Posted on December 30, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 13 of 24 in the series TJ

Neurobehavioral Extremes: TJ Part Thirteen

I this part we start out talking to TJ’s step-mom about his neurobehavioral extremes.  Michelle, TJ’s step-mom, explained that screaming fits, an example of a  neurobehavioral extremes, can be set off by something as innocuous as a “good morning.”

Talk to me more about the neurobehavioral extremes problem.

Well, TJ cannot multitask.  So the fact of giving your interview today, he was dressed and ready for you at 7:00 a.m.  He did not do anything.   There was no go for his bike ride and his bike ride is just down the other street.

It’s another gentleman that has traumatic brain injury.   So they sit and play, Uno, it could be four hours,  but he couldn’t do that today because you were coming and you were coming at 12:00.  There was lots of things you could get done between, he sat and he waited for you to come.  He knew the minute you pulled in the driveway and was at the front door waiting.

Examples of TJ’s Neurobehavioral Extremes

I’m glad I was on time. 

Yeah, oh he would have had a fit if you weren’t.  He cannot, you don’t change.  If you say you’re going to (do something, you better do it.) Just for instance: Red Lobster for dinner and all of a sudden you decide, well, I’m really in the mood for Chili’s.  That, you cannot do that in this household.

I was introduced to TJ’s story at the Brain Injury Jamboree in Florida in June of 2011.

What is the Jamboree?

The Jamboree is a gathering of traumatic brain injury survivors and caregivers from the whole State of Florida and it’s held normally in the central part of the state, and this year we expanded it to Friday, include Friday night so we can all arrive and get rested for Saturday.

We had, on Friday night we had the karaoke; we had an ice cream bar.  On Saturday the survivors go their way and the caregivers go their way.  There is games.  There’s arts and crafts.  There’s a movie for them to watch.  They can play Wii and they’re safe.  They’re in an environment that’s safe.

We are over learning, and this has been something for the last couple of years on how to advocate for brain injury survivors and the caregivers.

When you say we, you’re talking about the caregivers?

The caregivers, yes.  And then we meet back up in the afternoon, um, and we have a big dinner and then the one thing that they love the most is the dance at the end.

They get dressed up and, and they really look forward to this.  I mean, it’s Jenny’s out picking out an outfit.  TJ’s out picking out a cigar. I mean, it’s something that it’s their one weekend, so it truly is an amazing time and then we, Sunday we get up and have breakfast and they get to say their goodbyes and we exchange Facebook and emails and things like that.

Did he have a good time? 

He had a great time.  He always does.

Did it exhaust him?

Always, yeah.

Sleep Apnea Machine Helps with Neurobehavioral Extremes

What’s that like?

TJ gets exhausted but he, um, has a difficult time sleeping.  Now, with the new sleep apnea machine, and we’ve found a very good neuropsychologist for him which we love, I love, which is very important, but he’s on the, this sleep apnea machine so he is sleeping better, so we’re hoping that it’s going to  tone down the outbursts. But TJ, due to the tremors, he fidgets all the time, so he never falls completely asleep.

Now, he’s on an anti-seizure medication?


And that’s primarily to treat the tremors or a prophylactic that he might actually have a seizure?

Right, it’s probably, it’s probably a little bit of both, to prevent, um, and also works as a mood stabilizer, too.

Does he take anything else for mood or his neurobehavioral extremes?


I asked TJ about his medications:

Do you have seizures?


You say you take medication for his (neurobehavioral extremes) . What is it for?

The Abilify is anti-seizure and, oh, um, the mood stabilizer I’m taking Ritalin.

Ritalin is to help your attention and your neurobehavioral extremes?


Did you have a seizure shortly after your injury?

I had them in the hospital but I don’t remember them.

Do you have headaches?


What about pain?  Do you have areas that hurt?


Just the normal workout kind of pain?

If, if it hurts, I just limit.  I don’t, I don’t let it bother me.  I deal with it.

What does bother you?

Nothing.  I don’t let nothing bother me.

To view:

Next in Part Fourteen – Sleep Issues Impact Daily Routine after TBI

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