TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for April 8, 2014

Survivors SPEAK OUT! David Figurski

SPEAK OUT! – David Figurski



David about 3 weeks before his TBI – in brand new running outfit. David ran about 20 miles per week.

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

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

David Figurski

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

Arizona           dhfdmf@aol.com

3. When did you have your TBI? At what age?

January 13, 2005           Age 57

4. How did your TBI occur?

It was induced by my doing chin-ups.

5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?

I realized I had a problem when my vision deteriorated after doing chin- ups.  I knew I had a serious problem a couple of minutes later when I was talking to my wife.  I felt fluid filling my skull, and there was a lot of pain in my face.

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?
(e.g., surgery, tracheotomy, G-peg)

Ambulance from a 9-1-1 call.
Three surgeries
1. to evacuate the blood
2. to remove an aneurysm that was discovered in the first surgery
3. to remove an AVM (Arterial Venous Malformation) that was discovered in the second surgery.

7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?

Yes, a little more than two weeks.

8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., In-patient or Out-patient and Occupational, Physical, Speech, Other)? How long were you in rehab?

In-Patient rehab for almost two months (phys., occup., speech)
Out-Patient rehab for almost sixteen months (phys., occup., speech)
Private physical therapy 2 hours/week for seven years

9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your TBI?
(e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)

Balance (can hobble indoors, but cannot walk outdoors unassisted)
Double vision (one image is tilted relative to the other)
Difficulty swallowing
Partly paralyzed tongue
Ataxic right arm/hand
Left arm/hand is not ataxic, but it’s not as good as it was pre-TBI
Less feeling in my right leg
Paralysis of the right side of my face

10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?

Better –  life is slower
more time to spend with people
Worse – loss of independence
loss of mobility
unable to do things that I once did

11. What do you miss the most from your pre-TBI life?

Walking, running, driving, writing, reading, drawing

12. What do you enjoy most in your post-TBI life?

My computer, movies at home courtesy of Netflix, audiobooks

13. What do you like least about your TBI?

Because of paralysis of my mouth, I bite my lip or tongue many times each meal.

14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?

The positive attitude of my wife and all my doctors and therapists

15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?

My wife and I have always had a close relationship, but now I have more time to spend with her.

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

Yes.  Though my wife and I go out less, we socialize a lot more at home.  I have more time now, so I have more friends.

17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?

My wife is my main caregiver.  She is also my cheerleader.  Yes, I know how much my wife has sacrificed to do what she does for me.

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

I plan to be able to walk outside unassisted.  My dream is to walk a 5K race in less than an hour.

19. What advice would you offer to other TBI survivors?

Have a positive attitude.
Be aware of the love of other people.
Do what you can.
Be patient with yourself.

20. Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

You will probably never be able to do all that you once did, but life can be satisfying

David - 9 years and 3 months after his TBI

David – 9 years and 3 months after his TBI


Thank you, David, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.


(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.)

If you would like to be a part of this project, please go to TBI Survivor Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.

(Photos compliments of ME.)

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