Posted on April 6, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Fred

Post Brain Injury Headaches: Fred Part Six

Post Brain Injury Headaches.  Post Brain injury headache is probably the most common complaint after any head or brain injury, whether mild or severe post brain injury headaches.  Fred does have continuing but improving with his post brain injury headaches. He says regarding his post brain injury headaches:

Well, it’s, if I don’t get enough sleep, I definitely, I get (post brain injury) headaches and if I go and I don’t have enough sleep and then I sleep and if I don’t have a constant amount of sleep, then I get (post brain injury headaches) headaches.  Even if I miss a nap, I’ll get (post brain injury headaches) headaches.

The (post brain injury headaches) headaches, pretty much as long as I stay on top of sleeping on time and not, basically not over-stimulating myself, I think that would definitely have something to do with it.

There’s really no nature to them (post brain injury headaches).  Actually, that’s actually kind of funny because I, I get headaches and they’re not in the same spot all the time.  I get headaches in all different parts of my brain.  I mean, it’s, some of them, like some of them feel like they’re on like the inside of my brain.  The other ones feel like just like they’re out, outside headache, like it’s just, they’re just multiple different kinds of headaches at different times.

I don’t believe I’ve ever had migraines, not any migraines that had happened repeatedly.  I’ve had a few headaches (post brain injury headaches)  to where they took me off my feet; but other than that, no.

Dizziness and Balance along with Post Brain Injury Headaches. Another common neurological problem after TBI are vestibular disorders, including balance, dizziness and vertigo problems.  Fred’s problems in this area are improving as well.

I’m not sure if it’s exactly the same  because of vertigo, I can’t remember the definition of it right now, but it’s, it just my balance is not the same and it’s just, it’s one of those things that it is, it is getting better, but that’s just because it’s being, used every day with me walking around and whatnot.

He is not getting any balance/vestibular therapy and recollects no formal evaluation for these issues.  With the potentially adverse consequences of a fall that could cause another head injury, we have always advocated for the best possible evaluation and treatment for vestibular problems.  See for example the Elizabeth story where it was the second milder injury in a fall which left her permanently disabled. Also see for more on dizziness, balance and vestibular disorders.

Vision along with Post Brain Injury Headaches and Neurological Problems. Fred continues to have neurological problems with his vision.

My vision seems most, for the most part just as normal as it’s always been, and, you know, I’m sure my vision’s a lot better than a lot of people’s, but the, it’s the concentration, but that, it’s looking at something near and looking at something far, my eyes take longer to concentrate in between things like that.

Do you have problems with peripheral vision?

Not anymore.  That’s, they’ve, my peripherals are just the, just as good as they were, and actually I’ve noticed my peripheral vision is good.  It’s not a lot better but it is better than it was.

I’ve been doing the eye exercises and whatnot, and to start with my eyes were, in comparison to the way they are now, they were worse.  I can’t really describe how, how they got better, but they are, they’re better than they were, and also, like I was saying about the right side of my body, I think my right eye is not as well off as my left eye.  I don’t think severely, to where it’s like they’re saying there’s a problem with it, but it’s just a little slower.

He continues to get therapy and do exercises to improve his vision.

Right now she has me on these cross, like cross-eyed things, where I use a pencil and cross my eyes and then –   pencil push-ups, and then it’s either advanced pencil push-ups, where there’s a, two pictures that are the same behind, but then they have something in them that’s different, to where I do the pencil push-ups and then I try to get the two pictures to combine as one picture, into a middle picture that has the qualities of both of them.

Appetite and Weight. Freddid have significant problems with his weight during his rehabilitation, but he says now that he is  “willing and ready to eat as much as I have and will.”  His premorbid weight was about 120 pounds, dropped below 100 after his injury and says now is around 130.  He says with a smile:

Yeah and I think, well I, I got a little chubby too, so, well every, no one, everyone, everyone laughs at me when I say I got chubby when I was, I thought I was getting chubby because I actually had like fat on my body for the first time in my life.

Seizures. Seizure disorders are another common consequence of severe brain injury.  Fred has been treated for seizures but doesn’t believe he has had any.

I think they had me on the anti-seizure medication just as a, just to make sure.  I might have.  I’m not, I don’t remember if I did, but they had me on anti-seizure meds, and then I just went back to the doctor a month, few months ago, and they gave me tests and he, the doctor told me that my brain, the way it looks is, it looks like I’ve never had a seizure. He says we’re going to take, I’m getting taken off my medication slowly, to where  anywhere from June to August, I’ll be done with taking meds for that, and he says that if anything happens, if I have a seizure in between now and then, then, you know, they’re gonna send me back on the meeds.

Fred is optimistic that he will soon get his drivers license back within six months, about 18 months after his wreck.

If my eyes check out, and then if my brain checks out, then that’s in August to where, in August if my, because I go back and do the brain exam in August, and then by August the eye, the eye, I can’t remember the, the eye doctor will tell me if my eyes are good enough to drive, to what.

By his “brain checking out”, he means if he has a normal EEG.

Driving is an ongoing risk factor for anyone with a TBI, especially if that person has attentional or processing speed impairments.  Notwithstanding, we continue to take the position that driving with appropriate accommodations is important for continuing recovery.  Without a drivers license, it is so difficult to get the community integration and continuing intellectual stimulation to continue to lay down new neuronal pathways.  What makes Fred’s return to driving a challenge is the premorbid maturity and judgment questions that lead to his first accident.  We will discuss those premorbid issues in our next part in Part Seven, The Mild TBI.

Next in Part Seven – The Mild TBI.

About the Author

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