Posted on March 5, 2013 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 17 of 36 in the series Zachary

Achievement After Brain Injury: Zach Part Seventeen

Another area that Zach and Lethan’s stories run in parallel deals with the hollowness of what would seem to be the great achievement after brain injury of graduating on time from High School.  For Lethan, graduation became more of a time that set him apart from his friends, than a time to be part of a joint celebration and an achievement after brain injury. Lethan says in Who Am I, Again?

I remember my high school graduation and I wasn’t in the best of minds.  I was still graduating with my class but that’s only because I had been given a tutor and kind of coddled through the second half of my senior year and I don’t remember much about the ceremony itself.   But I do remember receiving my diploma.

While graduation didn’t become the existential experience for Zach that Lethan makes it in his play, instead of celebration of the achievement after brain injury, there is flatness.

You graduated on time? 

Yeah, yeah I did.

What’s the graduation ceremony like?

It just feels like, I really didn’t want to go to it.  I was like what’s the big deal.  I don’t know like big things don’t seem that big to me anymore.  I’ve been through something so traumatic that I don’t know, look at what I’ve had to do, you know, so.

Was there any sort of special acknowledgement of your graduation because of your injury as an achievement after brain injury, anything like that?

No, but I did get voted, homecoming king for the second time because of it. Yeah.

And that was during football season?

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  So, that was kind of like they already did me. They were like: “Oh, we’ll vote him the homecoming king even though he won it once already, we’ll vote him again and because like this is his homecoming.”

One of the things we try to do in telling brain injury stories is the contrast before and after. Can you contrast being homecoming king the first time and the second and the difference and, and how you responded to with this achievement after brain injury?

Well the first time I was, I don’t know. I thought it was pretty cool.  I was like yeah, this is awesome.  I didn’t really think: “Oh, wow look at me, you know.” I mean, it’s pretty cool.  Yeah, I’m friends, people like me, , I’m like this is all fun, you know.

Then I got voted senior year and I was like – this is cool. I’m not going to say I deserved it, but on account I wanted it, you because like I feel I’ve been so through much that, uh, you know, uh – (shrugs).

How was the dance?

The dance?

Is there a dance?

There was a dance. I really don’t remember that.  I remember before we took pictures at my girlfriend’s house and that’s all I remember really from it.  So it wasn’t too, too memorable.

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Next in  Part Eighteen –

Double Vision Prevented Return to Baseball Zschary

About the Author

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