issues for which the person will need guidance. Even if a brain-injury survivor is capable of living independently, he still has to adjust to a new way of life, a new sense of identity, new relationships, and changes in his job skills or work relationships. This may sound trivial compared to what the patient previously went through, but these can be huge issues for the survivor.
Practical Issues for the Patient
Here are some typical challenges patients face.
Adjusting to New Realities in Daily Life
Imagine you are a brain-injury survivor and have just been labeled as “recovered” by your physician. You still have problems with your memory, attention span, organization skills, depression and planning. You can’t hear very well, and you can’t walk without a cane. On a typical day, your alarm goes off, but you don’t hear it, so you wake up late. Not only that, but you allotted yourself the same amount of time it used to take you to get ready in the morning, except that now it takes you over twice as long. You can’t remember where your socks are. You forgot how to use the toaster, and you forgot to take your medication.
You can no longer drive yourself to work or to run errands so you have to take a bus, but you forgot how to get to the bus stop and even which bus to take. You’re getting tired from walking around the neighborhood with a cane looking for the bus stop, and once you get there, people are staring at you because you walk “funny.” You forget the name of the people you work with. Perhaps you have been “demoted” to a simpler job. Now it’s time to go home and cook dinner, but you can’t get yourself organized enough to put a meal together, so you eat some crackers. You have trouble getting your pajamas on, forget to set the alarm, and you can’t fall asleep.
For some, this may sound extreme, and for others, this sounds like a “good” day. A brain-injury survivor may have to contend with scenarios just like these, and even though the scenarios will get easier, it may take some time. There may also be some things that will never be the same, such as his memory, organizational skills, and the ability to walk unaided. There will be stares and even comments from strangers, and awkward comments from friends, acquaintances, and family members.