Your Stories - Alana Howard
Hello there! My injury is pretty frightening, but my recovery is pretty amazing. There are many answers I'm still trying to figure out regarding the difference between the two.
I went sledding with two of my girlfriends from work one night. Long story short, I ran head first into a tree. I fractured my skull in multiple places, completely scratched my right cornea, broke my nose, and once in the ambulance, went into a coma. I woke up about 3 or 4 days later, but I was out of the hospital's care in just under one month. I had cranial surgery hours after I arrived due to all the fractures, hematomas, and swelling on the brain. I had a hairline fracture in one of my vertebrae near my neck. I really don't have any memory for about 2 or 3 weeks, and as cognitive function came back to the forefront, it improved very, VERY quickly.
I am still participating in rehab, and it's been about 6 weeks, but, it's almost done with. I am already done with physical therapy. Speech therapy is basically just practice at this point, and occupational therapy just needs to confirm being fully capable of driving. I had some memory issues in the beginning, and they'll creep up every now and again, but they fade with each day that goes by. I would say that my worst function at the moment is mathematics...save word problems or money, but it is much more difficult for me to do problems now than ever before.
I am making a full recovery, although it'll probably take a year or two fully, BUT, I am doing so against all odds considering the severity of my injury. Looking at the reports from my time beginning in the hospital to now is boggling. I thought it was 1990, I did not know when my birthday was, I sincerely believed that my head was made out of plastic, I thought Euthanasia and The Northern Panama Canal were states, and the list continues. About a week after the nonsense, I got back on the correct mental track, and have improved daily ever since. I would say the only emotional difference is that I have no more anxiety, fear, and depression, unlike before the TBI. In fact, I would consider myself more logical, responsible, and mentally organized than ever. I often joke that I should have hit my head sooner.
I am so grateful and lucky after reading about other cases. The picture I'm including was taken a week ago, you'd never even know I had an accident looking at me! Miracles are possible, regardless of where they come from!!! At one point I seemed like I would need care forever, and within a few weeks, it was clear that those suspicions were patently false. Recovery can happen, even when all seems darkest!
It says the injury happened in 2009, but, it definitely happened January 12th of 2010! Isn't amazing that I'm almost finishing therapy and it's merely the beginning of April 2010? I can't wait to start school back this fall and live the life that I'm lucky enough to still have!