Monica's Car Accident that Lead to a TBI

Content Warning: This article discusses an experience with a traumatic brain injury, head/body trauma, and a car accident.

As a fellow migraine patient, I thought it was important to get to know my friend and neighbor with a TBI (traumatic brain injury). Part of my career has involved caregiving 1:1 to people who have experienced TBI's. In other parts of my career, I also helped them regain their physical strength through physical and aquatic therapy.

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Helping others understand TBIs

As a mental health advocate for herself and others, my friend had a nursing career without any illness before her traumatic brain injury. Her TBI was the result of getting into a terrible car accident that left her with incredibly difficult, life-altering disabilities. My friend and I sat down with her permission and did a casual back and forth interview while she shared some of her story with me. We did this to help others better understand brain injuries and how we can better advocate for those with head injuries and trauma and one another.

A lengthy TBI recovery process

Monica acquired a brain injury after a terrible car accident left her with frontal and temporal lobe brain damage. Her recovery was incredibly difficult, painful, and full of years of lengthy physical therapy sessions to help her learn how to walk and talk again. She endured many years of cognitive therapy, which was incredibly difficult, literally learning how to walk and talk all over again.

Learning more about Monica

I truly admire her and wish we didn’t have migraines in common. Still, I’m glad I’ve developed a relationship with her and have gotten to learn even more about traumatic brain injuries, even though I’ve had a unique background in helping serve and caring for patients with acquired TBIs.

With her permission, we sat down and talked about how her TBI has affected her life and how she has learned to live with the pain of migraines, among many lingering issues.

Monica's car accident

In her own words:

I was driving and had just graduated with my nursing degree and associates in criminal justice. I was working 12-hour shifts and then had a part gig bartending and other jobs to make ends meet, to have the lifestyle I wanted. I was definitely burning the candle at both ends. All my dreams were happening, and I worked HARD to take care of myself and my family.

A long, hard day

After working a full shift at the hospital one day, I was about halfway home, and I began to feel so tired. I closed my eyes for just a second, and that’s the last thing I remember. That’s the last thing I remember before I woke up from being in a coma (not medically induced) for 3 weeks.

Waking up in the hospital

When I woke up, I was in a halo, with many broken bones, including major parts of my face. I broke my nose, my orbital bones, my jaw, and most of the bones in my face. I learned that I had experienced severe head trauma, including damage to my frontal and temporal lobe. I woke up with metalware in my neck, back, and head. I had also learned that I had lost complete hearing in my left ear, the side of my face that was most affected by my TBI.

You can read about Monica's recovery here!

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