Survivor Highlight: Jessica Dorman-Davis
On July 2, 2016 I tripped on a rug in our home and fell striking my head on a marble table. Prior to my accident, I was an Attorney and Partner with the law firm of Freeman, Freeman & Smiley LLP in the Orange County office. My practice specialized in Tax, Trusts, and Estate Planning. Rick and I enjoyed traveling both domestically and abroad when work allowed, and visits with our son in San Francisco and Phoenix. Our vacation trips with both boys to Mammoth Lakes and Hawaii are cherished time as a family. Both Rick and I were active board members for a Domestic Violence Shelter in Orange County.
I joined B.R.A.I.N. in May 2017 following a visit to the office late one afternoon when the person who answered Rick’s phone call said she would wait for us to drive from Huntington Beach to see the facility and tell him what B.R.A.I.N. was all about. By then, I had completed my time at Tustin Rehab and I was receiving PT and OT at Precision Rehabilitation in Long Beach. Rick may have heard about B.R.A.I.N. at Precision, but he was also actively looking on the internet and talking to people looking for a way to help me get the support and rehab I needed in addition to the therapy I was receiving at Precision.
The first event we attended was F.B.I. Wow! I was very comfortable at the meeting. Everyone was very kind and caring. We could feel the energy in the room. Survivors were openly discussing their injuries and their struggle for recovery. People were clapping and cheering their accomplishments, no matter how small they may sound. There was magic energy of love and caring in the room. It was a safe place to hear about other brain injury survivors’ challenges and accomplishments, and to share myself, my challenges and concerns, and receive praise and encouragement from people I did not even know. No one was judgmental and no one looked at me with pity. They were all so supportive and encouraging. We were team mates with one goal in mind, survival and recovery.
Rick really pushed to get me actively into a number of different therapies and different doctors outside of the normal MDs, and other trainings that may help my recovery. We both thought B.R.A.I.N. was an excellent addition to what we had been doing and would be beneficial for both of us. The Staff and Volunteers were focused on helping survivors and caregivers understand the dynamics of a brain injury and the stress it places on all family members and friends.
The group classes are a big change from other organizations I have been involved in some where there is only one instructor in the room with me. I was never referred to as a “survivor” as I am at B.R.A.I.N. All the survivors here openly share their thoughts, ideals and openly praise and encourage each other. I am involved in Cognitive Fitness Class, Let’s Talk, F.B.I. of course, Private Speech and Cognitive Training sessions, and the B.R.A.I.N. Choir. Rick is also in the B.R.A.I.N. Choir, and attends the B.R.A.I.N. Angels meetings. I believe the B.R.A.I.N. classes and trainings have been a big part of my ongoing recovery. I speak more clearly, my cognition is much improved, and I am not embarrassed about my injury and can talk about it openly with others. I find I can now follow conversations in a group setting and my memory is much better.
B.R.A.I.N. has been, and will continue to be a great source for friends, information, classes, challenges, and referrals to other services and trainings within the brain injury community in Orange County. I am very happy we found B.R.A.I.N. and have the opportunity to continue to heal, grow, and “Survive” .
Thank you everyone at B.R.A.I.N.
Jessica S. Dorman-Davis, brain injury survivor