Posted on March 11, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Doug

Brain Injury Physical Limitations: Doug Part Two

What appear to be the most lasting impact of Doug’s injuries are his brain injury physical limitations. He walks very slowly, with a cane and has to pull his left side along with him when he walks.

My left side of the body was affected because of the brain injury and also because I broke both my legs, they had to – they, they thought I might lose the right leg at first, because they had to – because I have a skin graft on the right leg. They had to put a skin graft on the right leg so they thought I might lose the right leg at first. And then they also had to reattach the – let’s see, which finger is it now? Yeah, right index finger they had to reattach because I lost it in the accident. It’s straight, but I can’t bend it the best.

I can’t walk the best. I walk with a cane and I can’t – because of the brain injury, I can’t use my left arm the best. I mean, I can move it, but I don’t have full, you know, full use of my left arm.

Therapy for Brain Injury Physical Limitations Put on Hold

As a result of the severely broken legs, therapy wasn’t able to start addressing walking as early as would have been best for Doug with his brain injury physical limitations.

I think I had to wait longer because they usually started with doing different type of exercises, routine things to try to get you to, you know – I’m trying to think how I had to do this. Like, steps over and over and over to do things and then once you get to do all these steps and then you – they build it into how you need to – build it into walking.

Learning to Walk Again with Brain Injury Physical Limitations

His broken legs healed at about the same time his memory did. “I don’t remember them being broken, so I would probably think they were probably healed after, when I was in Milwaukee.” So his primary challenges relating to relearning to walk were from his brain injury physical limitations. What is it like to learn to walk again with your brain injury physical limitations?

It is very hard because you pretty much got to rely on living in the wheelchair, relying on – getting around in a wheelchair all the time, relying on people helping you to go to the bathroom, helping you to keep – helping nurses, helping you go to the bathroom, helping you getting in the bed and out of the bed.

Well, it’s, it’s – let’s see, it’s kind of hard because you got to, you know, take the steps again all, all – you got to learn the steps again, how to walk again. It’s a long, long process of, trying and trying and trying again. It’s a very hard process of taking like baby steps.

Because I remember the first time my dad came down to see me, and I just, was just starting to learn how to walk and he was like so proud of me because I was just starting to take steps and he saw me trying to walk down the hall and he could hardly – couldn’t believe how fast, that I was walking, that I was taking steps. But it’s just the fact that, you know, it just takes me – it took me so long to just – to be able to take just a couple steps by myself.

His Dad’s pleasure also came with some sadness.

I think there was some sadness and good news because it was good news in the fact that he – that I was walking, I was walking again and sadness that it’s take, taking me this long to, to get back to this point to back to where I was before my accident.

Doug does have a good memory of the speech and occupational therapy he received besides his brain injury physical limitations.

It’s just like repetition, I’m going over different puzzles, different word games, different, different – I’m trying to think whatever else was – word games, mind games, yeah, word searches. Just trying to work the brain into learning how to do things, on your own. Repetitions.

Just – I guess just trying to – like the word searches, trying to find the words, just trying to put everything together. Put all the right – to find the words in the sentences, to put the sentences together, to put everything back, put things together, to find the stuff in the right sentences.

Speech Pathology was frustrating at times:

Because some of the puzzles were harder and harder and it’d be frustrating because you couldn’t find some of the puzzles or the words. And they’d make it harder and harder for you because some would be easier and then it would get harder and harder and they would just like – you couldn’t figure them out. I would just, you know, be frustrating.

In occupational therapy they primarily worked on his arm. The problems with his left side all stem from the brain injury physical limitations:

It’s related to the brain injury because it affected the whole left side of the body. So you basically got to re-teach the whole left side of the body.

In our next part, we will discuss the spasticity he has from the accident and his brain injury physical limitations  and partial success he has gotten in the treatment for it.

Next Part Three – Spasticity and Baclofen Pumps

About the Author

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