Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Brain Injury: The Price Paid by Caregivers

Good Wednesday.
I hope everybody is doing well today. I have been a little disconnected from writing in the past few days. I had an intense low back pain, cause by disc hernias. Apparently they were being pushed too far out. It didn't matter what position I was in it was painful, riding in a vehicle was the worst. But after seeing the chiropractor the pain started to decrease. Right now, the pain is there but thankfully I can manage. Ahhhh!!! So many things after the blast. I never had any pain, I hardly ever saw a doctor. Now that's a daily routine. I guess it is what it is!
It saddens me to see how this brain injury affects my wife. Though I try my best to be independent in all I do, sometimes Roxana has to come behind me to follow through. Roxana goes to school full time, works full time, and on top of that she manages the household and takes care of me. I am fully aware of the stress she has, and I understand it. It saddens me that I can't do more. I'll keep trying though.
As you may know there are feelings that come with a brain injury, to include frustration and grief. Even with the injury I'm very good at managing those emotions, but it gets to me at times. Realizing that I'm as good as I'm going to be has taken a big toll in my emotions, it has made me very sad. Since Roxana and I are so intimately connected, she knows even when I don't say a word. I can see that she wants to do more, but right now all she can give me is support. I'm at the point in which I'm rediscovering myself. Nobody can take the frustration away, only I have to deal with it and figure out a way to accept my new life.
It is very easy to become selfish after any severe injury. We have to see that the injury also affect those around us, especially our loved ones. Selfishness is something that needs to be avoided because it hurts our family and friends. They will feel forgotten, not loved and not cared off. As brain injury survivors we have to recognize the great support of those around us. They don't owe us anything. The injury is not their fault. This might potentially be a reason for divorce after a brain injury, so in order to succeed we have to give love to our spouses. Did you think this was going to be easy on them? Well, the answer is that it is as hard as it is for you, just in a different way.
Whenever Roxana and I see that the injury is affecting one of us emotionally, we sit down and talk about it. We always figure out ways to make it better. I do know that as a brain injury survivor sometimes it feels that we are in an abyss. The same applies to our spouses. They don't want to see their soul mate suffer or in pain.
My message today is: the brain injury is not the fault of our loved ones. Don't take it on them. Always have open channels of communication. Talk about it. Trust me it can be dealt with. Don't let yourself fall too far down into the abyss. If you are married don't forget that what affects you will affect the other. The vows say "in sickness and health", but you have to give love too.
God bless all of you!
Victor Medina


  1. Victor, Victor ,
    Victor, You are old beyond your years! I am so proud of you two, but and this is a BIG BUT,
    I know, after32 years I still improve. Not as much as in the first years but there is still improvment. If you just sit there on your ass, then of course nothing with change. But I am sure that you will not dop that.
    So get ready for more improvments cause they are coming!!!! POSITVE THINKING! love to you and yours!

  2. Hi, Victor

    Yes, it will get better! YOU will get better. My husband sustained a TBI nearly seven years ago and continues to see improvements, although they are smaller now than previously. He progressed in a stair-step fashion, with upswings followed by plateaus. The plateaus were frustrating to him. And to me, too, sometimes.

    You and Roxana are so fortunate to have each other. You seem to have a respect and compassion for one another that many couples--even without TBI-- do not have! That will take you a long way.

    If I might suggest, you and Roxana might consider journaling about what is happening in your lives right now. It can definitely help you clarify your thoughts and feelings.

    May you both continue to grow in love and understanding as your recovery continues!

  3. For the back pain...try acupuncture. It is especially affective for this kind of pain, but also for a brain injury and just the overall whole body. I do cranial where they actually stick needles in my head. Think Frankenstein.

    You ARE NOT as good as you are going to get. You have only just begun. You decide how good you are going to get when you quit working to improve.

    I am so thankful for you that you have the love and support and understanding of Roxana. Consider yourself blessed here. A brain injury is certainly an abyss. I find life most of the time is an abyss, a huge inexplicable mystery that makes no sense. The only sense, happiness and peace can be found is inside us. Has proven true for me time and time again, but I am still working on it.

  4. Hey Victor - don't give up! I have sustained a number of traumatic brain injuries over the course of my life, and I continue to see improvements. My last injury happened almost six years ago, and I can say with absolute certainty, I have experienced the most and the best progress and healing in the last year -- FIVE YEARS after the injury itself. TBI recovery can be a long, hard road, but if you just keep working, you can see improvements like the rest of us.

    It could be that your rehab folks are trying to prepare you for future difficulties. It could be that they are trying to protect you -- and Roxana -- in their own way. But low expectations are a kind of curse in the rehab community. I think perhaps people get burned out and a part of them just gives up.

    But you don't need to. Take courage from those of us who have been through the tough times and have emerged stronger than ever in some ways. You're a human being, created by a Divine Power, and you have every right to look forward to continued recovery.