I CAN'T? SAYS WHO?
SURVIVING TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
September 11, 2000
In 1979 at the age of 21, I was involved in an Industrial Accident in which I received a Head Injury. Several months after this head injury, I began to have unexplained symptoms. I would hallucinate ( events from my past would appear in front of my eye's, I would even recognize them ) then dry heave terribly.
I began to see doctors who could find no explanation for these horrific events that now took over my life. Doctors performed every test you can imagine, but with no results. Then in 1988, I took a *Grand Mal Seizure while working up on a deck some six feet from the cement floor, fell back head first causing numerous injuries including a second Brain Injury with a **Subdural Hematoma.
In 1990 I began to get some answers. The period between the two Head Traumas (1979 to 1988) when I was hallucinating and dry heaving, I was taking Complex Partial Seizures. Doctors have estimated that I took over 35,000 of these seizures. The 1979 Head Trauma had given me Epilepsy that went undiagnosed for 11 years. Not one doctor ever asked me if I ever had a Head Injury.
I have emotional problems, mood swings, nightmares and a balance problem. I take 3 Antidepressants and Anticonvulsants daily. In July of 1998, I was walking down our street with my wife, suddenly lost my balance and fell on my right arm. I fractured it so badly that I was in surgery within 12 hrs. They had to drill 4 pins into my bone coming up thru the skin all hooking to a metal bar for some 90 days.
In February of 1999, I thought I had developed a cold in my neck, so I put hot and cold packs on it for a week or so. Then I began to notice that my left arm was going numb and was loosing strength, so my doctor ordered an MRI of my neck.
When he received the results of the MRI, he immediately phoned my home and asked my wife and I to get to his office as soon as possible.
When we arrived he told me to sit down that he had terrible news, he pointed out that vertabraes C-4, C-5, C-6 and the disc for C-7 had degenerated away so badly that doctors didn't know how my neck wasn't already broken. I was told that I was 3 weeks away from being in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. He ordered Emergency Surgery.
In March of 1999 doctors performed the operation. They removed what was left of the degenerated vertabraes, took 3 inches of bone from my left leg and placed it in my neck. After 4 days in the hospital I went home. I had to sit and sleep in my living room chair for some 90 days, and had to be sponged bathed for over two months.
I had to wear several neck braces for over 6 months and wasn't even allowed to ride in a car for 90 days. Then I began to notice that my voice was not returning to normal. Months after that surgery, I was speaking very hoarse. That operation had put a lesion on my right vocal cord.
In August of 1999 I had to have laser surgery on my vocal cords to help my voice return to normal.
The neck and throat surgery cost 160,000 dollars; a small price to pay to be wheelchair free.
There is no other way I could have survived all of this without GOD'S help. It would be humanly impossible. In fact, according to the laws of physics, I should not even be here let alone not in a wheelchair and seizure free.
I have always said: A Head Injury Comes With A Life Sentence
I Thank GOD everything worked.
--- Copyright © 2000 Blaine Stanziana --- Pennsylvania
* Grand Mal seizures are the type of seizure that most people associate with the term convulsion.
** Subdural means "below the dura" (the dura mater is the outer membrane covering the brain). Subdural hematoma develops when blood veins that are located between the membranes covering the brain (the meninges) leak blood after an injury to the head.