TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘Charles Ross Jr.’

Survivors SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . Charles Ross, Jr.

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Charles Ross, Jr.

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Ross, Charles Survivor

Charles Ross, Jr. – Brain Injury Survivor

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

Charles Ross, Jr.

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

Pittsburg, Missouri, USA     buds5101@gmail.com

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

My TBI (traumatic brain injury) happened on November 15, 1985. I was 18 years old.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

I was in a head-on car crash on a narrow, two-lane highway on a rainy and foggy day. I swerved around a truck that was stopped in the road. The truck left the scene.

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

A witness came to the car and forced the door open. I had thrown up on impact. Until help arrived, he held my head up to keep me from choking.

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

I had the paddles put on me before I got on the helicopter to fly to a large hospital. I also had a tracheotomy.

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

I was in a coma for fifty days.

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 had physical, occupational, and speech therapies as an inpatient for nine months after I came out of the coma. I continued physical therapy as an outpatient for seven years after the accident. My mom then took over. She was a physical therapist aide in a nursing home at the time of the accident. She also did occupational therapy with me too.

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

I was in a wheelchair for one and a half years. I can now walk with a single cane. That level did not immediately come after the wheelchair. It occurred after seven summers of surgeries on my legs. I walked with two canes for many years. I also have epilepsy. That diagnosis took a grand mal seizure five years after the accident. I had thousands of petite mal seizures prior to my grand mal seizure. Only then did the neurologist say that the “spells,” as I called them then, were petite mal seizures. I take multiple medicines to control them. It took twenty-two years to find the right mixture to control them. Balance and memory are also great problems today – thirty years later. My sense of balance is gone. I fall frequently, even using a cane. My short-term and long-term memories were damaged. The short-term memory was destroyed. It took years of training to get back what I have. Long-term memory – I don’t recognize it as affecting me so badly. I just don’t think of it. I take two medicines that they give to Alzheimer’s patients. I am hoping they help me. I don’t know yet if they do.

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

I struggled to get two Associate Degrees over seven years. I struggled more in the workforce for fourteen years. Most of the time, I had no insurance. The meds I needed for the seizures came out-of-pocket. So my credit rating tanked, and a bankruptcy followed. I filed for disability insurance after losing my last job. I was making the most money ever, but I still had no benefits. On the last job, I grossed more money in a week and a half than I make in a month now.

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

I miss a sense of being normal – being able to go out and do anything at almost any time. My only restriction was money.

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

I enjoy knowing the people I have met as a result of the injury – the countless doctors and nurses who took care of me and other individuals who also have had head injuries. I never would have met them, or even thought of meeting them, had I not had a head injury.

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

I dislike not having my “normal” life.

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

I never had the attitude where I just wanted to give up on life, even though it could be depressing at times.

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

Yes. I think I experienced jealousy from a brother because I got more attention afterward. I’ve had many different relationships, but all have ended up failing. The lack of money was the usual excuse. Most relationships were started over the web.

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

I don’t go out very much. Right now, I’m living with my mom. (My dad just passed.) As a 48-year-old male, I don’t regret living with my mom. It’s just not normal.

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

I am able to take care of myself, including my meds and my bills. I cooked when I was not with my mom.

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

I want to get a place of my own again.

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.

Charles Ross, Jr. - Brain Injury Survivor

Charles Ross, Jr. – Brain Injury Survivor

My advice: Do not turn down any kind of help that’s offered – do not be too proud.

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

You should take pride in being a survivor. Most people, if faced with the challenges you have, could not do it. You have already accomplished the hardest thing, which was to survive.

 

 

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.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

 

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SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury Charles Ross

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury Charles Ross  (survivor)

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!

bigstock-cartoon-face-vector-people-25671746-e1348136261718It can happen to anyone, anytime, . . . and anywhere.

The Brain Trauma Foundation states that there are 5.3 million people in the United States living with some form of brain injury.

On “Faces of Brain Injury,” you will meet survivors living with brain injury. I hope that their stories will help you to understand the serious implications and complications of brain injury.

The stories on SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury are published with the permission of the survivor or designated caregiver.

If you would like your story to be published, please send a short account and two photos to me at neelyf@aol.com. I’d love to publish your story and raise awareness for Brain Injury.

 

Charles Ross (survivor)

Ross Jr., Charles Survivor 112415 copy

Charles Ross Jr. – Brain Injury Survivor

It has been just over thirty years since I had my traumatic brain injury (TBI) in November 1985. I remember nothing of the accident at all. What I say of the accident is what I learned after the fact. I had the paddles put on me before I got on the helicopter to fly to the larger hospital in St. Louis. The doctors even told my parents they were removing me from Intensive Care to make room for someone who might live. I was in a coma for fifty days. I spent over ten months in the hospital. I was in a wheelchair for one and a half years. And, I had seven summers of surgery to make it to where I can now walk with a cane.

I have severe memory problems. My short-term memory was, and still is, bad. I had been having what I called “spells,” during which I would get a feeling like a chill in my spine. My parents noticed the staring while I was in the hospital. The doctors took me off seizure medicine because they did not believe I was having seizures. I know those spells increased in frequency after that. I could go days with no spells, but other days, I could have hundreds. They usually seemed to last a few seconds, but Mom thought they sometimes lasted longer.

As the spells increased, the feelings I had changed too. I began to notice a feeling like I needed to have a bowel movement, but I never did that, I remember. I would get extremely hot, and sometimes the sweat would just pour out of me for a few seconds. Mainly at night, I would wake with a spell and have a horrible taste in my mouth. After I got my license back, I sometimes had these spells while I was driving. I could have them in class or while I was watching TV or walking or sleeping – it did not matter. I never noticed anything that triggered them. Four years after the accident, in my sleep on New Year’s Eve night 1989, I had a tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizure. It was determined that the “spells” were petit mal seizures. Treatments finally began for traumatically incurred epilepsy, which the doctor finally said I had.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After I started on medication, the spells decreased dramatically. I would still have one, and my neurologist would increase my dose. That helped for some time, but the spells never stopped completely. Even though I had severe memory and physical problems along with the seizures, I managed to get two Associate Degrees over nine years. However, because of my memory problems, I failed to get my Bachelor’s Degree. I started working with my last degree, but the stress was too powerful to maintain the job. I had many jobs though, mainly contract jobs without benefits.

I began to have blank spells. Maybe I had them before, but I never remembered them or realized it. Why I knew I had them was because I was driving again and I would have an accident in which I hit someone in the back end. I would come out of any blank spell immediately, but I never remembered what had happened, other than that I hit someone. I figured that they hit the brakes quickly in rush-hour traffic and I could not stop.

Over the years, I would have an accident every year or two. Finally, I realized that, before each accident, I had that strange feeling also. So, then I knew what the real cause of the accidents was. After fifteen years of work, I lost my job. I moved in with my parents again. The new neurologist started me on a second medication, and that helped. It did not stop the spells though.

Ross, Charles Survivor

Charles Ross Jr. – Brain Injury Survivor

I moved again and got another neurologist. She put me on two more medicines. One was the same brand, just a different strength. That medicine with such a heavy dosage made me have mood swings sometimes. Altogether, it was over twenty-two years after treatment began and twenty-seven years after the accident before the right mixture was found and I felt in control again. I moved back in with my parents again in late 2014. I helped my parents the best I could with my three hospital stays and two operations. I drove my dad for cancer treatments before his death in September 2015. I am with my mom now. We help each other during the grieving process.

I hope my story serves as a source of strength, encouragement, and determination for others with TBIs to never give up. I was never supposed to live! If I did, they said I would be no more than a being in a chair, unable to do anything for myself.

Never Give UpI am writing my story, I drive, I went to college, I got two Associate degrees, and I worked for fifteen years. There is so much more, but anyone who reads this story should know that anything is possible. You may not accomplish as much as I did, or you may accomplish more. Just know that you should never give up on yourself. Feel proud of your body. If they had been in your shoes, they could never have done what you did, and that is to survive! Be proud!

 

(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 Commentanim0014-1_e0-1 below this post.

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So, Whaddya Think? . . . My Opinion: Sports Benefits Outweigh the Risks

So, Whaddya Think?

My Opinion: Sports Benefits Outweigh the Risks

by

 Charles Ross

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

So Whaddya Think Brain th-4I was eighteen when I had my traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a car accident in 1985. I was brought back to life once. I was in a coma for fifty days. I was in a wheelchair for one and a half years. I have memory problems. My body drew up into a fetal position. It took seven years of painful surgery and therapy and close to thirty procedures to straighten my legs, feet, arms, and hands. Thirty years later, my claw-shaped right hand looks like it has rheumatoid arthritis, but I use it. I write with that hand and walk with a cane in it. Three years after my accident, I went back to college. It took three years of difficult work to get my first Associate Degree and two years for a second in Mechanical Drafting, AutoCAD. I worked fifteen difficult years doing AutoCAD. Not one day since my accident has been easy for me. I am proud of what I accomplished, and I hope my story will be an inspiration to others.

Ross Jr., Charles Survivor 112415 copy

Charles Ross Jr. TBI Survivor

I know personally how tragic it is if a person gets hurt or killed accidentally, but that’s life. I don’t want to seem like life does not matter to me – because it does. (My life now is precious to me. I cherish each moment I have with family or friends. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people, whom I never would have met otherwise, have blessed my life.) I am not heartless; I am very compassionate. I cry when I hear a tragic story of any kind. I know what life is. I know what death is. And I know what pain and suffering are.

I played three years of high-school football. Many guys were much bigger than I was, and I was fortunate not to get hurt. It was my third year of driving when I had my accident. Throughout my recovery, I looked back at the grueling football practices, and they football-player-tackling-cartoon-football-playersinspired me to go forward. What a sport does is teach sportsmanship, pride, respect, and loyalty, and it inspires one to do better.

Should I never ride in a car or even drive again because somebody has gotten hurt in a car accident? A baseball player may get hit in the head by a pitch, but now players have helmets to protect them. (There isn’t protective headwear in basketball, volleyball, tennis, or soccer, but maybe there should be.) Thousands of people end up in Emergency football_-_helmet_5Rooms or even in morgues because they fall while walking and hit their head. Should every man, woman, and child wear a helmet simply to walk? It seems just as foolish to end all athletics.

 

So, Whaddya Think?

Let’s get a dialogue going. Post your comments in the Comment Section. Directions are below.

So . . . what do you think? Is there something you are passionate about in this Brain Injury (BI) world? Do you want to be heard? Your opinion matters! You can SPEAK OUT! on “So Whaddya Think?”

Simply send me your opinion, and I will format it for publication. Posts may be short, but please send no more than 500 words. Send to Neelyf@aol.com

I hope to HEAR from you soon.

As I say after each post:

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

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow Me Via eMail” on the right sidebar of your screen.anim0014-1_e0-1

If you like my blog, click the “Like” button under this post.

If you REALLY like my blog, share it intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it intact with your enemies. That works for me too!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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