TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Twelve Years, But Who’s Counting?


Donna O’Donnell Figurski

1242232191169820850212_white,_green_rounded_rectangle.svg.med.pngTwelve years! Twelve years ago today, I came as close as a breath to losing my husband and best friend, David. While exercising (a thing he did every day to stay in shape), David did thirteen chin-ups, one more than he had done every other day. That was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back,” or in David’s case, the “chin-up that caused his subarachnoid hemorrhage.” That day, as I rode with him in the ambulance to the hospital, I never realized what lay ahead for us. I never dreamed that this blip would be life-altering. I thought we’d be home by the end of the day, carrying on with life as usual. I was wrong!


David H. Figurski, Ph.D. – Brain Injury Survivor

David remained in the hospital in the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the step-down unit at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital (now New York Presbyterian Hospital) for three weeks. While he was there, he was treated to two more brain surgeries – one for an aneurysm and the other for an arterial venous malformation (AVM). He then became a guest at a local rehab hospital for another two months, until insurance wrongly said he was fine to go home.th-1

I am grateful that David is still with me. He wasn’t expected to be. Each surgeon gave me little hope that he would survive any of his surgeries. I’m glad that David proved them all wrong. I’m glad that we have had twelve more years together, and I hope to spend many more with this man whom I have loved since I was sixteen years old.


Hopefully, in the sometime future, you will be able to read David’s whole story in my book-in-manuscript, titled “Prisoners Without Bars: A Caregiver’s Tale.”

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Comments on: "TBI Tales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Twelve Years, But Who’s Counting?" (25)

  1. i went through simelar to your husband suboracnoid hemorage long come and rehab but now 9 months later and happy happy with life happy to be here early days were scary and i am left with numbness hypercensative and disability in eye but i am happy and grateful i hope we can all learrn from each other we are all wonderful x


  2. God kept you here, David, for an incredible reason… How blessed we are as a brain injured family to have your life amongst ours. You have an amazing wife who really seems to help advocate for this hidden disability that so many people have. Keep holding strong, and keep your faith! Keep up the good work- you are doing fantastic!!


  3. Great tribute!!
    You guys are amazing and it’s been an honor to
    watch Dave come so far!
    It seems every time we see you, he’s a tiny bit better!!!!
    Keep on keepin on!!
    Love you ❤️


    • Thanks, Kayhy.

      I truly appreciate your words. David never gives up. He does just “Keep on keepin on!!”

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski


  4. Ina M Dutkiewicz said:

    Thunderous applause and a standing ovation to you Donna, who stood by your man, through this dark period of his life and yours too! You are an amazing woman, a spouse who truly, deep down, to her core, meant what she said when she stood at the altar. Not many can say that and hold their head high! David is fortunate to have you in his corner. Here’s to another 12 years and many more!
    So many spouses leave their significant other after a TBI, when they are needed most. Statistical rates as high as 49 percent.


  5. lee staniland said:

    I’m very proud to say I know you and your story. David is very lucky that he has you to fight for him as we too are luck cause you fight for all of us. Thanks you!


  6. Kiersten Figurski said:

    Thank you for taking such good care of him. ❤️


  7. Tom Figurski said:

    Congratulations on 12 years of survival and recovery. It’s been a lot of hard work and loving care. Each and every year is worth celebrating.


    • Thanks, Tom.

      It certainly has, but I would do every minute again just to have David with me. I cannot even imagine life without him.

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski


    • Thanks, Tom! It’s hard to believe that 12 years have passed already. David has come a long way. He has a long way to go. But, I am just glad that he is here with me – any way! We celebrate every day!

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski


  8. I really would love to follow your blog, I am a TBI myself, but I cannot find or figure out where to say follow.


    • Hi Marie,

      I am flattered that you want to follow my blog. It’s easy. Look on the right sidebar near the top. This category is there. “Follow Me via Email.” Just type your email address and you will receive a post each time I publish an article.

      Thank you very much for your interest.

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski


  9. Best wishes to you two as you continue this wonderful life together. That’s love and commitment. Congratulations on a once in a lifetime love.


  10. You were a strong woman, Donna, to stand by the man you love, and to support him throughout. You have become so strong now, I only assume you were before. This hardship David and you have went through together has made the bond between you two even stronger. You are to be commended.


    • WOW! Charlie, what powerful words you write! I do not deserve them, but I thank you for them.

      I’ve been with David since I was 16. He is my “everything.”

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Congrats to you both, your husband had serious health issues but God had bigger plans for you both! He wanted your love to continue on to show others that love is love is love, in good times & in the bad times. I think he also wanted you to help other brain injury survivors, like you do so amazingly. Happy Re-Birthday to your dear hubby!


    • Jennifer Stokley, what a wonderful note! Thank you so much for your beautiful sentiments. You made me smile on this gloomy day in the desert.

      You do an amazing job of encouraging those in our brain-injured community. Love your videos.

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski


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