TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Caregivers  SPEAK OUT!  Ian Lees

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

 

1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Ian Lees

2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email? (optional)

Tipp City, Ohio, USA

e99290a9147c6b8d6ef54bc0694e98853. What is the brain-injury survivor’s relationship to you? How old was the survivor when he/she had the brain injury? What caused your survivor’s brain injury?

The survivor is my wife. Her brain injury happened on July 5, 2005, the date of the accident. We were rear-ended in a motor vehicle accident.

4. On what date did you begin care for your brain-injury survivor? Were you the main caregiver? Are you now? How old were you when you began care?

My care began on July 5, 2005. Yes, I am the main caregiver. I have been since the accident.

5. Were you caring for anyone else at that time (e.g., children, parents, etc.)?

No

6. Were you employed at the time of your survivor’s brain injury? If so, were you able to continue working?

Yes, and I still work.

7. Did you have any help? If so, what kind and for how long?

I had no help really from anyone who lives close by.

husband-and-wife-hi8. When did your support of the survivor begin (e.g., immediately – in the hospital; when the survivor returned home; etc.)?

My support began the day of the accident.

9. Was your survivor in a coma? If so, what did you do during that time?

No

10. Did your survivor have rehab? If so, what kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient and/or outpatient and occupational, physical, speech, and/or other)? How long was the rehab? Where were you when your survivor was getting therapy?k20116138

Yes, my wife did rehab for a while. She did occupational, speech, and physical therapies. I took her to rehab twice a week.

11. What problems or disabilities of your brain-injury survivor required your care, if any?

I take her for everything. She hasn’t worked or driven a car since 2005, contrary to the doctor’s point of view.

12. How has your life changed since you became a caregiver? Is it better? Is it worse?

My life hasn’t gotten worse. My wife has no real social life outside of me or unless she visits her family. She has depression and other issues.

13. What do you miss the most from pre-brain-injury life?

I miss lots of things. The list is long.check-list-hi

14. What do you enjoy most in post-brain-injury life?

I am in school for neuroscience and psychology because the doctors don’t have answers or don’t have the honesty to tell the truth. I read lots. I have spent most of my time reading books and studying. I am always looking for answers. My wife and I do cook together and have outings.

15. What do you like least about brain injury?

I don’t like how the brain injury has left my wife mentally. She is not on most medications because they have side effects we don’t care for.

16. Has anything helped you to accept your survivor’s brain injury?

My reading and going to school have helped. It was either divorce or find ways to take care of my wife. So, why not make a life and career out of this – and take care of her?

17. Has your survivor’s injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?

Yes. In many ways

18. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?

(No answer)

19. What are your plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?

My plans are to get a degree and hopefully to help others get a better understanding of what to expect and what not to expect. There are dos and don’ts. I am a veteran and would like to help them, as well as others.

th-120. What advice would you offer other caregivers of brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

Suggestions: educate yourself as much as you can, and don’t always believe what you hear or read without checking other resources. There is a long road ahead, and it will keep you busy. For me, the more I read, the better I understand. It has cut down on arguments and fights. When you live with TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), you see life from a whole different perspective.caring-for-the-caregiver

 

(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 SPEAK OUT! Caregiver Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

 

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SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for BlogSPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at neelyf@aol.com.

If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

 

Here is this week’s Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

 

Brown, Rebekah Survivor

Rebekah Brown – Survivor

Rebekah Brown (survivor), as told by her caregiver mother…I am really excited! After over two years of not eating, Rebekah is interested in food. I have been able to feed her orally with a pouch of yogurt for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She opens her mouth for it and sucks it out. Previously, she would bat food away whenever we would put it into her mouth. Now she actually wants it and is participating in feeding!

My heart is exploding for her and what all this opens up for her. All this began the day BEFORE she started stem-cell therapy.

Rebekah Brown - Survivor - 1st time eating in 2-years

Rebekah Brown – Survivor – 1st time eating in 2-years

 

This is significant because it shows the benefits coming from HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy). (Why is this not covered by insurance?) Thank you to everyone who has supported Rebekah, prayed for her, and contributed to her rehabilitation. It is working!

 

YOU did it!

Congratulations to contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

As I say after each post:anim0014-1_e0-1

Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

If you like my blog, share it intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it intact with your enemies. I don’t care!

Feel free to “Like” my post.

Never take my pen away!

 

kids-hand-writing-clip-art-writing10

 

Jul. 2016

Living Nightmare – TBI
in The Resilient Soul
David Grant Publishing

Jul. 2016

Coping – An Energizer-Ostrich
Blog on Brain Injury
Lash & Associates Publishing, Inc.

Jul. 2016  

An Energizer Ostrich
TBI Hope & Inspiration online magazine

Jul. 2016 

Coping – An Energizer-Ostrich
Differently Abled online magazine

Jun. 2016       

Montclair Write Group Sampler, 2016
“In Other Words” (Page 48)
Strange Worlds Publishing

Mar. 2016 

Reasonable, Responsible, and Realistic Resolutions After TBI
Blog on Brain Injury
Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc.

Mar. 2016 

Reasonable, Responsible, and Realistic Resolutions
Differently Abled online magazine

Dec. 2015  

Surviving Holiday Stress
TBI Hope & Inspiration online magazine

Dec. 2015 

Brain Injury: Surviving Holiday Stress
Differently Abled online magazine

Dec. 2015

Holiday Stress and Brain Injury
Blog on Brain Injury
Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc.

Aug. 2014

Montclair Write Group Sampler, 2014
Colorful Roommate” (Page 26)
Strange Worlds Publishing

Jun. 2014 

Prisoner Without Bars; Living With a Traumatic Brain Injury
Differently Abled online magazine

Mar. 2000 

Miss Emma Gets Her Way – Take-Home Practice Readers Book – 3rd Grade
Scholastic Literacy Place, Scholastic, Inc.

Mar. 2000

A Star Wish –Take-Home Practice Readers Book – 3rd Grade
Scholastic Literacy Place, Scholastic, Inc.

Mar. 2000

Never Going to Grow Up –Take-Home Practice Readers Book – 4th Grade
Scholastic Literacy Place, Scholastic, Inc.

Mar. 2000    

The Legend of the Silver Birch –Take-Home Practice Readers Book – 5th Grade
Scholastic Literacy Place, Scholastic, Inc.

SPEAK OUT!

Michael J. Kline – Survivor

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Kline, Michael Survivor

I am a traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor. On November 18th, 2011, I fell from a standing position. I had a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage, midline brain sheering, contusions, and a 3.5 cm skull fracture. I am happy and lucky to say that “I have made it.” I used many tools to help me focus on recovery, such as coin collecting, photography, metal detecting, and others. After eight months, I returned back to full-time duty as a firefighter. I also published a book, called “My Fall to Life,” that tells the story of my injury. My Fall to LifeMy injury resulted in 100% loss of taste and smell and other lingering effects. I don’t allow that to bring me down, and I am proud to say that, when all is said and done, my injury has helped me to become a better person by refocusing on life and never taking a day for granted. Recovery from brain injury has its challenges, but with motivation and a positive attitude, there is no path that I am afraid of.

 

To learn more about Michael J. Kline, please see his book, “My Fall To Life: Life After a Traumatic Brain Injury.”

Thank you Michael J. Kline for sharing your story.

 

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

As I say after each post: Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Commentanim0014-1_e0-1 below this post.

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

If you like my blog, share it intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury

Freya Perry

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!

bigstock-cartoon-face-vector-people-25671746-e1348136261718It can happen to anyone, anytime, . . . and anywhere.

The Brain Trauma Foundation states that there are 5.3 million people in the United States living with some form of brain injury.

On “Faces of Brain Injury,” you will meet survivors living with brain injury. I hope that their stories will help you to understand the serious implications and complications of brain injury.

The stories on SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury are published with the permission of the survivor or designated caregiver.

If you would like your story to be published, please send a short account and two photos to me at neelyf@aol.com. I’d love to publish your story and raise awareness for Brain Injury.

2 Perry, Freya

Freya Perry – Brain Injury Survivor & Artist

Freya Perry (survivor)

3 Perry, Freya

Ceramic Tiles by Freya Perry – Brain Injury Survivor & Artist

I thought my life as I knew it had ended five months after my TBI (traumatic brain injury). Ten months after my TBI, I got into painting as therapy. Now, eighteen months after my TBI, I have a small art studio and love painting. And people are loving my art!

Life is good.

I still have sensory-overload situations, but I am living with it – I am still recovering. Most importantly, I love me and my new life in a way I never thought could be possible.

 

To learn more about Freya Perry, please visit her website, Freya Perry.

Thank you Freya Perry for sharing your story.

 

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

As I say after each post: Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Commentanim0014-1_e0-1 below this post.

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

If you like my blog, share it intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it intact with your enemies. I don’t care!

Feel free to “Like” my post.

 

“Their War Came Home” – a Free (YouTube) Documentary on the Effect of PTSD

on Veterans and Their Families and Friends

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Marilyn-Lash

Marilyn Lash, MSW, president of Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc.

 

Marilyn Lash, MSW, president of a 20-year-old company dedicated to brain injury, Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc., has been very interested in brain injury and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in children, adults, and veterans. She was very involved in the production of (and appears in) the newly released documentary “Their War Came Home.” Marilyn told me about it and sent me the link. My husband and I immediately watched it. This documentary is a “must see.”

Their-War-Came-Home-Postcard-768x544

“Their War Came Home” A documentary by veterans for veterans

My husband and I watched gut-wrenching interviews of veterans describing the horrors of what PTSD did to them and to their families and friends. The documentary highlights the lack of awareness by the public and the major deficiencies of the military’s dealing with this huge problem. We witness veterans speaking candidly about suicide; outbursts, rage, and other emotional problems; drug abuse; alcoholism; homelessness; the problems of hypervigilance and isolation; and the effects it has on their loved ones. There is a heartfelt interview with a woman who is the spouse of a Navy SEAL with PTSD. Her words may resonate on many levels with some of you caregivers. Her comments on “living grief” are particularly touching. How does one lose the original version of one’s survivor and learn to love the one who took his or her place?

War ExplosionThe documentary ends on a hopeful note. The veterans who gave the interviews are learning to cope with their PTSD, often with great difficulty. There are volunteer organizations that help, and the film ends by showing several hotlines to call.Male Soldier

I highly recommend this documentary. It’s only 50 minutes long and is freely available on YouTube. You can also find it at Lash’s Blog on Brain Injury. It’s a must see!

 

(Photos compliments of Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc.)

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

 

As I say after each post:

Feel free to leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow Me Via eMail” on the right sidebar of your screen.anim0014-1_e0-1

If you like my blog, click the “Like” button under this post.

If you REALLY like my blog, share it with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it with your enemies. That works for me too!

 

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for BlogSPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at neelyf@aol.com.

If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

 

Here is this week’s Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Jump for JoyKaren Dickerson (survivor)…OMG! I was crying and jumping up and down (LOL). I passed my college entrance exam! Even better: 93% in English/Writing! Here I come, Baker College of Michigan, to become an Occupational Therapist Assistant. There is hope!Bakers College

Two years ago, after my motor vehicle accident, I couldn’t even process what I was reading, and I had to learn how to write my name again. I’ve worked very hard to get that comprehension back. I had over two years of speech and occupational therapies. Math is still a problem, just like it was twenty-one years ago. But I’m so proud. I didn’t think that I would ever reach this point after my TBI (traumatic brain injury).

 

writing pencil animated

Ric Johnson (survivor)…Well, it took me two months, but I was able to write an article concerning the importance of support-groups for the recovery and healing of TBI survivors. I have it published in the TBI Hope TBI Hope & INspiration& Inspiration magazine, June 2016 edition.

 

FamilyElizabeth Leonard Lawrence (survivor)…I am twelve years post TBI from an accident I got while serving in the military. I was told by doctors that I would never have a family, that I would never drive a car, and that I would take multiple pills a day for the rest of my life. Well guess what! I have a wonderful husband of three years, a three-year-old little boy, and I only take one medication now. So overall, I’d say it’s a huge accomplishment in my life!

 

Jennifer Stokley (survivor)…I had the most amazing day. I actually went out without any fear with a friend who has been coming over for a while to do “talk therapy” with me. She asked me if I wanted to go over to her farm, and I immediately said, “Yes!” Farm

Out the door I went – no cane, just my coffee in hand and a smile on my face. I totally trust this person; I’ve gotten to know her well. In the car we went. Away… to a place I’ve never been to before. A real farm! WOW! We spent hours there. She cleaned out the stalls, while I sat on the grass watching the cows in the field near the pond. It was beautiful.Cow Then she came, and together, while sitting and lying on the grass, we spent the longest time just talking about anything and everything. It was absolutely the best time. I loved every second of it. I didn’t have a moment of anxiety pop up. I can’t wait to do it again. We intend to real soon.

 

 

YOU did it!

Congratulations to contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

As I say after each post:anim0014-1_e0-1

Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

If you like my blog, share it intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it intact with your enemies. I don’t care!

Feel free to “Like” my post.

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