Prior to Brain Injury: Lori Part Four
In this part we talk to Lori about who she was prior to brain injury. What was her life like prior to the accident and prior to brain injury.
Let’s talk about who you were before you got hurt prior to brain injury. Now we are going to use your real name in this.
And why is it you want to do that?
Because I did self-publish a book, and may I say? It’s called: am I Brain Damaged? And an audio version of my book is coming out soon. And I’m going to start creating workbooks for the brain-injured, and I blog, and I started my own business to make the brain injury that I lived through be a positive thing.
Who was Lori at 24 prior to brain injury?
As I remember, when I was 24 – and at the time of the accident I had lived, it was the first time I moved out of my parents’ house. It was in April that the accident happened and it was January that I moved into my apartment.
So I was in my new apartment for the first time. I had recently gotten a promotion from work. I was a data processor, and I was promoted to executive secretary. And I was attending evening college so that I could become a professional businesswoman.
And I had been dating my boyfriend for at least four years. I think we were talking about getting married. Things were great. My life was going really good.
Now were you a college graduate at that time of the accident and prior to brain injury?
How many years of college did you have in prior to brain injury?
Part-time maybe, maybe two or three part-time years.
Tell me about your high school years prior to brain injury.
I graduated from Farmington High School in 1980. I was very social – I was very loud. I was not as nice of a person as I am today. I loved high school. I didn’t do well in my classes, because I didn’t care to do well in my classes in high school. And what else can I tell you?
Very. I had gazillions of friends in high school.
Were you involved in any activities in high school prior to brain injury?
Not formal activities. Social activities. When I was in tenth grade a group of girls created a, uh, created a group and we called ourselves the Rowdies, and we always decorated football guys’ houses and stuff. Unofficially, because we weren’t cheerleaders. I had girlfriends and I went to parties every weekend, and dated every boy that I could, but I was a good girl.
You started dating your boyfriend at about 20?
Tell me about that relationship prior to brain injury.
My boyfriend today, my boyfriend at that time, thank you, is my husband. We’re going on 23 years married. I met him through his father, who was my professor at Oakland Community College. And when I met my husband, who was my boyfriend, I was recently out of about a six-year relationship all through high school and just after high school with a boyfriend. And that just didn’t work. We just developed and had different things that we liked in our lives, so it didn’t happen.
Now were you engaged before you got hurt and prior to brain injury?
Not formally. And I don’t.. I’m thinking that we were talking about getting engaged, but I don’t distinctly remember, and my husband never said.
But I do remember I lived in my apartment near a mall and so my husband, my boyfriend and I went to movies and dinners and stuff at the mall quite often. And I do remember looking at engagement rings in the windows, and I knew I wanted to be engaged. But I don’t know.
Traditionally it is thought that long term memory is usually intact after even severe brain injury, except in truly profound cases, far more severe than Lori’s. Conservative neuropsychologists often routinely dismiss pre-injury, long-term memory deficits. Yet, my experience is that most survivors of brain injury do have some unpredictable difficulty remembering pre-morbid (pre-injury) events.
Now when I asked the question about amnesia you did pinpoint that you remembered the hay falling off the truck. But are there periods of time, other than that specific frightful moment, that you have a harder time remembering – other things that happened in the month, the six months before the accident?
People have asked me that question before, and so I’ve tried to think about what do I remember. I remember driving that morning, and I remember moving into my apartment the January before. But I don’t remember very much from my graduation from high school to the time that I moved into my apartment. So that was from the time I was 18 until I was 24.
Would you describe what you don’t remember during that period as something where it’s there but it’s hard for you to track down those memories? Or is it just completely missing?
I can’t track them down on my own. If I speak to one of my friends or my parents about that time – and that’s the time when I met my husband – if I speak to them about that time and they bring up things that happened, or cars that I drove, or things like that, then I think I can recall.
So it would almost be more that you’ve lost your index of memory more than you’ve actually lost the content?
Yes. Very much.
Can you give me some examples?
Recently – I have two close friends that I had in high school. One of them, we see each other about three or four times a year, and I was a hairdresser prior to the injury. And shortly after the injury I started doing her hair. And I’d spoken to her about doing her hair, and I’m totally lost in my memory on was it before the injury, when I was a hairdresser? Or was it after the injury when I was trying to learn how to do hair again? That’s completely clouded. I don’t know the difference.