Posted on May 16, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Ian

Family After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: Ian Part Ten

In Part Nine we talked about anger issues and the potential threat to family poor control of mood and anger can create. In this part we will talk about the importance of family after severe traumatic brain injury.  We asked Ian about his relationship with his wife and children:

My youngest, I never really had a problem with him. My oldest, well, since he takes medication and if he doesn’t take it, it gets a little hectic. So, it’s kind of comes and goes there. And then my wife, well she works shift – or early morning shift work. So that means she could be up at 1:00 in the morning and gone by 4:00, and she gets home sometimes around 2:00 to 3:00 in this afternoon. And so when she gets home it’s like, she’s not really awake, and she wants to go to sleep. And so, our life schedule’s really hectic.

Is that hard for you to adjust to, that odd hours with your family after severe traumatic brain injury?

Some of it, yes; others of it, no. The reason being is because we’ve been pretty much doing that kind of lifestyle since before my accident. So, I was somewhat used to it. The only part I’m not use to being is at home and not talking to anybody. And I miss all the friendship I had with all my work people that I worked with.

Community integration relates to how much an individual interacts with his community. It has been found that the greater the community integration and the support of family after severe traumatic brain injury, the better the outcome after moderate to severe TBI. Ian was asked what he does to get more contact with people?

I generally just go out and talk to them. And I’ve – well, oh god, how can I say this? My wife would always ask me, “How do you know this guy?” Because I talked to him before someplace else, or I’ve seen him before. Like I’ll be at a store, I’ll just stop at somebody and start talk – carrying a conversation.

Do you still do that as much?

Kind of.

Do you sometimes blurt things out that you shouldn’t say or say things that are inappropriate?

I’ve been hollered at about that, so I know it does happen.

Do you feel like you’re being treated like a child sometimes by your family after severe traumatic brain injury?

Oh, yes. It’s like they’ll sit there and explain to me, like this is how you do it. You do it this step and this step and this step. And it’s like, I already know the steps.

How do you get your family after severe traumatic brain injury and other people to understand that even though you went through that period where you were, you really did have to be shown how to do everything, that you’re to being who you except for the specific limitations that you just can’t get past?

Yeah, it’s very difficult. It’s – how can you say – unless they’ve actually been there they don’t know. That I’ve been trying to figure out and until somebody comes up with the answer, I guess we’ll never know.

Do you hope that what you’re doing today will help others and family after severe traumatic brain injury understand what it is that you do deal with every day?

I sure hope it does.

What is it you, you want to add that we haven’t already talked about that will be something that could help someone who is six months from his or her injury or, or a year from his injury and trying to figure out how to get his life back?

Oh, I think the biggest thing that helped me is having friends, relatives, immediate family there trying to go over things. Well you remember when we went to this place, or do you remember doing this? You know, just kind of going through that and it just kind of bringing back memories and trying to put things back in perspective.

Ian has hit on two of the most critical elements to a good recovery – a supportive family after severe traumatic brain injury and friends and community reintegration. Key to his recovery has been not only his family, but the connection to his friend, who has bridged the gap between home and the community. Getting out, working on projects, trap shooting, those are the types of things that will continue to push his recovery forward.

Next in Part Eleven  – Thoughts Going Forward After TBI

About the Author

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