Survivors SPEAK OUT! Danielle Skranak
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)
Washington DC, USA
3. On what date did you have your brain injury? At what age?
October 26, 2014 I was 19.
4. How did your brain injury occur?
I fell during Army Basic Training.
5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?
It was witnessed by my entire company.
6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?
I did not receive any emergency treatment.
7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?
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 not attend rehab or have any other outpatient therapy.
9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your brain injury (e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?
I had long-term and short-term memory loss, vertigo, and aphasia.
10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?
It’s neither better nor worse, just different. It made me become more independent, I suppose.
11. What do you miss the most from your pre-brain-injury life?
Easily remembering things and my memories
12. What do you enjoy most in your post-brain-injury life?
Speaking about my injury and meeting other survivors
13. What do you like least about your brain injury?
I dislike how easily I forget stuff and having to constantly ensure I’m eating right – so my brain is working at its optimal capacity.
14. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?
Time, really. Nothing else has contributed.
15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
I was more easily manipulated. I was involved in a domestically violent relationship that did not end well.
16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
I used to easily trust people because so many wanted to help me, but I’ve since learned that you cannot trust everybody. That was a hard lesson for me to learn.
17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you 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?
I hope to be fully recovered and to help those who need help. Perhaps in the next few years, I will have earned my Juris doctorate.
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 wish I would’ve known early on that not everyone’s recovery is the same. Some are longer; some, shorter. There’s no magic pill you can take to make recovery shorter.
20. What advice would you offer to other brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Take everything slowly. It’s not a sprint to recover.
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