TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘Veterans’

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.

 

Advertisements

SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger Joel Goldstein

SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger Joel Goldstein

What Veterans Need………….and Deserve

 

Boy Blogger thChristmas 2001 my wife and I were plunged into a parent’s worst nightmare – a car accident resulting in our teenager’s traumatic brain injury.  After a month long coma, he gradually emerged with severe and disabling cognitive, emotional and physical deficits.

Eight months of grueling hospital therapies and the school district agrees with the hospital – Bart is not ready to return to class and would be better served by placement in an institution. We railed against warehousing our 17-year-old son in a convalescent home and fought time and again to win Bart a chance to struggle, heal and progress.

We were determined to keep the bar up, set with difficult, but attainable, goals, and then raise the bar again and again. Who knows for sure how far anybody can go? It takes a little faith. These officials were not mean-spirited so much as driven by economics and statistical models of probable outcomes, without taking into account the character of the boy or his family.

We began exploring nonconventional therapies, cobbling together an unofficial “medical board” of trusted physicians. “Members” didn’t know each other or that they served on a “board.” If we found a promising therapy, we’d ask each of them whether it might do any harm. Some exciting approaches failed this Hippocratic test. Eventually we tried several therapies. Though harmless, some proved useless too. Others, including hyperbaric oxygen (HBOT), craniosachral therapy (CST), neurofeedback and high doses of Omega-3 fish oils, were remarkably successful, gradually transforming Bart’s life prospects. Successes were anecdotal, but a neuropsych exam several years after the accident reported that the examiner had hardly ever seen such improvement in someone so severely injured.

Today, with high school and even a semester of college under his belt, and a couple of years of cognitive therapy, Bart is a lively, charming young man, living nearly independently in his own apartment. How different the outcome had we heeded the advice of well-meaning busy bureaucrats. Brain injury is far and away the leading cause of death and disability in young people. It leaves roughly 2% of the population permanently disabled, yet remains a stubbornly invisible epidemic. With the controversy surrounding concussions in sports and TBI, the signature injury of this generation of wounded warriors, that may be finally changing.

TBI will remain a tragic legacy of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for a lifetime. According to the Woodruff Family Foundation Remind.org, there are 320,000 TBI survivors among combat veterans. Today the elements of the VA and DOD are experimenting with HBOT for severely wounded warriors. Sheer weight of numbers presents a unique opportunity to improve outcomes for survivors, military and civilian.

Like other nonconventional therapies that helped Bart, HBOT is relatively safe, inexpensive, easy to deploy and scalable. For the cost of a couple of F-16 fighters, one could outfit and staff 300 TBI treatment centers in existing VA and DOD facilities around the country. Technicians and therapists can be trained to deliver HBOT in months, not years; medics, corpsman, LPNs, and EMTs are all suitable candidates. As an alternative to setting up centers in VA facilities, one might issue vouchers directly to veterans’ families. Private clinics should spring up to meet the demand.

After wounded veterans have been treated, centers could migrate to the civilian sector, helping the wider fellowship of TBI survivors, most of whom have no access to these treatments. Thousands might leave nursing homes, cut back on their meds and live more fulfilling lives. Nothing we could do for so little could ease the suffering of so many.

Scientific proof is still the gold standard in medicine, but in its absence what risk is there in trying alternative therapies with well-established safety records? (Divers have safely used HBOT to prevent the “bends” for 200 years.) Of course, nothing is 100% safe and effective, not even aspirin or acetaminophen. In much of Europe, HBOT is already standard treatment for TBI. The obstacles to adoption here seem to be more bureaucratic – doctors, hospitals, the FDA and insurers have yet to sort out reimbursement protocols.

For survivors of severe TBI, unconventional therapies are not merely a reasonable option, they are a necessity. Best practices of conventional medicine only take us so far, often ending at the nursing home door or heavily medicated at home, facing long empty hours and overwhelming family resources. Survivors are already more susceptible to a number of conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, suicide and subsequent TBIs. To do nothing – to ignore safe alternative therapies – is to make a decision fraught with risk. Faced with this existential dilemma, we chose to try for a better outcome. Military families of wounded heroes, who have already sacrificed so much, deserve no less.Joel Goldstein & Bart

 

Joel Goldstein, author of No Stone Unturned: A Father’s Memoir of His Son’s Encounter with Traumatic Brain Injury, Potomac Books, has written about TBI for Exceptional Parent, Brainline.org, Adoption Today, and Military Special Needs Network. To learn more or to contact Joel: www.tbibook.com.513KpXRBWqL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Thank you, Joel.

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

Tag Cloud

Ten Thousand Days

The long and winding journey after loss

Wordcrafter9's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Tripambitions

It contains the world best places and things.

No memory of the day that changed my life

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.

Everything and nothing. GM1123 😊

Bienvenue. I’m thinking this is the spot where I am to write a witty, flowery personal section that pulls you in......I got nuthin’

Teresa472002's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

The Concussion Blog

An Education and Communication Outpost from an Athletic Trainer's Perspective

Howdy Hydrocephalus

Understanding my unique gyroscope

Recoveryofthemind.com

Head Injuries Change Everything

Sheri Lawrence de Grom

From the literary and legislative trenches.

With Grace ALWAYS

...doing my best to live a life of grace...

Mild to Moderate

TBI - Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Hope for Trauma

TBI - Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Lisabeth Mackall

Finding our way back

My Broken Brain

Putting the pieces back together again after encephalitis

The Visger Group

TBI - Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

melissacronin.com

TBI - Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Inside Danielle's mind

Striving for serenity

%d bloggers like this: