Posted on November 4, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 18 of 20 in the series Steven

Headaches, Pain and Neurological Problems After Severe Brain Injury: Steven Part Eighteen

In part eighteen Steven and I talked about his headaches, pain and neurological problems after severe brain injury.

Talk to me about your headaches, pain and neurological problems after severe brain injury. .

It’s pretty much a constant, I mean, even when I don’t have a headache, I have a headache.  I always – like, even right now, I have from like right here all the way around to behind my eye right here I just have a constant ache and it’s always there.  Like earlier when we were in that room, that just became so magnified that I couldn’t even deal with it and when the lights got flipped off, it was kind of ebbing off a little bit where it was just my normal everyday pain and when the lights flip back on it’s like instant everything was back and I just have to walk out of the room.

Well, let me see if I can give you an analogy from your other  headaches, pain and neurological problems after severe brain injury issues.  Your left shoulder always hurts some.

Yes, sir.

If you had the poor judgment to actually show me how, how you can’t raise it, it would hurt more, right?  So your constant headaches, pain and neurological problems after severe brain injury is worse than the pain in your shoulder but how would you describe it relative to what your shoulder might feel like if you actually put it straight how where you were working overhead for half an hour?

There wouldn’t be no work overhead for a half hour, it just wouldn’t happen.

So you’re unable to raise your shoulder without stabbing pain?

Pretty much and it’s all up in my armpit and kind of across my back.

So if we’re going use that as our baseline to compare it to your hheadaches, pain and neurological problems after severe brain injury, how does your had a constant headache pain you have compare with your shoulder pain?

I hadn’t really just thought about it.  The head pains is always there and I always know it’s there.

Does it hurt more than your shoulder?

Well, that’s what I’m saying.  I always know it’s – there’s sometimes I’ll actually forget about my shoulder until I raise it to do something and just not thinking oh, well, it’s fine and I raise it and it does hurt and there’ll be pain like a whole higher than say the headache is. Then after, you know, I don’t move it for a while, they kind of ebb down.  The headache, it’ll come back and take precedence.

Now when the headaches, pain and neurological problems after severe brain injury starts to kick in, how much worse is it?  Not the everyday headache but the ones like you were having a couple hours ago.

They can get to the point where I just don’t really want to do anything or interact with anything.

Things that set off the higher level of headaches, pain and neurological problems after severe brain injury would be fluorescent lights?

A lot of it is repetitive sounds and not even so much repetitive sounds, it seems like I can kind of tolerate those.  It’s like the real weird like I don’t know if intermediate would be the best word but the sounds that don’t really follow a pattern but they’re, you know, constant keep going like.  Instead of just like a tap, a beat. If it’s like just a tap, tap, tap style, you know, something like if it’s a real awkward repetitive sound that one seems like it will get to me after a while.

What about music?

After the first year or almost two years, I couldn’t listen to music really.

Is that getting better?

Well, I started listening to, surprisingly enough, jazz and then once I could listen to that, I was able to kind of incorporate other music into it.

You have balance problems?

Yes, sir.  It’s gotten a lot better since, you know, I walk a lot.  I just try to walk because I still have it in my head that I have to get better.  I seem like I’m getting better if I keep walking, so I just try not to put myself in a position where it’s like real precarious if I lose my balance and where I’m not going to– I don’t know, to where I don’t have to plot out like the most direct route.

Tennessee you don’t get as much ice and snow as we would further north?

No, sir.

Can you basically go through a year without having to walk on ice?

Usually.  I’ve had – I’ve done it one time and it – it’s no good.  I just stayed inside until it thaws.

You talked about that you had muscle damage under your eyes.  Do you have issues with vision?

These glasses are actually prism because I have double vision.

Does the double vision make your headaches worse?

I don’t know.  I hadn’t really thought about that one. It affects my balance a lot.

As a result of the headaches, pain and neurological problems after severe brain injury you had in access to medical care you’ve never seen a – either a neuroopthalmologist or a balance specialist?

No sir.

Do you know if those are available to you under Medicare?

I don’t know sorry, I meant to bring these letters showing that I was maybe was losing it.  I just got it the other day and it said that – I didn’t know who to talk to about it but it said that I’m no longer automatically enrolled in it because – and it had a list of like five things that it could be why I’m not.   One of them is you no longer receive SSDI and I really hope that’s not the case.

Next in Part Nineteen– Accommodating Severe Brain Injury in School and In the Workplace

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