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TBI – Now I “Get It”

by Linda W. Arms

Seven years ago today I was fine.   I felt I had reached a new peak personally, professionally, physically and mentally.   I was having a wonderful time with my daughter on a long weekend to ski and enjoy the mountains.   Little did I know my life would change drastically the following morning.   Every plan I had for the future ended.   I became one of the estimated 1.7 million people in the U.S. who sustain a TBI annually.      I did not know what a brain injury could do to a person.   I could not easily accept some of what I heard from someone who had a brain injury several years before.   I did not “get it” like so many people around us.    Now I understand.   A brain injury changes your life, it affects the people around you.   Many of us carry this invisible injury with us forever.   Now I want everyone to understand TBI and understand the importance of brain care.

After my brain injury in 2006, my husband and I looked for answers on how to recover from a brain injury.    There was not a lot of good information about TBI and treatment options.     As we looked for answers, even among my medical providers, we realized that TBI treatment and recovery was a challenge.    Recently I decided it was time to share what I learned and have created a web site to promote awareness of brain injury, provide resources to those living with TBI and to educate about good brain health.    This growing project is also a step in my recovery to participate in the world more fully and make a contribution.



2 Responses to “TBI – Now I “Get It”

  1. Nancy

    I am writing to you in hope that you will be able to shed some exposure to others about my story. My beautiful daughter Madalyn was born August 1, 1994 in Palm Spring, California. On September 10th, 1994 I left my eldest daughter Arianna , who was age four at the time, and Madalyn who was only six weeks old alone with Madalyn’s biological father Kevin. Originally I had wanted to bring my daughters with me to my hair appointment as I was nervous about leaving Madalyn home for the first time, but Kevin insisted that I leave the girls home while I went out and I agreed. That decision, which seemed innocent and uneventful at the time, later turned out to be a decision that has forever affected the lives of my family.
    I remember being gone for about an hour and a half and when I returned home everything seemed normal at first, Madalyn was asleep and Arianna was playing in her room. I came to find out that Madalyn’s father had grown frustrated with Madalyn because he could not get her to stop crying. And in this frustration he brutally hurt my baby. Madalyn sustained life threatening injuries at the hands of her biological father. At just six weeks old Madalyn now suffered from: a complex left parietal skull fracture, right parietal skull fracture, subdural and interhemispheric hemorrhage, frontal lobe contusion, Metaphysical fractures of the right tibia, and fibula, as well as multiple rib fractures. Madalyn’s father received only 18 months of jail time for his crime.
    As a result of her brain injuries, Madalyn has struggled all of her life through physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, and will continue to struggle. This past August, Madalyn turned 18 years old. This means that her father does not have to pay child support to her anymore, despite her lifelong disabilities. My daughter is not able to be left alone for long periods of time, she will never be able to drive, and her dream of attending college like her big sister may never happen. The only colleges Madalyn could attend are for kids with disability, and these are out of our price range.
    My husband Eric and I have the option to sue her father in a civil suit, unfortunately this is also something we cannot afford, especially with two daughters already in college. It confuses and astounds me why fathers of kids who have life-long disabilities do not have to support their children, after the child has turned 18 years old. Madalyn struggles everyday and has missed out on important life-events, such as turning 16 and getting her driver’s license, applying to colleges and leaving home. My daughter struggles with making and maintaining friends because kids make fun of her for being different, on top of other high school things like appearance.
    I am writing my story to you, because I hope that you will want to share it with others by shedding light onto my situation, and not allowing people to forget about the kids with disabilities who will need support into adulthood.

  2. My BI was not traumatic, but I agree wholeheartedly with all you have said above. It’s not always very easy to accept that you are not the same person that you used to be before BI, but being a survivor is much better than the alternative. 🙂

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