Survivors SPEAK OUT! Taylor Trammell
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)
Grand Prairie, Texas, USA email@example.com
3. On what date did you have your brain injury? At what age?
I had my brain injury on February 14th, 2010, at age 13.
4. How did your brain injury occur?
Carbon monoxide poisoning
(Donna’s note: The story of the poisoning of Taylor and her mother, Shelley Taylor, will be published later on this blog under “Faces of Brain Injury.”)
5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?
The problem was apparent the night we were poisoned.
6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?
I was put into a hyperbaric chamber.
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?
9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your brain injury (e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?
Afterward, I started to sleep poorly or not to sleep any at night. I also suffer from horrible migraines. Sometimes, when I hold on to something, I just drop it. But overall, it’s a mystery because every day could be something different.
10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?
Now I have sleeping problems, and I get horrible migraines. But, I can’t really say if my life is better or worse. I mean, it’s not fun on some days, but at least I have a life to live.
11. What do you miss the most from your pre-brain-injury life?
I miss being able to go to a concert or an event and not having to turn away from the stage or to have my boyfriend hold my head in his chest to block the light. I miss being able to talk normally and not forget what I was saying. Most of all, I miss not being able to sleep.
12. What do you enjoy most in your post-brain-injury life?
I enjoy just living in general. I mean that because it was such a close call to be living. God saved me, so I will live my life to the fullest and not let my TBI (traumatic brain injury) hold me back.
13. What do you like least about your brain injury?
Not sleeping and my migraines
14. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?
Yes. I’ve been helped by knowing that God saved me and that He is always right beside me.
15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
I’m not sure. Sometimes it’s hard for people to understand my migraines or that I’m grumpy from not sleeping.
16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
Yes, it has. I realize that life is short, so I try to do everything I want to do. I have fun. I love music and going to concerts, but that has changed due to the lights.
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 am graduating in a few weeks with my degree in ASL (American Sign Language) Interpreting. I plan to become an interpreter and to be married next year and start our lives.
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.
No matter what has become the new you, you have to remember that there is a you because God saved you. I had to accept who the new me was and just roll with it. I mean, there wouldn’t be a you if you were not saved. SO, accept it, and learn what you need to do to live your life every day.
20. What advice would you offer to other brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Just remember to be thankful, even in the hardest times. Life isn’t easy, and it never will be. Be strong and be supportive to everyone because you never know what the other person is going through. I know a lot of people in my life who have no idea what I go through every day, so just be strong and remember God is with you.
Taylor Trammell and her mother, Shelley Taylor, are contributing authors in “Surviving Brain Injury: Stories of Strength & Inspiration,” edited by Amy Zellmer. Shelley and Taylor’s story is titled, “Our Story of Poisoning — and of Grace.” It can be found in Chapter 75 on page 299.
My story, “Nightmare in the Disability Lane,” can be found in Chapter 29 on page 114 of the same book, “Surviving Brain Injury: Stories of Strength & Inspiration,” edited by Amy Zellmer.
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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