A T.b.i. Is Not For the Faint of Heart

Under Was In a Car Accident  is the first half of this story...

I was in ICU following my accident for a few days, then released home after a total of five days. They put a hospital bed in my living room, since they didn't want me trying to climb stairs with a crushed heel and the vertigo that accompanied my brain injury. I had in-home nursing care for 8 hours a day.

The initial CAT scan in the emergency room showed what was described as "intra-cerebral hemorrhage in the right mid-parietal lobe with some bleeding into the lateral ventricles". Two weeks later I was back in the hospital for repair of my crushed right heel.

Because of the risk of seizures following a brain injury, they had me on dilantin (anti-seizure meds) for 3 to 4 weeks, but thankfully I never developed seizures. I was dizzy and had some double vision for a few weeks following the accident, but this resolved.

I had no knowledge about the effects one can suffer because of a brain injury, and I felt so grateful to be alive and not paralyzed that I downplayed any non-specific or emotional complaints. I do recall some afternoons or evenings lying in that hospital bed, feeling very depressed and crying for no specific reason.

I was still repeating myself frequently a month after the accident, having short term memory problems as well as, what they call, word search deficits. This last one bothered me more than anything. Language has always been a strength of mine, so in conversation, when I would suddenly forget a word for something, it really bothered me. What was strange was that I could give you the definition of the word I was trying to come up with, I just couldn't come up with the word.

I was sent for neuropsychometric testing to evaluate any cognitive deficits, including organizational skills, ability to sustain attention, executive functions, visual tracking, etc.

Luckily I was born with a pretty good brain, so even with the deficits that revealed themselves with testing, I was still fairly high functioning. But that isn't much comfort when you are back in the work place and find you can no longer do three things at once, and do them well. I began to withdraw from social activity, from my friends and to a certain extent, from my children. I became very depressed but I kept telling myself I was just temporarily blue and it would take care of itself. I even hid these feelings from my doctor.

Then one day I had an epiphany, I realized I had sunk into a clinical depression. I saw my doctor, told him all that had been going on, and after chewing me out for not coming to him sooner he gave me zoloft. Boy, what a difference that made.

It has been 13 years since my brain injury and I still have to take anti-depressants to maintain the status quo, I still have word search problems (though it is much improved) and some organizational & attentions deficits, but I still feel lucky to have come away from the accident as well as I did.

WittyOne WittyOne
46-50, F
2 Responses Jun 14, 2007

Wow, we have some similarities for sure. I had TBI after an accident in Dec 2005. I cracked my skull while riding my bicycle and spent 5 days in the hospital. Mine was not as severe as yours but it still set me off into a depressive mode (and then manic after I had recovered). I completely lost my sense of smell, most of my taste, hearing in my right ear, and short-term memory problems. 1 1/2 years later I still can't smell anything and my injury spot is still tender. It was a basal skull fracture so it is a harder to heal area with the sinus tissue. I've also shattered my heel before in a different accident in 1998. That was WAY more painful than this accident.

Brain disorders can be terrifying. Manic Depression is often compared to epileptic seizures - it's like your brain starts shooting firecrackers. In fact, one of the medicines I take, Depakote, is an anti-convulsant.