TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for March, 2021

COVID-19: Vaccines ………….. Part 1 of 3: If Enough Get Vaccinated, Society Can Return to Normal

COVID-19: Vaccines Part 1 of 3: If Enough Get Vaccinated, Society Can Return to Normal

by
Columbia University Professor Emeritus, Dr. David Figurski

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

(Disclaimer: The World Health Organization <WHO> has officially named the new coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes as COVID-19. Because the majority of people, including much of the press, commonly refer to the virus as “COVID-19,” to avoid confusion, I use COVID-19 as the name of the virus in this post.)

David H. Figurski, Ph.D & Survivor of Brain Injury

Vaccination is happening on a large scale in the US. President Biden has said that all adults can be vaccinated by the end of May.

Amazingly, in one year, three vaccines have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). A fourth is ready, and more are close to finishing their clinical trials.

Why get vaccinated? 

Everybody knows that you will protect yourself from serious disease, so there will no longer be the risk of hospitalization and/or death.

The amount of virus in the body will be lower (and sooner at zero), so you are less likely to infect a sensitive person.

And there is a major benefit to everyone – most people don’t consider this.

Some people are irrationally worried about the vaccines and will not get vaccinated. This is a problem because vaccination is not just a personal decision. The entire population – vaccinated and unvaccinated – is adversely affected.  Let me explain.

When 70-80% of the people become immune, the pandemic will be defeated. (The virus will still be around because the 20-30% who are not immune will allow the virus to stay with us – but in lower amounts.  The 70-80% number comes from virologists (including Dr. Fauci) who understand that the population achieves “herd immunity” at that level.  Herd immunity will allow us to get back to normal – no lockdowns or self-quarantining, no avoiding contact with other people, no social-distancing, and no masks.

So if we want to get back to normal, we need to achieve herd immunity.

There are two ways to become immune – (1) infection with the virus and (2) vaccination.  Infection is iffy and dangerous.  Vaccination is guaranteed.

The former President was sometimes influenced by Scott Atlas – a notoriously incompetent COVID-19 Task Force member. Atlas was convinced that the best way to achieve herd immunity was to let everybody get infected.  The first problem is the number of deaths that policy would cause. (At a death rate of 1%, infection of the 330 million people in the American population would lead to 3.3 million deaths.) The second problem is that some infections (probably some of the asymptomatic infections) lead to poor immunity that’s not protective.  We know that some individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 have no antibodies to the virus. (The “innate” immune system – our first line of defense – was probably good enough.)

Vaccination is guaranteed to provide protective immunity.  FDA approval is based on a vaccine’s protective effect in the clinical trial.  (The Phase III clinical trial involves ~30,000 people.)

A decision to be vaccinated benefits not only you, but also everyone.  

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

Prisoners without Bars: A Caregiver’s Tale

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Another Fork in the Road ~~~ Do You Know Someone with a Brain Injury? I Do!

Do You Know Someone with a Brain Injury? I Do!
presented
by
Donna O’Donnell Figurski 

Chances are you know someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI.) More than 1.7 million Americans each year sustain a brain injury.  I personally know five people who are living with some form of TBI. In fact, I’m living with one.

My husband, David, had his brain injury in 2005. A professor friend of ours from Brigham Young University has one. So do my nephew, an actor/director friend from my local community theater, and the husband of my friend, Judy.

A brain injury can occur in the blink of an eye. Brain injury is not discriminating. It cares not about color, race, or creed. It can happen to a child or an octogenarian and everyone in between. A child may fall off his bike or off her swing.  A teenager may meet up with a TBI on the soccer or football field or a gymnastic mat. Car and motorcycle accidents are common causes of traumatic brain injuries. An assault in a dark alley or domestic abuse in your home can result in brain injury too. One can even have a traumatic brain injury while exercising (e.g., while doing chin ups in the wee hours of the morning after doing Tai Chi while listening to Deuter or some other new age CD). David did!

Like snowflakes, no two brain injuries are the same. Each survivor is different too and each method of healing is unique to the person who is struggling to regain his or her former life. With a lot of hard work, patience, and persistence many survivors can enjoy a “new normal” life.

Check out this article, Facts About Traumatic Brain Injury, for more information.

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Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

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Survivors SPEAK OUT! Meghan Beaudry

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Meghan Beaudry

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Meghan Beaudry – Brain Injury Survivor

     1. What is your name? (last name optional)

     Meghan Beaudry

     2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email (optional)

     Houston, Texas, USA        meghan_wang@yahoo.com

     3. On what date did you have your brain injury? At what age?

     In 2009, I developed lupus, an autoimmune disease, that turned into brain inflammation. I was      twenty-two. Five years later, in 2014, I had another severe brain inflammation flare in which I forgot both how to walk and much of my past.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease.

5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?

I first realized something was wrong when I began to struggle in grad school.

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?

A female Doctor.

A female Doctor.

I had a difficult time getting diagnosed, so I did not receive treatment the first year I was sick. I saw seven doctors before I was diagnosed with lupus. 

7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?

No.

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?

No.

9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your brain injury
(e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?

I have some short-term and long-term memory loss. While I don’t have noticeable balance problems, I have a poor sense of balance for someone my age.

10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?

My life has changed in many ways since I’ve survived brain inflammation. In some ways, it has improved. I’m more fearless and confident. Because living with brain injury and lupus takes up so much energy, I have little energy for negative thoughts and people who might hold me back

11. What do you miss the most from your pre-brain-injury life?

I miss being able to memorize information quickly and with little effort.

12. What do you enjoy most in your post-brain-injury life?

I never would have started writing if I hadn’t developed a brain injury. It’s been an honor to be able to share my experience so that others with brain injuries can feel less alone.

13. What do you like least about your brain injury?

I dislike the fatigue that comes with lupus, as well as worrying that I will have a memory slip when speaking, presenting, or performing.

14. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?

What has helped me let go of my grief is understanding that, while living with brain injury is not a choice, grief is. I’d rather only live with one chronic condition than with two.

15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?

It took a while for my family to accept that my abilities and needs were different after my diagnosis. My second episode of brain inflammation led to my divorce because my husband was emotionally unable to handle it.

16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?

I’ve been lucky to know friends who understand my limitations, especially because of the fatigue I experience daily. In many ways, brain inflammation has deepened many of my existing friendships.

17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?

When I was very sick and bedridden with the second brain inflammation flare, my mother-in-law moved into my house to take care of me. Her selflessness and positive energy were huge factors in my recovery.

18. What are your plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?

I hope to have published a memoir about my experience.

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.

I use my phone to help me remember everything. There are so many apps to help you keep track of your life.

20. What advice would you offer to other brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

Always remember that the lowest point in your injury/life is not the point at which you will stay forever.

 

Get Your Copy Now

Read It! Review It! Listen to It!

 

Click Links under Book

PAPERBACK!   Read it Now!     e-BOOK!   Read it Now!

AUDIO BOOK Listen to it Now!

Stay Safe and Healthy!

Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

As I say after each post:

Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

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