Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Monday, December 29, 2008

TBI is what I'm supposed to be doing: A brain injury survivor

On March 11, 2002, a freak accident on an airport shuttle bus changed Peggi Robart's life in an instant. A piece of ceiling or sign – Peggi can't remember which – came loose, hitting her in the head and knocking her unconscious.

There was no gaping head wound, and no blood. But the next day, at work, it became apparent that she was not herself. She had been an educator, lecturer, and published author before the accident. But afterward she stuttered greatly simply in trying to finish a sentence. The familiar streets of Boston became confusing.

"I'd get in the shower and ask, 'What am I doing here?,'" she says. "You had to write everything down. I had to put the labels on all my cupboards. You go to the supermarket holding onto your list for dear life."

She started attending a support group run by the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, based in Westborough. Since then, she has become an activist. Many survivors report difficulties in finding providers who recognize and understand injuries like hers. So she has been reaching out to providers, by attending conferences and networking to let them know the full range of treatment options for people with traumatic brain injuries.

Peggi sees these efforts as instrumental in her healing. She says she is at peace with the fact that she will never be equal to her "before" self. Yet she has made significant improvement: she no longer stutters; she needs fewer PostIt notes to carry on her life, and it's easier for her to drive a car.

"Part of getting better is that I want to contribute, I like to help. Apparently, TBI is what I'm supposed to be doing."

Advice to people with severe injuries: Helping others with your condition might help you heal.

Read another story of a TBI survivor who is helping others.

Thanks to Megan McKee for the source article in yesterday's Boston Globe.

No comments: