What to expect after a TBI

My Dad had a serious fall back in January this year, he spent some months in hospital (1 month in Critical Care in an induced coma). He suffered from multiple injuries all over his body (broken ribs, leg, arm, neck, back and a brain injury). On the day he came in he was taken down to theatre (once stable enough) to add a drain for the blood and fluid on the brain. They also had to build his skull (compound fracture) and we were told it was touch and go.

Such a traumatic time for the family, but my Dad (63) came through it and after spending another month in the Rehabilitation Unit (The Walton Centre) he was discharged and came to live with me and my boyfriend.

He only went home to his own house last month after spending another 4 months with us. We are all really proud of him.

I worry myself sick though, and I suppose this is why I am here. I am intrigued by other peoples stories and would like to seek some support and advice if possible. Its the unknown, and I'm not really sure what to expect. Although he seems to be 'himself' there are times he is forgetting things and is very tired etc.

Thanks in advance.

3 Replies

  • Your dad must be made of pretty stern stuff to have come through such injuries. If he follows the standard pattern he will suffer with fatigue and short-term memory problems almost certainly. And there are many other possible issues which he may or may not be affected by so it's usually a wait and see situation.

    But you've had time to observe his behaviour over these months so you'll have a good idea of his strengths and weaknesses. But it might be a good idea to contact the Headway helpline and ask for an information pack so you have some clear guidelines always on hand.

    You're bound to feel anxious since your dad has returned home ; my family worried about me coping alone but, believe me, I couldn't wait to get my independence back. And yes, I struggled with certain things from time to time, but still haven't come to any harm after over two years.

    My family wanted me to wear an alarm to summon help if necessary but I refused. I realise that was probably selfish as it provides loved ones with the knowledge that you potentially have 24hr care. It is a possibility if your dad would agree to it.

    Well done for all you've done so far and I hope at this stage that all goes equally well.

    Regards Cat x

  • I'm sure you have read and been told many times about the long road to recovery, the uncertainties surrounding how far it will go etc.

    Your dad has climbed from the pit of injury up the really steep slopes of rehab and is now on the undulating path of the long term recovery!

    This is tiring, there may be a lot of ups and downs as you get back into a resemblance of normality with less immediate support, you have to work very hard to concentrate on everything you do, wether that is making a cup of tea or making a shopping list.

  • I am not a medic and have no verifiable data on TBI. Since I had my fall and started to take an interest in TBI (it took me a while!) I have acquired some 'stuff' on TBI, but it is not IMHO not worth much.

    I will give my opinion on your original question, (for what it is worth!) then if I have space let, justify my views, by giving my TBI experience/details.

    I was 45, and I suspect, 'recovery' will be influenced by age. Dr's told me that my relative physical fitness helped my recovery, considering my age.

    While I would take account of medical opinion, a Consultant after 6 months, told me that what I ended up with at 18 months would be likely to be the extent of my recovery! BULL SHIT! I had my accident in June 2008, I have not stopped 'recovering' what ever that means. One thing that I had that helps me, particularly in the early months, was family and friends support1 I can't emphasise this enough. I had all of the classic (if there is such a thing!) TBI ' consequences, memory loss, mood swings, depression, poor mobility, etc. etc! Fortunately I have the personality that saw that as I challenge, though I can remember being perturbed at one point. I now work for a charity, Voyage Care, who do support people who have experienced TBI. Not me unfortunately as I consider I have empathy, I support people with Learning Disability. I spoke to their staff trainer and told him what I had been told. He had the same opinion that I declared above, and confirmed my current thinking is that there is no limit to recovery.

    I caution against setting limits, and particularly avoid judging by 'how he used to be'

    My wife would say I am not the same person . I heartily recommend the James Cracknel book Touching Distance, which highlights this, and much of my reading has concurred that this is many families experience. I have also read 'Where is the Mango Princess? A journey back from brain injury.' by Cathy Crimmins, and American Journalist whose husband survived a TBI. If you do nothing else find a copy of this, and read it. my wife and I certainly did and we both found it enlightening.

    Good luck, as I have said, you will along with the family have a critical role to play. There will be awful times, times of frustration/desperation, but conversely times when you are elated, and actually laugh! My heart goes out to you, and my thoughts will be with you. I will post my Story on another post! Look out for miracleman's post, you have inspired me!

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