Survivors SPEAK OUT! – Randy Davis
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
1. What is your name? (last name optional)
2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email (optional)
Longmont, CO, USA firstname.lastname@example.org
3. When did you have your TBI? At what age?
November 3, 1984 age 16
4. How did your TBI occur?
I was in a target-shooting accident. I was shot in the head.
5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?
I realized I had a problem the moment the bullet impacted my head.
6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have (e.g., surgery,
I had emergency brain surgery to remove the bullet that penetrated into my brain and an emergency right temporal lobectomy.
7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?
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?
I didn’t have formal therapy to learn to walk and talk again, but I had psychological and neuropsych/speech therapy on and off over a period of several years.
9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your TBI (e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?
I dealt with massive PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and right temporal mood-swing seizures, which were more mental than physical.
10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?
My life has been a progression from post-TBI teenage-hood into adulthood. It took many years of trial and error to make a living and to get my TBI in order so I could move forward in life. I was eventually able to heal and to make a career in Law Enforcement and to have an 8-year career in the US Army Reserves.
11. What do you miss the most from your pre-TBI life?
I miss the innocence and vitality for living without worrying that I’d be injured again.
12. What do you enjoy most in your post-TBI life?
I’ve discovered how resilient I am to adversity and challenge.
13. What do you like least about your TBI?
I have terrible tinnitus and head pains.
14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?
15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
It’s been hard. I’ve let my guard down and been through three horrible marriages.
16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
I’m more cautious and tend not to go out and “party.” I don’t like crowds anymore.
17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?
18. What are your future plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?
I want to get into public speaking about TBI and triumphing over tragedy. I want to help our veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan deal with brain injuries. I’m also pursuing becoming an NRA Firearms Instructor, in hopes of using my story of surviving a near fatal shooting to spread safety.
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 TBI survivors with your specific kind of TBI.
20. What advice would you offer to other TBI survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Never accept defeat; never quit. Things can be hard. People usually don’t understand what you’re dealing with, but if you survived the injury, you’re a survivor – a fighter.
Thank you, Randy, 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.)
(Photos compliments of Randy.)
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.