In the beginning…

Traumatic Brain Injury’s vary greatly, the brain is so complex, that one centimeter, one milometer, hell even smaller than that spot of damage can make all the difference in the world. Someone can have a nearly identical accident and will come out affected in a completely different way. Sometimes this results in some physical hindrances, some mental, some emotional, and a lot of the time it’s all 3. There are just so many factors, so many different scenarios that there seems to be no single TBI experience, it is hard to categorize, hard to understand, and just plain hard.

However before we (I) skip ahead of ourselves(myself) lets go back to the beginning, some people are there right now. Back in that dreaded ICU with beeping machines and that weird sterilized smell, and the tubes. On those cursed waiting room/area couches.

When you first hear the news that your loved one receives traumatic brain damage your world falls apart. You wonder what happened and why, you have so many questions that doctors just don’t seem to be able to answer, your frustrated, and sad, and scared.

At this time it is important to remember that people grieve differently, some will cry straight out (actually it’s safe to say most if not all will cry at some point) some feel the need to organize things ( this is something we’ll get back to, this is fairly common) some will withdraw, some will not seem to react at all (these types typically break down or lash out at some point.)  When you’re grieving it is hard to be understanding towards others methods especially if they come off as insensitive or uncaring but there is nothing worse than fighting with someone while you are awaiting news of your loved one. (Personal experience talking)

Because life keeps going ( life unfortunately doesn’t care about you or your loved ones) you will eventually feel somewhat numb you’ll laugh and smile but it won’t feel real, life will revolve around your ICU visits, around sharing the info, and around waiting in that accursed waiting room. You’ll also notice at this stage if you weren’t already inclined to organize things feeling the need to organize, or just all around get things done. These things you’re doing don’t have to be relevant to the brain injury they can be chores, errands, one man I met kept track of everything  that had happened since his mother’s stroke in a notepad. I personally honed all my frustration into my cleaning projects at work. This isn’t to say things are easier at this stage, but this is when you’re devolved reptilian brain instincts kick in and tell you that you cannot live this way and that you have to find something useful to do so you won’t be a constant mess.

Than there’s dealing with the waiting: The first thing you should know about this is that while the patient’s still somnolent or comatose (yes they’re two different things) the doctors don’t really know how they’re going to be like until they wake up. Doctors can show you the physical damage to the brain and they’ll know the physical damage to the body but remember the brain changes personality and mood, effects how the body moves, how you speak, you’re memory and more. The worst part is the waiting, but while waiting remember to take the whole thing one step at a time, celebrate every victory no matter how small and try to build up a community try to share information and make sure everyone knows whats coming. However don’t compare your story to others, don’t look up the wikipedia definition of tbi, and don’t panic. I mean in the VERY beginning it’s fine but really now isn’t the time to be crippled by anxiety because when you’re loved one wakes up the real work begins.


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