Posted on April 11, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 15 of 32 in the series Quinn

 Headaches after Severe Brain Injury: Quinn Part Fifteen

Quinn talks about the headaches after severe brain injury that he still encounters.  He describes his headaches after severe brain injury as if his head is surfing.

As we’re doing this interview, it’s now 14 months, 16 months since your injury.


Quinn Describes His Headaches after Severe Brain Injury

Do you get any sort of pre- headaches symptoms that you might associate with a migraine?  Any aura’s, any sensations that the headaches after severe brain injury are coming on?

No. My wife will ask me what’s going on and I’ll just say I’m surfing.  And what I mean by surfing is all of sudden, I’ll get a wave of a headache and it’ll just feel like a wave is going through the head.  Sometimes it’s on the right side.  Sometimes it’s on the left side.  Sometimes it’s the whole top of the head.  Sometimes it’s the back of the head and so the roller coaster ride becomes a surfing incident and sometimes that’s all day long.  Sometimes it’s one minute and I’m done.

Quinn’s Medications He Takes for His Headaches after Severe Brain Injury

When you’re talking about the roller coaster, does that happen at the same time that your pain starts or is it before your headaches after severe brain injury?

I call life for me right now a roller coaster ride because of, I just had a three-week period where I started on a new drug and was weaning off another one.  I had three weeks of excellent physical activity of going to  the gym, very minor headaches.  So, I was on the peak or on the top of roller coaster ride and then when I got off of that one drug, the following week I was in hell.  I was at the bottom.  I was on a roller coaster ride at the bottom.  Lots of headaches, lots of pressure, lots of dizziness, lots of just …

I was a wreck for the week.  Couldn’t go to the gym.  Couldn’t, you know. I left the house a few times but I was in hell.  My head was surfing but I was on the bottom of that roller coaster ride.  Got back on that one pill and since, since then, I’ve gotten better slowly and had a better week this week.

You’re talking about two different medications.  How many medications are you on?

Depakote, Pristique, Neurontin, I think that’s the three.

The one that you went off of that caused the problems?


What is Pristique for?

It’s like a Prozac.


I think it’s less than an anxiety.  More of a, I forget.  My wife will be able to explain the makeup of it but the Depakote is supposed to replace those two and I was on something else that I got off of when I started the Depakote and it’s been fine.  But when I got off of the Pristique, something just really rocked my world.

And the Neurontin is for?

Anti-, anti-seizure is the main objective of Neurontin.

Depakote can be used for the same purpose but it’s used for many other things including migraine?


I asked his wife about seizures:

He is on anti-seizure medicine?


Has he had anything that you would consider to be seizure-like, or a seizure caused?

No.  They weren’t sure, when he had what I thought was like a stroke, the neurologic problems, the night he was sent back to the hospital; they thought that might have been some kind of unusual seizure activity; but they, they pretty much ruled that out.

What about staring spells?


Does he get lost unexpectedly?

With going places?  Occasionally, he’ll kind of forget how to get to a place that he definitely knew where to go, at first.

But, it’s not like he’s missing a part of his life?

No.  He just realizes he’s passed an exit; he doesn’t even know which exit he should have taken; but, no.


Next in Part Sixteen – Pressure Waves Present Biggest TBI Obstacle

By Attorney Gordon Johnson



About the Author

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