Survivors SPEAK OUT! Jordan Emerson
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)
Windham, Maine, USA
3. On what date did you have your brain injury? At what age?
I had my brain injury at 13 years young.
4. How did your brain injury occur?dan Emerson
I was driving a fully-safety-equipped racecar.
5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?
When I was unconscious
6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?
I was given a trach. I had emergency procedures for a cracked left hip, brain stem, seizures, a crushed left arm, paralyzed vocal chords, and paralyzed stomach.
7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?
Yes. Almost 3 months
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 have occupational and physical therapies as an outpatient. I was also helped by a speech-language pathologist.
How long were you in rehab?
I’m still attending OT and PT as an outpatient.
9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your brain injury (e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?
I still have awful trouble going to the bathroom. Being in crowded areas makes me tired. (It’s “overstimulation,” but instead of overstimulation, it feels like a “draining of my energy.”)
10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?
My life is neither better nor worse. It’s just different.
11. What do you miss the most from your pre-brain-injury life?
I miss being able to run around outside with my dogs.
12. What do you enjoy most in your post-brain-injury life?
I like that everybody seems to offer to help more often.
13. What do you like least about your brain injury?
I dislike that I’ll be thinking so hard about something, and then, *poof* it’s gone.
14. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?
Talking with other survivors has helped.
15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
Before I developed a filter, I said things to friends, and over time, those friends disappeared.
16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
Yes. I have lost friends.
17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?
My mom is my main caregiver. I’m thankful for her every day.
18. What are your plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?
I plan to be driving, living in my own apartment, married, etc.
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.
Hard work really does pay off.
20. What advice would you offer to other brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
I owe a lot of my journey to my loving parents – I couldn’t have done this without them. I ♡ them!
Please feel free to reach out to me (#Believe). I enjoy helping whenever I am able. Believe!
(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! Survivors Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.
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