Posted on May 18, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series Ian

Friend After Severe Brain Injury: Ian Part Twelve

Ian’s  friend after severe brain injury was key to our insights into Ian and his recovery. The time he spent talking to us was just a small thing compared to the energy and patience he has devoted to Ian’s recovery as a friend after severe brain injury. His perspective on things is quite unique. I asked him if he thought Ian would benefit from additional professional guidance?

I think so. I think when the doctors let him go it was too soon. I don’t think they fully understood what his psychological, psychology, where it was at. Because he would tell, you know, these, these things that you should be telling to the doctor, and he says I do tell them and they don’t listen. You know and I would love to have gone, been able to gone to one of the doctors and say hey, you know, when he went in, he says this and this and I would have loved to have been there and say yes, this is really happening.

To some degree this is your chance to tell the doctors not necessarily about your friend after severe brain injury, but about what they should know about brain-injured people, that they may not have learned in medical school. What would you tell them when it came to their friend after severe brain injury? What do you want to tell them?

Whether or not Ian really actually tells them about his hurts and pains, I can’t say for sure, but I think they should ask. I think they should be a little bit more familiar with him to make him, you know, more friends like, even though you’re still the doctor, to help coax out what these things are.

And if, if he is having these pains, or he’s having trouble remembering things, or doing the small things, somebody needs to catch that and if some of it being that he’s talked to somebody about anger management or get him into something that they can improve on this short-term memory, that would have helped him a lot.

What would you most like to say to someone who’s just found out that someone they care, a friend after severe brain injury, is in a coma in terms of what they, what’s ahead and what they need to keep in mind and, and how to help when that person wakes up as a Friend After Severe Brain Injury?

When I got the call and I went to the hospital, and he was just laying there and just seeing all this stuff hooked up to him, it was scary. I brought a Bible along. I’m Catholic and I do church pretty regularly. So I brought a Bible along to read and I stayed there all night, for three nights, until he got something, someone else was going to be there for a while when I didn’t have to be.

You got to have hope that he’s going to come out all right. I prayed, you know, about it and if I heard him make a sound or something, you know, I stood by him, sometimes I’d talk to him a little bit. I just, you can’t lose the hope that they’ll come out of it at some point hopefully, and you got to say to yourself they’re going to come out of this. How well they’re going to come out of it, I didn’t care just so long as he was able to be awake and then talk. If he didn’t ever walk again, or whatever, at least he was, you know, he was awake. You could converse with him, and he would still be there.

If Ian stayed in the hospital longer or I would have stayed at the hospital longer, just to be with him, not, I mean, a lot of people that he used to talk to, they just kind of like disappeared and that’s part of the reason why I pulled up, you know, his emails on Ian’s condition.

If I’m right, myself included, as far as the people that talk to him on a regular basis is. To me it doesn’t sound like he’s talking to very many people anymore and people not being there just because somebody got hurt.

If he’s your friend you should still be, so what if he can’t ride the motorcycle anymore.

Our audience for TBI Voices: survivors, family, friend after severe brain injury and hopefully a few doctors along the way. Our project is evolving in many ways I didn’t necessarily expect. But its core purpose remains the same – to give a feeling of connection – through stories – to those who are walking through those hospital doors for the first time.

Attorney Gordon Johnson

Click here for Our Primer on Severe Brain Injury

About the Author

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