traumatic brain injury

Coping with Traumatic Brain Injury

The brain is the most complex organ in the human body.  It typically weighs only about 3 pounds, but it is made up of billions of nerve cells and other kinds of cells, all intricately connected and designed to send signals to other areas of the body. The brain controls not only how we think, but virtually every other function in our body as well.  In fact, it is not an understatement to say that the brain is the essence of who we are.

Thankfully, an organ this important is protected by a hard, exterior skull. The skull is a series of 8 bones that are fused together along suture lines. The brain is also protected by a covering of three thin membranes which are called meninges, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).  But even with this level of protection, brain injuries can still happen.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not everyone who is struck in the head sustains a traumatic brain injury, and these types of injuries can vary greatly in their level of severity. 

Mild forms of TBI (commonly known as concussions) might only last from a few hours up to a few days or so, while more moderate to severe forms of this condition can last for several weeks, months, or even years.

TBI affects the lives of millions of Americans. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are approximately 2.8 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths each year that are attributable to this condition. This comes at an estimated annual cost of approximately $56 billion. Some of the leading causes of traumatic brain injury include slips and falls, motor vehicle accidents, being struck by hard objects, and sports injuries.

How to Cope with TBI

For those who suffer more moderate to severe forms of traumatic brain injury, it will be a slow road to recovery. And as much as we would like to say this road will be easy, it will not. There will be numerous challenges along the way, and you will need to enlist the help of those around you more than ever before. 

That said, you can get through this, and there are several things you can do to make it easier to cope with the injury:

Listen to your Doctor

No matter what type of injury you suffer or health condition you develop, it is very important to follow your doctor’s orders. This is especially true for those who suffer traumatic brain injuries.  TBI is a unique condition that manifests itself differently in each individual case, and it can be difficult to determine the right time to resume various activities; such as work, driving a car, and strenuous exercise. Listen very carefully to what your doctor says about your condition and follow his or her instructions to the letter.

Give Yourself more Time

Suffering from TBI can cause you to process information slower, and it can make it harder to focus on important tasks. The end result is that it generally takes longer than it did before you were injured to complete the tasks you need to get done. This can lead to untold stress and frustration if you try to pack too much into too short an amount of time. Realizing this, focus each day on only the most important things you need to do, and allow yourself plenty of time to do them. Do your best to avoid distractions, and make sure that those around you support you in this.

Keep Important Items in the Same Location

Do your best to simplify your life by keeping things in the same location. Create a designated place to keep your keys, wallet, phone, glasses, medication, and other important items. Keeping things in the same place can help avoid frustration and stress, allowing you to establish a routine that can help you function at as close to normal as possible.

Write Down your Experiences

Journaling helps those who suffer from TBI to stay in touch with their emotions and process their feelings. Take a few minutes each day to write down the events of the day and how you felt.  Having a written journal can be a great tool that you can refer to, refresh your memory and help track your experience. If you want, you can also share your journal with a doctor or counselor for additional insights.

Use Technology to Organize your Life

These days, there are numerous mobile phone apps available to help those with TBI stay organized. For example, there are apps that allow you to create shared calendars with family members, so your loved ones know your schedule and can remind you about important activities; such as doctor appointments, meal times, and when it is time to take medications. There are also apps with brain exercises, flash cards, phone and car locators, voice recognition software, and many others. With the help of your loved ones, make use of the mobile apps that will be most beneficial for you.

Obtain Legal Assistance

Those who suffer from traumatic brain injury incur a wide range of losses, which may include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, psychological distress, and diminished quality of life. If this injury was the fault of another person or party, you deserve to be compensated. Recovering full and fair compensation is not always easy, however, and the insurance company for the responsible party will do everything possible to minimize the amount of damages they have to pay.  For this reason, it is very important to get an experienced attorney involved as early as possible in the process, so your right to recover compensation can be fully protected.

If your injury occurred in Alabama, contact Burge & Burge for assistance. Call our office today at 205-251-9000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also message us online or stop by our Birmingham office in person at your convenience.

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