Thursday, April 5, 2012

Adapting to the Long Race

Adapting is a life skill that all people need to have a grasp of. Someone recovering from a life altering injury certainly needs to understand that life is an ongoing journey that is very complicated. Prior to my injury I thought I had a grasp of the “race”. Life does not always proceed as planned. A reassessment of one’s goals, strengths and value must always be evaluated. One particular quote that I found that best coincides with the changes in life following a traumatic brain injury is from Walter Elliot “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”

Depending on where one is in their journey of life depends on where they are in his or her adaptation. On one of my first days I visited with a family at the Regional Trauma Center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center who had a young family member who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury. This visit proved to me that speaking to families about my experiences can give them hope. I embodied and represented a level of recovery that every family hopes for. My meeting with that family was as therapeutic for me as it was for them. I felt needed and valued as I comforted and shared some of my experiences and stories from my family’s experience in the ICU. I helped to ensure that the family understood that their comforting and soothing words were indeed beneficial. What I have come to understand is that being able to affect one’s psyche is more valuable than any object I could purchase. There is no price tag or dollar amount that a person could put on peace of mind. The race for me has switched terrains in that it is not all about the almighty dollar. The race for me has switched direction towards a more meaningful path. I now sleep better at night knowing that I am providing a service to families that was not available to me or my family. The most fascinating part of my visit with the family was that my mere presence is what provided the most value. I now feel that I possess a value that far exceeds anything I would have had prior to my accident.


  1. Hi Noelle. I emailed you recently about my son Brian who was in a motorcycle accident on April 20th, he was on his way to meet his fiance to pick out flowers for their wedding in Nov. Today is 3 weeks and 3 days that he has been in a coma. He is fluttering his eyelashes, moving his hands, is basically breathing on his own, and swallowing his saliva. He is now at a nursing facility called AristaCare where is he is getting physical therapy and being weaned off of the ventilator. We all sit and talk to him and play his favorite music from his iphone, that's when he moves his hands most. His fiance called me yesterday when she was visiting and said it looks like his eyes were open a bit. A few positive things mean so much to us. Brian has so many people praying for him and we hope that God answers our prayers and heals the damage to his brain. Is there anything in particular that your family felt helped you when you were in a coma? During recovery? Sometimes I feel like all I can do is pray and talk to him.

  2. HI Carole,

    I sent a comment back on my previous post.

    Thanks again,