To the ZHT Morning show:
I really enjoy listening to the show. You make me smile and laugh and give me things to contemplate. I so appreciate that. But this morning (January 28, 2020) as I was listening, I've never gotten emotional, until today.
Several years ago, my son was involved in a very serious accident that resulted in a TBI (traumatic brain injury). There was a hospital stay, loss of consciousness, fractures, MRI's, CT scans, loss of ability, change in personality, and scary words thrown around like swelling, bleeding, cephalohematoma, seizures, palliative care and more. Upon discharge from the hospital, the doctor appointments started. But none of them seemed to help.
It turned the lives of everyone in my immediate family upside down. Nothing about our existence stayed the same. The emotion that you go through as a parent realizing the possibility that your child may never live a "normal" life is beyond anything you can imagine. The burden of stress that it puts on a marriage is incomprehensible.
Every time you go to a doctor it's bad news. You lose friends over it because you can't do the things you used to and while your child looks the same, others do not have the patience for the accommodations you need to make as they perceive them as unnecessary. Your extended family begin to find it tedious when you "indulge" your child and tell you that they just need "more discipline".
I am not sending this message to get pity or sympathy. But as I listened to the response of your listeners, I realized that there are people who struggle with brain injury in its many forms and there is very little education on the subject. The CDC believes that as the number of head injuries increases it will increase the demand on health care resources creating a public health issue. The CDC compiled a report to Congress that is very helpful on understanding the prevalence of injuries (https://health.utah.gov/vipp/topics/traumatic-brain-injury/). This is a subject that effects everyone. And whether you know it or not, everyone knows someone with a head injury.
But what is someone to do after an injury? How do you help someone whose life has changed forever?
I just wanted you to know that March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. According to many individual state brain injury alliances, someone who has suffered a brain injury is more likely to be homeless, self medicate with drugs, be involved in the correctional system and more negative consequences. It is well documented that the incidence of anxiety, depression and suicide are all higher in those with a history of brain injury. When I look at my child, I can understand why. The social struggles, the bullying, the anxiety, the stress, the financial burden, the lack of social, community and rehabilitative resources will never make up for what some of these survivors have lost.
In the state of Utah, 60 people are treated in the emergency room daily for traumatic brain injuries (Traumatic Brain Injury | Utah Violence & Injury Prevention Program ). Think of that. Lives and relationships changed forever.
I have worked with an organization whose goal is to put caregivers, family members of survivors and most especially survivors in touch with the resources they need to live their best post injury life. They can't change what has happened, but at the very least provide a community where they can belong. They helped me and I thought maybe it would be good for your listeners to know. I've made it my personal mission as I meet people who have been affected by brain injury to give them a place to share their story. Help them feel supported. But Brainstorm for Brain Injury can provide more (. They provided me more. And while my life will never be the same, at least I found some hope.
Don't forget that March is Brain Injury Awareness month. Thanks for what you did to raise awareness. For people that live with this, it helps them to feel seen and validated.