PARENTS HELPING OTHER PARENTS
Advice, Excerpts and Insight
"...when Jamey was in ICU and a friend asked me what I was thinking,
I replied, "I feel as if I am pregnant, and the doctor has told me that I will be giving birth to a handicapped child, and I should prepare myself."
No need to be strong.
We all remember the deep pain you are feeling right now. We have all been there. My daughter, Jessica is almost 22 now. She was 16 when her only older brother was in his accident at age 19. I feared that she would want to take her own life, and we had many a philosophical discussion of what life is all about -- why these things happen, "if they happen all through life like this then I don't want to live." I think we all struggle with that one. Fortunately, time has a way of healing psychological pain as well as the physical -- but as with the physical, depending on the severity of the injury, there will be scars to remind us.
I wrote to Jamey in my journal everyday, begging and pleading and crying that someday he would be able to read it. Pam, wish I could be there to hug you in person.
The best advice I can give you as her parent, is to trust your own instincts about her care and treatment, and stand up for things that don't seem right even if others have some pre-formatted argument that discounts or dismisses your concerns. You know your daughter better than anyone, even though they might know more about some specific condition or treatment program. The best thing you can find is a good doctor to manage her case that also TRUSTS YOU, who will listen to your concerns and take you seriously, and in whom you can then trust to give her the best care and to be honest with you about what they do (or don't) know, and who is not too arrogant to refer her to various specialists for evaluations and help diagnosing and planning her ongoing 'rehab'.
Explaining to the Survivor in Rehab
One of the things I've been meaning to tell people, especially those of you early in this journey, is that very often these guys think the reason they are in this situation is because of something they did(they don't know what), and they're actually feeling guilty. They think everyone should be mad at them. And because their memories are so bad, they have to be told over and over again what happened!
We knew one guy at rehab who was really down in the dumps -- but he couldn't communicate enough to let everybody know what was bothering him.
One day his grandparents came to me and told me that he had indicated with his head nods that he was angry with them. After a series of questions, it became evident that he was blaming them for his being there! And not taking him home!
He thought it was some kind of prison or something. Then when they told him why he was there -- that it was a hospital -- and then he wanted to know if he was responsible for killing anyone else. He was very relieved when he found out that he wasn't, and he began to make real gains after that.
I hope you find this helpful--- you're going to get through all this one way or another. But what you will need to do is shift into overdrive now so your RPM's don't wear you out.
You are probably visiting too much try once a week every other week, and no more than twice a week. It will kill you at first, but you and he will get used to it -- absence will make both your hearts grow fonder, and you will be happier when you do see him.
Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
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