Posted on April 12, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 4 of 14 in the series Gina

Craniotomy and Who Was Gina Before: Gina Part Four

In this part we talked to Gina about who she was and what she did before her accident and her craniotomy that they had to perform because of her injuries.

Another old saying about brain injury:

It is not just the injury to the brain, but the brain that is injured.


To fully understand the scope, the impact and the recovery from brain injury and craniotomy, it is most important that one understands who it was that was injured. Before her accident, she was employed, in addition to being a wife and a mother. Gina explains who she was and what she did before her craniotomy and brain injury:

I was a, well I still am, an insurance agent. I’m licensed in Wisconsin for just property and casualty, not life and health. The agency I worked at, or still do work at is, we specialize in the high-risk auto people that need these, the drunk driving, the excessive speed, a lot of tickets, that need these SR22 filings.

Before this accident, my boss used to refer to me as the walking manual because he could read off a situation, per person when they called in and I would know usually one or two companies that would probably offer the best rate, a couple companies that they don’t qualify for, the percentage. Like if we can try to sell multi policies, to try to sell them a home, try to, home policy or renter’s, that type of thing. (I was) able to just in my head while I’m talking to them, say you got a 20 percent discount if we do this; this is approximately what it’s going to run and this is what your discount would be and I could just do that all in my head while I was talking to them.

Now, I, I’m not able to do that. I still know what companies but as far as being able to predict which one is going to be the better option, no way.

How did you become an insurance agent?

I was actually working at an insurance agency when I was a high schooler, my senior year, just doing filing and miscellaneous things and then I, my boss had asked me if I wanted to get more into the computers and data entry and accounting and I went to school for that and just got this accounting degree. I don’t know if it’s a degree. I don’t know what you’d call it.

It was a two-year program but I was able to get through it in three semesters instead of four . He hired me for that and then one thing led to another and I ended up in the personal lines department and this was up in Michigan and he sent me to school for that and I did really well and I liked it and so I ended up in the personal lines department and just stayed there right through.

I quit there in say 1995. My husband and I had had a daughter that had died shortly after birth and I just didn’t handle it well emotionally. I didn’t want to do my job. Let’s just put it that way. So I did quit. The ironic thing is six months after I had quit, the girl that they had hired and I had trained ended up dying in a motorcycle accident so I went back just to help them out, just – like I said, I, I quit but it was amiable. I guess that’s the word.

I went back and said well, I’ll stay there and until you hire somebody and I’ll train them. Well and my boss said, well why don’t you come back. we’ll hire you back. I didn’t want the job. I took a couple years off. Then I went and worked for a competitor in the same town and worked there for a year and then we moved down to this area so I had to quit that job too.

I actually it worked out well because this was up in the UP and my boss wanted somebody who was licensed in Wisconsin and it was just easier because I was a Wisconsin resident so he sent me to school for that and that was a cakewalk compared to Michigan laws. So I didn’t have a problem doing that and I’m just – one thing led to another and I actually liked my job.

She had been married at the time of the accident that caused her brain injury and her craniotomy, for 16 years. Her son was 13.

Well, I was pretty much involved in a lot of, with my son’s school. I was, I got myself involved in a lot of, the PTO and the pack. My son was in two Boy Scout’s so I got myself involved in that. I did the fun stuff. I took him like tubing. I took him, I went sledding. I would go rollerblading. I did a lot of active stuff. I like to be just involved with that. So that was, like I said, always fun.

My son, he was born premature. He had a lot of learning disabilities. Still does. So it was a lot of, I was active in the schools, got to know the teachers. So I could kind of keep ahead of them a little bit or at least make sure he was getting services he needed.

As far as a wife goes we had fun. I don’t want to say partied a lot, but we went out quite a bit. Now I don’t want to do that but I mean we were pretty much like one of these couples. We entertained a lot. We went out like I said, went out quite a bit and drank. I mean not a whole, I mean not where we were driving drunk or anything like that but just social, very, very social.

While much was changed by the brain injury and craniotomy, her will to succeed, her native ability to learn and her determination to get things done, has pushed her to a faster and fuller recovery than might be expected. But despite her accelerated pace of recovery from her craniotomy, the coming home part was hard.

Next in Part Five – Early Return Home Created Difficulties

About the Author

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