Acquired brain injury: Is it really the end? – Part 3

News Apr 28, 2016 by Jesse Ferguson Brant News

This story is in part dedicated to the memory of Josh Demeulenaere, who lived with an acquired brain injury. He passed away last September in his 30th year from complications resulting from the injury.

As a direct result of my accident, my ability to move was literally forgotten.

I would have to learn to move all over again but with new deficiencies to incorporate. Speech and physiotherapy were amazingly tough to deal with, especially at first, because I knew exactly what I wanted to say and do and yet, like a jammed gun, I just couldn’t fire: I couldn’t do it, or couldn’t say what I wanted.

In many cases though, I couldn’t say anything.

It’s comforting knowing I defied doctors’ expectations and can walk again. However, if you see me walk, there is clearly something wrong. It isn’t what anyone would call smooth. My left knee snaps back when I step and it’s ugly. But I can walk

Speaking is more of an issue. There are times when my voice just doesn’t activate.

Josh and Chris also experienced speech issues from their injuries. They both could talk better than I can, but their pitch and inflections weren’t and aren’t normal. All three of our voices turned very nasal, volume decreased, our pace of speech slowed and words tend to blend together.

Speech is an area where we notice a heavy barrier to the outside world.

Chris said: “It really annoys me when people ask my mom about me – when I’m right there.”

I, too, find it demeaning when the person I am talking with feels the need to resort to whomever I am with to “translate.”

We all notice when someone doesn’t hear us correctly. The tendency is for people to panic when they’re unsure. ABI rehab therapist Gordon Leenders explains: “When people first don’t (understand), they become uncomfortable. To alleviate their discomfort, they may leave. But if they would just be patient, more often than not, they’ll understand.”

Josh, Chris, and I also noted that we benefit from people trying to listen. Perhaps it’s an unconscious thing that we know our efforts to talk stand a chance of being heard (literally).

It was hardest to cope when we were first injured and our deficits were most pronounced. One major obstacle was the stairs. If there weren’t railings, there’d be no way we could climb them.

Another issue is apprehension. Due to my injury, I’d be so afraid to slow people down on the stairs, I’d let everyone go ahead of me. If people were around, my body would get so tense I’d be prone to take missteps. No crowds for me for a long time

The “hidden disability” factor applies here. I look normal so it seems I should be able to do things like climb stairs. Some people are baffled when I can’t. I receive many “WTF” looks as result. The assumptions can be pretty hurtful.

“In general, people assume the worst,” Chris said.

Norman Doidge, in his novel titled The Brain That Changes Itself, explains: “(We) long for a connection to people and feel hurt when ‘normal people’ don’t look (us) in the eye.”

“People don’t know,” Josh once said in frustration. “I just want to say: ‘This is just an effect of the injury!’”

People are usually unaware of this, unless they get a reaction. For me, verbalizing this discontent is difficult when emotions are flowing and the verbal outlet is closed. Josh, though, wasn’t afraid to point out when people screwed up.

“I just want people to give me a chance,” he said candidly. “Some people act like I have some kind of contagious disease.”

I have also found people to be misinformed. I’ve been asked many times, flatteringly, if I’m on illicit drugs.

Chris, too, feels the sting of uninformed assumptions, but he has a strategy.

“Over the years, I’ve built up an immunity. Now, I just brush it off,” he said.

Ultimately, any assumption having to do with something as complex as brain injury is ludicrous.

Read the fourth and final instalment of Jesse Ferguson’s story in next week’s edition of Brant News. Reach Jesse at lostprophet_04@hotmail.com.

Acquired brain injury: Is it really the end? – Part 3

The third instalment in a four-part series chronicling writer Jesse Ferguson’s experience living with an acquired brain injury.

News Apr 28, 2016 by Jesse Ferguson Brant News

This story is in part dedicated to the memory of Josh Demeulenaere, who lived with an acquired brain injury. He passed away last September in his 30th year from complications resulting from the injury.

As a direct result of my accident, my ability to move was literally forgotten.

I would have to learn to move all over again but with new deficiencies to incorporate. Speech and physiotherapy were amazingly tough to deal with, especially at first, because I knew exactly what I wanted to say and do and yet, like a jammed gun, I just couldn’t fire: I couldn’t do it, or couldn’t say what I wanted.

In many cases though, I couldn’t say anything.

Related Content

It’s comforting knowing I defied doctors’ expectations and can walk again. However, if you see me walk, there is clearly something wrong. It isn’t what anyone would call smooth. My left knee snaps back when I step and it’s ugly. But I can walk

Speaking is more of an issue. There are times when my voice just doesn’t activate.

Josh and Chris also experienced speech issues from their injuries. They both could talk better than I can, but their pitch and inflections weren’t and aren’t normal. All three of our voices turned very nasal, volume decreased, our pace of speech slowed and words tend to blend together.

Speech is an area where we notice a heavy barrier to the outside world.

Chris said: “It really annoys me when people ask my mom about me – when I’m right there.”

I, too, find it demeaning when the person I am talking with feels the need to resort to whomever I am with to “translate.”

We all notice when someone doesn’t hear us correctly. The tendency is for people to panic when they’re unsure. ABI rehab therapist Gordon Leenders explains: “When people first don’t (understand), they become uncomfortable. To alleviate their discomfort, they may leave. But if they would just be patient, more often than not, they’ll understand.”

Josh, Chris, and I also noted that we benefit from people trying to listen. Perhaps it’s an unconscious thing that we know our efforts to talk stand a chance of being heard (literally).

It was hardest to cope when we were first injured and our deficits were most pronounced. One major obstacle was the stairs. If there weren’t railings, there’d be no way we could climb them.

Another issue is apprehension. Due to my injury, I’d be so afraid to slow people down on the stairs, I’d let everyone go ahead of me. If people were around, my body would get so tense I’d be prone to take missteps. No crowds for me for a long time

The “hidden disability” factor applies here. I look normal so it seems I should be able to do things like climb stairs. Some people are baffled when I can’t. I receive many “WTF” looks as result. The assumptions can be pretty hurtful.

“In general, people assume the worst,” Chris said.

Norman Doidge, in his novel titled The Brain That Changes Itself, explains: “(We) long for a connection to people and feel hurt when ‘normal people’ don’t look (us) in the eye.”

“People don’t know,” Josh once said in frustration. “I just want to say: ‘This is just an effect of the injury!’”

People are usually unaware of this, unless they get a reaction. For me, verbalizing this discontent is difficult when emotions are flowing and the verbal outlet is closed. Josh, though, wasn’t afraid to point out when people screwed up.

“I just want people to give me a chance,” he said candidly. “Some people act like I have some kind of contagious disease.”

I have also found people to be misinformed. I’ve been asked many times, flatteringly, if I’m on illicit drugs.

Chris, too, feels the sting of uninformed assumptions, but he has a strategy.

“Over the years, I’ve built up an immunity. Now, I just brush it off,” he said.

Ultimately, any assumption having to do with something as complex as brain injury is ludicrous.

Read the fourth and final instalment of Jesse Ferguson’s story in next week’s edition of Brant News. Reach Jesse at lostprophet_04@hotmail.com.

Acquired brain injury: Is it really the end? – Part 3

The third instalment in a four-part series chronicling writer Jesse Ferguson’s experience living with an acquired brain injury.

News Apr 28, 2016 by Jesse Ferguson Brant News

This story is in part dedicated to the memory of Josh Demeulenaere, who lived with an acquired brain injury. He passed away last September in his 30th year from complications resulting from the injury.

As a direct result of my accident, my ability to move was literally forgotten.

I would have to learn to move all over again but with new deficiencies to incorporate. Speech and physiotherapy were amazingly tough to deal with, especially at first, because I knew exactly what I wanted to say and do and yet, like a jammed gun, I just couldn’t fire: I couldn’t do it, or couldn’t say what I wanted.

In many cases though, I couldn’t say anything.

Related Content

It’s comforting knowing I defied doctors’ expectations and can walk again. However, if you see me walk, there is clearly something wrong. It isn’t what anyone would call smooth. My left knee snaps back when I step and it’s ugly. But I can walk

Speaking is more of an issue. There are times when my voice just doesn’t activate.

Josh and Chris also experienced speech issues from their injuries. They both could talk better than I can, but their pitch and inflections weren’t and aren’t normal. All three of our voices turned very nasal, volume decreased, our pace of speech slowed and words tend to blend together.

Speech is an area where we notice a heavy barrier to the outside world.

Chris said: “It really annoys me when people ask my mom about me – when I’m right there.”

I, too, find it demeaning when the person I am talking with feels the need to resort to whomever I am with to “translate.”

We all notice when someone doesn’t hear us correctly. The tendency is for people to panic when they’re unsure. ABI rehab therapist Gordon Leenders explains: “When people first don’t (understand), they become uncomfortable. To alleviate their discomfort, they may leave. But if they would just be patient, more often than not, they’ll understand.”

Josh, Chris, and I also noted that we benefit from people trying to listen. Perhaps it’s an unconscious thing that we know our efforts to talk stand a chance of being heard (literally).

It was hardest to cope when we were first injured and our deficits were most pronounced. One major obstacle was the stairs. If there weren’t railings, there’d be no way we could climb them.

Another issue is apprehension. Due to my injury, I’d be so afraid to slow people down on the stairs, I’d let everyone go ahead of me. If people were around, my body would get so tense I’d be prone to take missteps. No crowds for me for a long time

The “hidden disability” factor applies here. I look normal so it seems I should be able to do things like climb stairs. Some people are baffled when I can’t. I receive many “WTF” looks as result. The assumptions can be pretty hurtful.

“In general, people assume the worst,” Chris said.

Norman Doidge, in his novel titled The Brain That Changes Itself, explains: “(We) long for a connection to people and feel hurt when ‘normal people’ don’t look (us) in the eye.”

“People don’t know,” Josh once said in frustration. “I just want to say: ‘This is just an effect of the injury!’”

People are usually unaware of this, unless they get a reaction. For me, verbalizing this discontent is difficult when emotions are flowing and the verbal outlet is closed. Josh, though, wasn’t afraid to point out when people screwed up.

“I just want people to give me a chance,” he said candidly. “Some people act like I have some kind of contagious disease.”

I have also found people to be misinformed. I’ve been asked many times, flatteringly, if I’m on illicit drugs.

Chris, too, feels the sting of uninformed assumptions, but he has a strategy.

“Over the years, I’ve built up an immunity. Now, I just brush it off,” he said.

Ultimately, any assumption having to do with something as complex as brain injury is ludicrous.

Read the fourth and final instalment of Jesse Ferguson’s story in next week’s edition of Brant News. Reach Jesse at lostprophet_04@hotmail.com.