Slightly dysfunctional circumstances surrounding TBI

11 Feb

How dysfunctional is one’s family?  Dysfunctional is a common term in healthcare and the general population.  There is NO perfect family. Every family is dysfunctional.  It’s just the degree of dysfunction that occurs.  Slightly dysfunctional, or slightly in denial?

I choose to say this family was doing well, and only slightly dysfunctional.  There was nothing to do, but keep on moving, keep on believing, keep on praying, keep on trying … keep on, keep on, keep on!  There were a few things I needed to resolve surrounding the timeframe of my injury. Immediate relationships were a priority.

I don’t have complaints about my In-laws!  I was blessed to have loving people that surrounded our family.  They were exceptional grandparents to my children.

They lived 60 miles away.  That was not far, but there was no easy highway access to their home. They spent weekends with us, birthdays, and holidays!  We had an excellent relationship … no turmoil, no anxieties, no nothing!  Great memories we all hold.  It was delightful to have this loving relationship for my children.

My sister-in-law (my husband’s sister) lived about 150 miles away, somewhere between 2-3 hour drive.  According to my mother-in-law they never had a good relationship.  Her daughter was busy working, and visited my in-laws a couple times a year.  We never had a relationship, simply because she was never present.

Dad and Mom visited together at her home one time in all 34 years we had been together at the time of mom’s death.  We visited one time at their home and that was after mom’s death, honoring and fulfilling my mother-in-laws final wishes.

My children played with their cousin (our nephew) their entire childhood because he was often cared for by their grandparents and left for us to care for him with our children periodically.  Our nephew (an extremely intelligent young man) attended his first year in school where my in-laws were living.

He attended all the family gatherings at my home but my children didn’t meet their Aunt until the funeral of my father-in-law September 1991.  In 1991 my children were 18 and 14 years of age.

Father-in-law passed away 6 weeks before my injury.  He complained about problems following a routine TURP, but no one heard those complaints.  Not his physician, not his nurse, not one healthcare professional until he was admitted to the hospital.

The complaints were viewed “as normal”.  If they were normal I’d hate to think everyone would be dead within a couple months of this common and routine surgery.  Don’t ever minimize your complaints.  Don’t let anyone minimize your complaints for you! 

If your complaints aren’t heard, and aren’t addressed …  go elsewhere!  It’s your life.  This was his life and that’s exactly what it cost … his life!  

We learned a lesson here the hard way.  My father-in-law always said, “doctors bury their mistakes” and I guess we were naive not believing this statement.  He died of a ruptured bladder.  He walked into the emergency room (ER) and left the hospital in a body bag.

A fragile bladder nicked during surgery and punctured completely in the ER.  A series of mistakes that continued until his death within a month of admission as inpatient.  Toxins from his bladder caused endless seizures and a state of delusions and hallucinations that he never regained awareness of people or his surroundings.

My father-in-law was a healthy 83 year old man.  He worked daily outdoors, or worked on projects and hobbies, played cards, walked, bowled, active in community and senior center, and stayed physically fit.  His mind was sharp and he read daily.   Both my in-laws spent weekends visiting with us.

A 90 minute ride seemed close, until after my injury.  My father-in-law died 6 weeks before my injury. We encouraged my mother-in-law to remain independent and live in her own home.  An 81 year old woman who had only mild memory problems should not have to give up all she finds in life … her independence, freedom, friends, home, and the environment she has known for years.

Independence is key to life!  Don’t take away another’s independence.  An involuntary relocation can lead to serious depression and a quick demise in an otherwise healthy individual who can function safely in their own environment.  Unless there are mutually agreed upon circumstances, encourage independence.  Respect the rights of every individual: injured, aging, healthy, chronic illness and nearly any situation.

How have you handled difficult situations when you believed you were right but honored the wishes of another?  What would you do differently?


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2 responses to “Slightly dysfunctional circumstances surrounding TBI

  1. philippinewanderer

    February 11, 2013 at 1:21 am

    Yes, of course you are right in saying that all families are dysfunctional. And it is definitely the degree to making one worse than the next. I just completed a final letter to SSA. Wish me luck. Got to get to bed now because morning comes sooner than it used to and we had snow, rain, freezing rain, and a lot of wind. Driving her to school in the morning should be interesting. Good work!

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      February 14, 2013 at 11:55 am

      Thank you. I’m also interested to find out how your letter to SSA works out and what they do. Keep me posted. Take care and stay safe, Edie


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