Survivors SPEAK OUT! Alisa Ann Noah
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
1. What is your name? (last name optional)
Alisa aka “El Dorado”
2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email (optional)
North Carolina, USA
3. On what date did you have your brain injury? At what age?
4. How did your brain injury occur?
My brain injury came from a motor vehicle accident. I wasn’t at fault. My truck was rear-ended at 50+ mph. Because my truck had no headrests, my head hit the back glass.
5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?
6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?
I was first treated in the Emergency Room. Scans and X-rays were taken. Later I had a neck brace, cervical epidurals, other cervical injections, and physical therapy.
7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?
8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient or outpatient and occupational and/or physical and/or speech and/or other)?
I did physical therapy.
How long were you in rehab?
Three months of 3 days a week
9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your brain injury
(e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?
I have vision loss; migraines; balance issues; sleep problems; mood problems; memory loss; anxiety; and pain, pain, pain. Unexpected loud noises send me into a panic.
10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?
My life got worse for about three years. I have recently started to make progress with happiness and finding new ways to keep busy.
11. What do you miss the most from your pre-brain-injury life?
I miss my career as a horse trainer, and I miss college.
12. What do you enjoy most in your post-brain-injury life?
13. What do you like least about your brain injury?
I dislike the pain and my physical limitations.
14. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?
Friends and new hobbies have helped me accept my brain injury.
15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
Yes. People don’t understand my thought process or mood swings.
16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
Yes. I fear driving. I don’t engage in social activities much anymore.
17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?
My mother and my roommate are my main caregivers.
18. What are your plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?
Hmmm, I’m not sure. I take things one day at a time. :)
19. Are you able to provide a helpful hint that may have taken you a long time to learn, but which you wished you had known earlier? If so, please state what it is to potentially help other survivors with your specific kind of brain injury.
Don’t let doctors just throw pills at you. After I had been told for almost three years that my condition is permanent, I recently learned that I can heal from it. Do your research. Some doctors are really no help.
20. What advice would you offer to other brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
NEVER let your “disabilities” define who you are as a person! You are and always will be just as valuable and important as anyone else. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. Stay strong!
(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.)
If you would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please go to TBI Survivor Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.
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