TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘DuWayne Hall’

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for Blog

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com.

If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

 

Here are this week’s Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

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The #98 Camaro was driven by Ernie Francis, Jr. He won the TA3 race and the TA3 championship.

DuWayne HallMatt Duffin of the Brain Injury Radio Network submitted my name for painting onto a Trans-Am race car with about 100 other names of TBI survivors. My name is front and center above Kevin Butterfield. It is in the third row from the left, 8th name from the bottom.

 

Joshua Edward Daniel…I got my TBI while putting chains on a customer’s car. A Jeep going 45 mph hit me, breaking my neck and giving me a TBI. The doctor said I would never walk or talk again, but I’m proving him wrong. I love my recovery.

Gena Marie…I am in a place where I can finally feel safe and cared about for the first time in my life.

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photo compliments of DuWayne Hall.)

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SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for Blog

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com. If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

 

Here are this week’s Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

(Though we’ve only two contributors, their accomplishments are great.)

DuWayne Hall…I got a job! My baby step this week is working for a non-profit organization that works with TBI survivors.

Carmen Gaarder Kumm…A giant step. I taught high-school Spanish for 23 years, but I had to resign because I couldn’t do it post accident. Tuesday I taught 20 adults how to tell their name, age, and condition and how to count to 100. I can hardly wait until next week.

DuWayne Hall…I’ve just been offered another job! It provides a paid apartment, full salary, and profit sharing. And that is in addition to the job I was offered on Monday, in which I would be working with military survivors who have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)! Wow! Life is funny and God is Great!

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger: DuWayne Hall . . . My Journey

SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger: DuWayne Hall

My Journey

Boy Blogger thIt was a day like any other day. I got ready for work. As usual, I rode my motorcycle there. I drove around the hairpin turn that lies in front of the Emergency Room at Saint Benedict’s Hospital, where I worked. I arrived 15 minutes early, as usual, and I parked in the parking spaces up in front by the Admission doors. The day was as mundane as expected. Nothing exciting or out of the ordinary had happened. This routine had been repeated daily for eight years. Every day had been painfully identical: I arrived to work at 11:00 pm, worked until 7:00 am, and then went home. I lived only 10 minutes away. As expected, my shift went painfully slowly.

At 7:00, my shift relief failed to show up and relieve me. I was required by my employer – and by law – to stay on the job for another shift.

The Psych ward was about full. Almost half of those patients were minors. I went to my shift change, learned the medical history on my patients, and then began to gather the supplies necessary for my Group Session.

The patients filed in to attend the first Group Session of the day. I handed out supplies and manuals to document the progress of the patients’ recovery from whatever crises had caused them to be admitted into the hospital in the first place.

I thought my usual shift was long, but the next shift felt longer because it was all day. At lunchtime, I clocked out to get off the hospital grounds. I drove down the road to McDonald’s. Before I drove back, I removed my helmet to place my lunch into it to shield my dinner from the wind – thus, keeping it warm during my ride back.

As I rounded that hairpin turn in front of the Emergency Room, a car pulled out right in front of me, causing me to lay the motorcycle down. The bike pinned my right leg under it and then dragged me 100 feet down the road. As a consequence, my head bounced just like a Super Ball between my shoulder and the ground. I acquired a massive amount of “road rash” on my right side, as my chaps and uniform became shredded from the grinding of the motorcycle scraping across the road. I acquired a severe Traumatic Brain Injury and a compound fracture of my right collarbone. I also shattered my right elbow. I crushed my right cheek. I almost ripped off my right ear. I broke my right leg. My right eye was hanging out of its socket. My Big Mac sandwich did much better than I did!

To control brain swelling, the doctors introduced a shunt and placed me into a prolonged coma. While I was in my coma, I did not know that I was injured. I imagined myself on a mountaintop overlooking the city I lived in. I kept thinking to myself, When are they going to start the fireworks? I was only in the mountains to observe the fireworks from up above, instead of from down below, for a better view of the show. The fireworks finally went off. The next thing I knew, I was looking through hospital bed bars. I had no idea where I was or how I got there or when I got there. The last thing I remembered was being in the mountains with friends and watching the fireworks go off.

I was in my coma for 25 days. On the 24th day, the doctors began preparations to remove me from the life-support equipment. My parents, not wanting my daughter to see me dead, had made arrangements to first bring her into my hospital room to view my body before they disconnected me. My daughter, who had not seen me in nine years, was brought into my room. The doctors, nurses, my parents, and several friends watched passively as my daughter, who was 10 at the time, walked over to me and asked, “Daddy, do you want a cup of coffee?” To everybody’s amazement, I started to laugh. I had inexplicably come out of my coma. The doctors immediately started backpedaling. Nobody could explain how it was that they thought I was going to die until I was asked if I wanted a cup of coffee!

The documentation on head injury is incomplete at best. Rehabilitation therapists only follow a standardized guideline on how to treat a head injury. Every article I’ve ever read states that head injuries are unique. So it stands to figure that if every head injury is different, then it is ludicrous to apply standardized testing. The doctors did not like the fact that I was questioning my treatment. I was transferred to three different rehabilitation hospitals over a period of five years, while I relearned to walk, talk, interact with other people, and relearn names. I was taught how to add, subtract, eat, cook for myself, shop, take a shower, wash my clothes, phone, and use the toilet. I had to brush up on my job, my family, relationships, schooling, etc.

Ten years into my disability, because of my coordination problems, I slipped and fell in my own home. I broke my neck. It was a miracle I did not paralyze myself from the neck down. Because I was brain-damaged, nobody believed that I was badly hurt. They thought I was exaggerating my symptoms. The X-rays were not interpreted by a radiologist. Instead, the Emergency Room staff sent me home with instructions to be careful. First thing the next morning, the hospital called me and informed me that I had, in fact, broken my neck. They wanted me to return for admission and treatment, even emergency surgery. I was operated on for a permanent fusion of my T1 and T2 vertebrae.

Eighteen years into my disability, I received a second severe head injury. It occurred while I was just walking across the road. A truck driver did not see me crossing the road, and he hit me in the crosswalk. That injury gave me PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) along with new neural deficits. At this point, I am rated by Social Security as 105% disabled. I am more than totally disabled, just because I walked across the street!

It has now been more than 23 years post-injury. I have learned so much that I cannot even begin to describe what my journey has been like. I do know that EVERY single DAY is a challenge for me as a TBI survivor. We as survivors need to negotiate trials that the average person may find overwhelming. Little things could be insurmountable – for example, deciding what to wear and what, or even if, to eat. My own body is the enemy. Just talking to people can be a challenge. People misunderstand me all the time. I am a loner, but not by choice. It hurts me inside to be alone. Obviously, it is not healthy to be alone. Yet, many TBI survivors are alone. The stats validate that fact. Most marriages attempted by someone with a TBI end in divorce. It would seem then that survivors of a TBI make poor candidates for relationships. Everything is a challenge for the TBI survivor! You can never know what it is like until you “walk a mile in another man’s shoes.”

Favorite quotations:

DuWayne Hall

DuWayne Hall

You’re only as old as you feel!

You only live once in life!

You won’t know unless you try!

 

Thank you, DuWayne Hall.

Disclaimer:
Any views and opinions of the Guest Blogger are purely his/her own.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Lisa Head…My Itty-Bitty Giant Step is that today, after rehab, I changed the spark plugs in my car. It required me to follow three steps. I was slow, but it went very well. I’m excited that I am learning new things!

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for BlogJodi Jizmejian…A few days ago when my husband (my caregiver) and I were grocery shopping, I was looking for an item on my list and walked past the water and REMEMBERED that I needed distilled water, which was not on my handwritten list, but was on a list in my phone.  My husband said, “In the past, you wouldn’t have remembered.” Yay for me! My “memory” is igniting.

DuWayne Hall… Itty-Bitty Giant Steps – what does it mean? I lost a friend. I do not mean that the friend died – I mean that I had a friend, and then I didn’t have a friend. Well, my PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) has kept me from feeling for 23 years, and last month that all changed overnight! It took a female friend’s attention to snap me out of it, and I am excited. It was my friend that I lost. She is having the same issues I am, and we are relearning feelings together. I’m having a hard time trusting emotion that I have not felt for years. We are working on it as a team.

Cheri Richardson Hicks…I just changed Carson’s diaper. Granted, it was a pull-up, but it was much harder than changing Spencer’s diaper. (Carson is two years old, and Spencer, 6 months old.) Baby steps. All I want to do is be a mommy again.

Cheri Richardson Hicks…I, yes – meeeeeeee, just got Spencer out of bed, fed him a bottle, and changed his diaper. No easy task for an almost 20-pound baby. He sort of had the look on his face of being in a roller coaster ride the whole time. But I did it!

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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