Your brain is your most important organ. It regulates your body’s functions, keeping you alive. It processes everything you see, hear, smell, taste and touch. And it’s the physical seat of your consciousness. In many ways, your brain is who you are. You are your brain.
That’s why brain injuries can be so profoundly disruptive. The damage is often far more than physical. They’re not like broken bones that simply take time to mend. As one Connecticut man’s story recently illustrated, brain injuries can change how you understand the world and interact with it. But, as the man’s story also shows us, recovery is possible.
Traumatic brain injuries change lives
As Newswise reported, the Connecticut man suffered his traumatic brain injury (TBI) after falling down the stairs in his home. He was lucky that his wife and son found him in time to call the hospital. Their early intervention saved his life. Even so, the man needed emergency surgery. Afterward, the hospital staff kept him in intensive care for three weeks.
Most of the time the man was in intensive care, he drifted in and out of consciousness. He wasn’t lucid, and when he finally spoke, he struggled with his words. This is common after TBIs, as were some of the man’s other problems:
- Altered mental states
- Difficulty speaking
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty with muscle movement
The man’s symptoms were more pronounced and obvious because his TBI was more serious, but even less serious TBIs can lead to ongoing troubles. As BrainLine notes, even a moderate TBI can lead to permanent disability. Your brain directly affects your cognition, and people who have suffered TBIs often find it difficult to remember things or to concentrate on tasks they previously completed with ease. Your brain also affects your behavior, and people often act differently after a TBI. They frequently become sullen and moody, and their relationships may suffer.
Recovery is possible, but it isn’t easy
The good news for the Connecticut man and his family was that he was able to recover from his accident. If his recovery wasn’t full, it was at least encouraging. But it took a lot of time and hard work for him to return to a semblance of normal life. His recovery included:
- Inpatient rehab, especially for his speech and thinking
- Using a cane as he relearned how to walk
- More therapy to build enough strength in his arms to lift them
- Ongoing exercise and physical therapy
Newswise wasn’t clear about the timeframes, but the authors made it clear that the man was still working on his cognition months after his accident. He may continue to improve, but there’s also a chance he may never recover fully.
Auto accidents and TBI
While the Connecticut man suffered his TBI as the result of a fall, the CDC reports that most people ages 15 to 44 who go to the emergency room with a TBI do so after an auto accident. This is partially because seat belts, while important, are imperfect. Your shoulders, neck and head still have room to move and can slam back and forward at high speeds. Your brain can suffer simply from slamming around inside your skull.
This is one of the reasons it’s so important to recognize the symptoms of a TBI and to make sure you don’t accept an insurance offer that might overlook your injury and its ongoing consequences. It’s bad enough to suffer a TBI, especially when it’s someone else’s fault. You shouldn’t also have to take a financial hit. You can seek the medical treatment and therapy you need, as well as the financial recovery you deserve.