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can’t wait. Write down all of your questions and the answers you are given. Try to realize that members of your medical team are human and have their own pressures and concerns. A little morale booster goes a long way—send flowers, write a thank- you note, or just smile and tell them you appreciate what they are doing.

Take care of yourself! See Chapter Five for ideas on coping. If people offer to help, let them. It will not only relieve some of the burden on you, but it also will let others feel useful. Feel free to ask others to help, as well. Talk to friends, family, social workers, and other professionals about what you are going through. Join support groups and keep yourself occupied.

CHAPTER FOUR: THE PATIENT’S EMOTIONAL JOURNEY

“We act sweet, we pick up after ourselves, we get to [survivor group] class on time…you’d think everything is wonderful and good! But it’s NOT! I can’t do what I used to do—I can’t even be how I used to be. The one thing I’ve been scared of is that this new l i f e w o u l d b e e m p t y , h a r d a n d m e a n i n g l e s s . T h e o n e t h i n g I d o n t

w a n t t o s a y a n d I m s c a r e d I l l m e a n i t s o m e d a y i s t h a t sorry or mad that they saved me.” - Charles Hansen, Brain-injury Survivor I m

WHAT THE SURVIVOR MAY BE FEELING

Perhaps the most disturbing to survivors who have sustained a brain injury is the loss of identity. Many of us take for granted the things with which we identify ourselves: our job, our hobbies, our relationships and roles. Imagine all of a sudden not being able to go to work, drive a car, cook a meal, play a game of basketball, help your children with their homework, console a friend, go for a walk, or even hug your family. Not only that, but you require assistance from others for even the most basic skills. Brain-injury survivors must come to terms with their new limitations, new roles, new sense of who they are, and where they fit in. The person she (and you)

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