June is Brain Injury Awareness Month and to kick off the month the Brain Injury Society of Toronto (BIST) is launching a campaign asking if you are aware?
Are you aware that a BRAIN INJURY CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE?
The impact of a brain injury can be devastating not only to the survivors themselves, but to their family members, caregivers, friends and their community. It can affect every aspect of their life, often resulting in loss of livelihood, isolation, and physical, emotional and behavioral challenges.
Your brain is who you are, it’s your humanity. Just as no two people are alike, no two acquired brain injuries are alike. Survivors will experience the effects of acquired brain injuries in many different ways.
After a brain injury a person may experience many of the following changes:
- difficulties remembering new events, appointments, daily tasks
- changes to his or her personality
- frustration over things that used to be easily accomplished which are all of a sudden difficult tasks
- increase in impulsive behaviours
These changes and many more can be very confusing. There is also a tremendous loss of aspects of their pre-injury life and routine – things that are no longer possible for a person to continue to do. Although on the surface, a person may look exactly the same, his or her brain has changed and this can be frustrating for brain injury survivors to convey to people.
Many people with a brain injury experience seizure activities. We talked about this in our group and most participants are able to manage the frequency of seizures with medication. When a person has a seizure, they are unsafe to drive and for a person who is used to hopping in the car daily and enjoys the experience of driving – this loss of independence is massive.
FOND MEMORIES – A Series by Inder
I am very fond of driving. It gives me freedom, independence and excitement. I am very comfortable in the car. I’ve always wanted to buy a particular car.
Last year, I finally bought the car – a Red Convertible.
Exactly two days later, my Neurologist advised me that I shouldn’t be driving so I respected what the Doctor said and I stopped driving.
I went through the Drive Again program – and passed. Then the winter came and I decided to park the car in the garage. Then spring came and I took the car out and drove for about a week or so.
Then I had a seizure and the Doctor told me I shouldn’t be driving and I got a letter from the Ministry advising me to stop driving.
Within a week, the car went back in the garage and I felt devastated.
Then I made a decision. I felt that there was no point in keeping the car sitting in the garage, so I told my friend to help me sell my car. So he took the car two days ago.
So, there’s a saying back home – if you want to do something good tomorrow, do it today. If you want to do something good today, do it now. Whatever happens, happens for the good. In spite of going through a tough last 3-4 years, medically, I met a number of very nice people who are very kind to me that I may not have met otherwise. — Inder
Inder shared his story with our group and the impact of this loss was palpable to everyone in the room. When Inder and I sat down to write this story, he look distant at times, worried, concerned, and at a loss yet the story that was very clear and visible in his mind. At the end of the story, when he sold his car, I had asked him “Is this the end of the story?” After sitting back and reflecting, he was able say “Whatever happens, happens for the good” and he had a big smile on his face as he thought about the people whom he has met due to his brain injury and although the journey is tough and arduous at times, and life gives and takes, survival is victory and reminds us that we are strong and life is a gift.