Posted on June 29, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 28 of 36 in the series Michael

Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms: Michael Part Twenty Eight

Michael talks about working with traumatic brain injury symptoms and the effect the limitations that traumatic brain injury symptoms cause.

There’s a list of criteria that the Social Security Administration publishes in terms of the mental abilities it takes to be able to survive in a job – the mental limitations that you might have that would make it so that you wouldn’t survive in a job. I want to talk about a couple of things in there.  Now, for example,  is the ability to remember work like procedures. Did you have problems with that because of your traumatic brain injury symptoms?


Give me an example that your traumatic brain injury symptoms caused.

I guess the best way to example is go with is from the other way.  When I volunteered everywhere, since I wasn’t an employee, they gave me a list of instructions of what I couldn’t do.  But if I messed them up they would just talk to me.  They wouldn’t write me up or anything along that lines to where I would lose my job.

Another criteria is the ability to remember and then to carry out short, simple instructions.  Are these some of your traumatic brain injury symptoms?

Yes. When I was working at another job I quit back in Louisville.  I was working for Big Lots and the manager, I guess, when they hired me forgot that I was disabled.  And so she was getting actually pretty tired of me coming up to her and go “and what did you want me to do?  And where was this located at?”  And finally one day she must of got really tired of it and said okay, “Mike, you’re definitely, you’re going to work with me.  I’m going to show you how to do things.”  And the way she said it and the way the tone that I took it, I ended up saying a few nasty words and left.

Another one of the criteria is the ability to maintain concentration and attended, concentration and attention for extended periods.  Did you have problems with these traumatic brain injury sypmtoms?

Oh, yes.

In what ways?

When I was working for the government, too much attention on the computer to anything really started to bother me.  Before I quit there, they took me off the computers and just put me on paperwork.  But for me and my seizure disorder at the time and from what Dr. Nash had told me about people that are being dyslec, the people that are being dyslexic, you can’t do that to them.  Because they get jumpy and I was supposed to put out like 200 pieces of paper an hour.  If you got two from me that was lucky.

Did you have difficulty, sustaining in an ordinary routine without special supervision?  You’re supposed to come in every day and do the same thing.  Were you capable of doing that daily with your traumatic brain injury symptoms?

No, because every time I went into the places I was working things would switch.  And since I worked in the human service area of where I worked that was very hard to deal with.  Even when it came to work, you know, if the government, like I said the seizures issues came up.

One of the things that is obvious from what you told us already that you did have trouble with is the ability to work closely with other people, controlling your emotions, control your behavior when you’re around other people because of these traumatic brain injury symptoms?

Yes.  It’s a huge issue.

Give me some examples.

I can give you some examples right here.  When me and my wife would get into an argument, there are times when I will, I should know just to stop, walk away, think about the issue, then come back.  But I will start accelerating it to where she will start crying and I will start yelling.  And then finally I’ll think, oh, I better back away.  I come back and apologize to her.  But she’s starting to, like I said earlier, starting to understand that you can just say Mike, go take a break.

And you guys have been together three years. And you’re saying at this point, three years in. she’s starting to understand your traumatic brain injury symptoms?

Over three years, yes.

What’s, what’s changed?

I think it has to do with her job.  You know she’s very in tune with her job at the Lutheran Home because she works with people, older adults who are just like me.  We meet friends every, new friends every day.


Next in Part Twenty Nine – Work Attendance Problems Weren’t Primary Problem

By Attorney Gordon Johnson



About the Author

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