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 My Day at the Parade 

         (Dec 31, 1992) It started out as another beautiful day. What could go wrong? My son and I were part of a large group called "the PLAY IT AGAIN BAND".
Amateur and Professional musicians from around the Phoenix area come together every year to march and play at two rehearsals and march in a huge parade that gets some national exposure.

  I was so excited as we prepared to take our place in the parade. I was running around taking pictures of bands from all over the country and of my son warming up with the drum section. Then it was time to make that turn onto the parade route. Boy, it was something to see. TV cameras both local and from NBC could be seen and the crowd cheering us on as we played. It was electric!

  About half way through the 3 miles route something happened. It seemed like in a blink of an eye a curtain went down and everything faded to black. I came out of amnesia in a hospital trauma unit 8 hours later.

  Why am I here and why can't I get up and go home? I had been hit by a horse pulling a cart behind the band. It had been spooked by something and took off running and could not be controlled. It was my bad luck that I was in its way. I was hit with such force I flipped over the horse and cart and landed on my head. There was no doubt I had a TBI. I was told over and over at the hospital in had a brain hemorrhage.  I didn't break any bones luckily.  But had some pretty deep bruises on my leg and arm.

  The right frontal, temporal and parietal lobes had been damaged to some extent. I only spent 6 days in the hospital and was sent home to recover completely. It least that is what I thought.

  I did outpatient therapies, Speech, Physical, Vestibular, Counseling, testing, etc. To quote a follow tbi survivor "Though it is hard at times to see all of the joys and blessings we survivors have been given when we are living through the daily grind and quite frankly very humbling experiences of recovery. It sort of puts an eye-opening meaning to the old phrase, 'One day at a time'". Wow, this really rings true thinking back to my first few years in recovery!

 After the first year I realized my life had really changed for the long term and that was a very depressing thought. But with the help of my strong faith in God and a loving family and a great and caring counselor I am doing OK. Still have cognitive problems as well as with balance, dizziness and depression and anxiety. Have setbacks and some good periods where I seem to be coping pretty good. But that is life after TBI.

  But what a shock to be having fun one minute then all of a sudden you find yourself in a hospital hooked up to various tubes and vomiting.
 

  One thing that was so hard to come to terms with is all the negative emotions that a serious head injury brings about.  So much time is spent and wasted on being depressed and even wishing you had died in the accident.  It is indeed very frightening to feel like this.  It can almost eat you alive.  Thankfully with help and guidance these emotions can be turned around and you can get on with living again.  Maybe not like before you were injured but living nonetheless and learning how to have fun again.

  Part of the story I have left out is the impact all this had on my family.  The way they found out I had been injured and what went on at the hospital those first critical hours that I don't remember but they do and don't like to talk about.  They have told me things here and there esp. those first few years.  Things the doctor said to prepare them for the worst.  At that time 2 of my children were in high school and the oldest had been recently married.  He was also in the parade with me and came to my aid.  He had a terrible time trying to find the rest of the family that was waiting toward the end of the parade route.


horse

Update

  7/99 As I write today and look back I can say I have made much progress in adapting to deficits although it has been a slow process. I was able to through vocational rehab to find a job that was suitable taking into consideration what I have lost. I am happy to say I have learned and am still learning the art of violin repair over the last 4 years. It doesn't matter that I can only handle working only a couple days a week. What seems so important is that I can take pride in the work I do and it is appreciated by my boss as he has told me. Also when I started I had know idea if I could keep such a job and continue to learn. Working mostly alone in the shop away from the busy sales floor has been a great help to concentrate on the tasks in front of me.
Many thanks for the support of the tbichat chatters as we share our experiences and also the tbi email lists!

  8/01 I am still working at the music store. They moved me to the main repair shop and I am learning a little bit about repair on wind instruments also . It is easier now for me to work around other people. I got a nice raise last month.

  12/4/2003 Last year was the 10th anniversary of my accident. I went back and performed with the Play it Again Band at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix as part of the National Championship of Bands. It was truly wonderful to play with close to 300 fellow musicians. We sounded great!! I didn't march in the parade however.

  7/9/2008 I am doing really well.  About a year or so ago I tried neurobiofeedback to see if that might help me with anxiety.  It is also helpful with other problems related to traumatic brain injury.  I had mixed results with this therapy.  At first it didn't seem to be helping at all in fact the anxiety felt worse and that is not a comfortable way to feel.  So we switched gears so to speak to calm my brain down.  After quite a few sessions thing calmed down and I stopped the therapy.  I learned a lot from this and was disappointed that it did not work the way I would have liked but my therapist said with a closed head injury it can really be hard for some because the areas that had some damage are harder to figure out.  It was worth a try and some good did come from it.  My anxiety doesn't get so out of control  anymore. YEAH!

Below Craig and Jean - Dec. 31, 1991


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