Angela’s October 2014 Letter

Dear Friends,

The month of October was dedicated to Dr. John Medina’s Brain Rule #2: Survival – The Brain is a Survival Organ. The commonality that brings us all together is brain injury. It is something you cannot plan for as in a hurricane disaster, in which you nail down the windows and shop for a large supply of water. A brain injury can happen quickly like with a car accident, or slowly as when you wake up and realize you are paralyzed on one side of your body. The medical journals all state that you have the best recovery in the first six months. This statement is often told to the families and the survivor. It is infuriating as a clinician to hear this as it can cause people to want to give up or just the opposite, work diligently during the first six months expecting a quick recovery. As a clinician, I tell families that you cannot say when and how a person will recover. In the Traumatic Brain Injury Survival Guide (2010) Dr. Glen Johnson reports that there are certain predictors that make recovery easier than others. He reports that the CT scan and MRI does not always report the severity of the damage, just the damage. He feels that medical exams are not always a predictor of a long range outcome. Intellect and education may play a part in someone’s recovery however, I have witnessed an increased recovery when someone has a strong support system. We have found at F.B.I. that families who support each other and their loved one show a stronger sense of wellness versus those that don’t have the support or encouragement.

Warren and BarbaraSince our theme of the month was Survival, many people came out to tell their story of recovery, hope and re-entry into the real world. Warren and Barbara Williams bravely told their journey through the world of stroke rehabilitation. Warren, Barbara’s husband and caregiver, felt connected when he left the hospital with a contact person to follow up with for continued services. But the reality is that you are on your own and if you don’t have a team of people to help you, it becomes overwhelming and anxiety producing. As a long distance caregiver, I feel the need to share the concerns of managing bills, documents, and medications for my mother with Alzheimer’s.

Jon and KellyAs Jon and Kelly Levin shared one evening about their daughter, Ashlyn, they built a team through B.R.A.I.N., and this team in turn brought a shining light to another family when it was time to bring their loved one home.

A shining light. Isn’t that we all want? We want to be guided through the process by someone who has been there. Mycle Brandy, a stroke survivor who has walked across America a few times, is the light for those who don’t realize that stroke can happen in a blink of an eye. Be stroke smart (www.stroke.org) and know the warning signs for F.A.S.T.: Face, Arms, Speech and Time. Be the light and come join us on any given Tuesday night to learn about life the real way.

With gratitude for your dedication to us,

Angela Mandas, MA CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
FBI Group Facilitator

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