Last Tuesday, I sat in the office of my new doctor listening to her list all of the symptoms I have been suffering from. It was almost like she was in my head or had been living my life for the past month. Then she looked me directly in the eyes and said I needed to stop calling my injury a concussion and start referring to it as a TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury.
A traumatic brain injury sound so bad, was my fall really that bad? The doctor told me I was very lucky not to have permanent brain damage. Who would have ever thought that a fall could cause so many problems? I know I didn’t. So I guess my fall really was that bad.
What I did know is that after a month I was still experiencing headaches, dizziness, memory loss, short term memory issues, trouble articulating my thoughts, concentration issues, and issues with my sight. And it was all very scary so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that I had a TBI.
Here’s the thing, this TBI has stole my identity… I still cannot return to work for another seven weeks because I have issues staring at a computer for prolonged periods of time. I cannot run or exercise due to my symptoms not easing up and for the fear of impact to my head. And I haven’t been able to blog because as mentioned above, prolonged computer use causes terrible headaches. So what do I have left? Not much…
It is easy to see only the negatives. Initially, I was thinking why me? I am getting married this year, I can’t deal with a TBI too! What about all my goals for this year? I have big goals and with a TBI I won’t be able to achieve all of them. However, with all that said, I know I have to stay positive. There are positives, I don’t have permanent brain damage, with time I will hopefully fully recover, I have realized that a little down time here & there is much needed, and I have an amazing support system. I also know that my goals can be adjusted and I can do anything I put my mind to.
So, how do I move forward? Well, my medical team has a great approach. Yes, I said medical team. I am going to the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic at HCMC where I will be working through several different therapies.
- Cognitive Therapy – I will be seeing a speech pathologist to help with cognitive therapy. This cognitive therapy will focus on areas of thinking such as short-term memory, attention, planning, organization and word retrieval skills. The therapist will also teach me how to manage my energy so my symptoms do not return.
- Occupational Therapy – I will be seeing an occupational therapist to help me learn how to manage my sight issues. They will help figure out ways to work and be active while still having issues with my sight.
- Physical Therapy – I don’t really need this therapy but the doctor referred me because this is the only way she will allow me to be active. The physical therapists will work with me to keep my current physical ability as well as allow me to be active in a controlled environment. My doctor mentioned that people who sustain a TBI like I did, tend to lose physical fitness quicker than others so she wants me to be able to stay ahead of it, if possible.
- Developmental Optometry – I will see the developmental optometrist to address my light sensitivity, dizziness, and sensation of being overwhelmed while driving & looking at a computer screen. Most likely, I will end up get new temporary lenses for my glasses until the part of my brain that manages sight heals.
It’s a lot, but I know I need it all. Or I want to do it all because I believe it will be the best way to get back to me! The doctor believes knows I am driven and says that due to that, I could return to my normal life sooner than the purposed eight weeks. I sure hope that is the case because I have already been out of my normal routine for five weeks and I am going crazy.
So, I guess I have to agree with the doctor I do have a TBI. And due to that, I am going to do everything the doctor suggest because I want to get back to 100% as soon as possible. I am going to look at this like a long detour not a road block!
Have you ever encountered a setback like this? How did you handle it?