Brandon S.

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I would like people to know that BRAIN INJURY is DIFFERENT for EVERYBODY!! It doesn’t matter what you USED to do. After you get a brain injury, your whole WORLD turns upside down!!! I’m not trying to YELL at anyone, but I want the truth to be known!! ALL Brain Injuries are different ALL the time!!! It doesn’t matter if you were in the same vehicle at the same time and you were both hit by the same force, you’ll still have a completely different set of symptoms when you wake up…IF you wake up.

My life has changed in that, as I said before, EVERYTHING is DIFFERENT now. I don’t have the same FRIENDS, I DEFINITELY don’t have the same daily activities to do. I don’t even know if I will be able to do the stuff that EVERYBODY (my Mom and Dad) think I’ll be able to do. I really, REALLY don’t know!!! That’s just another CRAZY thing about Brain Injuries. You DON’T know…no matter how much you think you DO know…YOU REALLY DON’T.

Positive…positive…I’m not sure there is such a thing as a POSITIVE EFFECT of a Brain Injury. I’m pretty sure when they sit down at their desk — Brain Injury Dr.’s — I’m thinking that they think about the brain injuries they deal with day in and day out…and I’m not sure how they can hold back the TEARS…the ANGUISH…but, it’s probably because they’ve never HAD A BRAIN INJURY!!

Negatives on the other hand and pretty easy to talk about, for me at least. 1. My Foot. It always get’s cramped up in whatever shoe I’m wearing at the time. It doesn’t matter if they’re open toed shoes, close toed shoes, even NO SHOE’S suck for my foot. It just likes to cramp up on me…Really lame. 2. My right arm. It may not LOOK like it. But my right arm is a little more paralyzed than my left arm. Basically because my right arm was the one injured in the accident. I still have trouble clapping to the beat during band practice sometimes. Just another thing that…REALLY SUCK’S!! 3. My feet and hands are now and have been for the past 8ish years just really COLD for some reason. I don’t really know why. It seems they have me on some medication for it. But so far, it doesn’t really seem to fix the issue. 4. My right side of my face is paralyzed from the accident. It kind of suck’s when somebody asks you to smile for them….and you can only smile close-mouthed. My right eye also gets a little dry every now and then and I need to put a drop or two into it to soften the pain. I am VERY VERY VERY SORRY but when YOU want to know about Brain Injury you better be aware that it’s NOT a PRETTY STORY!!

My friends have all but left me, leaving me to find NEW friends…I FIND those friends anyway I can. The easiest way is to find other Brain Injured people AROUND the same age as you. That’s not always EASY!!! Some time’s you’ve just got to take what you can get!! Right now my best friend is a 43 year old woman!! That’s a 13 year GAP between us!!! My family has been as good as a family can be. They take me out to places with them. Take me out to the movies, take me out to eat, take me to the gym two or three times a week. But you know it’s not like it used to be. I LOVED EVERYONE in my family. My sister Alyssa, my sister Kyla, my Mom Beth, and my Dad Bruce. But, there’s just something about them that seems to have changed over the years that I’ve been injured. I honestly don’t know what it is, but, there’s something…SOMETHING changed about ALL of them, I don’t know, maybe I’m just going crazy. Or, maybe it’s ME that has changed, and there all trying to deal with THAT!!!

As far as places that help you when you are Brain Injured. I would have to say that ILR has been a place that has really shown me a thing or two about how to act around people, how to respond to them. Also my case manager at KMS. Ashley has been a REALLY big help to me. I would say that in the last year I’ve improved more in my remembering things, in my ability to look them up if I can’t remember, just in my ability to interact with other people has gotten A LOT better ever since I started hanging out with Jennifer!!

I would say, as far as the things that are missing, probably some kind of help getting my license back. That has been a REALLY sore spot for me over the years. Not being able to drive is like…it’s like…taking away your right to get a FULL breath of air…it’s like, taking away that one thing you’ve been using your entire life…and then one day, all the most important people say, “Oh, yea…I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that…I know you really have enjoyed BREATHING DEEP breaths, yea…but it looks like…you’re ACTUALLY going to need to STOP doing that…I’m REALLY SORRY!!” … and just like that, you have lost your deep breaths. You’re not sure if you’ll ever get them back. I wish there was something that we could do for you. I really REALLY REALLY DO!!! But, it looks like you’re just out of luck!!!

I would say, keep calm, it’s ok if you cry; it’s ok if you yell at the top of your lungs for THREE HOURS. I would say it’s NATURAL to feel powerless in a situation like the one you’re in. It will get better. It’s not going to get better over night. It might take the next TEN YEARS. But EVENTUALLY…you’ll see that there is hope. Life can be a funny thing that way. I know more than MOST people about that particular thing.