Stories of a Lifetime of Recovery
The following are stories of real life survivors of brain injury. Clicking on the titles will take you to their actual story.
Betty has been 28 years since her accident and received the top level of care, that went on for years. Yet she describes herself as improving still.
The therapies stopped after two years after on the theory that her improvement had plateaued.To cut off a lifetime of needed therapy on such a pretext is just wrong. First, even if it had plateaued at two years, that doesn’t mean it won’t get worse. Her physical deficits will get worse if she doesn’t continue to have a structured therapy/exercise regime for them. As an athlete will lose fitness without exercise, her arm, her balance will deteriorate without therapy. Even non-brain injured people have extreme difficulty following a physical therapy program, but someone with her executive function problems is guaranteed to be rudderless in a self-supervised regime. A person who has time management challenges getting to work will never be self-compliant on any therapy or exercise regime. As we conclude and reflect on Chris’s story we first focus on the miracle, of the 15 year old girl who not only awoke but went back to work. But if the medical community can’t find ways to commit to a life time of care, that miracle may evaporate not only for Chris but all those impacted by brain injury.
People who have survived serious brain and physical injuries and come out of comas are miracles. To continue their miraculous recovery,â€ they will need a lifetime of structured therapy/exercise and re-designed vocational rehabilitation programs; otherwise, all the miraculous strides they have made, easily disappear.
The textbooks say ” the doctors are taught ” brain injury recovery happens primarily in the first year and is largely over by the end of the second. Our stories paint a much brighter picture of continuing recovery. I asked Michelle about this in TJ’s case: “If you were looking at it in terms of how he was at 3 years versus how he is at 6 years, do you see a curve of improvement ?: “Definitely. I remember they had told me that he would plateau. And when we hit that mark I was devastated because I was like, this cannot be as good as this is going to get.” And what was that, 24 months?: “Yeah. Two years. And I saw the vast amount of improvement after that point, so I was like, how can they even tell people this? And you’re so, focused and fixated on what they’re telling you and then I was like, no, this cannot be as good as it’s going to get.”