Blog Post One: It’s About Time
“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”
-Rose Kennedy (Mother of John F Kennedy, died at age 104)
So it is about time.
It’s about time in the sense that it is now past due for me to begin writing my story. But also, it is about time. This is a story about time and how it is a healer. It is true that time does not take away the wounds, “the wounds remain”, but “covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens.” It is also true that the mind will cover the wound to protect its sanity. So what happens when the wound is inflicted on the mind? Can the mind still protect its sanity? Can the scar tissue withstand when it is in the place where the defense is created?
On May 8th, 2011, I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) after falling 20 ft from a water tower on a rooftop in Brooklyn, NY. I hit the front of my head on the steel scaffolding on the way down and hit the back of my head on the concrete rooftop. I was rendered unconscious instantly and rushed to the hospital where I was intubated (put on life support) upon arrival. I wouldn’t wake up, despite my CT scans showing damage that should not have prevented me from coming to consciousness. They decided to try to extubate me (attempt to take me off of life support) on May 10th to try to bring me conscious enough to start breathing on my own.
After a failed extubation attempt, I lost use of my left side extremities due to lack of oxygen that my brain had suffered during the extubation attempt (hypoxic stroke). A few days later, I had an MRI that explained my failure to come to consciousness. The MRI showed that I had sustained a Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI). This is also called shearing, and it is caused by excessive forces twisting and tearing at the neurons. Over 90% of patients with severe DAI never regain consciousness and most of those who do wake up remain significantly impaired or in a vegetative state. I am now only in a vegetative state in the sense that I eat my veggies.
I was extubated successfully on May 20th, and re-intubated on June 6th because of breathing issues due to an unexplained and undiagnosed stenosis (narrowed passageway due to scar tissue) in my trachea. I was finally successfully re-extubated on June 10th, after being put on a course of steroids which shrunk the tissue in my throat, but in doing so, masked the severity of the stenosis (2 1/2 cm of my trachea was the diameter of a drinking straw).
This is where my memories begin. By June 22, when I had been transferred to an acute TBI rehab, the breathing problems started again, and through more CT scans it became apparent that I needed a tracheostomy which was a very tricky one to perform because the stenosis sat so low in my throat that they had to bore right through the scar tissue in order to place it. I was unable to eat, walk, or talk for 5 months.
Despite the hardships, I have been recovering at what many regard as a staggering pace. I’ve created this website to educate people on the benefits vs. risks in all forms of medicine, and to promote patient empowerment in regards to any illness or injury. Emergency medicine and conventional care saved my life. I would be dead if not for the incredible work of the many specialists that I saw throughout my hospitalization. In the aftermath of repairing my broken brain, I can attribute the bulk of my healing to functional nutrition, functional neurology, neuro optometry (developmental optometry), physical and occupational therapy, and other targeted therapies.
Throughout my recovery, I have been fascinated by, and have done extensive research on, the relationship between the brain, the gut, and the eye. Of course, this relationship affects everyone, not just TBI patients. Today, I am a speaker and educator and it has become my mission to help families, practitioners, and survivors of all kinds, by sharing the important information I learned throughout and after my recovery from my TBI. Join me on my adventures in brain injury, as I work to improve neurorehabilitation and overall brain health.
Feel free to contact me about anything. These are OUR Adventures in Brain Injury! Cheers!
“My TBI Story” is an overview of the events leading up to my severe traumatic brain injury, the many stages of my recovery, and the road my life has taken since. I’ve included a short FAQ with insights to the recovery process and a list of useful links.