General Question

GloPro's avatar

Have you ever had to accept brain damage in a good friend?

Asked by GloPro (8306points) June 23rd, 2014 from iPhone

Via car accident, motorcycle crash, skateboard trauma. You name it head injury. Now your friend is not the same.

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34 Answers

Coloma's avatar

No. I am sure that would be really hard, challenging and maybe even impossible.

GloPro's avatar

I hope not

talljasperman's avatar

In the mental hospital I befriended a young man who was beaten the hell out of, now he can only say 6 words and he needs constant care.

longgone's avatar


I hope you’re just asking out of curiousity…

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Yes. My girlfriend was involved in motorcycle crash (the station wagon ran a red light and the motorcycle with the driver, Kevin, and my girlfriend Kelly crashed into the broadside of the car).

Kelly was in a coma immediately after the accident. Kevin died on impact. Neither were wearing a helmet, even though before they left the bar I offered them both mine (I was riding a motorcycle also).

I visited her every day for weeks. Nada. I kept talking to her like she could hear me, though, and on day 30 she awoke. It was a miracle.

Her parents (whom she never spoke with) came and took her back to Georgia to help her recover. I never saw her again.

JLeslie's avatar

A girlfriend and I were in an accident together and she had a brain injury. The end result is she lost her sense of smell and can barely taste. She sometimes till gets dizzy spells. She also rarely comes with her husband to track events (the accident happened at a race track, but not on the race track) and it is one of things he loves to do both because he loves to race, and also because he sees his friends there. It’s probably not the type of injury you are referring to, but it does affect things. When we are all together for dinner or a party it is a reminder she cannot enjoy herself the way we can regarding the food and drinks.

Mimishu1995's avatar

No, but maybe sometime in the future…

CWMcCall's avatar

I had a friend who got hit by a car riding his bike in his 30’s and he did not let that stop him from riding his bike everywhere. He got hit again and then kept running into things like parked cars and trees and was pretty physically and mentlly disabled because of all the blunt trauma. It was sad to see his decline as he was a very funny and handsome man. He died before he turned 43.

jca's avatar

I have an acquaintance who used to come to work events (but we didn’t work together) and she wrote on Facebook that she suffered from traumatic brain injury. She tended to take things the wrong way so I was careful about what I said to her. For example, after she retired and so no longer attended the work events, I wrote her a pm on Facebook “We missed you at the meeting last night” and she wrote that she is no longer obligated to attend meetings since she is retired. I had to explain that I know she’s not obligated, etc etc. It was easier to limit what I said or wrote to her than to be in a position where I was explaining myself constantly.

wildpotato's avatar

Yes – a friend from college was struck by lightning while working at an archaeological site on a plain in New Mexico. She went through a lot of rehab and is now able to communicate and do most things normally again – although I don’t think she is expected to recover to the point of being able to hold her job again.

filmfann's avatar

Other than the Republicans? I mean, who can tell…

I haven’t had a friend who suffered a brain injury from an accident, but I have had a friend who had a stroke, which was a nightmare to watch. He was the most dignified, well spoken, intelligent man I ever knew, and he was reduced to sitting in a chair with oatmeal dripping out of his mouth. He could barely communicate, and certainly couldn’t take care of himself. He did not recover.

rojo's avatar

My father-in-law, at 79, was helping to repair and renovate a small cemetery when he accidentally severed his carotid artery causing a major stroke.

When he came to in the hospital he had changed from an very personable, affable, outgoing, independent character to a quiet, meek, mild-mannered person who was unable to speak at first but later started to put words together with thoughts. As my wife said “That is not my dad, not really”.

He completely lost the use of one side of his body. Scans showed absolutely no activity in half his brain with a definite, clear demarcation down the center. The family decided that this was not how he would want to spend the rest of his life, confined to a hospital bed, with limited communication skills and asked the doctors to treat it aggressively and we saw periods of marked improvement followed by days of regression. We believe he reached the point where he could understand and communicate and we know he was recognizing us but are not sure whether it was based on past history or just that we were the faces he saw every day.

He died about 20 days later. We got the call one evening on the way home from the hospital.

My sister-in-law, who was present at the time, swears to this day that he finally comprehended what had happened to him and decided he did not want to go on.

DaphneT's avatar

My nephew suffered a brain trauma while he was in college. He is now a successful adult, however we spent several years wondering if he would ever get this far. There are some personality issues, and those we just have to live with.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Yes, twice. First was in 5th grade. Bobby was in school and church with me. He was riding a horse on a trail first week of summer vacation. The horse threw him he had a depressed skull fracture. He returned to school in October, many scars and different speech pattern.

The second was a guy that went to high school with me. He was in car accident after drinking (at college). I was working summers at a psychiatric hospital, he came in with violent outbursts and walking difficulties. They were able to remove scar tissue and with medication able to reduce the outbursts. Saw him at a fraternal organization meeting as a visitor from another lodge. He still walked with a different gait but was able to function normally.

dappled_leaves's avatar

A close relative once had a stroke after being stung by a wasp he was allergic to. He couldn’t speak for a long while, then wasn’t making sense for a while after he got his speech back. Now he’s back to almost 100%, but it was quite unnerving while he was recovering. It’s interesting how you become grateful for even small improvements along the way.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, a woman I worked with had a traumatic brain injury from a car accident. She was never the same. Her emotions got all screwed up, her memory was affected. It changed her entire life.

zenvelo's avatar

The girl I had a crush on in 7th grade showed up at the 20th high school reunion, having been thrown by a horse a year before. She had been brilliant before, at the reunion she was in a bit of an alternative reality.

She is much better now, but not 100%.

RocketGuy's avatar

A really good coworker came down with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It got to the point that I could not understand what he was saying. I just didn’t know what to say.

I also have a (not so close) high school friend who got a stroke last year. She is recovering, but, again, I would not know what to say to her (esp. since we were not that close to begin with).

jca's avatar

If you guys want to see an excellent documentary about someone with TBI (traumatic brain injury), see “The Crash Reel” which is about snowboarder Kevin Pearce. Fascinating and sad. Very informative about the life and skills of a professional snowboarder. Incredible changes take place to him physically and mentally. It has to be seen to be comprehended. He goes from being young and handsome and incredibly talented to someone who can barely sit up. After a lot of physical and mental therapy, he’s now living a somewhat productive life.

GracieT's avatar

Actually, now that I have a Brain Injury, I have become friends with many other Brain Injured people. The strange thing about a TBI is that although there are many similar problems after, it is usually anybody’s guess about how a person will be after the injury. Unfortunately, unlike many other injuries, the results very from person to person even if the exact same part of the brain is injured. For me, the effects are mostly seen in my “executive functions” of my life, such as impulse control, emotions, and the ability to process information. I can become frustrated very easily, and I have lost the ability to perform many of the tasks that require steps, such as cook and work in most jobs. It is something that we have to readjust to daily, as it is “the gift which keeps on giving,” and the Lord only know what the future holds.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Yes. To learn all about the tragic effects of brain damage, love someone who develops Alzheimer’s disease – before and after. It’s difficult to describe the cruelty of this condition.

downtide's avatar

One of my friends started getting dizzy and fainting spells shortly after a trip to the Far East last September. He went for test after test but they found nothing and the attacks got more severe and more frequent until April when he was hospitalised following a major seizure and they discovered a tumour the size of an orange in his brain. He had emergency surgery straight away.

I and the rest of our mutual friends were worried that it would change his personality or mental faculties but in fact it hasn’t at all. Two days after the surgery he was out of bed and walking around and chatting normally. He’s just finished his first chemo program and everything looks good.

He is very lucky.

rory's avatar

yeah. heroin overdose. he was brain dead for six weeks in the hospital, now he’s dead.

i know this wasn’t what you were really asking. sorry :\
(i miss him a ton)

GloPro's avatar

@rory I’m sorry. 6 weeks is a long time to be in limbo. I believe it’s a very similar situation to having to wait and see with a head trauma, too. All you can depend on is time. I wish your situation had come out differently.

sydsydrox's avatar

One of my dad’s cousins has severe mental problems as a result of brain trauma at a very young age. From what I heard of the story from my grandmother on my dad’s side, she said he was dropped or something. When they got to the hospital, they had to do brain surgery because his brain swelled and his head filled with blood. Ever since then, he’s been getting worse. He’s still getting worse. The second to last time i saw him, he was smiling and communicating with all of us and he seems to understand what’s going on (hes never been able to talk as far as i know….he just makes grunting sounds) and he watched TV and everything. The last last time I saw him, he was totally dead on the inside.

stanleybmanly's avatar

My wife’s best friend nearly died from an operation to relieve horrible headaches resulting from a vascular malformation. The operation was some 8 years ago, and for a while it appeared that she might fully though gradually recover, But sadly, to those who knew her, she is no longer the same person. The differences are subtle but definitely there and significant enough that not only has the deep friendship with my wife cooled to near frost, but her and her daughter are barely on speaking terms. Last year, her husband left, but remains (to his credit) fully responsible for her both financially and otherwise. The situation is a great and nearly unbearable tragedy for all of those who love her, but she is fortunate that a significant network of people, including us continue to look out for her.

rory's avatar

@GloPro, thanks. The one thing that’s good is that he didn’t suffer for those six weeks.

GracieT's avatar

@rory, I can’t say enough how sorry I am that this happened to your friend. I sometimes think that the hard part of death is for the one’s that remain.
@stanleybmanly, your answer made a great deal of sense and pointed out a very important point. I can’t underline enough the importance of the network of friends and family of a person with a brain injury. No matter what the outcome of a TBI injury itself, the world doesn’t stop when a person is injured and even more importantly the person is left with the normal actions of life such as bills to pay and food to buy and other activities of daily living. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a person or group of people to keep track of the life which doesn’t stop after an injury!

GracieT's avatar

I think that I just had another brain injury in the middle of January. I too was thrown from a horse after being slammed against the wall of the practice arena in which I was riding. Then I met the ground when I was thrown from her saddle. She had been nipped at by a horse which was still in her stall as we went by. I don’t know exactly what, if any, of the affects will be, but once someone has a head injury the chances of having another are increased.

wildpotato's avatar

@GracieT Oh no! Have you been to the doc and gotten some scans done? I hope you are ok…

GracieT's avatar

Sorry for the late reply, @wildpotato! I actually spent two nights (all insurance would let me!) in the hospital. I’m still recovering. :o) Anyway, I’m doing OK, I just ache on my back and my lower ribs. (Also, I’m a lot of pretty colors, but I’m not showing those to anyone!)

talljasperman's avatar

I’ve had to put up with brain damage in my politician’s.

wildpotato's avatar

@GracieT Glad to hear you’re doing alright :)

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