TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘bike/motor vehicle accident’

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Geo Gosling

Survivors SPEAK OUT!  Geo Gosling

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Geo Gosing 1

Geo Gosling – Brain Injury Survivor

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

Geo Gosling

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

St. Helena, California, USA     goose3@wildblue.net

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

In 1995 at the age of 25

4. How did your brain injury occur?

I was riding my bicycle 40-45 mph down a steep hill. (That’s pretty fast on a bicycle.) It was dusk, and I didn’t have a bike-light. A car going in the opposite direction was at the bottom of the hill, didn’t see me, and turned left onto a street. I hit her. In auto accidents, this would be referred to as a “T-bone.” So, while on my bicycle, I “T-boned” a car at about 40 mph.bike

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

Pretty soon thereafter

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

I was transported by ambulance to Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa. (It should be noted that my crash occurred only a few hundred feet from the St. Helena Hospital and Health Center, but the ambulance was routed to Napa – about 25 min. south of where I was – because “The Queen” is much better prepared for head trauma.) I had a tracheotomy, and my right shoulder was pretty smashed. I fractured two neck vertebrae, so I had a broken neck. Some ribs were broken also. That all pales in comparison to the TBI (traumatic brain injury), however.

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

I was technically never in a coma, but I was unconscious for either six or eight days – I don’t remember which. (Funny story – I think: I was technically never in a coma because I would respond to outside stimuli. The doctor demonstrated this by talking loud at me or yelling or saying bad things or something, and I would just lie there in bed give him the finger. I just lay there and flipped him off. I later found out the doctors thought this to be rather amusing.)

Geo Gosling 1

Geo Gosling – Brain Injury Survivor

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 both inpatient and outpatient therapy. Both in- and outpatient therapy consisted of occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and “thought” therapy. (I had to see a psychologist because I was rather … ah … depressed. I called it “thought therapy.”) I was in rehab for years. In fact, I still go to massage therapy because my muscles don’t seem to relax too well anymore. Speech therapy helped, but not much because, as a result of my TBI, I have dysarthria, which is basically paralyzed facial muscles. As a result, I have trouble speaking clearly, and I sound a wee-bit tipsy most of the time.

How long were you in rehab?

Years. I still go to massage therapy twice a month.

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

Let’s see … where to begin? I’m in constant pain. The part of my brain that is responsible for, or connected to, the gums on the left side of my mouth is injured or damaged or whatever. Anyhow, my brain thinks my gums on the left side of my mouth are telling it that they hurt because something is wrong. Well, something is wrong, but not with my gums. It’s my brain that is confused. My brain “thinks” my gums hurt. So, I just think my gums hurt, but they don’t. (Don’t think about that too long, or you will need to see a shrink.) I don’t like people anymore. I’m pissed off all the time. I haven’t had a date in 20+ years. That could also be why I’m pissed off and don’t like people. I can go from being “happy as a clam” to extremely furious in about ten nanoseconds. (I was never like that before.) My balance is terrible – I fall over very easily. (I couldn’t run to save my life – assuming I wanted to save it. I can’t even walk fast.) I have arthritis in my neck – hurts like hell. My lower back hurts often.

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

Is this a trick question?

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

I miss a career I enjoyed, laughing, hope, feeling good, living, friends.

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

Is this another trick question?

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

Let’s see … where to begin? I dislike my speech. I hate the constant pain. I’m unhappy with having no friends, no job, little money, and no hope. That about covers it.

dT76zBKac14. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?

Passage of time, but nothing really helped. I just realized shit happens, and you have to deal with it.

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

I live alone and always will. I can’t really deal with people anymore. I don’t trust anyone, the reason being that my psychologist lied to me. As a result, I ended up in the mental ward of St. Helena Hospital and Health Center for two nights and three days. I also had a therapist call the police after I had done what SHE SAID I SHOULD DO!

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

I used to have somewhat of a social life, but now, the only person I do anything with is my mom. That’s a tad depressing.

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

I don’t really have one now.

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

I have no future plans. I will probably be doing the exact same thing ten years from now – nothing.

Geo Gosling 3

Geo Gosling – Brain Injury Survivor

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.

Just deal with it the best you can.

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

Do as much stuff for yourself as you can. Doing “everyday living” stuff is the best therapy. If you can walk, walk as much as you can.

Check out these books by Geo Gosling.

 TBI Hell by Geo Gosling 4      TBI Purgatory by Geo Gosling 5

 

 

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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Survivors SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . Marty Salo

SPEAK OUT! – Marty Salo

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

051614 Salo, Marty Photo for Interview

 

 

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

Marty Salo

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

Tampa, FL, USA     msalo@verizon.net

3. When did you have your TBI? At what age?

April 7, 1982      Age 11

4. How did your TBI occur?

Bike/motor vehicle accident

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

Immediately. I was medivacked to Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?
(e.g., surgery,

tracheotomy, G-peg)

I had an intracranial pressure monitor and I assume some other tubes. The divot in my head is still visible after all these years when the hair is cut very short.

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

I was officially in a coma for something like 53 days. I was brought home on Day 49, but I had been in pediatric ICU for 14 days.

8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., In-patient or Out-patient and Occupational, Physical, Speech, Other)?
How long were you in rehab?

I did most of the recovery at home. I was tutored by a 5th grade teacher over summer, and I progressed through Catholic primary school. I had some speech therapy at public school. I had help from vocational rehabilitation to get training leading to a job.

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

Fortunately, I had been brilliant as a child, and much of the brilliance continued. There were memory problems, I guess, as well as balance problems and the need to re-master skills from traumatic amnesia. I read more online. I’ve been excited about the Internet from my days in college – even before then. I had been excited about my Apple 2c with a 300-baud modem, which allowed me to communicate to others through asynchronous communications.

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

I adapted. I chose easier courses, changed majors at the university, graduated with an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, and continued to get my Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. There are still situations where I can get overwhelmed, I suppose.

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

I don’t really have much memory of my pre-TBI life. I have only vague, fleeting memories of childhood.

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

I like having fun. I like going to EPCOT and Disney World. I enjoy being around other happy people.

13. What do you like least about your TBI?

I’ve been different from others, but I didn’t really understanding how different from others I was. I just knew that things were not as easy for me. I have adapted by not driving, after an accident at age 19 or so.

14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?

My father is in AA. He exposed me to the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

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

From childhood, there is no comparison. Fortunately, I met a woman who would later become my wife. She has been very beneficial to me and my experiences.

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

Again, childhood and adulthood are largely incomparable, but I’d venture to say that as a financially minded individual, I don’t spend a lot of money on alcohol or cigarettes. We have a pretty happy life, even if not much time is spent out drinking with fellas, or whatever. Other usual socialization patterns exist.

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

My mother, then my wife. My wife is not so much of a caregiver as a partner, but she does drive.

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

It’d be very nice if I were somehow able to get something going where I work at the VA Hospital – doing something to help others with computers and expanding awareness. But, I’m happy enough continuing to work with computers, getting them ready for issuance to providers.

19. What advice would you offer to other TBI survivors

Keep on progressing. Life gets better if you allow it to get better. Most people probably want to see you succeed. Some bosses might not have patience, but your progress is more important. Do not compare yourself to peers who are doing more than you are. Compare yourself to where you have been. Appreciate what you have overcome to get where you are.

20. Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

So many things. Realize that you are not alone. Realize that others have had similar journeys. Realize that others probably would like to see you succeed. Your success builds collective good will, and helps people feel better.  http://martysalo.wordpress.com/ is a website I maintain. I have some TBI-related stuff there as well.051614 Salo, Marty Photo 2 for Interview

 

Thank you, Marty, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.

(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 Survivor Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.

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