Bobbie Larsen and Kathy Good can now sit and laugh together about overcoming the challenges they both faced on the road to recovering from brain injuries. But, in the beginning, the difficulties were no laughing matter. Mega doses of persistence and determination were required from both of them to get to the point where they could see their journey as humorous and worthwhile.
Larsen fractured her skull after an eight-foot fall onto a concrete floor. Good suffered brain damage when her heart stopped beating twice during an operation in 1997. Neither of the women ever returned to the selves they were before their brain traumas. Instead, both of them have built new lives out of the wreckage of their devastating injuries.
Larsen said, ‘I went to the emergency room, and they sent me home and said I had a concussion. I had a hard time walking, and my speech was affected. I had a hard time remembering, I couldn’t taste things, I was dizzy, and I threw up all the time … I couldn’t stand up to function, sit on the toilet or take a shower,’ an article in the Daily Herald reported. Her symptoms went on for almost a year and medical authorities doubted the severity of them. Some of them suggested that perhaps she was imagining them, the article said.
Kathy Good faced similar challenges, ‘when she finally woke up, she wasn’t the person she had been before. Her sleep and moods were affected. She was depressed. She found it difficult to motivate herself to do anything. She couldn’t concentrate. At times, she felt suicidal,’ the article added. Both women were forced to triumph over suicidal thoughts, which they did with grace.
In 2007, both women met neuropsychologist Dan Cossaboon who was able to gather data from both women and validate their suspicion that something had indeed gone awry in the functioning of their brains. ‘That validation was both comforting and terrifying for both women. They now had an explanation for the things they had experienced, but they also were forced to realize that they likely never would regain everything they had lost,’ the article said.
Cossaboon encouraged both women to attend a support group for survivors of brain injury, which they did reluctantly. Part of their journey has been to accept that they are becoming new people, very different from who they were before their brain injuries. After the initial shock, they have both accepted and embraced the transcendence of who they once were. After all, many people seek to change their own fundamental nature without any substantial results. These two women were given the chance to do so and they embraced it with open arms. Sometimes blessings come in strange places.
Olson, Ilene. (March 29, 2010) ‘Women tell how they grew into their new selves after brain injury.’ Retrieved on March 30, 2010 from the Daily Herald Web site:http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=368842&src=120