Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My First Day of Work At Meridian Health Following My Brain Injury

My name is Noelle McNeil. On August second of 2005 while I was competing at a horse show I was rendered comatose after falling from a horse. I was indeed wearing a helmet and this was why I was able to survive. I did however sustain a severe brain injury which rendered me in a coma immediately upon impact with the ground. This trauma was indeed a great deal to swallow and embarked me on the most arduous journey of my life. This journey is not one which has a finite end. I will be recovering for the rest of my life. As an individual who has survived a brain trauma, one can’t help but wonder who is going to be willing to allow you to try and apply what you have learned both in school and most importantly through life experience.

My thoughts immediately went to somewhere other than the city. After a neurological injury my fatigue level would not allow for me to commute 3 hours a day to work in Manhattan. I was fortunate to regain my ability to drive. Even I had to look outside the box to something other than the New York City hub. My fears were that having been injured, maybe my business degree would become non applicable. Indeed maybe it made me non applicable for some places, but perhaps it makes us very applicable to work in others. A Health Care Organization who specializes in making the lives better of those who have been sick, ill or injured ended up being very applicable for me.

Where to Work?

My first day of work a filming crew came to my house to film me getting ready for work and traveling to one of Meridian’s other hospitals at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank NJ. I felt a need and a desire unlike that which I had ever felt post accident. I believe that a sense of helplessness seems to take over for a patient readjusting to life. This feeling is thankfully very short lived as one begins to reassess what opportunities and tools they have available to them. Perhaps life may be different, but perhaps it can be that much more fulfilling.
 
Parents?

I know my parents were indeed very nervous for me following this injury. When they learned of my position with Meridian they were thrilled. Who who could have thought? Recoveries are not ever easy to come by; and those who have been fortunate enough to attain one need to be aware of their fortune in which to do so. I truly believe that developing into a life of purpose is what each and every one of us should strive for. I have had to watch my parents both struggle and feel triumphant as they have watched my journey from hospitalization, to that of rehab, through college and now finally back into the working world. I am not yet a parent, but after watching the bravery with which that my parents have battled through this injury along side of me every step of the way, it instills a deep sense of thankfulness to them. I am wondering who has had some of the same experiences? Who has felt their relationships grow in ways they had never thought possible? I feel that this relationship is mystical within itself. I ask for whom has seen themselves drawn to the philosophical way of relating to things following an injury?

Well, thank you so much for reading my first blog entry as I embark on this incredible journey. Subscribe to my blog so you can follow my frequent updates on how I'm doing and feel free to comment!

Thanks,
Noelle
 

27 comments:

  1. Noelle, I can identify with the mystical relationship feeling. I just read your article in the APP and am also a messenger of hope. The common thing that I tell people is that absolutely nothing happens in this world by mistake. I was diagnosed with a brain tumor last summer and while some people would say “oh poor guy”, I would tell them “No worries, this was supposed to happen”. I’m not going to lie and tell you that I wasn’t nervous, because I wouldn’t be human if I wasn’t. Besides the idea of someone cutting into my skull was not that appealing. The one thing that I did know was that it was a part of my destiny. I wasn’t sure what that was but I knew that it would be revealed.
    During my time off to recover the fog began to lift. As the fog began to lift, I sat down at the computer and finished a book that I began writing four years ago titled Heading Home – My Experience with Tragedy, Loss and Grief. It’s an inspirational memoir about my oldest son’s battle with Leukemia back in 2005-06 to a year after his death as seen through my eyes. As a parent I would question why a lot but the answers are out there for any problem that pops up in ones life if you just learn to listen. Great job! Persevere! Listen for the messages and follow your heart!

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  2. Thank you so much for your comments. It is incredible that after losing your son you are able to have such a positive outlook. I am certainly inspired and feel with further solidarity that I am in the best place with my career and my outlook on life. Please continue on with your positive thoughts.

    Best Always,

    Noelle

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  3. Noelle -

    I would like to speak to you further - I am a BI advocate and community educator in Pa.

    Please email me at cognitivecompass@gmail.com

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  4. Noelle,

    I had a brain injury on March 9, 2011. I went snowboarding and, although I can't remember the accident, along with many things around March 9th, I injured my right brain, fractured my right ring finger, injured my right wrist, injured my face and collapsed both of my lungs. I recover, right now. I live in Monroe. Did you live there, too, or did you just have your accident there? I have a lot of curiosity about you, as you had a similar injury to mine. I definitely hear you on the relationships thing. Plenty of my relationships have altered since March 9, 2011. I graduated from high school in 2002, from Boston College undergrad in 2006, from NJIT graduate school in architecture in 2010 and I have 28 years of age. You and I, actually, have a lot in common, beside our injuries. I run and participate in a lot of athletics. I love playing sports. I plan to make a full recovery. Your story of recovery gives me a lot of inspiration. If you take nothing else out of my note take away that you inspire me. Maybe I"ll walk today at therapy.
    -Matt

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  5. Blessings to you. I am a severe TBI survivor from a car accident on my way to work on morning. An interstate construction related accident. I was admitted to the hospital in a coma with a TBI. I was almost 25 years of age when it all happened. When I became alert from the coma my brain function reverted to that of a preborn child. I re- learned everything from breathing to movement and all redevelopment cognitive and physical to reach normalcy for my adult body. After about 6 years of therapy & extensive self study I returned to college and got an occupational therapy assistant degree. I worked in the Metro Detroit area in that capacity for close to 20 years. I am blessed to tell I turn 50 this year and live a wonderful life with my husband who was my boyfriend when the injury occurred. I have a business B.I.Survivor LLC, I created a brain injury non profit "everybody just wants to have fun"

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  6. Noelle,

    Congratulations on your new job! What a wonderful opportunity - I am looking forward to reading about your progress. I was very touched by your story and it sounds like you have made a remarkable recovery thus far. I have had the pleasure of working with TBI patients for many years and I have found a lot of success in strengthening the internal dialogue through the use of puzzles. I recently developed an iPhone application called "Strong Mind Puzzles" that I think would be a great addition to your recovery process. You can find more information about it and my work at designsforstrongminds.com. You are truly an inspiration and I wish you all the best!

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  7. Matt:
    You made my day by telling me that I inspire you! That is absolutely my calling and I am thrilled to have a positive effect on others! It sounds as though you have done a lot since your injury! My hats off to you! The relationships are definitely a tad altered after a brain injury. People aren’t always sure how to treat us, and sometimes it is very tempting to blame everything on the injury~ (I speak for myself) You made my day and I hope you keep making great strides!
    ~Noelle

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  8. Lori:
    That is outstanding! An occupational therapy degree is no easy feat for anybody; never mind somebody who has endured a severe brain injury. It is great that your husband/ boyfriend at the time of injury stuck by you! With my injury, I had a great boyfriend who took a year off of school and stuck by me (came to the hospital everyday with me) at the young age of 20… unfortunately when it became clear that I was never going to be exactly who I was before, he had to move forward with his life and go back to school. The beautiful thing is that I have no regrets and am thankful he was there to encourage me! Best of luck with your degree and thank you for commenting!
    ~Noelle

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  9. Dr. Markus,

    The iphone app sounds incredible! Now that I have a job I may have to go out and buy an iphone because of all of the new apps I am hearing about. A chief neurologist that I saw used an app on his iphone to judge the severity of my dystonic tremor. I was beyond enthralled at this. It seems like there is an app for everything. I love to use my mind, and as my grandma always told me, “If you don’t use it; you will lose it”. My grandmother used to do crossword puzzles every day of her life up until her hospitalization. I hope that I can follow in her footsteps! I thank you for your comment!

    ~Noelle

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  10. HELLO NOELLE,

    IM SORRY FOR YOUR ACCINDETN I WISH THAT I WAS ABLE TO FIND JOY IN MY LIFE AFTER BEING ABUSED BYE MY EX HUSBAND AND JUST RECENTLY INVOLDED IN A CAR ACCINDET WHERE SOME ONE CUT ME OFF.. IM HOME BOUND AND VERY HARD TO WALK OR CLIMB STAIRS.AFTER A WHILE YOU LOSE YOUR FREINDS THEN THE DOOR SLAMS SHUT AND YOU HAVE NO ONE TO TALK TO AS I DONT ANY MORE..IM LUCKY THAT I HAVE MY PC TO BE ABLE TO GO ONLINE AND SEARCH MY MEDICAL MANY MEDICAL DISEASES.I WISH THAT I HAD SOME 1 IN MY LIFE AS POSITIVE AS YOU DEAR.. VERY BEATIFUL ARCTICLE. SORRY FOR THE TYPOS ITS 5:15-AM AND STILL NOT ABLE TO SLEEP DUE TO SERVE PAINS..ALL MY BEST ELIZABETH @ ELIZABETH7@OPTONLINE.NET

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  11. Elizabeth:

    I am sorry that you are in pain. Perhaps after speaking with your physician you could try herbal teas and aroma therapy? Just a thought, but always talk with your doctor first. What I told myself.. Was that anybody who walks away in your time of need… were never really a friend to begin with. It might be nice to involved with a local charity and show your willingness to support a cause. I don’t know if working out is possible for you; but that is how I made many friends post injury. I wish you all the best.

    Best of Luck,

    ~Noelle

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  12. noelle, I applaude your progress and ability to adapt and as a fellow TBI patient admire youre ability to join the working class and build a career. please continue to inspire us all.
    best, jim natoli (taking one small step each day since 11/09/08)

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  13. Jim,

    It means an incredible amount that you as a fellow survivor have related and commented on my blog. I have known you for years as you were hospitalized where I was years following my injury. Our friendship has so much more depth than a typical friendship. The unification that this injury has provided us is always something we will have.

    Thank you for commenting and I hope to see you soon.

    Noelle

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  14. Noelle,

    I am thankful that you overcome those trials in your life. You're so blessed to have your family beside you in every step of the way. I am hoping that you'll be fully recovered so that you can do more things as a natural and not injured woman. :-)

    More hugs,
    Selena @ Los Angeles Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney

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  15. Selena,

    Thank you so much for responding! I have been very fortunate to have had my family standing by my side throughout this entire injury! Now that I have found my stride, I feel that (for the first time in my life….) I may be able to make an excellent mother. I think that (not any time in the near future) I may want to try and model after my mother in the role of motherhood.
    Thank you again for responding and thank you for the well wishes,
    ~Noelle

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  16. Thank you for all your hard work in our BI community Love and Light always~TBI Life Coach & Blissful Brain( Wendy Renzulla Heitkamp) https://www.facebook.com/TbiLifeCoach https://www.facebook.com/groups/186712754690242/ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blissful-Brain/227513640683862

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  17. You are such a strong person and know that it's ok to fall apart sometimes. We will always be here!!!! Love you so much!

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