Maximum Recovery: Betty Part Eleven
One of the consistent themes of TBI Voices will always be maximum recovery of brain injury does not get better in a month, a year, but requires a lifetime of care commitment to improving. Larry, one of Lethan’s characters in “Who Am I Again” was in the rehab hospital a decade after his injury. Betty has been 28 years since her accident and received the top level of care, that went on for years. Yet she describes herself as improving still to maximum recovery:
I see myself having improved greatly and one of the biggest things I keep in my mind is I’m open and I look forward to improving even more. So the deficits that I do have now, you know, as far as memory, I remember, I, I mean I keep a date book with me at all times, I used to be very upset that I had to write things down, but now I keep it with me and if somebody says are you doing something next Friday, I can open my date book, see if we’re free.
If I’m on the phone I always have a pad of paper next to me so that no matter who calls I can write it down and write down tidbits of what that person had said making notes as far as grocery lists, knowing what to do when I get to the store, the specific items I need to buy and stay away from the other items that I would like to purchase. Keeping myself active and exercising, I do that three times a week at an exercise fitness club.
Try to work on my memory. I’m trying to improve, trying to improve my short term memory, my long term memory is basically pretty good but the short term is what I have problems with.
Betty’s benefit from this long term commitment to carefor her maximum recovery. But the insurance companies are winning the battle to strictly define how much care is allowed, TBI rehabilitation facilities are closing and care is being defined in finite amounts, not what is needed to provide a lifetime of accommodation. Betty is concerned that she would not be given the same chances for maximum recovery today.
I believe I was taken care of very well. The people that I would see at Curative, they cared for me. They were all very kind. I don’t know today if – I think maybe one of the problems is well, of course, no one wants to get involved and then they step back and here’s a person, let’s have them move their hands and their legs. And it’s like this is a Social Security number and I got to see this person for a half an hour. I just don’t think there is as much caring and feeling as there had when I had been in rehabilitation.