attacks, anger issues, and depression. my accident was 12/22/08. I got my medical card in 2011. cure? not yet. major help? yes, yes, yes. no more crying from the pain, no more sitting in the shower or a closet and crying. no more wanting to end it. I will never be without it again

Another great article Michelle, thank you!
Like you, my TBI was misdiagnosed & I was told I could work, which made me really happy. No rehab offered.
2 weeks in & the reality hit home. Complete breakdown, insomnia, depression and unable to stop crying.
I often read the ‘miracle stories’ and I’ve been told I’ve made an amazing recovery.
But it’s through hard work, physical illness & incredibly tough times that I’ve got to where I am. I cannot work & I have spent the last 3 years waiting for benefits.
People are quick to forget stories like that of Michael Schumacher who is unlikely to have made an amazing recovery despite the best medical care in the world.
Thank you for writing this.

I am heartbroken for Michael Schumacher and his family. When I was a teenager I was such a fan of Formula 1 and he was one of my favourites. But you are so right that his case sadly proves that our understanding of the brain in still in its infancy so not everything can just be fixed.

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