Posted on May 3, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 9 of 12 in the series Helena

Post Brain Injury: Helena Part Nine

Church, God, Music. Those are critically important to Helena, but she is also a woman of this world, who must survive day to day post brain injury. She describes her current circumstances post brain injury:

I live independently but I live in an apartment house for people with disabilities or people over 62. So there are people and staff to watch me and observe me, and so they always know that if there’s a pair of gloves lying somewhere, they’re mine and they understand.

One, one of the staff is a social worker. It’s also HUD housing so it’s, I, I’m able to live on the income that I have, okay. I’m getting Social Security. I got the disability. I also had a long-term disability policy through an insurance company, and that kicked in.

What I love about Brown County is that there are lots of resources; the Aging and Disability Resource Center, IRS, Social Security, they were all fabulous, and I couldn’t get instant results, but I got results in fairly quick, fairly quick response in terms of time, and I went, the woman who was kind of my case manager at the Aging and Disability, I went to see her and she said, those people aren’t going to want to keep taking care of you, and you aren’t going to want to keep living with them. It’s time to find you a place to live, and so she found me this apartment house.

She moved into this apartment about four and half months post brain injury.

And so I went in as a very wobbly person (post brain injury), the, the, the, the double vision was cured when I, by accident, went into the optometrist’s office at Prevaya, and I said I can’t see, I have double vision, and she said, we can fix that. And all of a sudden there was this prism, and I was no longer nauseated all the time, okay? But again, I didn’t know to ask for that. It just happened.

And as the doctor said, eventually that went away. It is okay now.

What else I’m doing now (post brain injury). I took a certification to learn how to drive again, okay, but I, I don’t expect ever to have a car again. I ride on the bus, I do everything that keeps my life slower, and I think that I am very lucky in terms of I don’t have to take care of four children; I, so living life as a single woman is in many ways less complicated. So I still play the organ at church, I, everything that I have to do is like really with music, so I help out playing the piano at East High School for their choral things (post brain injury).

She manages her cognitive problems best when she accommodates for her limitations post brain injury.

My cognitive deficit’s are like a colossal case of ADD. So I’ve had to learn how to prioritize, and I find also, and that’s why, that’s why this was so good, and also the applications that I had to make for disability, etcetera, etcetera, that will take me four times longer than it would take the normal person. I have to read out loud most of the time, in order to comprehend it; I have to check my work three or four times to make sure that it’s correct, that I haven’t left a piece out; Like when I’m writing something longhand, I can’t tell Ms and Ns anymore, so unless I write very slowly, I make lots more mistakes in my writing. It starts off like letters and ends up, you know…

I have to take whatever amount of time it takes, and that slows me down too, and I’m happy for that slower pace of life.


Coming Tomorrow in Part Ten – Work Outside of Music Too Fast Paced

About the Author

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