TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

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.)

Comments on: "Survivors SPEAK OUT! David Figurski" (3)

  1. Donna, tried, but my Kindle will not let me……
    name…Del…..prefer Papa
    I live in Utah, but travel a lot to Arizona for winters.
    10 years ago last Christmas eve I was hit in my truck by a girl who ran a stop sign.
    I knew I was hurt at the time of the accident, but the next morning I could not remember many things likw where I lived, my children’s names, what to call ketsup or how to add 2+5.

    I was checked out at the emergency room the day of the accident and released. I saw my doctor the next day and he acted like he did not believe any of my symptoms…..said he had never heard of anything like it! His notes really hurt my future medical treatment and legal battles.

    No surgery.

    No coma…..I have met other survivors and think coma helps recovery…..I would even ask to be induced if I could do things over, but that is my opinion.

    I wnt 5years with little understanding of my TBI so no therapy, but I did find video games like poker solitaire and bubbles helped me a great deal, after finding a good doctor she had me play Farmville and I do spend a lot of time on Internet.

    Over my 10 years I have learned to read, add, improve my balance and speach……I do studer if tired. My vision get pretty bad if tired…..I see two of everything in each eye one above the other, but they are level.
    My ears always ring, I’m easily fatqued, moody and all my organs suffer from TBI ( lungs, bowels ). My personality and social abilities have changed.

    The first 8 years were very difficult, but things are getting much better as I learn to manage my environment. I missed everything about my lifebefore and could not see anything good Iin my future…..very dark times.

    Things are better now, I accept my new life, my wife and I have gotten through the hard times, our relationship may be better now than ever. I have lost most of my friends, but living as a snow bird in my 5th wheel that is not much of an issue. I like being alone as long as I’m able to care for myself, and I’m much better at that now.

    Accepting TBI….
    Got past the money issues…..broke, but have enough.
    Find someone who believed me and then showed my wife so she could understand.
    Learning my triggers and how to cope.
    Learning to slow down and accept my limitations.

    Social life is way different…..I’m now a huge homebody……public places suck, movies are too hard to follow and can’t go to theaters anyway.
    I’d love to be able to eat at restaurants, but too over stimulating.

    10 years from now…..
    I hope to continue to live like I’m doing now a little better everyday.

    I do hate all the days that I still fill like crap……..weather and other stress kick me down hard.

    I’d tell other survivors to never give up, set at least one small goal for yourself everyday, let others know how you feel and what you might need often as things change often. Get rid of negative people.
    Things go slow with TBI recovery and healing…….be patient.


  2. I forgot…….try to find other survivors to talk with…..it really helped me when I found other survivors to share with.


  3. […] check out my Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury blog to learn more about my book and read interviews from Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors and […]


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