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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



Guest post: Dawn McKay on brain injury & chronic pain after a car accident

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Today’s post is by Dawne McKay, Founder of Cash Support & Recovery.

Twitter: @Crashsupportnet Facebook: Crash Support Network.

Dawne McKay created a Facebook group, Cash Support and Recovery Group and also blogs about her own personal experience as an survivor of a horrific collision.  Her online support group for survivors is Cash Support Network Group. 

Life was great that fall morning. Having just spent the night at my boyfriend’s house, I was watching the sun rise as I drove to a job that I loved. Finally I held a position within an Organization that I had been dreaming about. I was healthy, happy and extremely driven. I was in a wonderful relationship that had just blossomed and I had great friends both personally and professionally. With an exceptional driving record for the last twenty years, I was an excellent driver and I had never been in a horrific accident. As someone who well liked and full of confidence, life was good.

I vaguely remember the first impact from the distracted driver that had hit me from behind, causing me to be tossed around in my vehicle and I do not remember the second impact from a tractor trailer. I remember feeling trapped, cold, frightened and confused. Having been rushed to a local hospital, I was immediately transferred to a trauma hospital where I stayed for a few days mending multiple injuries including a brain injury.

My good life now consisted of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, medical appointments, legal appointments, sleepless nights, nightmares, financial burdens, anxiety and chronic pain. Once mobile, I was introduced to outpatient rehabilitation where I attended twice a week. After a year or so I was told I had reached a plateau which meant I had to accept the fact that I will not fully recover but I would continue treatments.  Did I mention my good life also consisted of depression and weight gain? Receiving news that you have reached a plateau in your recovery can do that to you.

Every activity is painful and you are forever mourning the “you” who once accomplished so much in a day.  Confidence has taken a back seat and I no longer enjoy being in a vehicle. I can now predict weather and can tell you when it will rain. I can even go as far to tell you when there will be a change in the barometric pressure lucky me! A peaceful night’s sleep is a thing of the past as my nights are now being interrupted with trying to find comfortable positions to deal with the pain. I lost a job I had worked so hard for and close friends disappeared. My good life is now facing the fact that I have arthritis in many areas of my body and I feel like I have aged 10 years.

Financially, this life changing event almost broke me. The battles that take place with insurance companies after a car accident is shameful. Fighting for what you paid into is a full- time job in itself. My good life now consists of hearing numerous remarks from people that seem to know me better than myself. Remarks such as: “Must be nice to not have to work”, “You will feel better once you get your settlement”, “You look fine”, “You need to get over it” and “There is nothing wrong with you” just to name a few. I still get upset and angry hearing these types of comments because people just don’t seem to get it.

For the people that think I have it easy, I did not ask to leave my job. I did not quit, get a promotion or get fired. That decision was made for me the morning a driver decided to drive distracted and rear end me at a high rate of speed.

For the people that think I have it easy, I would ask that you change places with me for one day. Live with my chronic pain and tell me if you still think I have it easy.

For the people that think I have it easy, I did not choose to have sleepless nights filled with flashbacks, nightmares, chronic pain and anxiety. That life change was made for me because a driver was not paying attention.

For the people that think I have it easy, I did not choose to wait over a year to receive any type of income while my insurance company decided if my injuries were significant enough. That decision was made for me because I could not work.

For the people that think I have it easy, I did not choose to become forgetful and no longer a multi tasker. That decision was made for me because my head crashed into the windshield of my car which caused a traumatic brain injury.

For the people that think I have it easy, being involved in a car accident is not a sudden windfall.  I would prefer to be driving into work today but I am not able to.

For the people that think I have it easy, I did not choose to have PTSD. That decision was made for me after being involved in a horrific car accident.

For the people that think I have it easy, I did not choose to stay in bed all day today, that decision was made for me because I live with chronic pain.

For the people that think I have it easy, although I may look fine to you, I ask you to remember that my life completely changed because of my accident. Surviving a car accident is a daily struggle on so many levels and even though you may see me smiling, I suffer from chronic pain, PTSD and I am on my third night with barely any sleep. Unless you have experienced a horrific car accident first hand, you will truly never understand so please don’t be so quick to judge us.

Do you find people are quick to judge you even when they know your car accident left you with a brain injury? How could others support you better?


9 replies on “Guest post: Dawn McKay on brain injury & chronic pain after a car accident”

Dawn –

I applaud your tenacity and strength to get through each day. And from the sounds of it, you’ll get through tomorrow as well. Know that you are not alone. Those like Michelle–who understand and support TBI survivors–walk alongside and cheer you on.

Yes, and I think the courage Dawne has shown in sharing her story is immense. So many of us feel like we lost so much yet we often don’t talk about it because we carry shame, which is completely unwarranted.

Hi Michelle & Dawn,

Dawn, you just described me! What a distracted driver takes from you is almost unfathomable. Like you, life had never been so good to me as just prior to my car smash in June 2000. Got engaged & moved in with my fiancé and had completed the first year of a Masters in education, promotion was on the cards.

That’s been all over for a long time, but it took a tonic clonic seizure for doctors to take me seriously. I am still fighting for benefits over 18 years later.

Colleagues naturally disappeared as they have their own lives to live. Friends disappear too. 2 at the wedding of mutual friends, the husband of whom said ‘oh, you seem just the same! You’ll be fine’. I have distanced myself from them & any other negative people, or they’ve distanced themselves from me. Which is fine, they clearly weren’t friends in the first place.
One silver lining of TBI!

Another is that it generally makes you stronger, although for me it comes in waves.

I wish you all the good fortune in the world ??? Jo

I believe that all post injured folk will have to take their own battles, no one will look after you for Free. People would like to get paid for something that they would rather much not do. Whichever it is you want, go for it yourself. No one, and I mean no one will help unless it’s family, or someone for money, it’s a lonely struggle.

How many times have I heard “ my memory is bad it’s just old age”. Failing to remember a conversation 1 minute earlier or going upstairs and half way can’t remember why I’m on the stairs that’s not old age. No recollection of the accident with the exception of 3 things, I said goodbye to a fellow worker before I set off for home, overtaking the ambulance that would scrape me off the rd and my Dad who’s birthday was that day saying “ we’re not ready for you” he had been dead for 9 yrs.
Same for me friends and fellow workers fled in their droves.

Wow that must have been so surreal passing the ambulance crew who saved you, and then having your Dad giving you his guidance

I’m so sick of hearing ‘it’s your age’ too. I was 28 when the accident happened & working memory has been disastrous since then.

May God bless and encourage you, and continue to give you peace and strength as you get through this time in your life. A few years ago l too was involved in an accident in which someone hit me from behind while l was at sitting at a red light. The individual said that he was going about 60 mph and likewise l suffered as well. Two years after the accident, my spinal cord became damaged and l had to have back surgery, because l had lost feeling in my body by this time. On the day of the surgery, l only had feeling in my fingertips, and was almost at the place of being completely paralyzed. After a 5 hour surgery and 13 weeks of recovery and rehab, l was able to walk again without falling or having any problems, but throughout the years l have still experienced back pain from time to time where l see a pain management doctor who gives me a series of injections in my back, and l have found that to give me relief after the 3rd injection. He also prescribes me a special compound of ointments, but that does not really help. I have had this done with the injections several times throughout the years since my back surgery. I pray that your doctor will be able to find something that can ease your pain because l know that is very painful and uncomfortable, especially having experienced it first hand. I will keep you in my prayers.

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