The TBI Chatroom
On Jan. 3, 1996 I was involved in an industrial accident while at work. I worked for a company that manufactures synthetic diamonds for use in oil drilling. I ran a huge hydraulic press that uses extreme pressure to sinter the diamond. It was a 3/4" thick lexan safety shield that struck me in the back of the head, neck, and upper back pinning me to a crossbar below with a force of approx. 120 to 180 psi. The person who was negligent in causing the accident was the company safety mgr. (two ironies right in a row!)
I went home shortly after being struck with a pounding headache, not thinking I should see a doctor. The headache kept getting worse along with intense irritability and disorientation. I was unable to fall asleep that night. I skipped work the next day thinking all I needed was a little sleep and the unrelenting headache and confusion would go away. That afternoon I finally saw a doctor, the increasing pain was too much. He diagnosed me as having a concussion, gave me a shot for the pain, and sent me home with some pain meds to go.
The following three months I was like an infant. I slept approx. 20 hours a day. I needed assistance in everything I did. I even needed assistance to wake me up so I would use the bathroom. I still couldn't think clearly; I still had headaches that required trips to the emergency room. I had a new stammer, my right arm and the left side of my face was numb and the right side of my face was in pain. My teeth became loose and misaligned (almost a year later it was discovered I had also broken my jaw during the injury),
It didn't occur to me how serious the injury was until it became apparent I was not getting much better, nor was I the person I once was.
Now, three years later, I am left with a lack of physical strengh, endurance, initiative, motivation, and I have a continuous headache that varies day to day, vertigo, chronic fatigue, short term memory loss, and brief blackouts.
My life before the accident was very different. For the most part of my life I successfully managed several resturaunts/nightclubs. I was once a gregarious socialite, very confident, and independent. I am now a housebound recluse, unable to cope with people and noise. Life now consists of uncertainty, continuous pain, confusion, low self esteem, and fear of what the future holds. Once highly organized, prolific, and Ms. Bobby Vila around the house, I now become overwhelmed over the simplest tasks. I have been diagnosed with attention/concentration deficit. Simple acedemics (reading, writing, math, problem solving) is a world of uncertainty and second guessing. My thought process has slowed greatly. I have difficulty speaking the words I want to express and understanding the words of others.
I went through a period of not knowing the difference between reality and my dreams and not wanting to accept my new reality. I had lost my identity and many memories once shared with others. This saddens me greatly. Never before in my life was this powerful person I knew as me so afraid.
I have had 2 EEGs, an MRI, and a CAT scan all coming back as normal (kinda). My doctor did state that there "was a little abnormality" on the EEG but didn't know what it was and expressed he had no desire in finding out what the cause was. His consensus was that there is definitely a physiological problem but can't define it objectively. So, naturally the insurance companies jumped right on it and is using it to their advantage. To my dismay I have found that in general most doctors and insurance companies won't or aren't willing to acknowledge a problem if they are lacking in knowledge theirselves.
I thank our Maker for my caregivers (my husband Brenbo and my son) and to all the other caregivers out there who hang in there and try to understand.
Hope has been my best weapon and a positive outlook is way out there, but I'm trying. Five years prior to tbi I broke my back in a mva. I went into code blue and the doctors said I would never walk again. I didn't give up then and I'm not about to give up now even though the head injury is 1000 times harder.
I look forward to the day when I can drive my two babies (my motorcycle and '67 Cougar) again.