Traumatic brain injury is far more common than many people realize and symptoms of it are often unrecognized or attributed to other things. New cases occur every few seconds and it is estimated that every year more than 2 million people in the United States alone sustain a nonfatal traumatic brain injury. It is important to remember that this figure only represents the properly diagnosed cases.
Traumatic Brain Injury, Trust your instincts
A good doctor never underestimates the power of parental instinct and will take it into consideration when evaluating the health of a child, regardless of the child's age.
In 2001 my daughter suffered injuries in an automobile accident: fractures, lacerations, and other obvious physical trauma. She also suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This was not diagnosed until almost a year after the initial accident. When her personality and behaviors seemed to be different, we were assured it would take a full year for her body to recover from the trauma it had sustained. I remember the frustration of knowing something was “wrong”, only to be told I needed to give her time to fully recover. Eventually she was medically cleared to return to school and work but I was still concerned. My concerns were discounted and probably because the obvious injuries had healed. To people that did not know her before the accident, she appeared to have made a complete recovery. To those of us that knew her best, her family and close friends, we sensed the difference. She was often frustrated, impatient with herself, seemed far more vocal and “loud” but at the same time she seemed to have difficulty expressing herself verbally. Her emotions would rocket from one extreme to another. She later told me that she felt she had changed but done her best to hide it or compensate for it. She had been frightened and didn’t understand what was happening or why.
After a great deal of research, I was fortunate enough to hit on http://tbihome.org/. This website presented a wealth of information. Within minutes of being in the “chat room”, I received a great deal of pertinent advice and much encouragement. It led to a request for a neuropsychological evaluation, another MRI of her brain, and an appointment with a recommended neurologist. Finally the pieces came together and it became obvious that there was indeed another injury that had gone unnoticed by her health care providers. Once the diagnosis was made we were able to initiate appropriate therapies and supports that improved the prognosis for her recovery.
|Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation: Children and Adolescents Second Edition|
Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation: Children and Adolescents provides rehabilitation professionals in all areas of rehabilitation with a comprehensive, interdisciplinary fram...
Mom’s know their children best. We begin this understanding shortly after giving birth. We can differentiate between a “tired cry” and a “hurt cry”. We bandage knees and wipe noses. We can usually tell when they are coming down with something long before the first symptom appears and through childhood we learn what their pain threshold is. Even technological advances have not interrupted this bond of understanding…we often know when they are upset or bothered by something just by the tone of their text message…lol! (I’ve often called my kids to ask what was wrong because they didn’t sound right and they have responded, “It was a text message! You didn’t hear my voice!” and then they have proceeded to tell me what was wrong! )
All of this brings me to the bit of advice I want to pass on. It is based on experience and is one of the lessons to come out of this delayed diagnosis: Trust your instincts! If you feel that something is “not quite right“, pursue it. Research. Reach out and talk to others. Don’t let anyone second guess your instincts or minimize the accuracy of what your heart is telling you until you are absolutely sure it is the right thing to do.