TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘Military Troops’

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” “Depression and Suicidal Thoughts”

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” 

with

Panelists: Survivor, Melissa Cronin and Survivor Troop, Juliet Madsen

Topic: Depression and Suicidal Thoughts

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Depression is a state of mind that can cause mental mood disorders. It is devastating and can affect every aspect of daily living. It can affect people in so many different ways and it is pure agony resulting from desperation and the need to escape. Depression is not an unfamiliar state for those who live with brain injury.

Juliet Madsen and Melissa Cronin, both survivors of brain injury, join me to discuss depression and suicide – two common, yet serious, repercussions of brain injury.

Melissa Cronin Head Shot 2When a car went rogue careening through 2 1/2 blocks of the Santa Monica, California Farmer’s Market it left Melissa Cronin with not only broken bones and a ruptured spleen, but also with a Traumatic Brain Injury. Melissa is the author of “Invisible Bruise” and “Silencing the Boom.” Both stories are published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books.

Juliet Madsen Uniform

Troop, Juliet Madsen, got her brain injury while serving her country in Iraq. Juliet is a member of the Board of Directors of R4 Alliance and is a master quilter. You can see some of her work at “Stroke of Luck Quilting.”

If you missed this show on “Another Fork in the Road” on October 4th, 2015, don’t fret. You can listen to the archived show here. Click the link below.

See you “On the Air!”

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” Depression and Suicidal Thoughts with panelists, Survivor, Melissa Cronin and Survivor Troop, Juliet Madsen

Sources I used for this show:

  1. Everyday Health – 8 Unconventional Ways to Ease Depression

http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression-pictures/unconventional-ways-to-ease-depression.aspx

  1. Health – 7 Types of Therapy That Can Help Depression

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20310354,00.html

  1. Mayo Clinic – Psychotherapy

http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/psychotherapy/basics/definition/prc-20013335

  1. Mental Health Foundation – Depression

http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/D/depression/

  1. The Guardian – Robin Williams, depression and the complex causes of suicide

http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2014/aug/18/robin-williams-depression-causes-suicide

  1. WebMD – Psychologist or Psychiatrist: Which Is Right for You?

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/psychologist-or-psychiatrist-which-for-you

  1. WebMD – Symptoms of Depression

http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/detecting-depression

Hotlines:

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, don’t waste time on the web, call 9-1-1 immediately.

There are many depression and suicide hotlines. Here are some I located. I am NOT endorsing them, but if you have concerns about depression or suicide, I might want to look into them in advance of any crisis.

 

  1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) Suggested by the Mayo Clinic

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

  1. Samaritans 24-Hour Crisis Hotline (212) 673-3000

http://samaritansnyc.org/24-hour-crisis-hotline/

  1. 24/7 Crisis Support 775-784-8090  

http://crisiscallcenter.org/crisisservices.html

  1. Most states have mental health hotlines. Here is a site that has links to most states.

Suicide Hotlines

http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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On the Air . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road”  “Where Have All My Friends Gone?”

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” 

with

Panelists: Caregiver, Lisabeth Mackall and Survivor Troop, Juliet Madsen

Topic: Where Have All My Friends Gone?

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Mackall, Lisabeth with Book

Lisabeth Mackall joined other caregivers when her husband and police officer, Frank, was in a serious car accident on the way to an emergency call. The accident left him with a brain injury.

Juliet Madsen Uniform

Troop, Juliet Madsen, got her brain injury while serving her country in Iraq. Juliet is a member of the Board of Directors of R4 Alliance and is a master quilter. You can see some of her work at “Stroke of Luck Quilting.”

Losing relationships, both family and friends, is a common result of brain injury and it is devastating to survivors and their caregivers, as well. Troop and survivor, Juliet Madsen, and Lisabeth Mackall, therapist and caregiver for her husband, join me to discuss the topic of “Where Have All My Friends Gone.” We’ll examine the reasons why some people just can’t stick it out and try to shed some light on how folks can keep their relationships alive with their brain-injured friends.

If you missed this show on “Another Fork in the Road” on September6th, 2015, don’t fret. You can listen to the archived show here. Click the link below.

See you “On the Air!”

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” Where Did All My Friends Go? with panelists, Caregiver, Lisabeth Mackall and Survivor Troop, Juliet Madsen

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

As I say after each post: Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Commentanim0014-1_e0-1 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.

 

Caregivers SPEAK OUT! . . . . . Jeannette Davidson-Mayer

Caregivers SPEAK OUT! – Jeannette Davidson-Mayer

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

jeannette davidson-Mayer 0417151. What is your name? (last name optional)

Jeannette Davidson-Mayer

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

New Plymouth, Idaho, USA     2004djmjdm@gmail.com

3. What is the brain-injury survivor’s relationship to you? How old was the survivor when he/she had the brain injury? What caused your survivor’s brain injury?

My husband, DeWayne, has a traumatic brain injury (TBI). He was 38 when it happened. While serving in Iraq, DeWayne survived one Humvee rollover, two close-range IEDs (improvised explosive devices), one helicopter explosion (They were guarding a downed helicopter when the remains were blown-up for disposal), and lastly an IED that went off right under the command seat, where DeWayne was sitting. All this happened in 2005 between May 23rd and October 3rd.

4. On what date did you begin care for your brain-injury survivor?

At the end of October 2004, DeWayne was flown to Madigan Air Force Base in Washington State on the advance plane from Iraq. I made a few trips there to see him. He was allowed occasional trips home. By February 2006, DeWayne was home for good. We didn’t know DeWayne had a TBI until mid-2007. We just knew something wasn’t connecting right in his daily mental functions.

Were you the main caregiver?

Yes. Our daughter as well has learned to be a caregiver over the years.486770_10200560183360321_1086965832_n

Are you now?

Yes

How old were you when you began care?

33

5. Were you caring for anyone else at that time (e.g., children, parents, etc.)?

No

6. Were you employed at the time of your survivor’s brain injury? If so, were you able to continue working?

Yes, I was employed. My employer helped above the call of duty. In mid-October 2014, I did have to quit working because DeWayne’s medical needs had increased. Also, I had gone to one of our smaller companies, which is a 10-minute drive vs. a 5-minute walk. DeWayne couldn’t comprehend this change, which created hardships for our daughter and for DeWayne and me as a couple.

7. Did you have any help? If so, what kind and for how long?

I couldn’t make it without the love and support of our family, friends, and church family. Help is from driving DeWayne to assisting with happenings at home. Most of all, help is providing an ear to listen.

8. When did your support of the survivor begin (e.g., immediately – in the hospital; when the survivor returned home; etc.)?

My quality of care has grown over the years. It took a while because I didn’t know how to ask for help. I was embarrassed to ask, and I didn’t understand how to ask either. I felt that if I couldn’t do it myself, I was failing my family.

9. Was your survivor in a coma? If so, what did you do during that time?

No, but DeWayne was knocked out several times.

10. Did your survivor have rehab?

Yes

If so, what kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient and/or outpatient and occupational, physical, speech, and/or other)?

DeWayne had occupational, physical, speech, and recreational therapies as an outpatient. He also had behavioral health therapy.

How long was the rehab?

Rehab started out three days a week, eight hours a day, for three months at Idaho Elks Rehab. DeWayne was then moved to the Boise VA (Veterans Administration) facility, where he went several days a week. DeWayne still has recreational therapy, physical therapy, and occasionally occupational therapy. And, monthly behavioral health therapy.

Where were you when your survivor was getting therapy?

Idaho Elk’s Rehab, Boise VA Medical Center, Tri-Cities Physical Therapy, St. Luke’s Spinal Care

11. What problems or disabilities of your brain-injury survivor required your care, if any?

DeWayne has many difficulties. He has fixations. He’s easily lost, confused, and disoriented. He tires easily. His short-term memory is a problem. DeWayne doesn’t always understand what is happening around him or what is being said to him. Also we don’t always understand what he is trying to say to us. He suffers from migraines/headaches. He has silent seizures, bi-lateral hearing loss, tremors, and sensitivity to light.

12. How has your life changed since you became a caregiver? Is it better? Is it worse?

I can’t really say if life is better or worse because of the TBI. We are both different from the deployment alone. I am the lucky wife because he came home alive, which is a celebration in itself.

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

There is a lot I miss (for example, long hiking trips and long conversations). But, the trade-off is worth it.

14. What do you enjoy most in post-brain-injury life?Jeannette Davidson-Mayer & DeWayne

We have learned to depend on each other completely – as spouses and as a family. We tend to stand up for what we believe in. We hold on tighter. We often show each other how important we are. We travel off-season, which is nice because the crowds are less. Nicer indeed!

15. What do you like least about brain injury?

We never know what to expect from day to day, yet it is also a positive, for we never have a dull moment.

16. Has anything helped you to accept your survivor’s brain injury?

Through many trials and errors, we have finally discovered our saving grace. Our kitchen has become our “Central Command Post.” Our lives center around our kitchen. We were able to set up an atmosphere that can adapt to DeWayne’s ever-changing daily new normal. Post-it Notes and whiteboard markers saved our family.

17. Has your survivor’s injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?

Of course, DeWayne’s TBI has affected home life, relationships, and so on. We have lost.

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

Our social life has been cut. We don’t go out as much. We avoid crowds, noisy situations, and places that make DeWayne uncomfortable. I also have become uneasy about the same things that make DeWayne uneasy.

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

Our plans for the future are to continue to live in joy and love together, to share our lives with our children as they continue to grow, to travel the world in an RV, and to reach out to others to show them that they have the inner strength needed to move forward. (How they move forward is unique to each family.)

20. What advice would you offer other caregivers of brain-injury survivors?

Never give up. Give in from time to time. Let it out – cry or scream. Then look back on what is happening to find ways to make adjustments or to find solutions to the challenges. Know that you are not alone. You yourself, along with your family, have so much to offer.

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

Military families are not alone in living with TBIs and/or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and in being caregivers. We didn’t sign up for this life, but we have it. Now let’s figure out how to keep moving forward, so we can reach higher, dream bigger, and hold on tighter.

To learn more about Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, you can listen to her interview with me on “Another Fork in the Road” on blogtalkradio.com or at R4 Alliance.

 

Jeannette Davidson-MayerThank you, Jeannette, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.

If you would like to be a part of this project, please go to TBI Caregiver Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.

(Photo compliments of Jeannette.)

Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.

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.

“Another Fork in the Road” . . . Brain Injury Radio Network . . . Bob Calvert, Host of “Talking with Heroes”

YOU ARE INVITED!

putthis_on_calendar_clip_artDid you know that there are more than 11,000 troops who are affected with brain injury because of explosions from IEDs (improvised explosive devices), and many more troops experience concussions from blasts? We NEED to know more about brain injury and how we can avoid it.

Bob Calvert of “Talking With Heroes,” TBI caregiver, Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, and TBI survivor, Juliet Madsen join me on “Another Fork in the Road” to discuss the plight of brain-injured troops returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

                                   Come One! Come ALL!

What:        Interview with Bob Calvert of “Talking With Heroes,” with TBI caregiver, Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, and TBI survivor, Juliet Madsen (Jeannette and Juliet of r4alliance)

Why:        Bob, Jeannette, Juliet, and I will discuss the difficulties troops face as they return home with brain injuries.

Where:     Brain Injury Radio Network

When:       Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Time:         5:00p PT (6:00p MT, 7:00p CT, and 8:00p ET) 90 minute show

How:         Click: Brain Injury Radio Network

Call In:    424-243-9540

Call In:     855-473-3711 toll free in USA

Call In:    202-559-7907 free outside US

or SKYPE

If you miss the show, but would like to still hear the interview, you can access the archive on On Demand listening. The archived show will be available after the show both on the Brain Injury Radio Network site and on my blog in “On the Air.”

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photo compliments of Bob Calvert.)

TBI Tales . . . . . . . . . . Thanksgiving Surprise

Thanksgiving Surprise

by

Kristina Hopkins

(presented by Donna O’Donnell Figurski)

 

Hopkins, KristinaI love my husband’s TBI. There are days when it frustrates me, but we go with the flow. Then there are days like today when we laugh about it.

My husband sustained his brain injury back in 2007 during his last of four deployments in Iraq. We ALWAYS open up our house around the holidays to the military/veterans and their families so they can have a home-cooked meal and be around other military.

This year was going to be a quiet Thanksgiving for us – just my husband, my father-in-law, and me. Apparently my husband “forgot” to tell me that families have been calling him the past couple of days to verify times. I didn’t know until I got a Facebook message this morning from one of the wives.

I asked him about it. He looked at me with the giant smile that I love so much and said, “Sorry, Babe. No more quiet Thanksgiving.”Thanksgiving-Turkey-Cartoon-Wallpapers

Never in all the years that I have been with my husband have I regretted my life. It does get hard and lonely at times, but it’s all worth it. He has overcome so many obstacles since his injury and is constantly doing so. I’m truly honored to be his wife.

Just thought you all could enjoy a good laugh today. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you, Kristina, for sharing your story in TBI Tales. I hope that your experience will offer inspiration to my readers. I know it made me laugh. It made me cry.

 

(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the author.)

If you have a story to share and would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please submit your TBI Tale to me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com. I will publish as many stories as I can.

(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.anim0014-1_e0-1

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the lower right corner of your screen. (It’s nice to know there are readers out there.)

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! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . . Military and Traumatic Brain Injury

The Military and Traumatic Brain Injury

 

Newsboy thIt has been said that traumatic brain injury is the signature wound of troops returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mild TBIs (mTBIs), many of which are concussions, constitute the majority of TBIs. Often an mTBI is invisible. Even the injured soldier may not be aware that he/she has an mTBI. Treatment, if it is obtained at all, is sometimes sought weeks or months later. mTBIs are common, but they can have serious consequences. The Military has increased its awareness of TBI. For example, they are supporting research to develop a hand-held eye-tracking device that will enable a troop with an mTBI to be diagnosed quickly in the field. It will help soldiers get immediate treatment, and it will prevent those troops from being sent back into the field. Here are two powerful videos (parts 1 and 2) of returning soldiers with a TBI and their families discussing their new lives. I have also provided a link to the Department of Defense’s material on TBI. (Videos Part 1 and Part 2) (DoD page)

 

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