Most traumatic brain injuries result in damage to the brain because the brain ricochets inside the skull during the impact of an accident. Sometimes Pete could barely tolerate talking, and silence became a big part of our lives. It was a brutal experience for him, for me, for our family, one that shook us all to the core.Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), also called "closed head injury" or "post-concussion syndrome," is a condition where an individual suffers a mild concussion, whiplash or blow to the head, and subsequently develops symptoms such as recurring head pain, cognitive difficulties, emotional and personality changes, hypersensitivity to light or sound, nerve damage, memory difficulties, etc. In his absence I not only had to deal with our son's and daughter's confusion and my own grief at the potential loss of the marriage and husband I'd known, but to confront my fears and inadequacies as "the wife of a brain-damaged man." One thing that is very much missing from the treatment protocol of brain injury -- traumatic or mild -- is guidance and assistance not only to the injured party but to their families, as well.Greg's response: You know Sean, I am a head injury survivor of 15 years now and after my accident my wife at the time did not have the strength to stay with me and wanted a new life for herself.So, we were divorced only one year after the accident and it was now time to heal and then start looking for a potential partner.I remember wondering if the courthouse/elopement scenario would feel generic and unemotional, but when Judge Mullen said, "The union into which you two are now about to enter is the closest and tenderest into which a human being can come," I was a goner. And yet even in a major city like Los Angeles, there is no social worker to take your family's hands after a diagnosis, no instructional program to attend, no support whatsoever for how to deal with this monolithic event. I could not find one active support group specifically for the spouses or families of the brain-injured or for the brain-injured himself. Activities with our son in the two years before college were mostly nonexistent. The pain level got so extreme last year that he hit a full-blown crisis that resulted in him leaving home for a couple of months in an attempt to quell the pain inside his head and heart.Although some of the relationship changes after TBI are difficult and can be painful, there are many things that couples can do in order to enjoy each other and their relationship in new, positive, and meaningful ways.
Then she got a phone call from her friend saying she fell on the steps. We talked about feelings and it seemed for the first time she was feeling and talking about it. What I did not know that her brain was over loaded and shout down. It ended up that she and her friend cut my electricity and when she did it she looked right at me, it felt like she wasn’t looking at me she was looking at someone else. She started telling people that I had come in the house after hours and her friend started talking about domestic violence. "MTBI," they called it -- mild traumatic brain injury. Who, even after being hit by a car as a pedestrian and breaking all sorts of bones and body parts years before, had healed quickly enough that a walking trip through Spain was doable only a year later. Though the cognitive struggles have improved significantly, allowing him to continue and rebuild his law practice (which suffered in the first year after the injury), and though the extreme nature of the head pain has subsided enough on a day-to-day basis that he's once again able to enjoy many aspects of his life, the landscape of his existence -- and ours as a couple, a family -- has changed significantly. Pete's head had been turned slightly to the right; the impact was stunning, and amongst other injuries, his right frontal lobe sustained damage. A man who longboarded down the Strand with his teenage son and played softball with his band of buddies. In the three years since, Pete's world has been about ERs, hospital visits, neurology treatments, pain management, ear/hearing care, and pharmaceutical assistance for a myriad of injuries and symptoms including painful ear nerve damage, considerable hearing loss, 24/7 tinnitus, excruciating head pain, cognitive challenges, persistent startle reflex, loss of certain emotional components, etc.Today, Greg is upbeat, cheerful and full of zest for life.He uses is experience of living with a brain injury to fuel his compassion and passion to help others with similar experiences.After traumatic brain injury (TBI), many couples find that their relationship with each other changes dramatically.