Personal Stories … from inside out

Steve’s Story:

Steve was in his twenties when he had a motor vehicle accident.  He’s struggled with so many problems after his TBI.  Now, Steve israising his daughter alone. He takes great pride in her and in spite of his own personal challenges he is teaching others the lessons he has learned about TBI.    You can also visit Steve at or click on this link Steve’s blog.

My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad

A Paragraph About My Upbringing

Throughout grade school would go to church every Sunday with my grandmother.  My grandparents moved back to their home state of Arkansas and my affiliation with the church came to an end.

Then the stories were constant about my father’s greatness ie; smartest, toughest, most handsome guy in school and not only from him but also friends and people he worked with and for…stories of his quickness and perfectionism were legendary.

Mom played a quiet role complained often of Dad’s gambling, “Your dad makes good money; we’d have something if he didn’t gamble.”

Our home was an old farmhouse that at one time was in the country but when Dad go it, it was more like the suburbs.   The wood plank floors were always icy cold in the winter and I would help Mom every Saturday by washing the steps down to keep them dust free while she mopped the up & downstairs floors.  Dad was always home Saturdays after his all night gambling escapades and would usually begin tearing out walls (my brother, Fred, and I would always be the ones to finish.  The home was in a constant state of remodeling.  Granted, Dad did do nice work but he never finished things.  A molding would be left off here, an outlet cover there…

How many children in your family?  

There are five kids in the family and I am the second born.  There are three boys and two girls and there is thirteen years difference in age between the oldest and the youngest.

Basic information

Mom was right saying , “If your dad didn’t gamble, we’d have something.”  Dad hasn’t gambled in twenty years and he has made my younger brother and his family millionaires.  I cannot get medicare to listen to me after all these years for I sent them a letter canceling my medicare because I am healthy, but disabled.  I am not on meds.  Medicare held onto that letter until the deadline had passed and I the fee was taken out of my disability check.  I was left a voicemail stating that she was going to hold onto that letter because she didn’t want me to make a mistake…well her blunder cost me $205!  I cashed in my change to make up for the deduction…AAAAAHHHHHHHH!  Everybody know better than the head injured person what is good for them…Dad asked me, “Why don’t you go on welfare?”  I am going to… as son as ssdi is straightened out.  I have to quit for now.

Well, he kind of dumped his other children, in favor of his youngest son and his kids. I still am looked at as the kid who had it all but drank and had that accident so I do not deserve anything.Well Mom didn’t live to see it but I am around to see how

What were you doing in life before injury?

Happily married since deco of 1972.  Remained so until the accident, divorced and everything stolen from me, but could not contest it because it was legal for her to do by law.  I was in the Navy, active 1974 -’75 honorably discharged in 1980.  Went to barber’s school, worked in that field for five years and then tried to open own shop but the people I worked for wouldn’t let me out of contract.  Began going to help dad hang wallpaper after done cutting hair for the day.

A rotating animation of the human brain showin...

A rotating animation of the human brain showing the left frontal lobe in red within a semitransparent skull. The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is sometimes also included in the frontal lobe. Other authors include the ACC as a part of limbic lobe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mr. R  submitted the following outlining his problems with Long-Term Problems of Traumatic Brain Injury and also sent a couple letters of reference that summarize his progression and outlines of his current physical challenges and his work and educational experience after traumatic brain injury 23 years ago. 

Frontal Lobe – the entire right-side of my body is partially paralyzed. I become aroused on my left side while the right is unresponsive. My coordination and balance suffer and my fine motor skills, dexterity, well they are no more.
Parietal – my personality took a nosedive and even the pastor of a church I attended was amazed at the difference between my e-mails and my in person speech. Pastor Dan said to me, “Your e-mails are so eloquent; I see why you’d rather communicate that way.” My speech is very quiet, at times slurred, and I have much difficulty finding the right word; in earlier years I had been accused of being drunk.
The Occipital Lobe – was affected along with my vision. Double vision is a constant also, though now 23 years later it is a problem only when tired.
Brain stem – my nerves and therefore my circulation is, well let’s just say, they are much less than desirable. I continue to suffer the effects of most all of these on a daily basis. There was a time back in ’88 or early ’89 that I thought my feelings were returning. I saw my doctor and was all excited because of numbness or tingling in my right arm. The doc soon lay to rest my feelings of jubilation. Dr. Rebecca said, “That may or may not be a good sign. Those feelings may never go away.” Twenty-three years later and that heavy arm still tingles as if it is asleep.
Unable to do my job any longer because the physical abilities and finesse required are gone.
I tried going back to school but after three years of struggling desperately (unable to recall what I had just read and numbers, math being a hindrance and my anthropology instructor mimicking to the class, my poor speech) I stopped.
However, I do have a reference letter from the head librarian:
Dear Sir or Madam:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            January 26, 1992
This letter of reference is for Mr. R, presently a student at Inver Hills Community College and a work-study student in the library.
Mr. R has worked in the library for sixteen months. He has been a very dependable employee and has executed satisfactorily a wide variety of tasks such as circulation checkout, processing books, shelving materials and filing. Along with his many desirable qualities is an unfailingly good attitude and a keen sense of humor. He is polite with patrons and co-workers and has an instinctive urge to help people.
Mr. R had a car accident about four years ago and was badly injured at the time. Once given little chance to live or to reasonably function, he now communicates and moves with near normalcy. In the sixteen months I’ve known him, his walking, speaking, and reading skills are clearly improved.
In addition to his work in the library, Mr. R has impressed me with his very strong determination to succeed. I’ve been consulting with him on a book he is writing. From those experiences I can attest to his hard work and his innate skill as a storyteller.
I have great respect for Mr. R’s determination and conscientiousness. He is on the road to doing really good work.
I also have a reference letter from my instructor at the computer school I attended after IHCC and a short stint at the U of M. The name of that school was, Ramsey County Opportunities and Industrialization Center (RCOIC for short):
November 21, 1997
To Whom It May Concern:
Mr. R enrolled in the Administrative Assistant Program (I did not know the program I signed up for was that though I am sure I was told but it just didn’t register…I had told the instructor that I wanted a program dealing with software. I made the wrong decision, again) at Ramsey County OIC in September of 1996. He is a dedicated student who is well thought of by both students and staff for his upbeat attitude, dedication, and wry sense of humor.
Mr. R has made excellent progress within his program, completing course requirements well within or before quarter deadlines. In addition to completing course requirements, he applied the software application knowledge to his personal life such as constructing his own database and computerizing personal finances and correspondence. He has a good grasp of application capabilities as well as operating system knowledge. Dependable, hardworking and optimistic are good descriptors of this person.
If you have any questions regarding Mr. R’s status as a student at RCOIC or character, please feel free to call me at…
That was just a glimpse of the road I had traveled, but I suppose there are many just like me on life’s busy streets. Heads bowed low, shoulders stooped and eyes that stare in defeat. Though, I attended a brain-injury support group a few times and during my last visit blurted out, “Why are you all so happy?” Almost in unison they replied, “Because we lived!”
Saying the wrong thing as was my new norm I said, “So what, we can’t do anything!”

The following highlights the accident and events surrounding his accident.

A Miracle…

15 Jan 2013 Leave a Comment

Nancy's car...

A Day I’ll Never Remember 

This story took place nearly 25 years ago July 31, 1988.  The date will never be forgotten, but that day, will never be remembered.

It was a hot, record-setting afternoon (105 degrees Fahrenheit), but our friends from St. Paul, Minnesota chose this scalding hot day to see our new place (which at that time was 4 years old) in rural New Richmond, Wisconsin.  However, the house was built without central air and so to get away from the heat we went to the nearby Cedar Creek Inn.

The afternoon heat became the heat of the evening and so may have dropped 5 degrees but maybe not that much.  Really, does it make a difference once it reaches 100?

The Saturday night races would begin at 8:00.  Cedar Lake Speedway was about a ¼ mile northwest of our home and the car accident happened just a ¼ mile southwest of our place.

The wives remained at the corner tavern with the dusty dirt parking lot while Mike, and I left and were outside viewing Nancy’s new car because he hadn’t seen it previously.  We met the ladies down there in my pickup.

“Enough looking Mike.  Want to go for a ride?”  I knew Mike didn’t like driving but I just loved it, and especially my wife’s newly purchased car.

The car was a brilliant black outside while the inside was softer black cut velour.  There were smoke colored T-Tops.  The car had wide P205/60-15 Goodyear Eagle GT tires.  Those tires were on the unforgettable and stylish brushed aluminum slotted or “Pizza” wheels.  The ground effects contributed to the sleekness of the body and the car looked as though it were hovering about 4 inches off the ground and ready to pounce!

The interior was like entering into the cockpit of a future car…like the talking “Knight Rider,” have you ever seen that television series?   There was a wondrous deep-sounding bass that you felt in your gut and heard as if in the recording studio.  You controlled how much bass or treble to where the car t sound like a true concert hall. The 5 band graphic equalizer made you feel you were somewhere at the band’s studio.

There was a pump for lumbar support in the driver’s seat and a chronograph that allowed one to time their speed in whatever intervals pleased them.  I did that once in 5-second intervals until reaching a speed of 140 mph, then my turn was upon me.  I had to travel past the turn-off because I didn’t want to slam the brakes and perhaps put me into a spin.

We got in and I turned the key listening to the low, smooth, inhaling of the turbocharged engine.  Mike glanced in my direction and asked, “Aren’t you going to put your seat belt on Steve?”

Well no, I never wore one for when I began driving they were only considered a nuisance, something you could maybe locate in the crack of the seat.  “Na, we’re only going to my house about ½ a mile up the road, well you know.”  The nearly fatal mistake.

I took it slow so as not to raise any dust and mar the shiny black finish until we crossed the bridge on C and turned onto CC only about 100 feet.  Loud music, tops off, air conditioning on I slammed through the gears, 5 of them.

Mike looked in my direction and said, “Both hands were on the wheel; you were driving fast but you always did and then all I heard was ewww…owww…ahhh…ughh as branches, leaves, sticks and corn stalks were coming in, Steve!  I yelled but there was no answer.

The car stopped flipping and ended up in the middle of the field.  Dazed, I called out your name again, but it did no good.  I tried opening my door but could not.  I sucked my gut in a little and pulled myself through the roof where the panels had been removed.

Aimlessly, I got out and away from the car and began walking, trying to find a road.

Finally, a road  and I saw somebody in the ditch bent over with a lady standing by his side.  I don’t know why but I began running towards that body lying in the ditch and screaming, don’t you die you sonofabitch!”  I don’t know why I did that because I was still about a 100 yards away, hell. I couldn’t see if that was you lying there but who else could it be?

Well, miraculously I didn’t die because God’s Grace was upon me; why was I saved and who else could have done that for me?

I had been pronounced dead and given my “Last Rites,” I lay in a coma for 2 months and spent more than a year at hospitals, nursing homes, and finally a rehabilitation center.

I took driver’s training again and like when I was 16 passed the test the first time.  I went to a number of schools never finding or being able to keep up because of vision, dexterity and speech problems.

I lead a humbled life this time around because there are still traces of that near-fatal car accident in me.  Thank you, Lord, for showing me the “Light.”

I’m certain there is much more of Steve’s story.  If he would like to share more of his story as his time allows I will post it in parts.

***I will be adding “Personal Stories” to my blog and will keep them easily on hand on the Home Page under “Personal Stories from inside out” at the top of the page.

If you have a personal story you would like to share, feel free to write to Edie at  The personal story can be of any life altering moment and life in general.


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