COPING WITH TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are injuries that occur because of a bump, jolt, or blow to the head, which results in the brain becoming displaced. Of course, not everyone who is struck in the head suffers from TBI, and this condition can vary widely in degrees of severity. The mildest form of TBI is commonly known as a concussion, and it may only last a few days or more. The more severe forms of TBI can last for several months or even years, and in the most extreme cases, the condition can become permanent.
Traumatic brain injury affects millions of individuals in the United States each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost three million emergency room visits each year are attributable to TBI. TBI is also a contributing factor in the deaths of over 50,000 Americans each year, with another 90,000 individuals experiencing the onset of a TBI-related disability.
There are a number of ways a traumatic brain injury can occur, some of the most common causes include:
Slips, trips, and falls
Being struck by/struck against events
Auto accidents and other traffic-related events
Various forms of violence
Fires and explosions
How to Cope with a Traumatic Brain Injury
Those who have a moderate to severe form of TBI face a long road to recovery. In the meantime, you will need to accept the fact that this condition will be with you for a while. We realize that these are not fun or exciting words to hear, and we wish we could tell you something different. The unfortunate reality is that for now, the best you can do is make adjustments to help you cope with your TBI and make it less stressful for you and those around you.
Here are some things you can do to help you effectively deal with a traumatic brain injury:
Follow your Doctor’s Advice
First and foremost, you need to follow the directives you are given by your doctor. TBI is a unique condition in that it manifests itself differently in each individual case. This makes it far more challenging to predict which activities will help and which activities will hurt your condition. Just reading various websites may or may not point you in the right direction. The best advice is to follow the orders of your medical team, because they are the ones who personally diagnosed you, and they have a better understanding of your condition than anyone else. So, before resuming activities such as driving, exercising, or going back to work, be sure to check with your doctor first.
Organize and Simplify your Daily Schedule and Tasks
For someone who suffers from TBI, it is best to maintain a simple and predictable routine that is easy to follow. There are several ways you can accomplish this, such as:
Keeping important items (such as car keys, wallet, driver’s license, etc.) in the same location;
Labeling important items for easy identification;
Waking up at the same time each day;
Performing hygiene tasks in the same order;
Eating meals at the same times each day;
Using a whiteboard to keep track of your daily schedule;
Consulting a daily checklist to make sure you did not miss any important tasks;
Creating an emergency binder with personal information, insurance information, medical information, and emergency contacts;
Making use of various mobile apps that have been developed for those with traumatic brain injury.
Give Yourself More Time to Complete Tasks
TBI can produce various cognitive deficits, such as difficulty with focus and concentration, memory loss and confusion, and processing, filtering, and combining information in your brain at a slower rate. This often means it takes longer to complete various tasks and activities, which can make TBI sufferers frustrated, irritable, angry, and sometimes, depressed. Simplifying your routine will help with this, but you should also allow yourself more time during the day to complete these tasks and activities, and do not beat yourself up if things seem to take longer than you think they should.
Enlist Support from Your Family and Friends
Coping with traumatic brain injury on your own is extremely difficult. It is much better to have a support network of family and friends who understand your condition and can help you deal with it. If you have others living in your household with you, you can enlist their help to keep your life as normal as possible while you recover from this condition. If you live by yourself, try to find others who can stop by and check on you regularly to make sure everything is okay.
Seek Skilled Legal Counsel
If you or someone close to you is having to cope with a traumatic brain injury and you believe it happened because of the negligence or recklessness of another party, you may have the right to compensation for losses such as medical bills, time missed from work, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life. If this is the case, it is important to get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney and soon as possible to help you with your claim. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve from the responsible party.
For a thorough evaluation of your case and to discuss your legal rights and options, contact the experienced attorneys at Schilling & Esposito today for a free consultation. Call our office at 804-261-1001, or send us a message through our online contact form.