TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

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Survivors SPEAK OUT! . . . Su Meck

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Su Meck

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski



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Su Meck – Brain Injury Survivor & Author of “I Forgot to Remember”

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

My name is Su Meck.

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

I currently live in Northern Virginia (USA) outside of Washington D.C.

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

3. My brain injury occurred on Sunday, May 22, 1988. I was twenty-two years old at the time.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

A ceiling fan in my kitchen fell and hit my head, knocking me down. As I fell, my head hit the kitchen counter, and then hit the floor.ceiling-fan-clip-art-1160226

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

My husband, Jim, was sitting right there at the kitchen table reading the Fort Worth Star Telegram when the ceiling fan fell on me. He saw the whole thing.

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

Jim called 911 right away. The ambulance came and took me to the closer (smaller satellite) hospital. But it was quickly determined that I needed to be at the bigger downtown Forth Worth hospital because that hospital actually had an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan machine.

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

Whether or not I was in a coma depends upon which pages of my (handwritten) medical records one reads. I was definitely in and out of consciousness for a few days, but I am unsure as to if I was in an actual coma.

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?

Rehab? In Texas? In 1988? LOL! The “rehab” that I had was terribly inadequate, especially by today’s standards. I was assigned a physical therapist and an occupational therapist, but it is unclear what specifically those people did with me.

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

The most significant loss for me was experiencing total retrograde amnesia, which means I lost all of my memories of roughly the first twenty-two years of my life. Initially, both short- and long-term memory were affected. I did not recognize my husband, my two children (ages 2 and 1), any other family members, or friends. I also couldn’t walk, read, count, brush my teeth or hair, feed myself, etc. My personality post accident is the opposite of my personality from before the accident.

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

My life totally changed. Better or worse? It’s way more complicated than that. I don’t personally know what my life was like before the accident. I have to rely on the memories and stories of others who knew me. Which, by the way, really kind of sucks.

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

I don’t have any memory of anything from my life pre TBI (traumatic brain injury): all of my childhood/teenage/early adulthood memories, learning how to ride a bike, birthdays, grandparents, learning how to play piano and drums, vacations, my first crush, my first kiss, pets, losing my virginity, college-looking (the first time), sorority rush/initiation/parties/friends, meeting and falling in love with my husband, my wedding, the pregnancies of my two boys and their first years, and so many, many, many more …

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

Advocating for my fellow TBI survivors. I love speaking to groups of survivors, caregivers, and anyone really about what it is like to live with a TBI.

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

Nearly everything else

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

Even though there are still some days that I feel as though I can’t do, or understand, or remember a damn thing, the process of writing my book helped me to come to terms with how far I have actually come since my accident.

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

Oh yes! I don’t feel as if I am part of my family (my parents’ and siblings’ family). I think of my kids as more like my siblings. And my husband? Well … We are still married (33 years) … But since my accident, there have been some genuinely shitty times!

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

I’m sure it has changed in many ways, but one thing that comes to mind (and the thing that was most noticeable when I was in college at both Montgomery College and then at Smith College) is the fact that I feel way more comfortable around people in their 20s and 30s than I do around people my “real” age (50s).

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

Jim, my husband, is my main caregiver now. But at times, my children often took on the caregiver role because Jim traveled so much.

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

Wow! This is a tough one. I would love to continue writing (and publishing) stories, essays, lyrics, whatever. I always wanted to be part of a working/performing rock band, playing drums as well as singing. I want to become more proficient on the guitar, uke, and piano. I’d love to travel around speaking and educating people about what it is like to live in this crazy world as a TBI survivor. I’d love to move back to New England. I want to ski, and hike, and learn to swim. I’d love to have a dog (a service dog would be great to keep me from wandering). I want to take long extended vacations to Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, and even Canada.

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.

Be happy with who you are now, even if you are one hundred percent different from the person you were before. Be honest with yourself and others. It is okay to ask for help. Graduating from Smith College in 2014 was a huge accomplishment for me. In fact, Smith almost did me in physically, mentally, and emotionally. But Smith also gave me a tremendous gift: An enthusiastic love of reading and learning. Keep learning!

I forgot to Remember Book Cover20. What advice would you offer to other brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

Please buy and read my book, I Forgot to Remember: A Memoir of Amnesia. (I’m shameless!) And, if you like it, please write a positive review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. (Yes, I’m truly shameless!)



Please check out Su Meck’s book. It’s a great read!


(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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Brain Injury Resources . . . . . . . . . . . I Forgot To Remember

I Forgot to Remember cvr9781451685817_9781451685817_lg

I Forgot To Remember


Su Meck

with Daniel de Visé 


Su was a young mom doing what young moms do – she was playing with her child. When she swung him in the air, she never thought his feet would kick the overhead fan. She never knew that it would fall on her head. But, it did, and then she “never knew.”

In her book, “I Forgot to Remember” (2014), Su recounts her story with a lot of help from doctors’ reports, her family, and her friends because, when the fan hit Su’s head, she lost her memory. Read Su’s story to see how, for years, she struggled to put the pieces of her life back together again.


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 with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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


(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)


TBI Tales: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dancing-in-the-Rain Happy

One of the mediators of a Traumatic-Brain-Injury group to which I belong posed a question to all the members. She asked – What makes YOU happy, deliriously happy, sing-out-loud happy+cartoon+girlhappy, dance-in-the-rain happy? It’s a question not often asked of us caregivers.

I thought for a second. That’s easy. Then my fingers flew over the keyboard as I typed my answer. But, before I hit the “Send” button, I stopped. I thought again. I let the idea roll around my brain for a few moments and reconsidered the question. What makes YOU happy, deliriously happy, whoop-to-the-moon happy? Was this a trick question?

I knew what would make me over-the-top happy. That would be for my husband, David, to be better – for me to wake up one morning and see him walk and run and drive again, hear him talk without his raspy voice, and never again fear that he will aspirate his food. Yes, that would make me crazy-happy. But, I knew that was not what she meant. I can almost guarantee that every one of us caregivers would have offered a version of the same answer. And, then her question would have become rather boring.

I considered some possibilities. I know many women take solace in going to the salon, to be pampered – a new haircut, a mani/pedi, a spa day with massage and facial. But for me, those are chores. In fact, I did do a mani/pedi today, and I couldn’t wait to get out of the salon. I know! Most would think I’m nuts. So, I pondered a while longer. What would make me gloriously happy???? Something just for me! And I knew! I knew from the moment my fingers first hit the keys. (I’m glad I didn’t delete my answer.) Having my book published! That would do it! That would make me deliriously happy, sing-out-loud happy, dance-in-the-rain happy. It would make me whoop-to-the-moon happy. Seeing my book, “Prisoner Without Bars: Conquering Traumatic Brain Injury,” in print on the shelves next to Lee and Bob Woodruff’s Book shelf banner“In An Instant,” Su Meck’s “I Forgot To Remember,” Gabriele Gifford and Mark Kelly’s “Gabby,” or Trisha Meile’s “I Am The Central Park Jogger” would make me gloriously, over-the-top happy. I bet you’d hear me whooping all the way to Nova Scotia and all parts in between.

In the meantime, I can be very happy when I finish writing a really good blog post (like this one), and folks stop by to read it, offer comments, and share it with their friends. Yep, that would make me happy too … but not as happy as a book contract.

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 lower right corner of your screen.anim0014-1_e0-1

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.

Permission granted to “Reblog” my post.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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