SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Maria King
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!
On a beautiful day, I went on a bike ride with some friends near San Francisco. The plan was to climb Mt. Tamalpais and even ride to gems like the Alpine Dam.
I loved cycling, but it wasn’t my life. I was a recent college graduate devoted and dedicated to working as a teacher in my hometown. I planned on going home to finish lesson-planning and grading after my morning bike ride.
I didn’t expect to crash while descending to the Alpine Dam – lacerating my kidney, getting a brain hematoma, and breaking my wrist. The crash also resulted in severe brain trauma – something that I and many of my friends don’t have enough awareness of. I don’t remember anything at all from the downhill section that changed my life to most things that occurred to me and around me the following month. My senses of time, identity, personality, values, education, and motivation all temporarily left. The doctors in the ICU (intensive care unit) weren’t sure if I’d survive. All I can remember from the experience is being alive, but not feeling like myself.
When I finally went home from the hospital, I had a natural high from rediscovering life and surviving, despite all the “what ifs.” As I began to feel more like myself, I started feeling angry, disappointed, and guilty in regards to myself and the accident. It isn’t easy living with all these uncertainties, since I somewhat had a “plan” for my life. But, I survived, and I’m going to continue fighting the good fight.
Disclaimer: Any views and opinions of the Contributor are purely his/her own.
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(Photos compliments of contributor.)
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