Real World after Severe Brain Injury: Steven Part Six
Steven was single at the time of his accident. He lived with roommates, who could not be expected to become caregivers. He was completely alienated from his family. Regardless of how much his ADL’s were prioritized in his therapy before discharge, he was incapable of making it on his own in the real world after severe brain injury. Fate intervened in an odd way, that while Steven has some bitterness about, it likely benefitted him greatly. His transition into the real world after severe brain injury was much more difficult for Steven without caregivers to help.
You lived by yourself when you got hurt?
Yes. Well, I had a couple friends that I was letting stay with me, and they kind of robbed me blind, or didn’t really rob me blind, but that I told them to write a check after I woke up out of the coma, and where, like, to pay my half of the rent, and they just wrote it for everything.
So when you get discharged into the real world after severe brain injury, where are you going home to?
I went back to the apartment I was living in.
Were your roommates still there?
Uh, no, sir. I was there for probably about two, two and a half years after that because there was this girl that came and saw me in the hospital. She told me that she was my girlfriend. But I found out after the fact from the person that was in the accident with me that I only been kind of seeing her for maybe a week or two before the accident. She had moved into my apartment while I was in a coma, and I didn’t know any better.
So there was somebody else in that apartment when you came home to the real world after severe brain injury from the hospital?
Do you still have a relationship with her?
Not at all.
How long did that relationship last?
Mm, maybe another year and a half, two years right at.
Now, you say you’ve been dating the girl who lived with you for a year after the accident for only a week before the accident. Is that right?
I think so.
You have no recollection of her whatsoever?
Not really. No, sir.
So that would mean that you’ve at least lost a week and a half completely in terms of your memory?
That’s pretty much it, sir.
At the time that she’d told you that she’d been your girlfriend, you had lost enough of the memory before the accident you weren’t sure that she wasn’t?
Right. I mean, I wasn’t going argue because I didn’t have many people come up there and see me as it was anyway.
You guys got along well at least at the beginning when you returned to the real world after severe brain injury.
It was somewhat of a blessing that she was there when you got discharged to the real world after severe brain injury?
I really thought it was.
Now, having broken up, you’re not as thrilled about the idea?
Well, looking back on hindsight, I remember that more than likely it wasn’t my needs that were the first thing in her mind that she was thinking about it. She wasn’t, didn’t have a very good home life herself. So coming to the move in with me, she didn’t think it would be as bad as it would’ve been. It wouldn’t take as much work as it ended up taking, and I don’t know. I guess she just didn’t think it through as much, and it got her out of a situation that she wasn’t happy with thinking it would be better with me.
For a year and a half, she did help you with adjusting to your injury in the real world after severe brain injury?
I have often mocked Hollywood’s exaggerated portrayals about brain injury, but this part of Steven’s story could have been taken from a Sandra Bullock movie. Yet, peal back the layers of Steven’s grudging admission that it was better that she was there, is a frontal deficit with respect to insight. Fate works in odd ways. This relationship clearly wasn’t ideal, but no doubt they both benefitted.