“I want to be somebody”… is one phrase that sums up my thoughts regarding my purpose in life following my injury. I have found my need. As the Community Relations Ambassador to Meridian Neuroscience I was able to put the family of a survivor of a traumatic brain injury at ease as they start the beginning stages of a recovery from a devastating brain injury. I helped to ensure that they understood that recovery is not a black or white issue. Recovery is gradual and it takes an extremely long time. I think it is important to convey that recovery may not be 100%. The objective should be to achieve the best recovery possible.
I take comfort in knowing that I have a different level of credibility than the team of physicians and specialists that are caring for patients. While the prognosis of a DAI (diffuse axonal injury) is horrifying; the family took comfort in knowing that my thoughts and advice came from personal experience. I was able to put their minds at ease by ensuring that they understood that their relative was not in pain. I told them that the pain was felt by them and not by their relative.
I feel my story of surviving this injury is coming full circle. Earlier in my recovery, I longed for the day that I could put this injury far from my consciousness. I can recognize that it is a sign of self fulfillment and growth that I was able to look at my recovery as an asset. Life and recovery is a work in progress. It was a sign of evolution for me to relate to my recovery as a positive.
It is enlightening for me to observe that while I graduated college with honors, what really makes me unique is my recovery from a DAI injury. While I was happy that I graduated with honors, there are many other graduates who achieved the same thing. This injury has given me a niche. Certainly, not a niche I would have chosen, but none the less it is here and I am living it. The look on the faces of that family that I comforted last week was a look of gratitude. I know they were happy to have somebody cast a ray of light onto the devastation that their family was enduring.
To know that my experience had a positive impact on the family meant that I am where I need to be. Helping to put their minds at ease was beyond fulfilling for me. Giving can grant far more pleasure than receiving. I could not have been happier with my first patient contact. It was an incredible experience to know that my experience possessed such a great value to the family. I questioned myself, regarding what I said to the family and if I was helpful to them. Thankfully the email that I received from the family completely put my anxieties at rest.