The following story proves many positive things about TBI recovery, but one huge thing that I would hate for you to miss: there is no time limit to your recovery. Time is not the obstacle, you are the greatest obstacle in your recovery from a TBI. It’s not two years, five years, or even ten years! Keep going. Keep working hard. Keep doing your therapy. Keep positive. It will pay off.
Just read Tatiana’s story written by a friend in the UK, Lauren Frost, and you’ll see what I am talking about…
“A literature student with a quick-witted sense of humour” would have been one way to describe Tatiana.
In September 1985 she decided to go travelling to Athens before returning to the UK to study at Oxford University.
Aged 18 Tatiana; affectionately called Tattie by those who know her, was involved in a car accident that left her in a coma, unable to walk, talk and with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
6 months after the accident with no improvement Tattie was discharged from the rehabilitation hospital. Her mum was told to put her in a care home and continue on with her life as there was no hope.
Little did they know Tattie’s mum was as much of a fighter as she was, hiring 2 nurses and taking her home they were determined that Tattie would recover.
After three weeks of nothing from Tattie no matter how hard they tried one of the carers shouted “Move your right leg”
And miraculously she did.
Fuelled with excitement, determination and now confirmation that Tattie was still in there, the road to recovery began.
Saturating Tattie with music, conversation and physio they began to see little bits of progress, bit by bit they began to get reactions including holding her head up.
Over eleven years the progress seemed minimal but heading in the right direction, with ongoing physio and occupational therapy the spasticity slowly diminished from her legs and face.
At this point her speech was still non-existent and to this day is the only thing that hasn’t returned in the same capacity. Tatiana tried different speech aids over the years to enable her to communicate with the world around her.
Over the next few years Tattie slowly came back to life, recognising people she knew and making her likes and dislikes clear.
She now organises her own life, makes perfectly sane decisions about everything. She looks good, she plays tennis, she skied for many years, she enjoys working hard. Loves Greek work, maths and puzzles.
She does need help with some basic things like with her walking, as balance isn’t brilliant yet. She has a career that supports her but Tattie is so independent it’s wonderful.
Stage after stage her mum feared progress would end, but after so many years the improvement still carries on albeit very slowly.
When I first met Tatiana although she couldn’t speak I knew instantly she had so much to say. Her beaming smile lit up the room and she communication with my using her facial expressions and her infectious laugh.
Tattie had been practising writing out words and transferred these skills to be able to use a Lightwriter text to speech communication aid.
Although her ability to spell is there Tattie still struggles with word finding difficulties when constructing a sentence.
Tatiana types the words she wants to say into her Lightwriter which vocalises them for her. She plans to learn how to send text messages from her Lightwriter so she can communicate with her family even when they aren’t with her.