Guest Blogger: Amanda C. Nachman on mild traumatic brain injury

Listen to this post read by Cheryl: 

I want to share with you some writing by Amanda C. Nachman. I’m so glad she wanted to share on the blog for a lot of reasons. Let me start with that.

Gentle reader, you might not know this about me: I did not have a good experience with doctors and rehabilitation! Questions from a physical therapist such as “Why are you here?” stung. Proclamations like “(sigh) Well, I’ve never seen anyone like you” from my doctor were bewildering. And too many times to count, I was told outright or through suggestions that it’s all just a case of the boo-hoos and the poor-mes. I took lots of tests. If I failed one, a professional would write in the notes “She was probably just distracted.” I suppose they could have guessed I failed because um, I had a brain injury. They usually didn’t. One professional even asked me if I had been stabbed in the face as a child because that might explain my current difficulties looking at things that move too fast or too close to my face. I suppose that one could have read my neuro-optometrist’s chart notes to see that I failed a bunch of vision tests because um, I had a brain injury.

Like me, Amanda, is on a path to get more people talking about brain injury. And get more people talking about why it is so hard to get doctors and patients talking about brain injury together.

The rest of the post is by Amanda C. Nachman.

“On January 20, 2011, I suffered a concussion/mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), whiplash, and a back/hip injury. My whole life changed on the day of my accident. Rather than despair (which I did on many days), I have chosen to become an advocate for myself and to create a positive new life by helping others, and exploring my creative side as an outlet. In the beginning I began writing to document my days due to short-term memory challenges. As I began to write, I found that it often lifted my spirits. Especially when I encountered another frustrating day with yet another medical professional who did not know what to do with a non-athlete who had suffered a brain injury.

I wrote a book, “Who Am I Again? A Teacher’s Story of Her Mild Traumatic Brain Injury”.

A pale green book cover shows a large question mark and its shadow.  The title and author are listed in black text.

It not only shares my emotional journey through sadness, anger, and humor, but also my challenges with the medical, insurance, and legal systems. Throughout the book, I give recommendations based on my experiences. This book is not only beneficial to those who are survivors of a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), and their caregivers, but also medical professionals who work with ‘people like me’.

I was an elementary schoolteacher for fifteen years before my mild traumatic brain injury in 2011. I have learned recovery is on-going, and my art is my writing. Not only is it the path I have found to share my story and express myself creatively, it is a way for me to get the word out that ‘ordinary’ people like me can be affected by concussions/brain injuries.

My book is available on Amazon in electronic form, or you can contact me directly for a hard copy via milliclover@yahoo.com. I have also spent time blogging and writing poetry on my brain injury awareness page on Facebook, as well as for Lash & Associates. Some examples of my blogs are titled, ‘Hey! What About Me?’, ‘The Average Person is NOT Average’, and ‘Self-Advocacy Succeeds Again!’ They can be found in both locations.

I will leave you with one of my poems:

I’m NOT Crazy!

I hit my head.
My memory went away.
My speech went away.
My ability to move freely went away.
You tell me these things don’t make sense.

I cannot keep my balance.
The ringing in my ears won’t stop.
My head is constantly aching.
I cannot process what you are saying.
You tell me this must just be depression?

I cannot bare the noise around me.
The lights stab my eyes.
Movement around me is making me spin.
I cannot complete a simple test.
You tell me it must be PTSD?
I have a brain injury!
I have an injured brain!
I fell and landed on my head.
I have a mild traumatic brain injury.

ou tell me I will get better in a month
You tell me I will get better in three months.
You tell me I will get better in six months.
You tell me you know I will completely heal.
Do you have the powers of G-d to know these things?

Only my heart can heal, but my brain, it will take my lifetime to heal from the injury, and from your damaging words.”

Copyright ©2013 by Amanda C. Nachman