Monthly Archives: May 2014

It Takes Awhile

Many brain injury survivors become frustrated with the slow rate at which a brain injury heals.  They are used to the comparably more rapid pace seen in the healing of broken bones, cuts and other like injuries.  However, it is normal for a serious brain injury to require a much longer period of time before significant progress towards full healing is made.  I was reminded of this fact this past Sunday while watching the qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.  Former winner Dario Franchitti was interviewed by the hosts and was asked about how he’s been feeling since his horrific crash in a race on October 6.  He said that his concussion (brain injury) was almost completely healed.  After nine months his injury is not completely healed, but is almost healed.  This serves as a reminder that even world class athletes with access to the best medical care available have to patiently wait for healing after a brain injury.

Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center: tlcrehab.org

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Book Recommendation For Working With Soldiers/Veterans

In recent years, public awareness has been growing of the increasing presence of brain injuries in combat soldiers and veterans. Many doctors and therapists are now working with these soldiers and veterans but often do not fully grasp how this population may differ from other patient populations.

 
The military is in no way simply a nine to five job. For many soldiers and veterans it encompasses much of their life and identity. Under combat deployment, there are no days off from work. The soldier is on duty 24-7 without a true break or rest. Due to the demands and risks of the military, soldiers are part of a culture that is very different from that of the civilian world. For instance, it’s relatively common for an employee at a store to question a supervisor’s directives and perhaps even lodge a complaint with management. This process may last for several days and either see action taken or not. In combat, a soldier is not in a position to question a direct order. Life and death decisions have to be made moment by moment. The immediacy of danger also leads soldiers to develop intense and special bonds with one another. The loss of a fellow solider in combat may be felt as strongly as the loss of a family member. Since being a soldier so often encompasses so much of the individual’s life and identity, being dismissed from the military due to an injury is not like being fired from a job. The effects of emotions such as grief and anger felt resulting from losses suffered in the course of a veteran’s service are often experienced on an entirely separate level of magnitude.

 

Below is a list of a few books that may help doctors and therapists to better understand this population:

Hidden Battles on Unseen Fronts: Stories of American Soldiers with Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD by Patricia Driscoll and Celia Straus

On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and Peace and On Killing: The Psychological Risks of Learning To Kill in War and Society by Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman

Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center: tlcrehab.org

Medication Safety

Prior to their injuries, many brain injury survivors were in good health. As such, these individuals rarely had to devote significant attention to  the taking of  medication. After suffering a brain injury though, survivors are often faced with many new health conditions that require integration of a strict medication schedule into their daily life.

 
Taking medication is more than just “popping a pill.” The difference between proper and improper medication allocation adherence can literally be a life or death matter. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has a wonderful, short brochure on medication safety that can benefit anyone taking medication. Click on the link below to access the brochure:

 

http://www.ismp.org/Newsletters/consumer/alerts/Brochure.asp

Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center: tlcrehab.org