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Traumatic Brain Injury

Don't realise how bad I was

Hi all,

I suffered a severe TBI in Sept 2018. My girlfriend and I were cycling home from China to Ireland. We had cycled 14,600kms when I was knocked off my bike in France. I suffered 5 brain bleeds and was in a coma for 8 days and some broken bones and a collapsed lung. I had 6 weeks PTA. I spent 6 months in hospital undergoing rehab. I was 6 on the GCS when admitted to hospital. My family were told to come to France ASAP as it wasn’t good. I have since been undergoing various rehab in Ireland - OT, Vocational therapy, physio, Councelling etc.

The problem is I still have this feeling that I am fine and a big deal was made about it. I can’t shake that feeling despite various consultants telling me it was v serious etc. Anyone else go through this and can help in anyway?
Thanks
M

1 Like

Wow! That’s quite an accident, and a long recovery. It’s wonderful that you’re doing so well. While it may have been very serious at the time, you clearly made quite a recovery.

I’m guessing that people are reacting to how bad it was when it happened, and are not focusing as much on how you are doing now. I don’t have any answers for you, but that is my interpretation. Welcome to the group, Mike!

Sharon from ModSupport

I have had to have a bit of a think about how to respond here…
If I put on my pseudo medical hat… “I suffered 5 brain bleeds and was in a coma for 8 days and some broken bones and a collapsed lung.” Clinically speaking, that is serious in itself, IMO any medico reading that would have the same opinion.
Then we get into how we see things for ourselves and this can vary. For some we want to return to life as we knew it ASAP. The dr’s may say ‘Slowly, slowly’, well, I didn’t want to go slowly and pushed myself to recover. BAD idea. For some people the event itself can be minor and yet the mental impact can be a huge obstacle and yet others can simply roll with it. From my experience there is no hard and fast answer, it varies for everybody. As I often say “Two people can have exactly the same impact with exactly the same injury but have vastly differing outcomes”, so trying to measure your personal situation with that of another is near on impossible and yet this is what the medicos often do. Now, part of the issue here can be that if the dr’s minimised the effects but the reality was much worse our trust of them and their opinions can be severely damaged. This is a situation many of us have experienced. But by the same accord some dr’s can be overly cautious, almost wanting to wrap us up in cotton wool for fear we’d break.
It’s not that one is right and the other is wrong, they are both the extremes of the same situation. If dr ‘A’ said ‘All OK, just go back to work’ and things deteriorated due to the situation, we’d be less than happy, and again, if dr ‘B’ recommends slowly, slowly but we feel we could do more this can have a big impact on our mental health.

No dr is within our heads. We have to examine our abilities for ourselves. There have been many, many people, both professional and personal, all of whom have had an opinion on where I should be or I should have gotten to in my recovery. For some I have beaten their guesstimations, for others I have not. Personally I don’t measure by what others think anymore. I have been down the neurosurgical road a few times and no 2 recoveries have ever been the same. I have found that I MUST listen to my body because it will tell me when I’ve reached ‘today’s limit’. My limits fluctuate massively and can have many variabilities, diet (including medications), sleep, sunshine, physical activity, mental activity, moon cycles etc just to name a few. What maybe a trigger today, may have very little impact tomorrow. I can never tell, hence me saying ‘today’s limit’. And if I can’t tell and I’m the one trying to manage it all, there is no way a dr can have All of the answers. We are all individual all with our own limits and triggers.

China2Ireland, you have had some major trauma, that is undeniable. But the impact is something only you can truly gauge. DO NOT be pushing your body’s limits, it will tell you when enough is enough, but you have to listen. Take it from someone who pushed too hard, too soon and did not listen. I have paid dearly for my own pigheaded arrogance ie ‘I can beat this…’ only for it all to turn around a beat me to a pulp.
Ahhh, don’t do that. Listen to your own body.

Merl

Thanks so much for your response. So very true in what you say.