Last day on the job – and a few thoughts on TBI recovery

It’s my last day on the job, and I’m getting my act together before I leave for the office, so I can concentrate on finishing up there. I’m feeling really good about giving myself (and them) four weeks to transfer everything I know that will be useful to them. I’ve absorbed a ton of information, and I’ve also developed new ways of doing things, so there’s a lot to pass along.

And I’m not sure I’m going to be able to pass everything along. But I’ll do what I can. And in any case, other people have to step up and find their own ways of doing things. That’s part of the fun and the challenge, and I wouldn’t want to deprive them of that experience 😉

Anyway, there’s a lot going on in my head, right now. I’m saving off images of the projects I have worked on, for my future portfolio, and I’m trying to cover all my bases, so that I can finish up in good form.

I wish I could do more. But I don’t think I’d ever be able to do enough, so…

I finished watching “Me and My New Brain” this morning while I was riding my exercise bike. Great documentary! I was really impressed by the kids who were shown. They were very articulate, and also very brave, putting their lives on video like that. I was especially struck by the honesty — and how the folks featured were so varied in their self-assessments. One young man had such a poor memory that he had to ask his friends intimate questions. One young woman was very clear on how difficult it was for her to spend time socializing in the loud clubs and pubs that all her peers were hanging out in.

The main individual featured, a snowboarding gal by the name of Charlie, made an amazing physical recovery from her very serious brain injury — she was in a medically induced coma for about a week — and she was back on the slopes within months of her accident. I’m not sure what to think about folks who allow brain-injured athletes back into their respective form of play, so soon after their near-death experience. I know that losing your ability to do the thing you love the most can be devastating — especially for a young person growing up, who perhaps has that One Single Thing that they’ve come to organize their identity around.

And telling them “No, you cannot do that yet,” can be awful. Depressing. It can lead to suicidal thoughts and threats. So, why not just let them get back on the slopes/streets/court/field, so they can feel normal again? After all, they’ve been through so much, they’ve had to work so hard and give up so much. And you want them to just be happy again, right?

This is one massive gap in TBI recovery and rehab that I think needs to be addressed. Parents and caretakers and friends of kids (and adults) who sustain brain injuries need to be taught about the effects of TBI / concussion on your ability to judge, assess risk, assess your own abilities, and make good decisions about what to do — or not to do. If they don’t know how brain injury impacts your thinking and ability to judge, how can they know how dangerous it is for recovering folks to do what they so desperately want to do?

Allowing kids to make up their own minds and let them have their way after they’ve been brain-injured is a Russian-roulette proposition. You just don’t know what’s going to come of it. But that information seems to get lost with parents and friends and guardians who let brain-injured kids go right back to the thing that got them in trouble, in the first place.

But it’s not enough to educate folks about these things — we also need common-sense strategies and tested techniques to give to parents and friends and caretakers of brain-injured folks. I definitely think that neuropsychological assessments should be included in every single rehab program — or faulty decision-making can put the survivor right back in rehab all over again.

Seriously, who releases someone into the world without doing an assessment on their thinking capacity? That’s one area where I believe Charlie was failed by the system. They never did a neuropsych assessment on her, till four years after her accident.

That, in my opinion, was a huge mistake. She could have been killed in the meantime, by her decreased ability to plan and judge and make wise decisions.

More on this later.

For now, I’m off to my last day at work. Should be interesting.

And then, on to the next chapter.

Onward.

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Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

2 thoughts on “Last day on the job – and a few thoughts on TBI recovery”

  1. Neuropsychological tests are somewhat useful but never tell the whole story – many people score well on the tests (normal in all categories and above normal in some) and still have deficits that may manifest themselves in a variety of subtle – but significant ways. Their thinking, judgement, and processing are out of alignment, their self awareness may be limited, they may have dis-inhibited emotional responses or rigid thinking – or they may be fine until fatigued or in sensory overload. Neuropsych tests don’t necessarily show the ability to plan either.

    As to the skiing – I have mixed feelings as well. Brains don’t mature until mid to late 20’s so decision making about risk is usually more impulsive. This is 10x (maybe 100’s times) more so in a young adult with a brain injury. Balance is often impacted as well. Perhaps with limitations, such as easy slopes and wearing a helmet and ONLY when accompanied by someone else.

    Liked by 2 people

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