Posted on May 4, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 31 of 32 in the series Quinn

Normal after TBI is a Roller Coaster: Quinn Part Thirty-One

Quinn talks about what he considers normal after TBI and explains how he can help other survivors deal with their normal after TBI. He talks about how normal after TBI is like a roller coaster ride and normal after TBI can be one way today and another tomorrow.


As we conclude this, the reason you’re here is you  want to  help other people with what is normal after TBI. 


What is it you  want to  say to someone else, a person who’s first coming to the support group and first starting where you were 6 months, 8 months, 12 months ago?  What are you going to say to them, to make it easier for them? 

I don’t know.  I mean, I’ve learned, I’ve learned so much, that people are so different.  There is no normal.  I want to  get back to normal.  Well I am normal, this is my normal, and, the 18, 19-year-old kid that I first met a couple of months ago, just got out of the hospital, he wants to get back to normal.  It’s going to take time, it’s, you know, it, it, hop on the roller coaster.

I’ve learned from the support group that there’s no such thing as normal, and what I used to think is normal isn’t, but today is.  Somebody coming to that support group, you’re in the normal and life as it is, period.  Get used to it, it’s going to be a roller coaster ride, just try and hang on.  I know my wife has hung on and, and been there for me, and it’s, she’s been unbelievable.  If I can model you after her, as a supporter for the injury, great.

What’s in the model of your wife? 

She’s built like a brick shithouse.

She has been so strong; she has been through hell and back, living hell and back, and she’s watched me almost die. She has taken care of me whether it’s the simple things, feeding me.  You know, luckily she hasn’t had to change a diaper.  Luckily I’m able to walk and take care of myself in certain sense of the word, but she has been there.

What do you say to the caregivers to help them understand what you’re going through and what you need from them to be normal after TBI? 

I guess patience is a small word, or should be. It is a small word.  It should be a huge word.  Yeah, I say thank you. I say I love you, and I say I’m sorry every day to my wife.  She says for what, and I say thank you for dinner today or thank you for putting up with my crap; for going through hell and staying with me –  for helping me get dressed, for whatever the issues of hell that she has been through.   Thank  you for being there for me.  She says, why do you say I’m sorry, I say I’m sorry because one stupid thing:  I didn’t put my helmet on right.

Let’s  talk about the stupid thing.  Say it again to the hockey players, and to the other people who don’t take the helmet seriously.

If it, if it wasn’t for one stupid move, of not putting on my helmet properly, I wouldn’t be here today talking about this head injury and life-altering injury that is a one‑in–a-billion chance.

Guess what, I found that chance.  All my friends are now putting on their helmets properly, and the referee friends are forcing kids and forcing adults to put their helmets on properly, whereas before it was never even a second thought; there was never a second thought for me.


Quinn Concludes in Part Thirty Two – Patience Key to Caregiving After Brain Injury

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