Your Stories

Brain injury survivors and http://www.vlcc.org.au/real-cialis-online-without-prescription their carers have many stories to share about life after injury.

We would love to hear your story and, if you wish, publish it on our website - please phone or email us to discuss how you can contribute your story.

 

Ty's Story

Background

Ty came from a family of four – he had an older brother, me and my husband. His grandparents from both sides lived close by and close friends and their children visited often. Ty was dearly loved by all. He spent most of his life in Cabarita Beach on the north coast of New South Wales. We moved here when he was four, specifically because it was a small village and we wanted our children to grow up in a safe and close knit community.

Most people would describe Ty as sensitive, generous, compassionate, a little eccentric with a quirky sense of humour. He did struggle a little to make friends, but he was extremely loyal to those who took the time to get to know him. He played the piano and was an average to above average student in most subjects at school, with a real flare for Mathematics. He was also a thrill seeker and loved most sports. He was an accomplished basketball player and search cialis loved all codes of football. He was also a keen surfer and skateboarder, just like his brother who he adored. He was playing Rugby Union when he suffered a concussion that marked the beginning of some serious behavioural changes.

All in all, Ty was a pretty normal teenager who came from a pretty normal family and there were no traumatic events or hardships that impacted on his life.

The Concussion

I am not sure of the exact date, but I think it was early to mid April in 2012. Ty was playing Rugby Union for a local club. The team he was playing that day was at the top of the league and the players were much bigger and stronger than the boys in Ty’s team. They were not a rough team, but they were skilled footballers and fierce competitors. I know that Ty was wearing his head gear and shoulder pads that day because I always made sure of it – especially because most of the other teams were twice Ty’s size. It was about 3 or 4 minutes till the end of the game and Ty had the ball. He was knocked to the ground by a large player and looked like he was out cold. His coach called the First Aid Officer over and they were milling around Ty for several minutes. I wanted to race over there, but one of the father’s and a close friend of ours encouraged me to wait – he reassured me that if it was serious, they would come and let me know. Ty then stood up and look here continued to play for the last few minutes of the game. He was running up the field in position and seemed to be focused. At the end of the game, I asked him if he felt ok and he said he was fine. I asked if he was knocked out and he laughed and said no and ran off. He just wanted to go and hang out with the boys, so I let him go.

There was no further mention of the incident by anyone after the game and so I guessed it wasn’t as bad as it looked, but I did keep a close eye on Ty that day just the same. About an hour after the game when we got home, he said he was tired and order 50mg viagra alternative wanted to lie down. I was a little alarmed, because Ty was never tired during the day. I checked to see if his pupils were dilated but they seemed fairly normal (I had read somewhere in the past that these were two signs of concussion that should be monitored carefully). I had a friend and her son over at the time and I told them what had happened in the game. We encouraged Ty to sit with us and watch a movie. After the movie, he sparked up a little and seemed to have bounced back to his normal self, but late in the afternoon he said he was tired again and wanted to lay down because he had a headache. I was very concerned when he said this and so I took him straight up to the Tweed Heads After Hours Surgery. When the doctor examined Ty, he said that he had suffered a ‘pretty serious brain rattle’ and told me he should not play football for 6-8 weeks. I remember thinking to myself ‘Thank goodness, the season will almost be over by then!’. I never liked Ty playing football because although he was tall, he was thin and visit our site a little lanky and always came home with one injury or another – but he loved playing and was proud to be a part of the team. I asked the doctor if there was anything else I should do and he said I should just keep an eye on him and if I had any concerns over the coming days, I should take him to see his doctor. To be frank, I had no idea what to be concerned about other than the symptoms I mentioned above.

When we drove home from the surgery, I asked Ty exactly what he remembered about the knock and what he said to me next is critical to his story. He said “All I remember is that big guy running into me and then I looked up and everyone was staring down at me”. I said to Ty, “But you got up and started playing again” and he said “I know, but I couldn’t see anything mum, I was just blank”.

I watched Ty carefully for the next week or so and http://planneralm.at/buy-casodex-online-fast-delivery he seemed fine – physically. I recall him mentioning that he had a slight headache one day, but other than that he was happy to go to school, he played basketball the following Friday, he went surfing on the weekend and hung out with his friends. I stopped worrying, but I was insistent that we follow the doctor’s advice and said he was not playing football for at least 6 weeks. I talked to his coach, who seemed a little surprised but fully supported this decision. Ty and I agreed that he could go to the training sessions and join in with the fitness drills but there was to be no physical contact.

I cannot remember exactly how long it was after the concussion, or ‘brain rattle’, that I started noticing some behavioural changes in Ty, but it was most certainly only a matter of weeks – at times he was irrational or reactive and occasionally he would just explode with emotion. It was noticeable because he was usually so calm and easy going. I didn’t pay too much attention to this because my husband had just recently been given a teaching post in in western Queensland, almost was five hours away. He had only finished his teaching degree a year before and there were no long term contracts close by. This was a difficult decision because we were a close family and we had never been apart from one another before. But our older son was in Year 12 and Ty had just started at a new school that year and so my husband and I decided it would be too disruptive for us all to move up there. My husband would come home every second weekend and we chatted on the phone regularly, but the boys and I missed him terribly. I rationalised that Ty was just acting out because he was missing his dad.

One day at the end of April or early May, I came home from work in the afternoon and when I drove up the driveway, there was a rope with a noose hanging from the carport beam. When I went inside, Ty was sitting in his room and he said his brother had gone over to his girlfriend’s house. I was baffled as to why the rope was out there and I asked Ty what it was doing there but he just shrugged his shoulders and said “I don’t know”. He didn’t seem himself and I asked him if he was ok but he didn’t say much. I suddenly had a terrible feeling that something was terribly wrong and I panicked. Ty could see how worried I was. I had been worried because a local boy had committed suicide months earlier and Ty and his brother were quite rattled by the incident. It had taken a long time for them to recover from the shock of this, as it did with many other kids in our small community, and when I saw the rope, I couldn’t fathom who or why someone would do that. I was so scared and confused and all I could think to do was to jump in the car with Ty and bring his brother home so I could talk to them both and get some answers. Ty’s brother was just as confused as I was, but after we dropped him back at his girlfriend’s place, Ty said to me in the car “Mum, I have to tell you something. It was me”. I stopped the car so we could talk. I asked him why he did it and he said “I don’t know. I just felt really, really sad. I can’t even remember doing it, I just went blank and then I saw what I was doing and I ran inside. That’s when you came home”.

I must point out here, that it was only last year when I started researching the link between concussion and mental health issues that I recalled Ty had used that very same word “blank” after he was concussed – I woke up in the middle of the night and I had what I guess you would call a flashback, where I recalled both conversations we had in the car. I remember the word so clearly, because it was such an unusual word to use – a word that Ty had never used before’. At the time though, I did not see any link at all, I didn’t realise he had used the same word, which is sad because if I had, things may have played out differently.

I took Ty to see a psychologist at Tweed Heads Hospital soon after. I asked Ty if he wanted to talk to her alone before we went in, but he insisted I come in with him. We had only one consultation and she spent a long time asking him all sorts of questions. She called me soon after, the next day I think it was, and said that after a thorough assessment and after consulting with her colleague, she could not find any alarming signs or suicidal tendencies in Ty and mentioned that ‘copycat’ like behaviour is not uncommon after a suicide happens in a community. I was so relieved of course; I had been told what any mother wants to hear – that her child is ok. I reminded Ty how much we loved him and how important it was to let me or someone know if he was feeling down like that again and he promised he would.

The erratic and unusual behaviour did continue though. There were mood swings, like sudden verbal outbursts of rage or emotional outpourings that seemed to have no trigger. These would never last for long and he would more often than not apologise afterwards. My husband and I recall me ringing him one night after Ty had an outburst on our way to his basketball game. I was upset because I could not work out where the anger was coming from and I said to my husband, “I don’t know what to do, it’s like he’s not even my son when he’s like that”.

Not long after the concussion, Ty also started putting a towel or sometimes a sheet over the top of his white curtains in his bedroom to darken the room. When I asked him why he was doing this, he said that his room was too bright and that the light was hurting his eyes. I didn’t think much of this at the time either because his room was quite a light room.

Another change that was becoming increasingly noticeable was his inability to do relatively simple school tasks that he had previously breezed through. For example, one night I was trying to help him with a fairly easy music history assignment – it was one of those assignments where the student is asked to give a brief biography and then some chronological details of their music accomplishments. Ty had never had any difficulty doing this kind of assignment but this time he was struggling to get anything down on paper. After a while, I sat with him and almost spoon fed him the information he needed, but he kept saying it was too hard. I got a little angry with him because I thought he was just being lazy, but then he screamed “You just don’t get it. I can’t do it anymore”. I could tell he was frustrated himself and visibly upset and I felt bad, but I was also very confused because it just didn’t make any sense. There were other moments like this, but this one stands out in my mind.

My husband and I still believed that Ty’s behavioural changes were associated with him missing his dad. During the break before the final term at school, Ty had been getting involved in some risky behaviour – nothing too serious, but enough for us to be worried about where it could lead to if we didn’t step in. So we asked Ty if he would like to spend the last term up at the school where his dad was working. We said how great it would be for him to keep his dad company up there and he would even be in some of his dad’s classes. He really did seem to enjoy it up there, but my husband now recalls that the learning problems were happening there as well. For example, he recalls how he was baffled one evening because Ty could no longer do some of the simple maths that he had mastered long ago.  My husband remembers thinking at the time how strange it was that he was struggling with simple maths when he had such an outstanding track record.

We also found out after Ty’s suicide, that even though he appeared to be happy up with his dad, he was having some extreme mood swings. He had a girlfriend up north and her mother told us over the phone one day, after Ty had gone missing, that his behaviour with her daughter had been very erratic. One week he would be happy and friendly towards her and then the next he would hardly speak to her. The mother was very upset with Ty because of this.

One day, soon after Ty and my husband moved back home at the end of the year and we were all under the one roof again, I gave Ty a hug in our lounge room. He looked down at me and out of nowhere he said, “Mum, I’m not the same person I used to be”. I thought this was his way of telling me how grown up he was now. He committed suicide a week later.

Just before Ty went missing, we were all sitting on our lounge talking about what the boys wanted us to make them for Christmas lunch – my husband and I were about to go and do the big Christmas food shop and wanted to make sure we didn’t forget anything. Just as we were leaving, Ty said he might go for a surf. He walked out of the house with his board not long after we left and never came back. He was found hanging from a tree in the nearby bushland four days later.

 My husband and I had not once anticipated a link between Ty’s concussion and his suicide. We never even knew there was a possible link. About two years ago, I was watching a biopic on Michael Hutchence and there was a brief discussion by a doctor about the after effects of a serious knock to the head. I remember thinking back to Ty’s concussion and identifying some parallels, but at that time I was still coming to terms with his death and everything was still too raw, so I chose to discount what I’d heard.

Last year however, I chanced upon a Ted Talk by Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life. Unexpectedly, she spoke very briefly about a head injury she had and the after effects on her mental health. For some reason her story became a trigger for me to want to learn more about the link between concussion and mental health. I read some research papers on the topic and then I started to look more closely at the time frame that Ty had experienced his concussion and the onset of the behavioural changes that had baffled my husband, my older son and me for so long. It was almost like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. At first I didn’t want to believe there was a link – I’m not sure why. For about 3 months I was having flashbacks of things Ty had said and done and when I carefully calculated the timing I could not deny that the link was not a coincidence.

I waited for several months before I finally told my husband what I had learnt. He found this hard to digest at first because he was in Queensland when Ty had the concussion, but he remembers me telling him about it. My husband then too started having some flashbacks and started recalling unusual behaviour changes that are so apparent now, many of which we didn’t think to share with each other at the time because we just put it down to teenage behaviour and our disruptive living circumstances.

One of our friends who was at the football game when Ty suffered the concussion also told me recently that Ty had had another concussion at a previous game that I did not go to, but he couldn’t remember exactly when. He said it was not as severe as the concussion in April 2012 but it was still a hard knock.

We understand it is difficult to substantiate the link between my son’s concussion and the behavioural changes that led to his suicide, but it seems impossible to discount this now that we have read so much about the connection between concussion and mental health problems. Learning about this does not make our loss any easier – in many ways it is much harder – but what we do know, is that the more aware people are of this, the more likely it is that others will not have to deal with what Ty had to deal with on his own simply because no one around him, including myself, saw some very clear signs of post-concussion syndrome. Things may have turned out very differently for our family if we had been aware of the behavioural symptoms associated with concussion, such as feelings of extreme sadness, sudden mood swings, erratic and impulsive behaviour, sensitivity to light, memory loss and the inability to do tasks that were once done effortlessly. We hope that by sharing our story, others may learn from our loss.

   

Melinda's Story

My name is Melinda, I am 45 years of age,and I have a mild ABI - Acquired Brain Injury. It's not something you can see by looking at me, or even something you can 'tell is there' by having a brief conversation with me. At least, I don’t think you can. But trust me when I tell you, I HAVE an ABI. It affects my short term memory, my sense of smell, I sometimes have a bit of trouble with my ‘social filter’ (inhibitions) and I forget words sometimes. For example, I couldn’t remember the word ‘runway’ one day; I kept saying “It’s like a driveway, but much longer, and planes go up and down off them”

So anyway. I had a 'one-on-one' monthly review thing with the boss the other day, and she says to me "You just need to focus more, and try harder", which is what she always says, and what other bosses have said too. And what I always say in response is "I do try my best to manage my short term memory problems as best I can. I take the vitamins that are recommended for memory and cognitive function, I write things down in the day diary. I make alarms in my phone to help me remember stuff. But I can't do better than my best. I HAVE an ABI (Acquired Brain Injury), and I'm stuck with it. I can't make it better or make it go away. I can only work with what I have, to do the best that I can do."

I got my first ABI when I when I was age 10. I came off my pushbike, it was the days before helmets were being worn, and my head got slammed into the ground. I lost consciousness for a bit (don't know how long) and when I came to, and Dad found me and took me to hospital, I didn't know my name. And yes, I mean I LITERALLY did not know my own name. I had amnesia for about 3 or 4 days, and had those days off school. I can still recall the doctor saying "You have a brain injury now. You may find some things a bit difficult from now on; like short term memory, and your sense of smell may also be affected. You might also find that it affects your inhibitions sometimes, and you may struggle to find the right word for things. (That the bit that I now call my 'social filter' and I refer to it as being dodgy at best!)

I had an asthma attack at age 18, where I STOPPED BREATHING for one minute and twenty eight seconds. That too, is not so good for the brain. Brains need oxygen.

I had another blow to the head, and another loss of consciousness (about 25 minutes that time) at age 21, when a large drunk male fell down the slope of which I was seated at the bottom, and LANDED ON MY HEAD, and on the very top of my spine. That injury cost me 18 months of treatment - I had to have chiropractic work, traction, physio, spinal rehab etc. And it was a PAINFUL 18 months too, let me tell you. All the medical staff were AGAIN saying 'It seems that not only your spine was damaged, but that also you may have had some 'bruising' to your brain, which means you have a brain injury". Again with the loss/damage to the part where short term memory function happens, and again with the sense of smell, the struggle to find the right words, and the inhibitions being affected.

Then, at age 23, in a relationship of Domestic Violence, I received a blow to the head from my partner's fist, which resulted in me sitting myself in a darkened room for about 3 days, unable to focus on anything in particular, my state of consciousness felt quite 'altered' to say the least, I was watching colours swirl around in front of me, and feeling sick and dizzy. I never went to seek any medical help at all for that one because I was too afraid of the backlash I might receive from him afterwards. Obviously I made it out of that relationship alive ..... but only just.

Add to those three injuries some years of alcohol and other drug abuse (sober and clean now for 18+ years), and you have me: Happy, Joyous, Free 'Melly bear', with an ABI. If I COULD make my brain better, I WOULD. But I can NOT make it better. I can only do the best I can with what I have. What annoys me the most about having a mild ABI, is that when people say to me 'You just need to do better', that it's like asking someone without legs to 'just get up and walk'. Or asking a fish to fly. I can NOT do better than my BEST. And yes, my best can vary from day to day. It's worse when I am stressed about anything. But better at other times, when I'm happy and accepting of life.

Most of the time, I can laugh about it, make a joke out of it, and it's okay. But sometimes, I am frustrated and embarrassed about it, even to the point of feeling like crying, and really wish I could 'do better for the boss' .....  but I can't and that's life. Anyway, if you read all this way then thank you for reading. 

                                                                                                                                                                              

 


 

   

Gary Wilson - Real Life Hero

It is a rare thing to come across a real life hero - and the Optimal Speech Pathology Team has had the amazing privilege of watching this fellow become exactly that.  

Gary Wilson was one of the survivors of a Blackhawk crash in Afghanistan on 21st of June 2010 that claimed 4 lives and left 11 severely wounded. Gary's injuries were catastrophic - crushed left foot, broken knee, broken pelvis, broken ribs, broken forearm, broken nose, broken jaw, broken tooth - and, as he likes to put it, a broken brain. Gary sustained a severe traumatic brain injury that left him in a coma for three months and in rehabilitation for three years, quite literally dragging himself from the brink of life and death just as he had when he crawled from the smoking Blackhawk wreckage.

Gary has battled spasticity in his limbs and a severe motor speech disorder.  He has embodied all the bravery and tenacity of the Digger spirit as he first walked, and later ran, a marathon.  

In 2013 he came to the Optimal Speech Pathology Team as he was about to embark on yet another challenge - this time a vocal marathon. Gary has just completed a National Tour with the Sydney Theatre Company in "A Long Way Home' - a moving, confronting account of the lives of return soldiers which has garnered acclaim and standing ovations all over our country. Gary's involvement with the play, as a person with a voice and motor speech difficulty, is just plain heroic.  We'd like to stand and offer our virtual salute to one very brave soldier.

You can read Gary's full story at the links below or follow his Facebook page to watch the adventure continue.

Brain Injury Australia would really welcome hearing from any defence force personnel who have sustained a brain injury – often referred to as the “signature injury” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example – during their service. Please feel free to contact Brain Injury Australia’s Executive Officer, Nick Rushworth at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or on (0417) 373 622.

 

 

 

 

The Australian (Paid subscription required)

Stage Noise

Sydney Morning Herald


Daily Telegraph

(Story contributed by Optimal Speech Pathology)

   

Steve Knott’s life after injury

Steve at RRCS"My name is Steve Knott and on Sunday April 9th 2006 while out for a drive I had a serious car accident on the Old Pacific Highway. I was cut out of my car and then airlifted to Westmead Hospital with a severely damaged left arm, a broken right wrist and ankle, but most serious was the traumatic brain injury I had sustained as a result of the accident. I spent 10 days in a drug-induced coma, a total of 3 weeks in intensive care and then another 2 weeks in the Westmead neurological ward.  On the 11th of May 2006 (my birthday) I was moved to the Royal Rehabilitation Centre Sydney, where I stayed until September 2006.  I suffered Post-Traumatic Amnesia (PTA) for 14 weeks – I couldn’t make a cup of coffee or butter a piece of toast, find my way to or from a rehab. session, and the smallest noise distracted me.  While there have been several ‘ups and downs’ along my recovery path, thankfully my wife (Andrea), my family and close friends never let me give up, never accept the ‘I can’t do it’ or ‘it’s too hard’ excuses and helped me discover I can do things I didn’t believe I could. After returning home in September 2006 I focused on returning to my pre-accident role with the organisation that had been my employer since 1995, and while the Company were very supportive, the impact of my brain injury meant that I could not return...Late in 2008 I was getting despondent because despite applying for numerous jobs and trying a couple of different employment options I had not been able to secure a role.  So when my wife asked me what it was that made me happy and therefore what type of job I would really like – I responded by saying “I wanted a role that will give me a sense of wellbeing, where I could be part of a team and that was related to one of my passions – coffee, music and animals”. I made the decision that I would undertake study to help me achieve the ‘dream role’ and have enrolled in a TAFE Cert III Companion Animal Studies course.  I am now volunteering on a regular basis at Doggie Rescue (doggierescue.com.au) – I have been doing many different things on my days at Doggie Rescue, including feeding, meeting and greeting people and walking dogs."Steve's car.
 
Steve has also taken up rowing.

"Steve Knott began rowing at Balmain Rowing Club in April 2010, in Balmain’s Learn-to-Row program.  During the two months of the learn to row program, Steve learned the basics of the rowing stroke and rowing in a crew.  After April, Steve was keen to continue training, but due to other circumstances, was unable to get back down to the club until October 2010. From October 2010 until January 2011, Steve trained in a tub single scull, and in a double-scull with one of his coaches, Barbara Ramjan or Anne Craig.  At first he trained only sporadically, but as his ability grew so too did his enthusiasm. In January 2011, he entered the small boats regatta – more for experience than to attempt to win the event.  However, he managed a second place, and for his first race in a single at the adaptive level, rowed a very respectable time. 

Having realized now what competitive rowing was all about, Steve began land training, supplementing his time at the club with time on the ergometer.  Less than 3 weeks later, Steve rowed at the State Championships, and came second in the single, with a third in the double, partnering with an able-bodied rower. Steve took close to 45 seconds from his time in the single, resulting from both more strength and better technique in the boat.

Photo of Steve with his medals.A month later, at the National Championships (and only 6 weeks into his racing career), Steve again placed second in the single taking a further fifteen seconds from his time.  In the adaptive double his crew came second also.  Although he was now rowing in a double with another adaptive rower, they rowed the course in a time less than one second slower than his state championship time. Finally at the Edward Trickett Regatta, Steve reached his goal and won both the adaptive single and adaptive double events. Yet again he improved his time in the single, although adverse weather played a key part in his double scull time being half a minute slower than his previous time.

All up, in 3 months Steve has gone from a non-competitive rower to a highly competitive adaptive rower: Next season he will also look to row in novice able-bodied crews where possible.  He has never failed to achieve a personal best time in his single, and is aiming for representative selection.  He is enthusiastic, powerful, willing to both learn technique and work hard to improve his fitness, and is utterly determined to overcome every obstacle that appears in his path to achieve his goals.  In short, he is a fantastic new sportsman and role-model for every novice at our club.

Liam James
Club Captain, Balmain Rowing Club"
Photo of Steve rowing.

   

Brain Injury and the Legal System - Simon's Story

Simon is a successful businessman in his 50’s who sustained a work related severe brain injury in 2010.  He is fully mobile and living alone. Simon has a severe aphasia as a result of his injuries. This results in significant difficulty in finding the words he wants to say – and he is often reliant on spelling and gesture to help convey his meaning.  He is also prone to shift to irrelevant topics and can provide excessively long responses.  He is greatly assisted by familiar communication partners who are able to support his communication.  

Photo of Simon preparing for his court appearance  In recent months he was required to attend a court hearing after an incident in his former workplace.  He was prepared for the hearing by his rehabilitation team who were given support to attend and brief his legal team.   Several concessions were requested prior to the hearing to accommodate his communication disorder. Many of these were not permissible (eg quiet room for preparations, access to written and spoken information, provision for a private hearing, provision of a trained communication partner to assist with proceedings).  Simon’s experience of the process, however, was greatly facilitated by the additional time provided by his barrister and magistrate in all communications before and during the hearing. Instructions were repeated and simplified in a respectful manner.  Some latitude was given for Simon’s interjections, and his therapy team were called on to translate and support the court process. There was a significant precedent in how the outcome was determined (in terms of provisions under the Mental Health Act) and of critical importance was the stipulation that his rehabilitation team and trained communication partners were viewed as integral to supporting the court orders.  Simon was both pleased with the outcome and the concessions made to accommodate his communication deficits as the following interview reveals:

Read more: Brain Injury and the Legal System - Simon's Story

   

Jonathan Koenig Talks About Work and Perseverance

A young man who has overcome enormous odds to show how people can recover from severe brain injuries has started work in the local Liverpool office of the national law firm, Slater & Gordon.

Read more on the Slater and Gordon website, or download a recent newspaper story [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 192.77 KB] about Jonathan and his work assignment.

   

Inspirational story of recovery

Have you ever ridden a horse? Did you wear a hard protective helmet? The debate about whether to use a hard hat or not often receives a passionate and mixed reception in the Northern Territory. Often old stockmen are dead against it, but increasingly the large corporate beef companies are making them mandatory in employment contracts. Most outback sports clubs also require hard hats to be used in novice competition.

Awareness and attitudes in the Northern Territory, have certainly come a long way in just four years, and that's where a special story about the recovery of Quita Docking, from a debilitating camp drafting accident, begins.

Read the beginning of this personal story, on the ABC Rural Queensland website  - or continue on to the story of Quita's 450 kilometre horse ride which starts below.

 

Timber Creek to Daly Waters

The ride was fantastic. Quita and two other ladies rode all the way and two of the men took it in turns to ride and drive the trucks. We had a rough start with one of the horses being a stallion and Brumby being the only mare. She went skittish and Quita was very nervous about riding her. She was racing around, bucking, calling out, etc. and we were most upset and angry. All the work that Quita and Tracy had done earlier in the year to get her ready was thrown out the window just by the presence of a stallion. We got Kevin to ride her often and his wife Karen rode her as well. These two were very competent and Kevin had a way with horses and was able to calm Brumby down so that Quita was able to ride her. As a matter of fact, Brumby was extremely well behaved whenever anyone was riding her. She played up something fierce at night and on one night; we know the stallion got to her, but not too sure if he was able to fully mount her. When we got home, we gave her a needle to abort any fetus that may have been there. Quita rode Brumby most of the time, although we got Kevin or Karen to ride her for the first couple of km at the beginning of the day to make sure she was settled. She was fine. So well behaved, especially when Quita was on her back.

Read more: Inspirational story of recovery

   

The truth about recovering from a brain injury

Life after a brain injury teaches you a lot about yourself. But mainly it teaches you about the grind of illness and recovery.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a small stepladder into the back garden and climbed a few rungs to fix a light that had stopped working. It doesn't sound much but I glowed with achievement for the rest of the day. Six months earlier, I would have been too unsteady to risk it, and tilting my head to do the repair would have brought on a surge of vertigo and violent sickness. A year ago, I wouldn't even have attempted it – or cared: I was lying on the sofa, intermittently vomiting and being pumped full of industrial-strength antibiotics to see off a mysterious brain infection that had nearly killed me.

Read more on the website of The Guardian

   

Brad Schmitz's Story

 Brad Schmitz sustained his brain injury as a 13 year-old riding his bicycle around his hometown near Boise, Idaho in the United States. He and his wife and child recently moved to Australia.

Read more: Brad Schmitz's Story

   

One wrong step: my father’s fall

On October 26th 2009 I returned home from a conference to find two ambulances on the street and my father, Dennis (aged 59), lying in a pool of blood on our driveway. Dad had fallen 3 metres off a ladder while connecting power on our roof. My husband was there, quite obviously distraught, and the ambulance officers were working on Dad, who was conscious, but writhing in pain. My Mum arrived soon after, and we were told Dad would be taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital and that we were to follow. To this day, I do not remember driving to the hospital.

In the emergency room, my family waited anxiously for news, while comforting each other. A doctor soon came in to inform us that Dad had been given some drugs to relax him, and that he would be moved to the ICU [Intensive Care Unit] upstairs. My family and I rushed to the ICU to see Dad only to wait, yet again. After a few hours, we were allowed to see him in pairs. Even though I had seen Dad on the driveway hours earlier, covered in blood, nothing prepared me for what I saw when I walked into that ICU room. Dad was attached to every tube and machine possible, lying still on a bed in the middle of the room and large, black bruises had started to form on his face, not to mention the swollen eye where he hit the ground.

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