What do I need? Or where do I go? To relearn my computer or purchase a new computer after brain injury?

03 Feb

My computer is not working like it did before brain injury.  I need a computer to help me compensate for my memory and other things.  What should I do and where can I go?

You or a family member are over the life and death scenario following a traumatic brain injury, stroke or serious illness and you are ready to move on.  Your physical health may still be recovering from illness or multiple traumatic injuries, especially for our American Veterans of wars and so many other Americans that do not qualify for rehabilitation for many reasons.  Rehabilitation in America is limited for the majority of injuries and chronic illnesses. The real rehabilitation is self rehabilitation when you are expected to function shortly after your injury or illness on your own. This is a time that you may begin to challenge your brain within your limitations.  You just need to find out where your current limitations are and eventually expand on these limitations. Hence, the focus is on Self Rehabilitation!  Most of the rehabilitation process is what you do on your own.  Your self-perservance,  self-determination, self-motivation, self-respect and ultimately your self-rehabilitation.

Computers are essential for most of us and now you find your computer is not working as efficiently as it did before injury.  Or you need a computer to help compensate and get yourself rehabilitated.  Either way, I hope this helps with the computer issues and a portion of modern technology. I encourage a laptop computer simply because the portability and inability to sit for long periods of time are common with TBI and chronic illnesses.  With neck and spine issues you can easily use the keyboard lying flat on your back all while applying heat wraps and relaxation techniques.

It seems like everyone is too busy to help you and rightfully so as they are busy with raising their young children or their careers, or they simply do not have the patience to work with you. They may simply not understand your problem because it is an invisible injury/illness.  Most people are very concrete, if you don’t see it; it doesn’t exist!  You just had a life altering experience and no one or family realizes the impact it has until it happens to them or their loved ones.  They may be there initially, but as time goes on the support dwindles to just a limited number of people.  This is a very long recovery process and no one would expect others to go down this road with them.  No one wants to be a burden to their loved ones and friends.

It is time you find out how the computer and/or telephone will work together in keeping you on track. You can use a daily calendar to keep appointments, but if you have a computer and are at that point in recovery I say “give it a try” and life will get better!  Google and Yahoo have excellent calendars that will work in conjunction with nearly all telephones.

Image representing Google Calendar as depicted...
Image via CrunchBase

Apple has the iCal that works in conjunction with the iPhone.  iCal will work with your Apple Computer and work together with google calendar so many ways things that work together now, but you just need someone to help you through this.  If you need a hard copy just print it off, or have someone print it for you.  The calendar will automatically chime on your telephone and computer as a reminder for appointments at intervals you pre-set.  There are many downloads for apps that will help compensate over time.  I will not go in-depth now as I’m ecstatic about my new-found knowledge and want to share as much as possible to help others get better quicker.  I just want the information available for those who can and will benefit from this.

The key is trying to get the help you need and get back on the right track.  You want to become as independent as possible and reach your highest level of functioning.  With the proper help you will get there.

So you really thought it was your computer, but it probably is not the computer at all. In reality it might just be that your memory is a little rusty, and every thing seems so much more difficult.  In life, everything becomes rusty if you do not use it.  And your brain has not fully recovered yet, so do not be hard on yourself.  I have and still consistently blame my son for all my technical problems.  He’s the closest to having the answers I need, and when I cannot figure them out I find him at fault.  He’s been a trooper over the years! takes a lot of blame.

No one understands the level of frustration that one feels when they are trying to work so hard at getting better and figure things out.  This is written to help you accomplish the goals you are out to achieve.  It will be one step at a time, but when you look back over the months and years it will all be worth it.  Never compare a day or a week at a time. And never compare your problems to someone else’s.   Since traumatic brain injury is a slow recovery it is  better to look back over a long period such as the accomplishments from the previous year to where you are now.

With so many types of computers on the market you do not know which one to buy or where to turn for help. You might already own a computer that will work just as well.  If you have something that meets your needs and you are satisfied, that is great.  Stick with what works for you.  If you need to buy a new computer, make sure it meets your needs and not for someone else.

This does not endorse any specific product and I am not employed by any company.  I just recently found services that were available, and if I had these services available years earlier I could have accomplished so much more.  Hence my new-found ability to blog with my knowledge of my new computer. No one wants to be stuck in a rut, and that is what happens with brain injury.  There are only so many questions you can keep asking before you burn out those around you. This will give you the tools you need and questions to help you with your self rehabilitation.

English: The logo for Apple Computer, now Appl...

I am suggesting the most important feature of purchasing a new computer while recovering from traumatic brain injury is the easy use of the product, support staff and availability of unlimited one-to-one training.  

  • You need extra time to ask all your questions and not feel rushed.
  • You need time to return and repeat questions without feeling intimidated.
  • You will need person-to-person help, and not just telephone support.
  • You will need people who will challenge you to think and not solve the problem for you.
  • You will need educational and visual aids as in books, charts and written instructions
  • You will need the ability to have routine appointments to help with thinking or cognitive retraining. Repetition is essential.
  • You will need support staff who speak your language fluently with minimal accents. Speech is especially difficult to understand when recovering from brain injury.
  • You will need easy access to online tutorials to help learn your computer.  You can watch these over and over and it’s a full library of every topic your computer can achieve.
  • You will need computer training classes at your local community programs, schools or community college
  • You need the freedom to spend your time learning and select what learning techniques work best for you. Learning is unlimited even with a brain injury. It may be slower, but you did not lose your intellectual abilities. But if you don’t use it, you might lose it!
  • You need to buy an extended warranty with unlimited support on a new computer from any dealer.  Support is the key to helping you solve computer issues and encourage your Self Rehabilitation.


I was told by a highly regarded physician (one who finally got the diagnosis and treatment correct after nearly two decades!) to check out the Apple Store and see what their  computers offer.  It’s not as much the computers as the services they offer. Of course, it’s both!  I heard in the past that they were easier to use, but I was also told I need all new programs to be compatible with my PC. This is a myth.  I have not needed to buy any more programs.  Even Word is compatible with the Apple Pages and can be changed from Pages to Word when needed.  The following is what I understand about the Apple Computer Store and what they offered me.

1. One-on-one membership  Sign up for 1 hour time slots for you and a trainer to answer any questions you have with your computer.  $99.00 for an entire year for as many times as you wish to set an appointment during 365 days, or at least for all the days are they open.  Yes, you can attend all 365 days if it works for you and they are open!  I go one day a week and make a list of my questions.  Within 3 months I have learned more about my Apple Computer then I did about all my PCs that kept breaking.

  1. Project sessions are 2 hour sessions that you can work on projects and have someone stop by and help you briefly as they circulate around those working on projects. My spouse attends all these sessions with me and takes notes as well.  He is learning the computer with me and actually has an interest in them!
  2. Group sessions are groups and a time slot that teaches specific products:  Such as iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Mac.
  3. Apple online tutorials or search the web for tutorial videos for your specific PC.
  4. Telephone technical support
  5. Discounts for teachers, educators and others.  If you do not have the credentials you may know of someone who can help you out to get this discount.
    Technical Support Explained
  • Research these products before determining what you need, want and how you will use it. They all have different features and price ranges. 

This is not designed to give all the services available but to let you know these services are available at a nominal fee.  The product itself may be double the price of a PC, but then again most people recovering from brain injury are looking for help and products that are easier to use and understand, even if at one time it was not difficult for you… it suddenly is after a brain injury!

The cost of traumatic brain injury, whether it is mild, moderate or severe is insurmountable.  A mild traumatic brain injury is not necessarily less expensive or less  severe then a “severe” traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries are classified according to your level of consciousness immediately following the injury. There are so many variables that come into play with such a complex injury.  No two brain injuries are alike.    The cost of a new computer and internet services are minimal as compared to other rehabilitation services.

The one-on-one membership services and project help was more than all the healthcare services I have received in an entire 20 years.  I did not realize I needed to go to the Apple Store for healthcare, but that’s where I received it.

The services and support at the Apple Store is no comparison of what a formal rehabilitation would cost.  The staff all are consistent with training methods and leave the problem solving to you.  They help you think through the problems.  Albeit, a more comprehensible rehabilitation process through America’s healthcare system people still need to keep functioning and figure out what works for them and their loved ones.

People do want to help.  They just do not know how.  These are a few things you can ask for.

  • Give yourself or loved one Permission to ask for Help.  Asking for Help is very difficult for most people, let alone after being injured and deal with issues every single day.  You always feel as though you need to handle it on your own.  You don’t, and others will help if you let them know how they can help.
  • Ask for donations from community functions to help with your self rehabilitation.
  • Ask for a ride to get one-on-one training or computer classes in your community.
  • Ask for a product with membership coverage for a year or longer.
  • Ask for whatever assistance is possible to help you get what you need for self rehabilitation.
  • Ask if your senior services or community offers special computer classes.
  • Ask if someone in your community volunteers (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, College Students, Seniors Citizens, Retired Individuals, etc.) to help those in need of computer classes once a week.
  • Call the high school and speak with a guidance counselor for referrals.
  • See what your community center offers.
  • Ask for assistance to resources at your local library.
  • This is the cheapest way to go … your avenue to remain independent and function at your highest possible level, also known as your optimal level of functioning.
  • Keep rebuilding your brain all while I help you rebuild your shattered lives.

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6 responses to “What do I need? Or where do I go? To relearn my computer or purchase a new computer after brain injury?

  1. Vickie

    February 3, 2012 at 10:05 am

    This is a wonderful site. I applaud you! I am also a nurse and see how the brain injured are left aside when it comes to rehabilitation and care. With the right care, the brain injured can once again become independent, productive people that they once were just in a different way!
    Thank you so much!
    Hope, Health, and Happiness,

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      February 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      It is good to know others realize how rehabilitation and care is limited simply because of cost. As nurses, we think everyone knows how to do the simple things in life. Not so, the rehabilitation process is complex and as time goes on with traumatic brain injury the situation changes quickly with so many ups and downs. Life is simply unpredictable daily and adapting and readjusting constantly elevates the already high level of frustration.

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      February 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      You are exactly right! Brain injury is not partial to anyone and disability is the one minority group that you can join in less than a fraction of a second. Brain injury happens anywhere, but unfortunately because it is invisible too often is often overlooked and/or misdiagnosed. Our citizens are paying the price for this injury because the lack of proper awareness and proper rehabilitation.

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      February 5, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      Education is key to understanding and treatment. How can a criminal be misdiagnosed as brain injury? and yet we have people with valid Brain Injuries, misdiagnosed, mistreated and fall in the hands of the Criminal system. THIS IS A REAL PROBLEM!


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