Posted on March 30, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Fred

Brain Injury Recovery: Fred Part One

Like our last story, two brain injuries, one mild, one severe.  But unlike the Elizabeth story and her brain injury recovery, for Fred, the mild injury occurred first, a decade before the second.  On the surface, the two have no connection to each other, other than to demonstrate to Fred how much more severe the coma injury was and if there would be brain injury recovery.  Yet, the MTBI was undoubtedly significant and his brain injury recovery from it may have played a role in molding the person whose behavior problems, caused the severe car crash, that he barely survived. Here is the story of Fred’s brain injury recovery.

Fred, who is now 23 had his accident in March of 2010.  At the time we interviewed him, it had been about 10 months into his brain injury recovery..  In the middle of the day, he was at fault in a head on collision.  What followed was a two week coma and months of hospitalization.  The other TBI, his first brain injury recovery, happened when he was a grade schooler, when he was hit by a flying log.  More on that and the role it might have played in his maturation in Part Seven.

Fred tells us about his severe brain injury and his brain injury recovery:

I was driving, it was noon, and I got into a head-on car collision on a highway.  I don’t remember what happened at all, but I ran into a X250 truck with my car head-on.

I smashed my femur, my left femur, cracked my hip, some cuts on my hands.  But other than that, and oh, I had a cut behind my ear, but it wasn’t a deep cut.  It was just like a scratch.  And so the only traumatic injury besides my head was my femur.

I was in my coma for about two weeks and I’m told that after I woke up I was not lucid. You would look at me and you wouldn’t think that I had the accident, but, talking I sounded the same.  But I was told that I was talking about how like the zombies were going get me and just different things.  And then also there was a time period that where they had to seclude me, lock me in a room, well not lock me, but put me in a room by myself to where no outside, no noise or light or color or anything could stimulate me, becausebecause it would drive me crazy.

I was hospitalized from March 20 until I believe it was the end of July.   I can’t remember the name of that hospital, but it’s the main hospital in Marshfield.  And then I was moved from there after I regained consciousness.  And I can’t remember, I thought I was how far in healing, I, I regained consciousness and then they transferred me to Norwood and that’s a recovery center for traumatic brain injuries.

He was in the first hospital for two months, and then in Norwood Rehabilitation for brain injury recovery for two more.

For Fred’s Mom, as it does with almost everyone, it began with a phone call:

Well, I was home and my husband had just left not more than 15 minutes and the phone rang and it was a girl.  She identified herself as one of the ER nurses at Marshfield Hospital and she said that we needed to get down there right away because our son had had a car accident and he was in the intensive care – or he was actually in the emergency room at the time and she said you need to get down here.  So I called my husband and I waited for him.  I told him the situation, that our son had an accident and he came to the house and we drove down to Marshfield.

It was hard. For the full two weeks after the accident they weren’t sure if he was going to make it.  Literally just until he came to, it was, it was the full two weeks (that they weren’t sure he was going to live).  The full first week and then the second week they were saying that it was more than likely he would make it but, you know, they weren’t sure to the extent.

Doubt There Would be Brain Injury Recovery

The doctors didn’t offer much, demand much.

Actually we had one ask, one asked permission to put what they call the bolt in his head to relieve the pressure.  Pretty much they just talked to us about what was going to happen and were we agreeable to any kind of treatment and of course we were, you know.

The first week they didn’t really want to just come out and say we don’t know if he’s going to live, because they don’t ever do that to people and then after that we had – actually we had one social worker at the hospital assigned and in some ways I feel grateful for her because she didn’t necessarily color code it.  She goes reality, the prognosis is not necessarily good, you know, and this was after we knew he was going to survive, so she didn’t give us a good prognosis.

Fred was asked what he thinks happened in the accident:

I know what happened in my accident. I was driving under the influence and I drove into the wrong lane and hit a truck head-on.

Next in Part Two, Emerging from the Coma.

by Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447