Everyone should have a Living Healthcare Will highlighting who is significant and who is not. Does your friend know where you keep it? Make sure they have access to your Healthcare Living Will in an emergency. Without an addendum to a Living Healthcare Will the healthcare professionals resort to the nearest relative. Relationships change. If your mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, or friend is your emergency contact make sure it’s updated yearly. Please tell others to prevent these issues and have them complete this before injuries occur. It’s too late after it happens!
What happened to our friends?
- Friends simply feel “helpless”.
- Friends are excluded from the patient’s healthcare team
- Friends are limited with visitations
- Friends only receive information from family
- What type of information were our friends given?
What do your friends notice? When you show up to your friends invitations, your behavior may be inappropriate (loud or quiet) or is it just different? Communication may be misunderstood (using a different choice of words or wrong words) but it’s all you know. Speech is difficult to understand (slurred speech) and it’s the best one can do. Maybe they think you stink (bowel and bladder problems)!!!???
- Behaviors inappropriate or plainly different
- Communication misunderstood
- Speech difficult to understand
- Do I really stink?
These are things you can’t see or hear or stop from happening. It’s the new you. It’s not the recovered or refined you … but your friends and families are making choices all while you struggle to survive all the daily challenges. They simply do not know how to help. They have not been given ample instructions or education on helping. Their resources are limited. Even with the internet, their time and energy is limited. Their life has changed too! They just don’t know how much yet.
Brain Injury and Friends
- Unpolished you
- Struggle to survive
- Friends lack education with brain injury
- Friends lack knowledge to help
- Friends struggle with the change in you
- Friends fear all you are going through
- You struggle with your sense-of-self
No one knows how one will recover? No one knows when one will recover? No one knows what to do. As a survivor, you have no other option but get through your day with all the challenges and stumble from day-to-day, fumble from minute-to-minute, and cry from time-to-time!
- What is recovery?
- How is it measured?
- Who’s standards?
Friends have more options. They are free from injury. They have energy and a life. They don’t know what to do or how to do it. Our healthcare system doesn’t include friends as an intricate part of the healthcare team! If you’ve had a friend severely injured for all practical purposes you need to become the “sister”, “brother”, “mother”, or “father” to visit.
Your personal challenge is a very different challenge. It’s a physical, mental, social, spiritual challenge simultaneously. You have all you can do to figure this out. Your world has been turned upside down. You look for help, and your friends are no longer available. Where did they go?
Friends and You
- Friends are injury free
- Friends are energetic
- Friends have no limitations
- Friends don’t know what to do or how to help
- Survivors are challenged every aspect of being
- Friends have simple daily challenges
- Survivors struggle to exist
- Helplessness sets in for Friends
- You did NOT cause Friends to leave
- You did nothing wrong
- Friends are responsible for their actions
- Friends leave, Friends stay, Friends come-and-go
Our healthcare system should take partial responsibility for this issue. Friends need education. Nurses educate, physicians educate, speech therapists educate, physical therapists educate, occupational therapists educate, and psychologists educate. Education takes time and money. Healthcare has not included “friends” as significant people in a patient’s life.
For that matter, they have excluded everyone except immediate members of family. Many patients have relatives, but don’t talk with their families. They’ve been out-of-touch for years and now this injury occurs. The healthcare professionals abide by the rules. They are old rules! Only family! This leaves the patient alone, in a system that is old and does not always include significant people in patients lives.
Where they really your friends? They have never left your situation. They hold onto the same memories you shared. You will never be forgotten. Life took an unexpected path, and the fork in the road split relationships. Some people like you for all the good times. Bad times are tough on relationships. What is the combination to thrive? Friendships are those that love you through all the fun, good, sad and bad times. What we find is that until life changes, we don’t have the opportunity to know how those around us will be able to whether the storm when life gets hard.
- Friends stay through good and bad times
- How does your friend handle stress?
- Have I pushed friends away?
- If I don’t like me, how can anyone else?
Many people remove themselves from stressful situations. Others are pushed away by the brain injured person and still some exhaust all the energy you have and there is no other choice then distant ourselves. Regardless of the reason this is an injury that takes its toll on the injured, spouses, children, families, friends and every acquaintance.
When that situation happens to you and you wonder what you did … it’s not what you did! It’s the stressors that others cannot deal with. It is not your issue, but it feels as though it is.
It’s a time when you need someone the most. You also can’t expend much energy in relationships. Either they move back and shelter themselves from hurt or one pushes them away because you don’t have time or energy to waste. Life is full of hurts, up and downs, and let downs. Pick yourself up, love yourself, protect yourself, and open yourself to trust new friends.
Trust is a basic instinct. Brain injury causes problems with trust. Survivors have difficulty trusting their own basic bodily functions. Trust begins within yourself. Trust yourself first.
Remember your friends were once strangers. Befriend again when you feel ready!
What next my friend?
- It’s not your fault.
- Your situation is complex.
- Your friend lacks education in brain injury.
- Your friend lacks the ability to understand all you are going through.
- Your friend does not know what to do or how to help.
- Your friend has a very different life then yours now.
- You struggle, they don’t.
- You wouldn’t want to take them along this difficult journey by choice.
- Your verbals and non-verbals tell your friends to go on with life. You might not remember.
- Communication is different.
- Does family inform your friend and keep them posted?
- Are you the one who struggles to handle everything?
- Are you still the person that keeps the family together?
- Do they really distant themselves?
- Do you push them away?
- Are they afraid of you?
To you my friend, know you are understood and not alone. The road on this journey is well traveled by millions and many never survive. You need to help pave the road so others can be helped. You were once a stranger and now a friend.
- Addiction, Therapies & Treatments Among Sessions Highlighted at Contemporary Forums’ 10th Annual Brain Injuries Conference Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in San Francisco, CA (prweb.com)
- Stroke Survivors’ Balance May Improve With Yoga (medicalnewstoday.com)
- What health professionals should know about dementia (guardian.co.uk)
October 19, 2012 at 5:54 am
Edie, I want to thank you for being so faithful a follower w/your comments and likes
Cindy French, CSAM, CPC
8517 Gunn Highway
Odessa, FL 33556
“It is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.”
Jim Collins, “Good To Great”
Management Recruiters of Tampa North, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, marital status, national origin, disability, age, veteran status, on-the-job injury, sexual orientation, political affiliation or belief. Employment decisions are made without consideration of these or any other factors that employers are prohibited by law from considering.
brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)
October 20, 2012 at 8:32 am
Cindy, Thanks for your kind comments. I haven’t been up to date, but better behind and care than go through life carelessly! Edie