Posted on July 27, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 15 of 16 in the series Mike

Brain Injury Transitioning Home: Mike Part Fifteen

When done right, brain injury transitioning home, is a gradual one, begun with “furloughs”, allowing the survivor to go home for a few days at a time.  Sometimes, the return home is followed up by short stays in rehab, tune-ups so to speak.  Before his accident, they looked forward to those special weekends at their retreat.  Now, the getaway is to go home.

Brain injury transitioning home. For MIke's wife, his stay at Clearview has been a marathon: "I stay here, I have been living out of my car and staying here and I had to make friends for I can only stay two days then I have to leave a day."

Mike’s wife explains:

He’s got another year, years of significant therapy ahead of him and we may come back at some point.

So you don’t go back to Crivitz very often?

No, well on the weekends I’ve been trying to take him back on the weekends.

Tell me about the brain injury transitioning home the first time you took him home.

The first time I took him home was Thanksgiving so his accident was September 1, 2009, I took him home whatever, November 24.  We had a lot of help there.  I had to have help getting him in the house, out of the house.  He pretty much just laid out a hide-a-bed in the front room, the most, most of the time.

Family all there?

Our family was all there, yes.  Our friends were there.  We actually had too much company and we still have too much company.

Overwhelming company?

Everybody wants to see him and make sure everything’s going okay but it’s overwhelming for me.  I can’t imagine what it is like for him.   But, you know, I can’t just say, leave us alone.  I hid my car last weekend and we still had so much company.

People always come?


I asked Mike about his brain injury transitioning home.

How often do you go home?

Every couple weeks.

When was the last time you went home?

Two weeks ago.

Tell me about your brain injury transitioning home two weeks ago.

After therapy on Friday, I left here with my wife.  We drove home, we got home, we got out our car and I walked to the house.

On your own?

With the help of my wife.

The brain injury transitioning home is a story we have featured in many of stories, but always in the past tense.  For Mike and his wife, it is still ahead.  But their conviction that it is just a matter of when, propels them to stick to all of the hard work, all of the hardship they have dealt with so far.  For his wife the brain injury transitioning home process, she has done it the only way she knows how: 100% for Mike, leaving little for herself:

Have you found a way to find some time to yourself?

No I haven’t yet because I’ve been with Mike the whole while.  I stay here, I have been living out of my car and staying here and I had to make friends for I can only stay two days then I have to leave a day.  There’s one lady who is, her husband is here, I stay by her and one of the workers here let’s me stay with her and it’s just a lot of ramming and, you know, I eat soup out of the microwave, anything.  I’ve just done everything I can just to be here with him and, and, and it’s going to be okay.  It’s a long road but it’s going to be okay.

Mike’s perspective on it is excellent.

You excited about getting to go home in a few months?

Yes I am. I want to go home but I’m going to try to make it easy on my wife if I can or I think she’ll have too much work to do.

Doing the marathon care giving the way Mike’s wife has done it, is generally not recommended.  It can take too big of a toll on the spouse, take away from other family members, job responsibilities.  But perhaps because Mike’s wife was on disability, because their kids were grown, and because of the fierce commitment they have for each other, it will be the right way for them.

Next Mike Concludes in Part Sixteen – Words for Others Impacted by Severe Brain Injury

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