Posted on May 24, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 6 of 20 in the series Jeremiah

Walk After TBI: Jeremiah Part Six

The uninitiated think of TBI as a cognitive disorder, but it is far more than that. Some portion of brain controls everything that we do, including all motor activities. A significant proportion of severe brain injury survivors lose the ability to walk after TBI, without an injury to anything outside the skull.  As Lethan told us in about learning to walk after TBI  in Who Am I Again: “Heel toe, heel toe.”

Jeremiah Had to Relearn How to Walk after TBI

Jeremiah told us about learning to walk after TBI again as well:

Well when I was out of, let out of the hospital, or some may say forced out of the hospital, I was in a wheelchair and so they then didn’t finish teaching me to walk when I left and, and then they were going to have me meet with somebody at home in my house, which they had taken me to; dragged me up the stairs in my house and said, you know, you’re going to have to go up the stairs to use your bathroom .

But anyway we managed to, I don’t know what even happened after that, but anyway then we managed to go to Meriter Hospital, which is very, very nice people.   I should say they were very nice people at the UW Hospital, and I really think highly of most of them there.  There’s just always these few that, that tend to make problems.  So it’s not the whole hospital at all, just a few.

Anyway, regarding walking again, I don’t remember the exercises they gave me so much as bits and pieces, I would call them peaks or valleys.  I remember I couldn’t be out of bed hardly at all for many, many, well years, and, but when I, but when I, while I was still at Meriter, which were, was for a few months after still, I was using a walker and as I learned to use the walker.

(They said) you may have to use this walker forever.  No, I don’t want to use a walker forever, and maybe I have to but I don’t want to use it forever. And so I forced myself, and it’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it, the words of how it felt to have to, to force yourself to make your leg that doesn’t move and to do all these things that hurt so badly to move.

The thing I didn’t finish too is, well maybe I did tell you, my clavicle was broke and such, and everything that was not moving – yeah I did tell you.  Sorry.  And so it’s hard to describe how much that hurt to do that, and how my lower back hurt so badly, did from what it does. Yet the human desire to, to accomplish, not to accomplish but, but to be able to do things again within me –  I grew up learning to push myself very hard physically, generally anyways, but I wasn’t, had never learned to push myself through pain as such.  But, you know, I, that was necessary to, to get to where I, I could.

While the time sequence is a bit confusing, Jeremiah reports that by the end of six months: “I couldn’t walk like (like I do now) and I still can’t walk very far, but I can walk, and yeah I could walk without assistance I should say” regarding his ability to walk after TBI.

Not only did Jeremiah have to relearn how to walk after TBI,  his long term recovery and his use of music are the signature aspects of Jeremiah’s story, his case may have its most significant research value because of the odd accent he developed after relearning to talk.

Next in Part Seven – Dysprosody – Foreign Accent Syndrome

By Attorney Gordon Johnso

About the Author

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