Posted on April 4, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Fred

Coming Home after Severe Brain Injury: Fred Part Four

Leaving rehab and coming home after severe brain injury  is always a mixed bag.  There is the joy of reunion, of return to normalcy, of release from an institution and just plain coming home after severe brain injury. Yet that is soon replaced by the complexity of a survivor transitioning from the intensive care provided by professionals to being guided by a family trying to cope. Fred’s Mom explains his coming home after severe brain injury:

Well, when he came home he was doing very well, I mean for the most part.  I would say he was – personality wise and everything he seemed a lot like the boy he was.  He still had his issues.  He still had to deal with confusion, anger, forget, you know, forgetfulness.  And he would get frustrated because he would see where he was lacking at times.  But at that point we always had a positive attitude coming into that, that it would always get better, and that’s what we always just kept relying on.

Did he have any behavior problems with coming home after severe brain injury?

Yes.  Anger.  I don’t know if he was violent per se.  He – they – apparently brain injury people do have violent issues.  I know in the hospital he would do that.  They had to restrain him a lot and they said that was normal.  At Norwood he, he would verbally lash out at times but not physically.  He never lashed out physically at anyone.

He looked kind of scary in a way in, in the fact that – because mentally he wasn’t, you know, coherent so he’d have this look on his face which was not, you know, I, I don’t want to say – I don’t know if for lack of a better thought, intelligence, you know.  He looked lost and, and kind of like a wild man, you know?  That was, that was probably the scariest.

Fred had lost a lot of weight since his injury. His Mom:

He did, yeah, he did.  He was – he said like when he was at Norwood he was a hundred pounds but I think he was smaller than that.  I mean, he looked like he looke like he was quite thin at that time but he has never been a fat person, you know, so.

What were the biggest problems with his coming home after severe brain injury?

I think  opinions.  He might think something that – one way, I might think it another whether it be a, a conversation or the way something should be done.    We would clash is, is the biggest part.  He might say something like well, I want to go do this today and I say well, no. I don’t want you to do that today.  Well, then he may get angry or he might, you know, sometimes when he does something even small as what I’m going to make for a meal or if I’m going to do one thing but he wants this done first.  And it would all get done but that would throw him off.  He’s very much better that way now.  I mean, you know, he’s more compliant and give and take in like a normal life, you know, with people.

I would worry about him because he, he was still childlike in a lot of ways.  If I would go someplace and he wasn’t sure where I’d be, he would call on the phone all of  time.  He’d call his father, he would call me, where are you, when are you coming home.  I think that he, he was fearful that – it was – he was like a child, like a little, a little child.  I would have to – if I went away for the day I would make sure I had something cooked, something simple so that, if nothing else  all he had to do was warm it up in the microwave or have sandwiches because he couldn’t cook anything for himself.  Things like that, it was like, like leaving a, a child home.

There are usually a lot of difficulties for the survivor and caregivers with the survivor coming home after severe brain injury.  Even though for Fred it wasn’t a cake walk, the transition of coming home after severe brain injury worked and he has showed steady improvement.

Next in Part Five: Where Fred’s Recovery is at Ten Months Post

About the Author

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