Survivors SPEAK OUT! Kenneth Powell
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)
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
3. On what date did you have your brain injury? At what age?
2010 I was 42 years of age.
4. How did your brain injury occur?
I’ve had three hemorrhagic strokes on the lower left side of my brain.
5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?
I fell out of bed after trying to stand up. My (then) girlfriend found me.
6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?
The first stroke occurred on April 30, 2010. I knew my name, where I was, and what I was told had happened. Immediately after sleeping that night, the second stroke occurred. I was put into a coma for the next 30 days.
7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?
Yes. 30 days
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)?
I had occupational, physical, and speech therapies as an inpatient and an outpatient.
9. How long were you in rehab?
10. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your brain injury (e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?
Aphasia, right-side paralysis, complete amnesia
11. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?
My life is challenging.
12. What do you miss the most from your pre-brain-injury life?
I miss running and normal kidney function.
13. What do you enjoy most in your post-brain-injury life?
I enjoy sharing my experience with others and proving mind over matter.
14. What do you like least about your brain injury?
I dislike people’s perceptions of “the disabled.”
15. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?
My faith has helped me accept my brain injury.
16. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
The perceptions about “disabled” or “handicapped” individuals have been a hindrance. Romantic relationships are nearly nonexistent.
17. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
Perceptions about the disabled greatly affect my life.
18. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?
I am my own main caregiver. I am helped occasionally by my sister.
19. What are your plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?
I hope to be back to work.
20. 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.
Ask as many questions as possible. Know and interact with as many survivors as you can (via websites, support-groups, etc.).
What advice would you offer to other brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Personal and spiritual FAITH is essential to the day-to-day survival of this injury.
(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 SPEAK OUT! Caregiver Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.
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