SPEAK OUT! – Judy F.
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)
Welland, Ontario, Canada
3. When did you have your TBI? At what age?
I was born with hydrocephalus, and I have had several TBIs in my life.
4. How did your TBI occur?
In 2013, I had a problem from a mini-stroke and/or low blood flow during one.
5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?
We realized there was a problem about a month after the stroke occurred.
6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?
I had surgery due to high intercranial pressure on May 15, 2013.
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)? How long were you in rehab?
I receive medical support from a team of experts on an outpatient basis (neurologist, family doctor, occupational therapist, massage therapist, osteopath, pharmacist, social worker, and psychologist). I am still doing what is known as “work hardening” (an individualized treatment program designed to maximize a person’s ability to return to work).
9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your TBI (e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?
I am unable to work at this time due to balance, short-term memory, and processing issues. I also have mental fatigue (i.e., I need a daily afternoon nap).
10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?
Better – slower day Worse – my TBI-caused problems
11. What do you miss the most from your pre-TBI life?
I miss working.
12. What do you enjoy most in your post-TBI life?
I can now relax, and I don’t feel like I’m rushing through my day.
13. What do you like least about your TBI?
Besides not working, I also dislike the headaches.
14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?
It took time to process how my life and the people around me have changed since my TBI.
15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
My relationships on the whole have gotten better. Everyone is patient with me and very encouraging. They help me celebrate any achievements and progress.
16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
My social life has taken a bit of a hit, as it’s hard to commit to a date and time. Every day is different, and I don’t know how I’ll feel. It’s hard to explain this to people who haven’t been through it.
17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?
My main caregiver is my husband. He helps me be the best I can be and is my cheering section.
18. What are your future plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?
I hope to improve, to be the best I can in our “new normal,” and to be a contributing member of my community in whatever capacity I am able to.
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.
I have learned to make daily reminder-notes. This helps me prioritize important things to do on a daily basis.
20. What advice would you offer to other TBI survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Assemble a good support team to help you on your journey. Post-TBI survivors belong in the “car pool lane of life.”
Thank you, Judy, 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 the SPEAK OUT! project, please go to TBI Survivor Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.
(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)