Survivors SPEAK OUT! Jeremy Dorr
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)
Lynchburg, Virginia, USA
3. On what date did you have your brain injury? At what age?
September 15, 2013. I was 25.
4. How did your brain injury occur?
5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?
My brain injury was first noticed by the doctors at the hospital.
6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?
I had a tracheotomy.
7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?
I was in a medically induced coma for one and a half weeks.
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 did outpatient rehab at the Sheppard Center for six weeks.
9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your brain injury (e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?
I have a problem with control of my emotions. Others say that I am slower than before.
10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?
I worked at UPS, and I drove a Bobcat. I lost both jobs as result of the traumatic brain injury (TBI).
11. What do you miss the most from your pre-brain-injury life?
I miss the friends and working. (My “hobby” was working.)
12. What do you enjoy most in your post-brain-injury life?
13. What do you like least about your brain injury?
I dislike the loss of my prior life. I also dislike the effects that my TBI has had on my daughter.
14. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?
I learned to look for the positive in all situations and to stay positive.
15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
Yes. I pay attention to my family more. My brain injury has brought me closer to them.
16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
Yes. I rarely hear from the friends I had before – if I hear from them at all.
17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?
I am my own caregiver. Yes, I do understand what it takes to be a caregiver.
18. What are your plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?
My plan is to help TBI survivors after they come home and are getting their lives back together. I want them to know that they are not alone.
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 survivors with your specific kind of brain injury.
Be positive, no matter what. Positive brings more positive. Remember, you’re still here, so you can help make the change also. Believe in yourself.
20. What advice would you offer to other brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
The outlook on life has changed, but with change, great things can come. Let go of the hatred of what happened and embrace the “new” you. You are awesome! Don’t respond to negativity. Believe in yourself.
(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.
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(Photos compliments of contributor.)
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