Client Stories - Recovering from Brain Injury
On February 23, 2017, I got into a snowmobile accident and hit a tree. In the accident, I hit my head really hard and was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. After the accident I was rushed to the hospital. At the hospital they gave me all that I needed to be medically stable. After the hospital we were referred to attend Community Rehab Care.
When I first came to CRC I needed to work on multiple activities. In PT, I had to practice my balance, coordination, and sports training. In OT, I worked on my vision, safety, independence in home, and academics. In ST, I worked on grammar, spelling, reading, memory, attention, problem solving, and task accuracy.
Thanks to Community Rehab Care, I am now back to running, hanging out with friends and family, staying home alone, playing the saxophone, reading at grade level, and now I am feeling back to my old self.
I was home from spring break during my sophomore year of college and had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) rupture. I went to the hospital where I was in the ICU for about 3 weeks and then inpatient rehab for 2 weeks before coming to CRC 4 months ago.
My biggest challenge was my poor short term memory which made me very frustrated.
My memory has improved and now I can remember content related to my college courses and manage my time better. My handwriting is better, and my notes are more accurate and more detailed so I feel better prepared to return to school.
My plans are to finish my sophomore year and get my Bachelor's degree. I also plan to return to playing frisbee at school.
My words of wisdom are, "Stick it out - it gets better."
I started my injury journey with a motorcycle accident 2 years ago. I was in a head-on collision with an SUV, and miraculously I am here. I’m just glad to be doing all the stuff that I’m doing.
My therapy journey started when after 6 months of being lost with my cognitive function, I figured out something was wrong, and I began seeking out medical help and community support. I then went to inpatient rehab and did some good work there. After about 6 months there, we decided that I needed more. I needed something that was more interactive, and I also needed occupational therapy. I came here to CRC and worked with PT, OT, and speech therapy.
I’ve learned and I’m continuing to learn how to maintain my life a bit better, to be more balanced and healthy, and to learn tools and strategies for time management, task management, scheduling, and personal management and care.
How I do that, is I use my mobile device to do a lot of scheduling, setting my calendar, and setting tasks with reminders. I just try to be humble, and not tell myself “I’ll remember it later”. I can just operate at a higher level if I don’t have to keep those things in my brain.
I’ve made great strides here, and I have ongoing support from them. I really love it here. They really set me up with a plan for my discharge.
I’m trying to make healthy decisions and set healthy limits and boundaries so that I don’t disrupt my cognitive function. I’m super glad to be here and I’m very proud of my progress and I know that people here are proud of me. All the supports I have in the community have seen the progress, and I have too. I’m very appreciative.
Thank you, Community Rehab Care!
In 2006, Jared, was ejected from a crashing car and suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). He was in a coma and nobody could promise us that he would wake up, walk, or talk again.
Ultimately, he did all of those things and much more.
We have witnessed a lot of miracles throughout Jared’s recovery and met a lot of angels. Janet McBride-Roy, Jared’s CRC Case Manager, is one of those angels.
Jared was assigned a Case Manager after was able to come home. It was a joyous time of course, but also one tinged with apprehension and uncertainty. There are no parenting books that cover what to do when your child has a TBI.
We are forever grateful that we had a Case Manager who knew what to do. And that the first thing she did was let Jared know that there was no limit to what he could accomplish.
In the beginning, Jared’s Case Manger helped Jared – and helped us help Jared – re-learn life skills, including cooking, shopping, doing laundry, and banking. His Case Manager was instrumental in coaching Jared how to use his iPhone to set alerts and reminders, an effective tool for a teenager with short-term memory loss.
For the past 6 years, Jared has worked part-time for a local coffee roaster, where he is a valued, integral part of the team. His Case Manager worked with him throughout the process and subsequent training when he was hired. Furthermore, she has worked with the rest of the staff to make sure they understand where Jared is coming from.
Jared’s Case Manager has seen to it that Jared is not just all work and no play. With her encouragement, he has joined a coed volleyball program and worked as an assistant middle school baseball coach.
Jared’s Case Manager knows Jared as well as us, his parents, and his older brother do. She has a sixth sense when it comes to checking in with Jared’s neurologist or updating his progress and concerns. And she can get him to do things we never imagined, like speaking at the Brain Injury conference on “Successful Employment”, and suggested submitting his TBI story to “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
Jared’s Case Manager is professional, dedicated, and kind. Words hardly seem adequate to describe how thankful we are for the tremendous support that she has shown us all.
Eric - Newton, MA
My name is Eric and I’m from Newton, MA. I am a brain injury survivor as a result of a car crash in 1988. The accident happened when I was 23 years old. It was the result of drivers under the influence of alcohol. One of my friends had been drinking and was the driver and I was a passenger. For the last 23 years, I’ve been involved in multiple surgeries and have received Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy to help me walk, talk and do my daily routine.
In July 2011, I was hospitalized due to an obstruction and was very weak and needed therapy to improve my daily functioning. I started going to therapy at Community Rehab Care for OT, PT, and Speech. CRC has helped me to improve my balance, walking, endurance, memory, manage my bills and have a productive routine. I currently still receive OT and PT to help with my walking and daily functioning. I also am volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club in Newton, a few days a week and I go to the gym almost every day. Thanks to the staff at CRC, I am improved in all areas if I do say so myself!
Martha - Mother of Son Receiving Case Management Services
There are people in this world who know their chosen profession inside and out. Anyone who has a loved one that has a TBI or ABI should always have a case manager that knows his or her profession inside and out, like we have. Our CRC case manager has been with my son for several years; she knows him-really knows him- as well as I do. We have experienced many frustrations with my son, people who just don’t get it, people who say, “he seems fine to me.” Some of those people are just professionals who, despite my protestation, would continue a plan of care that would overwhelm my son and frustrate him, thus further angering him, setting him up to fail. Although these others meant well, they would not listen until the day they sat down with our CRC case manager. They too were grateful for her expertise and guidance. She carefully has laid out a plan of care that is ongoing and has evolved through time. This plan takes into consideration all of his needs and the best way to achieve the goals that have been set.
The qualities you need (for a case manager) are all inside of her. She carries herself professionally, listens intently, and responds thoughtfully and wisely. My son is treated with respect, kindness and patience; as am I.
I can honestly state that there is no other person that understands my son’s disabilities as well as she does. There are no words to express how grateful I am to have her at our side. She has made a huge impact on our lives; in other words, she has been a “God send”.
Thank you CRC for this opportunity to say these words and for all the wonderful works you do.
Dennis - Wilmington, MA
I am a forty-two year old Vocational High School Teacher and I have been married to my wife for nine years. We have three-year-old twins. I worked as an Auto Body Technician for almost 25 years before deciding to try teaching, I started in January 2010 at Lynn Tech and the next summer I got a job at my Alma Mater, Shawsheen Valley Technical High School, and began teaching there in September of 2010. I was so excited to be there and giving back to the school that has given me so much. I was there for two months when I suffered my stroke.
It was Saturday, October 30th, 2010, just two days after the second birthday of my twins. During the normal bedtime routine, teeth brushing lessons and giving them five more minutes of Disney, I just sat down and everything just stopped. It seemed as though I was looking through a fish bowl. Without the ability to speak, move or react as one of my children asked to sit on my lap, I felt something was wrong but also losing self-awareness and drifting. When my wife tried several times to get my attention she noticed the telltale sign of a stroke. The drooped face and drooling prompted her to call 911. They responded within four minutes and rushed me to the hospital. They were able to identify and treat the clot, all we had to do was wait and see what damage had been done. At this point, I couldn’t tell the doctors my own name, I couldn’t say my kids’ names, could not read, using nonsense words, and comprehension was nonexistent. Coupled with weakness on my right side, it was devastating.
Over the next week, the doctors found the cause, a major birth defect in my heart. The doctors were shocked that this was not a fatal event, and that I had not had any prior issues before in life. On November 25, 2010, I had open-heart surgery, which successfully corrected the defect. Now I had to get better. Where should I go? My MRI showed sizable brain damage on my left side, the language area, and I was suffering from potential profound Aphasia. I received speech therapy as an inpatient at rehab, and at home after open-heart surgery. When I was fit for travel we had to decide where I would go for outpatient treatment.
CRC was highly recommended. Starting in January with speech, occupational and physical therapy - I never looked back. Five days a week there and hard work at home on the weekends; I started noticing advances in the word choices and comprehension. Some tasks seemed trivial, but I never said no. It was not easy, there were times when I was frustrated and angry.
The staff at CRC never let me lose sight of what was important, getting my life back! We had monthly family meetings and after a few months they asked me what I wanted out of my recovery, I said I want to teach again. My treatment was tailored to my goal. The next thing I knew I was standing in front of a group presenting my own prepared lesson plans. The next family meeting we set my next goal, returning to work, and on May 21st, 2011, I started teaching full time!
My life is mine to live, thanks to an incredible wife, doctors, and the fantastic therapists at CRC.