In the aftermath of terrorism … Who gets rehabilitation

21 Apr

In the aftermath of terrorism many questions remain.  Many people have lost what was “normal”.  They will be searching for a new normal.  Most will find that balance with help.  Are we ready to help in all the ways they need?  Who will get rehabilitation and what type of rehabilitation?

It’s not time to rehash the tragic events over the past week.  It’s time to rally for the victims to receive proper treatment.  Visible injuries are treated. Current focus is amputated limbs.

All will walk again or learn other means to compensate for lost limbs.  What about the invisible injuries of not only the 180, but other unaccounted injuries.  Those victims who  don’t know how the brain can be jolted and shattered without visible evidence.

Life is far from “normal” for the people who potentially have the traumatic brain injuries.  When will they find out?  How will they find out?  Will they get rehabilitation for brain injuries or will it be chalked up as PTSD.  Certainly they will all have some element of PTSD, but that can easily overlap with brain injury.  Will they be struggling like millions of others with brain injury?

2013 Boston Marathon

2013 Boston Marathon (Photo credit: Pete Tschudy)

Everyone was healthy one moment, and in less than a fraction of a second their lives were shattered!  Disabilities and/or physical and mental challenges are the one minority group that anyone can join in less than a fraction of a second.  It’s not a group anyone wants to join.  Just ask those struggling in this group. No one signed up for this group.

The extremities can be fixed to some extent.  It is a visible and understandable injury.  It can be seen, so others accept these problems.  The victims focus on these visible injuries and so do families.  What they don’t know are the problems that may be underlying the obvious.

A brain injury does not have to be a direct injury to the brain.  TBI occurs from blasts, bombings, infections, and lack of oxygen from blood loss among many other things.  There were many heroes who quickly tourniquet those limbs of victims hopefully minimizing the degree of blood loss hence keeping anoxia to a minimum.

There still is the quick jolting of the jello-like substance called the brain that has shaken traumatically with such force that the extent of injuries won’t be uncovered for some time.  The master computer of the body can be shattered, and the body fails to function as it once did.   Will these injuries ever be uncovered?

Will these victims receive ample rehabilitation or will they get the quick version of 2 weeks, or will they be unfortunate and receive nothing as most do?  Brain injury is not cost-effective, it’s top of list for cost over a long run.

2013 Boston Marathon

2013 Boston Marathon (Photo credit: Pete Tschudy)

With early intervention brain injury would easily prevent outlandish financial burdens for healthcare and families over duration of ones lifetime.  Duration of financial burden in TBI is equivalent to types of rehabilitation and proper intervention from the start.  Delaying rehabilitation increases financial burdens and is proportionate to future success in society.

Injured victims want to return to employment, relationships, and daily routine.  Self-rehabilitation may be their only answer to resolve the unknown.  Others won’t understand them, and they will struggle.  Let’s make sure they are not alone in these struggles.

I fear anyone presenting with a history of many symptoms will simply be diagnosed with PTSD or preoccupation with physical symptoms.  PTSD is a devastating problem, but so is traumatic brain injury.  Both need treatment with very different interventions.

Will victims and families be properly diagnosed and treated for both TBI and PTSD?  Who will get rehabilitation and when? We’ve failed our veteran’s, we’ve failed many patients, and now it’s time to turn failure into success!  Let’s rehabilitate!  Let’s educate!  

Learn from those who have been there. It’s not something you read and learn from a book.  It’s not something you learn from treating patient after patient in a controlled environment.  It’s the daily 24-7 facts that no one understands until they’ve been there.  One has been on all sides of this scenario.  It’s something you must experience.

It’s certain that the rehabilitation will take place for all those who lost limbs.  There’s concern that rehabilitation will not take place for TBI.  First, will these victims be properly diagnosed.  Without proper diagnosis they can’t receive TBI rehabilitation.

Victims are from all over the world!  When their personal world is turned upside down and life seems unmanageable we need to be there as a nation or at least the TBI community to help.  Let’s not turn our backs on citizens who simply were enjoying a day at the Boston Marathon.

2013 Boston Marathon

Many walked away in fear and appeared uninjured or in shock! Others needed immediate assistance to save their lives.   All will need ongoing assessment to receive proper rehabilitation.  The limbs will be fixed by prosthesis or other compensatory means.  The brain is questionable. Minds need ongoing support. 

Will these people make the relationship of brain injuries and symptoms 10, 20, 30, or more years from now when another injury subjects them to ongoing complications they never endured before?  Others may make the relationship because symptoms may arise sooner, rather than later.

We don’t want to provoke panic or preoccupation of cognitive and physical symptoms but knowledge is power.  Let’s not minimize the powerful messages of those who have experienced TBI.   Awareness of brain injury is key element to successful treatment and acceptance within society, family, friends and relationships of all sorts.

No two brain injuries are alike! It’s not about just moving-on.  It’s about understanding the complexity and how it  relates to every individual and family dynamics.  Optimal level of functioning is what everyone wants to achieve.  Who determines what the new “optimal level of functioning” is?  Society sets the standards of “normal” and what happens when you no longer fit into “normal”?

Rehabilitation is costly.  These victims are entitled to rehabilitation.  Let’s make sure we support ongoing rehabilitation.  Many of us are committed to educating others about TBI. Will families and friends be able to identify their loved ones brain injury?

Will they get them to someone who will listen and treat them with respect. Are they prepared to identify complications or are they caught up in a false sense of relief that they lived through the initial terrorist attack!  Close relationships are the foundation to negotiating the healthcare system when their loved one is “different”.  They are dependent on these relationships to identify “something is not right” as the victim may not notice at all for quite sometime.

Many former TBI survivors have struggled with undiagnosed brain injuries, lack of rehabilitation, failing relationships, and misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis.  Stop this perpetual healthcare situation and get on top of it!

Awareness of possible unseen injuries is key to successful treatment.  Not everyone will suffer a TBI, but let’s not miss even one victim!  One victim becomes a community.  One brain injury involves hundreds if not thousands of people in one’s lifetime.  Every relationship is affected from mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, friends, students, peers, colleagues, and so forth.

Give these victims rehabilitation.  Self rehabilitation is ongoing, but give them the tools to successfully conquer TBI.  TBI is a chronic ongoing injury, it’s not a one time event and things are better!  Millions of us wish it were!  Let’s help rebuild these shattered lives.

Let’s start a volunteer opportunity to support and connect with victims, families, friends, and relationships who have questions or just need someone to listen when the dust settles and they feel alone, scared, and it seems like “life goes on” except theirs!

There are some exceptional websites that are helpful and proper referral is necessary.  The websites have been built by experienced brain dysfunction individuals.  These resources are vital to powerful knowledge! If you have available time to connect in the future please leave a comment and how you suggest this goal can be accomplished.


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7 responses to “In the aftermath of terrorism … Who gets rehabilitation

  1. brokenbrilliant

    April 21, 2013 at 7:44 am

    This is absolutely correct and very important to let people know about. I also worry about the folks in Boston who were near the blast, who are telling themselves (and being told) how lucky they are to be alive and well, when their brains have actually been injured.

    I worry that in the days and weeks following the event, they will chalk up their symptoms to shock or PTSD, and they won’t get the help they need in a timely manner. Some, as you say, may go for years.

    Also, the folks in West, Texas – same thing. That was a blast, too.

    There is a real need for help, right now.

    I hope that my Brain Injury Recovery Tools can help. Being brain injured and without help and information can be a lonely downward slope. If you have anything to contribute there, please add your input to the comments. It would be great to have your insight and experience as well.

    Thanks for writing this.

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      April 23, 2013 at 8:02 am

      You are right that the blast in West, Texas will have the same potential for brain injury. Your contribution with your website and the Brain Injury Recovery Tools is helpful. I will check out and see what I can add. If I become distracted always feel free to remind me! Reminders are good! Take care and stay safe.

      • brokenbrilliant

        April 23, 2013 at 8:16 am

        Ha – that makes two of us. Remembering to keep it going is half the work 🙂

        I’ll be adding to it as I go along. I’m especially interested in quality links to other material about each of the subjects, if you’ve got any you’d like to share.

        Thanks and have a great day!

  2. brokenbrilliant

    April 21, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Reblogged this on Broken Brain – Brilliant Mind and commented:
    So very true – and important to keep in mind.

  3. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

    April 28, 2013 at 3:56 am

    I don’t wish brain-trouble on ANYONE, but the fact remains that it is a disability OPEN FOR MEMBERSHIP. It never ceases to amaze me how many people take it seriously ONLY after a TBI happens to them or to someone they love – or when they have a child who is born with a neurological disability.

    Sometimes I struggle to understand why “bad things happen to good people” – but I am calmed when I hold the thought that even “bad” can be turned to “good” with the right mindset.

    Both of you, Edie & BB, are amazing examples of what I am talking about. You are changing the world, person by person, as they find and read the heart-renderingly REAL articles you write on your blogs.

    Thank you.

    I hope that some of those you write about in this article, Edie, will find their way to one of you, and will learn that there ARE ways of coping and that it IS possible to heal. I hope that others will find their way to you and come away cherishing neurological functioning as the amazing gift from God that it IS, never again taking it for granted, and forevermore looking at those who are not so LUCKY with empathy and caring rather than judgment.

    That is my prayer.

    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC
    – ADD Coaching Field co-founder –
    (blogs: ADDandSoMuchMore, ADDerWorld & ethosconsultancynz – dot com)
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      May 6, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      Thank you so much for all your compliments and your prayer. I do prayer for all those suffering in MA and Texas and wonder how their lives are going after rehabilitation. I’m hoping by time many realize they’ve had TBI, more knowledge and support will be available to at least these people! I believe many just don’t get treatment because financial reasons … it’s not a cost effective injury and it’s easier to place blame to something else. Imagine how many misdiagnosis will come of all this. I can just see everyone having PTSD, and rightfully so … but TBI won’t even be looked at. Take care and stay safe, Edie

      • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

        May 7, 2013 at 1:12 am

        Unfortunately, you are SO right Edie – even if they get grief counseling, without specialized training in the functional impairments that that accompany PTSD, the sufferers aren’t getting the kind of help they are going to need to put their lives back together.

        TONS of work still to do in this arena.



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