Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. Thank you for stopping by to visit with me. I want to again thank you, the men and women of the armed services for standing watch to protect and defend our great country. Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed and we as a nation owe you a debt of gratitude. For those men and women of the armed services who have been injured while serving, let me share a bit of my story with you. As you read my story I believe you will find hope.
I am a traumatic brain injury survivor. My traumatic brain injury occurred when a woman who was driving a Cadillac lost control of her car and ran into our Volkswagon Beetle. At the time of the accident I sustained an open skull fracture, a severe brain contusion with brain stem involvement and a fractured left femur. I remained in a coma for 3 weeks and in traction to set my femur for approximately 6 weeks. Once my femur was set, I was placed in a full body cast and shortly there after transported to another hospital where I under went brain and skull surgery. I was 10 years old at the time.
After I recovered from the surgery, I was then transferred back to the first hospital and then to my families home. I remained in the spica or full body cast for an additional 4-5 months. In 1967 neurological rehabilitation was not available. With the encouragement of my Mom I taught myself how to walk, talk, read, write and speak in complete sentences. Once I was able to walk, my parents arranged and then took me to undergo several EEG’s and other testing to determine the extent of the injury done to my brain at the time of the accident. The results from those tests were disclosed to my parents, however my parents elected to not share those results with me. From that time I was never treated as though I had experienced a traumatic brain injury. I don’t know if this was a good decision or a bad decision. I am sure it was a hard decision.
I was tutored at home for 1 semester and then I started back to grade school. I went on to graduate on time with my high school class. Upon graduation from high school I started my undergraduate process. I have an undergraduate degree in theology / physical education / recreation. By the way, it took me 10 years to get my undergraduate degree. On my way to my BA degree I changed majors 4 times: Geology, Physical Education, Nursing / Emergency Medicine and then Theology. In my senior year I applied to a seminary and was accepted. Upon graduation from Oral Robert’s University in 1985 I began my 1-year seminary experience. Due to circumstances that I now know were due to my brain injury I was asked not to begin my second year at Seminary. One year later I applied to and was accepted to begin studies in the graduate program of Rehabilitation counseling.
I did well academically, but continued to have problems — related to my traumatic brain injury –when interacting with people in practical settings. As a result, I had to repeat one practicum experience with the ultimatum that if I did not pass the next practicum I would be terminated from the graduate program. I passed that practicum, however during my internship I ran into some interpersonal difficulties with the staff at the chemical dependency treatment center where I was completing my internship. Consequently the director of the graduate program considered not allowing me to graduate from the program. He told me that he would not tell me if he would allow me graduate until the coffee get together before the graduation ceremonies. When he arrived at the coffee get together he told me that he would allow me to graduate.
After I completed my master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling I had a conversation with my Mom. She told me that the results from the EEG’s and the cognitive / psyhosocial testing when I was 10 years old showed that I would probably not be able to succeed beyond high school academically. I have worked within a wide array of both professional and non-professional settings. Throughout my 30-year academic and work history, one common theme evolved through being in those settings. I simply did not have the skills to work in an environment that demanded that I work successfully with people on a continuum. You see the damage to my right frontal lobe — that occurred at the time of the accident in 1967 — was never factored into why I was having difficulties being successful in people intensive settings. Part 2
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