TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for April 30, 2015

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury Richard Johnson

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 – one view at a time.

Richard Johnson (survivor) 


Hello, I’m a TBI (traumatic brain injury) survivor. In October 2003, I was cleaning the gutters on my house. The ladder slipped, and down I went, hitting my head on a concrete slab. I was admitted to HCMC (Hennepin County Medical Center), and I spent the first month there. I was placed into a medically induced coma and had a craniotomy, one session in the hyperbaric chamber, multiple MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans and/or CAT (CT, computerized tomography) scans, and a tracheotomy. A feeding tube was inserted. And, I was given a protective helmet.

During the second month, I was sent to Bethesda Hospital to help me “wake up” from my coma. There I had cognitive and physical therapies.  For my third month, I was transferred to Regions Hospital. I continued with speech, physical, and occupational therapies on a daily basis (two sessions a day, 45 minutes each).  In January 2004, I was released from the hospital and was able to return home. In February 2004, I went back to HCMC, where they placed my bone back onto my skull (and I was able to throw away my helmet). During January through September, I had daily outpatient sessions for speech and occupational therapies. In October 2004, I was able to start working again full-time at my “pre-injury” job.

My main “post injury” side effects are aphasia and a short-term memory issue. To “heal” my ongoing aphasia, to help other survivors (and their families), and also to inform the general public about brain injuries, I am a co-facilitator for a brain injury support-group in the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Center and a member of the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance Speaker Bureau. To help me recover from my short-term memory issue, I bought myself a mandolin.  I didn’t just buy it to play some tunes, but to remember the notes, chords, and lyrics for those songs hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and month-to-month. To me, playing my mandolin is self-help therapy and perhaps the best idea I’ve had after my injury.

Any views and opinions of the Contributor are purely his/her own.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

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