TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘Jenn Von Hatten’

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Jenn Von Hatten

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Jenn Von Hatten

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Von Hatten, Jenn Survivor & Hanna 121315

Jenn Von Hatten – survivor and daughter, Hanna

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

Jenn Von Hatten

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

Trenton, Nova Scotia, Canada     jlvonhatten@gmail.com

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

My brain injury happened on Valentine’s Day 2011. I was 35 years old.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

My brain injury resulted from a motor vehicle accident caused by freezing rain.

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

The paramedics found me clinically dead at the scene. The doctors wanted to airlift me to the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, which is the biggest hospital in Nova Scotia. But the freezing rain affected the rotors on the helicopter, so I had to be taken by road ambulance.

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

The pressure in my brain needed to be monitored to see if I needed surgery. I also lacerated my liver. Fortunately, I did not need surgery for either. I also fractured a rib and three vertebrae.

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

I was in a coma for seven weeks. First, I was in a coma from the accident. Then I was in a medically induced coma because of my fractured rib and vertebrae. I managed to develop pneumonia, and I had a tracheotomy.

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 was transferred to the Rehab Centre in Halifax around Easter 2011, and I was discharged in July 2011. Besides being a patient at the Rehab Centre, I’ve had to go to physiotherapy and occupational therapy. My spastic muscles affected my speech, so I also went to speech therapy.

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

Von Hatten, Jenn survivor Son Liam 121315

Jenn Von Hatten – survivor and son, Liam

My balance has been severely affected. I used to be in a wheelchair, due to fractured vertebrae. I’ve since “graduated” to a walker, a quad cane, and a mini-quad cane. I’m a Fall Risk, and I get the Disability Pension.

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

I have joint custody of my seven-year-old daughter, Hanna. I am no longer able to work as a nurse. My life has definitely changed, but I can’t say if it is better or worse. All I can say with certainty is that my life is DIFFERENT.

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

I miss being able to work as a nurse the most. As much as I would like to a work as a nurse, I know I would NOT be safe – mentally, in terms of remembering if I gave a client medication or treatments, or physically.

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

I enjoy my time with Hanna. It is her time, as I don’t work anymore. I now have a cat, Spunkster, which I got from the local SPCA. When Hanna’s not with me, I hang out with Spunkster.

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

I had graduated as a nurse only seven months before my traumatic brain injury (TBI). I had wanted to be a nurse for over fifteen years. At least I can say I turned that dream into reality! I sometimes miss being able to drive. My rehabilitation doctor says I still cannot drive, as my reflexes are not up to snuff. However, I can say that my driver’s license has NOT been revoked!

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

Becoming a nurse was my dream. I finally realized that, just because I am no longer able to work as a nurse, I STILL AM A NURSE! Being a nurse is STILL a part of me.

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

My youngest daughter’s father threw me out, as he said he was not happy. I remind myself that not many relationships survive a TBI.

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

I don’t really have a social life, except maybe for going grocery shopping. I go by cab, so I interact with the cab divers, who are husband and wife. They own the cab company, and they are now good friends of mine. I prefer to interact with people in small groups.

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

Von Hatten, Jenn survivor daughters Emma and Hanna 121315

Jenn Von Hatten – survivor and daughters Emma and Hanna

I am my own caregiver now. Yes, I do understand what it takes to be a caregiver, as I used to be one. When I was in school to become a nurse, I worked as a CCA (Certified Care Assistant). A CCA can also be called PCA (Personal Care Assistant) or PCW (Personal Care Worker).

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

My plan is to be helping others who are TBI survivors or caregivers. I can provide info and support.

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.

Understand that a person does not need to be working (and therefore getting paid) to be fulfilling whatever he or she was meant to be. Find other ways – perhaps volunteering.

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

Figure out what you like doing and makes you happy. If you can’t remember, that’s OK – find out. (It’s what I wish I knew back in the beginning when I was first dealing with this.) Find out what you like and makes you happy RIGHT NOW! Everybody, brain injury or not, is constantly evolving.

 

(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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SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury Jenn Von Hatten

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Jenn Von Hatten

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!

bigstock-cartoon-face-vector-people-25671746-e1348136261718On Valentine’s Day 2011, I went to work only for a meeting. (I was a nurse at a long-term mental health facility.) Freezing rain struck during the meeting. The treacherous road condition was responsible for my car’s being T-boned at highway speed. That’s how I acquired my traumatic brain injury. The paramedics found me “clinically dead.” Obviously, I was alive. The pressure on my brain was monitored to see if I needed to have surgery. Also my liver was lacerated. Fortunately I did not need surgery for either. I was put into a medically induced coma because, in addition to my brain injury, I fractured a rib and three vertebrae. I was in a coma for over seven weeks. I managed to develop pneumonia and had to have a tracheotomy. I was discharged on July 14th. I Jenn Von Hatten Emma, & Hannasurvived to see my oldest children graduate from high school. Emma graduated in June 2013, and Liam, in 2014.

Spastic muscles affected my speeJenn Von Hatten & Liamch, so I went to physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. My balance was severely affected. I used to be in a wheelchair, due to the fractured vertebrae. I since “graduated” to a walker, then to a quad cane, and eventually to a mini quad cane. Now I’m a fall risk. My life has definitely changed. I am no longer able to work as a nurse. I cannot say if my life is better or worse. All I can say with certainty is that my life is different.  I enjoy my time with Hanna, my 7-year-old daughter and youngest child. (I have joint custody. I remind myself that not many relationships survive a TBI.) I now have a cat, Spunkster, which I got from the local SPCA. When Hanna’s not with me, I hang out with Spunkster. I miss most my being able to work as a nurse. But as much as I would like to a work as a nurse, I know I would not be safe – physically (because I am a fall risk) as well as mentally Jenn Von Hatten & Hanna(in terms of remembering if I gave a client his or her medication or treatments). I had graduated as a nurse only seven months before my TBI. I had wanted to be a nurse for over fifteen years. At least I can say I turned that dream into reality! I sometimes miss being able to drive. My driver’s license has not been revoked, but my rehabilitation doctor says I still cannot drive, as my reflexes are not up to snuff. My plan is to help others that are TBI survivors or caregivers. I can provide info and support.

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

(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 Comment” below this post.

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

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

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it with your enemies. I don’t care! Feel free to “Like” my post.

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

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for BlogSPEAK 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 neelyf@aol.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

Anna Bailey (caregiver)…How can I not get excited! I’m not even two days out of nesting (the babying you get before 100% gg60955512thrown to the wolves on you own), and I got a 100 on my QA. I am surpassing department goals. (That has been the case since I’ve been taking calls.) And, I actually exceeded team goals, which are higher than the department goals. I really love my job! Bring on the money!

Anna Bailey (caregiver)…Well, today my husband’s day couldn’t have been made any better. He loves his diesel trucks, and I entered to win some tickets to the diesel nationals and won! They asked about his story because to win we had to say whom we would take and why we should get picked. Truck 12955796331379458534monster truck.svg.hiI mentioned that he is a wounded warrior and that he has wanted to go since he heard about it. They picked us, and they asked if we needed any special accommodations. I told them we do – that our service dog is coming. They then upgraded us to hang out in the suites. 🙂 He needed this, and I was shocked that I won. My husband is amazing. He has done so much for our family, and I am glad I could help make this wish come true.

Runner 9664-illustration-of-a-man-running-pv

Nate Croom (survivor)…I had my TBI in 2008. I had to relearn how to walk, and I still have balance issues. But, this past Sunday, I ran my first marathon (in Lincoln, Nebraska).

Gill Evans (caregiver)…Had a moment today. We were walking our border collie through the park. Holding_handsAlthough it was cold, the sun was shining. Hubby grabbed my hand. No words were said. I felt a feeling I haven’t felt for quite some time – relaxed and happy. Precious times.

Kristina Hopkins (caregiver)…I can’t believe that exactly five years ago, I married the most amazing man. Not only did we exchange vows and rings that day, but he also got on his knees and gave my girls rings and vows as well. Wedding rings anluortrouwI am so honored and proud to have this remarkable man in my life. Tommy, I love you, Sweetie! You truly are my partner in every way. I can’t believe it’s only been five years when it feels like forever. Thank you for marrying me, Tom Hopkins, Jr.!

Jasmine Oldham (survivor)…We had a win today! Ten months post injury and my husband was Couples Counseling ClipArt-AfterTheFire7admitted to an outpatient rehab program in Toronto. They’re going to include couples counseling for us! It also means two months off work for him, so maybe I’ll see snippets of the guy I love, now that he will have less on his plate. For today at least, I’m hopeful and excited.

Bobbi S. Poff (survivor)…I had four strokes within the last four years, and I had fourteen aneurysms and fourteen seizures. I can walk and talk now. I’m proud oDid It congrats-you-did-itf my accomplishments. It’s been a long, hard battle, but I did it!

Lc Sossaman (survivor)…After four years post TBI, I made it to my and my husband’s 10-year anniversary. The last four years have been quite a bit for any regular couple to make it, but we did. The memory of what was and now what is has made the last four years more difficult. Happy Aniversary thI have to pat myself on the back. (LOL) I was a nice person before, and I still am or try to be, but I am hardheaded about things I believe in, and I make it quite clear. I didn’t do it before accident, but I do it now. I am happy with it, just fine. So, learning to be more clear about things is my accomplishment.

Jenn Von Hatten (survivor)… My TBI occurred on Valentine’s Day 2011. My car was T-boned due to freezing rain. I was only going to work for a meeting. I survived to see my oldest children graduate from high school. The father of my youngest child, Hanna, decided he wasn’t happy and kicked me out. For the next 2-3 weeks, I looked for a place to live in our small community, as Hanna goes to school there. During that time, Hanna’s father mentioned 50-60 times that I was brain injured and that my frontal lobe was injured. I wasn’t sure if I, as a TBI survivor, could live on my own and have joint custody of Hanna, who was only five at the time. Yes I Can

My Itty-Bitty Giant Step is: YES, I CAN! With a frontal-lobe injury, which affects my executive functioning, I am able to take care of Hanna, now seven, and myself. When the third anniversary of my car accident was looming, I was bummed out. Stärke-Logo_200pxSo, I got a tattoo – “Stärke.” “Stärke” means “strength” in German. I’ve had to have a lot of inner strength to get this far in my recovery. In addition to sustaining a TBI, I also fractured a rib and vertebrae. When I was discharged from the hospital, I was in a wheelchair. I graduated to a walker, to a big quad cane, and then to a mini quad cane. When I’m in the house, I don’t use anything, unless I’m really tired or sick. I’m a fall risk and disabled. So what if I can’t work as a nurse – I’m alive! I watched my oldest children, Emma and Liam, graduate, AND I have joint custody of Hanna. An Itty-Bitty Giant Step, I HAVE TAKEN!

YOU Did It!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

As I say after each post:

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

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

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

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it with your enemies. I don’t care!

Feel free to “Like” my post.

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My name is Michelle Munt and this is my story about surviving a brain injury and what I continue to learn about it. This is for other survivors and their loved ones, but also to raise awareness of what can happen to those in an accident. This invisible injury too often goes undiagnosed and it can be difficult to find information about it. I will talk about things that have helped me as I continue to recover and invite others to see if it works for them too.

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