Often called the "Silent Injury", the victims struggle as others around them don't understand, or accuse them of using the injury as an excuse for poor behaviour. Often, they are ignored and isolated by family members, friends, co-workers, peers----as they struggle to live with their "New Normal". It's heartbreaking to accept the truth and feel that I have to constantly defend the actions and illnesses which are often thought to be "false". These injuries and symptoms are not being faked. Welcome to our REALITY.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Overview of Traumatic Brain Injury 
(taken from the site):

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can significantly affect many cognitive, physical, and psychological skills. Physical deficit can include ambulation, balance, coordination, fine motor skills, strength, and endurance. Cognitive deficits of language and communication, information processing, memory, and perceptual skills are common. Psychological status is also often altered. Adjustment to disability issues are frequently encountered by people with TBI.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) is characterized by one or more of the following symptoms: a brief loss of consciousness, loss of memory immediately before or after the injury, any alteration in mental state at the time of the accident, or focal neurological deficits.  

In many MTBI cases, the person seems fine on the surface, yet continues to endure chronic functional problems. Some people suffer long-term effects of MTBI, known as postconcussion syndrome (PCS). Persons suffering from PCS can experience significant changes in cognition and personality.

Most traumatic brain injuries result in widespread damage to the brain because the brain ricochets inside the skull during the impact of an accident.  Diffuse axonal injury occurs when the nerve cells are torn from one another.  Localized damage also occurs when the brain bounces against the skull.  The brain stem, frontal lobe, and temporal lobes are particularly vulnerable to this because of their location near bony protrusions.

The brain stem is located at the base of the brain.  Aside from regulating basic arousal and regulatory functions, the brain stem is involved in attention and short-term memory.   
*Trauma to this area can lead to disorientation, frustration, and anger. 

The limbic system, higher up in the brain than the brain stem, helps regulate emotions. Connected to the limbic system are the temporal lobes which are involved in many cognitive skills such as memory and language.   
*Damage to the temporal lobes, or seizures in this area, have been associated with a number of behavioural disorders. 

The frontal lobe is almost always injured due to its large size and its location near the front of the cranium. The frontal lobe is involved in many cognitive functions and is considered our emotional and personality control center.   
*Damage to this area can result in decreased judgment and increased impulsivity.

BRAIN MAP~click here

~My brain injury Miracle Survivor, Brendan--struck by a truck at the age of 4~

 *Photo courtesy of  http://www.srobertsonphotographic.com/ 

Thursday, December 9, 2010



I am lucky enough to have received a copy of this TBI Guide for my own usage.  I cannot begin to tell you how valuable this resource is to me.  I was able to find a copy of it online and am very pleased to be able to make it available to all of you.

This guide is written in plain language and easy enough for the brain injured patient to read, enabling them to better understand that they are not alone in some of their thoughts, actions, feelings, or behaviours.

It is vitally important that all caregivers, family members, friends, or co-workers read this to become better equipped to know that everything the brain injury victim is experiencing or exhibiting is "Normal".

If you have a printer readily available, I encourage you to print off the pages that are most able to explain your experiences, and highlight and make notes for your physicians/therapists.

It is good practice to keep a notebook or day-planner handy to write down questions or behaviours/symptoms as they occur, as this information may become very urgent down the road to recovery.

~Be sure to keep concise and detailed journals, complete with the date and time of the "incident",  what happened right before that may have triggered it, and what happened afterwards.

~Ask the 'patient' to explain in his/her own words what they remember their experience to be, and make a detailed report of that also.

It is also important that the 'patient' participate (if possible) in the daily documentation of their own thoughts, feelings, and concerns, etc, enabling the physicians and therapists involved to reach a concise understanding of what the patient is able to comprehend of their day-to-day experiences.  It can be referred back to and compared to your own daily notes.

I cannot stress this enough, as you never know how important this information may become further down the road to recovery, especially if legal action needs to be taken, or if the insurance company needs to know this.  

This information can make all the difference in the world to your future financial needs, as well as treatment plan and goals.

I hope you find this guide as beneficial as I have.

Sincerely, Melissa
~The Following is Copied from the Introductory Page:


Dr. Glen Johnson
Clinical Neuropsychologist
By Dr. Glen Johnson, Clinical Neuropsychologist
5123 North Royal Drive, Traverse City, MI 49684
Phone 231-929-7358, Email debglen@yahoo.com
Website http://www.tbiguide.com/

Copyright ©2010 Dr. Glen Johnson. All Rights Reserved.
Nearly all of the survivors of a traumatic head injury and their families with whom I have worked have had one complaint: There is nothing written that explains head injury in clear, easy to understand language. Most say the available material is too medical or too difficult to read. The goal of this online book is to better prepare the head injured person and family for the long road ahead.

LIST OF CONTENTS: (click each link below for more information)

Common Indicators of a Head Injury

How the Brain is Hurt

Understanding How the Brain Works

Coping with Common Problems:

Dealing with Doctors

Family Members: What You Can Do In the Hospital Setting


Emotional Stages of Recovery

Returning to School

When Will I Get Better?

Who Are All These Professionals?

Related Links

Download the Book

~A word from the Doctor/Author:
"This online book came from materials that I wrote for my patients and their family members. I basically used a copy machine and gave copies away for free. This book became very popular and over a thousand copies have been given out. It costs about $6 to copy the book another $3 to $4 to mail to people. The costs and time to send the books got out of hand. I decided not to publish the book. Few people would have access to the material and I would not be able to "update" or improve the material easily. Using the Internet, anyone with a computer could access this information. It is my sincere hope that the Internet version of my book would help the greatest number of people. Go to each chapter heading and click on it. Use your web browser to print any information that you find helpful. There is no charge for the information you copy.

I need your help. If any of this information is helpful to you, I am asking for a small donation. Developing this site (I have to pay someone to design the web page), monthly charges, and adding new information is costly. If you have $5 (cash or check in US currency), send it to me at the above address. Don’t have $5, even $2 would help. If a miracle happens and this online book becomes a success, it will encourage other professionals to provide similar services. It’s up to you to encourage or discourage this type of service for people with a head injury. If you don’t have money to send, no problem. I just hope this book helps you.

If time permits, I do lecture to head injury groups. If this web site generates addition money beyond my costs, I would be willing to use additional funds to cover my travel expenses for lectures. E-mail me at
debglen@yahoo.com if you are interested."

Sunday, December 5, 2010



Frontal Lobe
Frontal Lobe
Where is it?
The frontal lobe is located at the front of the brain just behind the forehead.

What does it do?
- Provides executive control over much of the brain’s higher functions.
- Consciousness.
- Self-awareness.
- Judgment.
- Initiation / Motivation.
- Control over emotional responses.
- Planning / Sequencing.
- Word formation.
- Prospective memoryremembering to do something.

What happens when it is injured?
- Inability to synthesize signals from the environment.
- Inability to assign priorities.
- Inability to make decisions.
- Inability to initiate actions.
- Inability to control emotions.
- Inability to behave and interact socially and make plans.
- Changes in personality.
- Inflexible, simplistic, and/or concrete thinking.
- Poor judgment.
- Inability to plan a sequence of complex movements needed to complete multistepped tasks.
- Inability to behave appropriately in social situations.
Parietal Lobe
Parietal Lobe
Where is it?
The parietal lobe is located on both sides of the head neat the top and to the back.

What does it do?
- Responsible for perceiving, analyzing, and assembling touch information from the body.
- Integrates visual, auditory, and touch information in order to formulate complete impression of the world.

Left parietal lobe
Area where letters come together to form words and where words are put together in thoughts.

Right parietal lobe
Responsible for understanding the spatial aspects of the world including recognizing shapes, being aware of one’s body in space and deficits

What happens when it is injured?
- Difficulties with hand and eye coordination.

Left parietal lobe
- Inability to recognize or locate touch sensations from the right side of the body.
- Inability to know the meaning of words.
- Anomia - Inability to name objects.
- Dyscalculia - Inability to do mathematic calculations.
- Agraphia - Inability to locate the words for writing.

Right parietal lobe
- Inability to recognize or locate touch sensations from the left side of the body.
- Perceptual Agnosia - “not knowing” (e.g., not able to recognize familiar objects touched by the hands.)
- Difficulty with drawing objects.
- Lack of awareness of certain body parts and/or surrounding space.
Temporal Lobe
Temporal Lobe
Where is it?
The temporal lobe is a large thumb-shaped extension of the cerebral hemispheres located near the temples on either side of the head.

What does it do?
A small section at the top of each temporal lobe, known as the auditory cortex, is responsible for hearing. The temporal lobes are also involved in memory acquisition, perception, and categorization of objects. - Involved in processing auditory information (e.g., sound discrimination, comprehension of language, listening, reading; music.)
- Important for memory acquisition, storage.
- important for sense of smell.
- Involved in complex visual analysis.

Left temporal lobe
- Specialized for the comprehension of language such as listening and reading.

Right temporal lobe
- Specialized for the comprehension of music.

What happens when it is injured?
- Disturbance with selective attention to what is seen and heard.
- Memory problems.
- Categorization problems.

Left temporal lobe
- Wernicke’s Aphesia - An inability to read and comprehend what someone is saying (e.g., can form word associations but they are not language based).
- Persistent talking.

Right temporal lobe
- Inability to recognize and appreciated music.
- Prosopagnosia - Difficulty in recognizing faces.
- Difficulty understanding spoken language (i.e., some types of aphasia).
- Specific memory impairments (e.g., Prosopagnosia / inability to recognize faces.)
- Impaired detection of smell.
Occipital Lobe
Occipital Lobe
Where is it?
The occipital lobe is located in the extreme rear of the cerebral hemisphere at the back of the brain.

What does it do?
This lobe is dedicated entirely to vision in terms of detection, identification, and interpretation of objects.

What happens when it is injured?
- Visual Agnosia - not consciously knowing that one has seen an object.
- Difficulty locating objects in the environment.
- Colour Agnosia - difficulty with identifying colours.
- Word Blindness - difficulty in recognizing words.
- Inability to track the movement of objects.
Brain Stem
Brain Stem
Where is it?
The brainstem is located at the base of the brain and extends down to become the spinal cord. Three main parts make up the brainstem, including the medulla, the pons and the midbrain.

What does it do?
The medulla controls basic involuntary life functions such as respiration, blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature control.
In the pons and extending up through the midbrain is a structure called the reticular activating system. This system affects sleep onset and a person’s level of alertness.

What happens when it is injured?
- A disturbance in breathing, heart rate, or other vital bodily functions.
- Decreased levels of alertness and arousal.
- Dysphagia - difficulty swallowing food and water.
- Sleep difficulties (e.g., insomnia, sleep apnea).
- Disturbance in sleep/wake cycles.
All information on this page is copied from Educating Educators About ABI Resource Book
Produced by: Brock University & the Ontario Brain Injury Association
Funded by: Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation

Saturday, December 4, 2010


~This first post will be an introductory video which can explain some of what I will write about over the next several days, weeks, months---and possibly years. It is my desire that this blog will show you what a brain injury can look like from a variety of perspectives.

Please take a few minutes of your time to view this video and ponder what you see and hear.

Thanks for viewing, Melissa aka Caregiver