People wonder what it is like inside the life of someone with traumatic brain injury. Since this injury is invisible, I want to offer you a clear picture of how difficult every week is. Each week is a different problem, but because of the determination to succeed most survivors with brain injuries struggle with these issues. They want to remain independent and push for their best outcome.
People from the outside looking in, believe there is nothing wrong. Or, they want it to be that nothing is wrong. Here is an inside look of just one week. This is like every week, just different problems. Struggles are ongoing in every realm of life from personal activities of daily living to all business relationships.
It’s the sheer determination, motivation and persistence to continue learning techniques to help one through that also lead to high levels of frustration. I don’t give up. I am not alone in this situation. Most survivors don’t give up, and struggle the same. I have decided to write about.
Many people without brain injuries deal with the same thing. The difference is the limited amount of cognitive and physical energy that one has; impatience; distractions; inability to concentrate; overwhelming stimuli; and inability to problem solve (listed were just a few symptoms). One problem can wipe an individual out for days before they can tackle another problem.
The following was one week in July 2012 of my life: I was having difficulty with my new iPhone.
I simply couldn’t figure out why my contacts were not working. My calendar was not syncing. I use both of these features to function at my optimal level. This is how I compensate for memory issues.
It took years to learn techniques, and with technology it’s extremely difficult with the changing features. Here I will focus just on the cell phone technology. Before my cell phone, I used the Palm Pilot.
Before Palm Pilot I used Computer. Before, Computers it was the typewriter. Before my typewriter it was handwritten journals.
Sunday we decided to walk into the Novi, Michigan Apple Store and see someone at the genius bar. They took us quickly, but with about an hour spent with the iPhone and three different people were unable to answer our questions or resolve the problem. I was told I needed to change every contact 400+ on my telephone.
That sounded a bit ridiculous. Who would be there for me if this didn’t work? I risked loosing contacts, thus my memory again. No one suggested backup. No one really understands my issues, besides I look okay. It was excessively noisy and I couldn’t tolerate the noise any longer so I looked forward to resolving the problem at home.
Since I have AT&T enhanced support feature I had another option to try to help resolve the problem. I needed ample time and plenty of cell phone minutes and a land line telephone to make this telephone call. This meant traveling to my son’s house so the calls wouldn’t be dropped, clarity of conversation, and I needed to use the cell phone to help resolve the issues at hand.
After a lengthy conversation and problem solving with the enhanced support individual I felt things would be resolved. The enhanced support individual helped move my google contacts into iPhone. A task I was told could not happen. I spent hours deleting and following through with the changes I was told to make. This was a difficult task because my back-up memory are within the notes in my contacts and calendar. I use this as my brain. I carefully tackled this on Monday.
Tuesday was a day to travel. I spent time working on changes with the computer and iPhone. With much stress and no resolution into the problem my husband and I setup an 8:00 am appointment on Wednesday in Westlake, Ohio.
Wednesday morning we attended a one-to-one session and talked to someone at the Genius bar at Apple Store. It seemed like we weren’t really getting answers to the questions for the problem at hand, but the effort was there. The issues were just too time consuming, but I was desperate to recover my memory. I can’t function without my memory and I’m relying on my coping strategies I’ve developed over the years.
Apple did give me a new iPhone. I think this was a good business practice because it might have solved the issue. We were told that if the problem continued it would definitely be a software problem. Now I needed to change things that were previously set in my other telephone.
I didn’t know what or where to begin. I went home, locked myself in my room, cried and didn’t want to talk with anyone! I was a b**ch! My life was falling apart. Things were being deleted from my notes, calendar and contacts. That’s like deleting your brain!
Thursday and Friday I agonized over the difficulties I still had. I just couldn’t tackle the problems any further. I did some mindless physical work around the house as tolerated. Something that doesn’t use brain power. I knew I needed to make another telephone call to enhanced support. That just couldn’t happen till I recovered cognitively.
Three days later I finally could think again. That’s a fairly quick recovery for cognitive issues as opposed to two decades ago when injury was new. Then it was weeks. I am blessed. Saturday afternoon I spent an entire 3 1/2 hours (three and one-half hours) working with an enhanced support technician at AT&T.
Enhanced support worked on my computer with remote functions so I can see what they are doing. This is a way everyone can continue to learn when they use technology devices to compensate or simply on a daily basis. I encourage everyone that needs extra help to purchase enhanced support. Why have something you don’t know how to use?
You can only learn with repetition. It’s easier to find help outside your family and friends as time goes on and your need for more complicated tasks increase. Otherwise, expect that relationships will be stressed and fall apart for various reasons. This can be costly, but the Enhanced Support by AT&T I refer to in this post is merely $10.00 per month and iPhone assistance at Apple Store is free. These I’ve never been aware of until this past year.
- Brainline.org, TBI, Brain injury, brain damage, Marcus Rosenberger. 8/2/12, if only we had known all this information when Marcus had a brain injury. We felt so all alone… (realestatesavant.wordpress.com)
- Traumatic Brain Injury Infographic Released – Shulman DuBois LLC Reviews the Basics of TBI Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment (prweb.com)
- Understanding the Trauma in Traumatic Brain Injury (brokenbrilliant.wordpress.com)
- TBI Recovery – Please speak my language (brokenbrilliant.wordpress.com)
- How a single brain trauma may lead to Alzheimer’s disease (sciencedaily.com)