Posted on July 12, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 35 of 36 in the series Michael

Severe Brain Injury Frontal Lobe Issues: Michael Part Thirty Five    

We discussed a series of severe brain injury frontal lobe issues throughout our interview with Michael, but two he gave me some additional information about were difficulties with changes in routine and insight.

How Michael Deals with his Severe Brain Injury Frontal Lobe Issues

One of the things that you mentioned that you did have some trouble with at work was changing routine because of your severe brain injury frontal lobe issues. 


How important is routine to you? 

I like routine with some things. For example, when I need routine is when it comes with my kids.  If, when I have to take them to school and pick them up and then, there are certain routines that we do – homework, other stuff.   But say for, like, around the house, I have a hard time following routines here specifically.

Do you have problems when you do something that’s routine and then something changes and gets off kilter? 

Very much.

Can you explain this severe brain injury frontal lobe issue.

Example: I just took the kids to school, come back home and they need, I need to go pick them up because they’re, they’re sick at school.  That throws my routine off for the day, even though I don’t have too much of a routine.  But now they’re coming home.  I have to watch them, I have to take care of them.

Now we’re on spring break right now.  And so that’s off your routine? 

 Yes very much.

Has that been hard for you? 

Actually my wife’s parents have stepped in and helped, because they know this can overly frustrate me, to where I have to end up on the fifth floor Saint Agnes.

Today’s Good Friday. 


They’re back to school on Monday? 

Oh I’m so happy.

Get back to your naps? 


What about insight, which is another severe brain injury frontal lobe issue, into your own problems and into other people’s.  Are people telling you that you don’t get what’s wrong with you, or do you think you have a pretty good handle? 

What I like … I like to hear people try to explain what’s going on with me  and then I at the end of the conversation, (I say to myself) “he had no clue.”  You know, because I don’t follow a set prescribed way.

Now you’ve done a very effective job of explaining to us in these interviews the problems with your severe brain injury frontal lobe issues that you’re having.

Well it goes back to I had a neurologist, one of my first neurologists back in Kentucky.  He was very helpful.  And he’s like Mike, this is what’s going to happen.  I’m like, what do you mean?   I didn’t really pay attention to it for a long time.  Now I’m starting to see it as this.

Mike you will go for a day, a week, a month, a year and be absolutely fine.  People will get used to that; they will fall into what he called at that time the, the trap of normality with you Mike.  Then all of a sudden somebody breathes wrong, you sneeze wrong, your world’s thrown apart, you go off the deep end, and people are like oh my gosh, I never expected this from him; what is his problem.

That’s when everybody wants to tell me what’s wrong with me and why I did it.

It is clear from our interviews with Michael that he does have a deep perception into his severe injury frontal lobe issue deficits.  Yet, explaining those severe brain injury frontal lobe issues in the calm of the interview environment can be very different from managing them under stress of day to day living and working.

One of the last things that, and probably the most difficult for a lot of people, is life is such a struggle from day to day.  I think you get very caught up in your own emotions, your own problems, your own challenges.  How do you do in terms of perceiving the  concerns and feelings and the issues that the other people in your life have? 

I’m becoming more sensitive with my wife especially, because she works in a very high-stress job, and just coming home (for her can be stressful.) I’ve learnt with my disability to ask questions, and I keep asking questions.  Because, uh, most of the time I don’t understand what she’s talking about.  But if I keep asking questions I can form a small picture of what’s going on.


Michael Concludes in Part Thirty Six – You Never Stop Learning the Recovery

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