The purpose of this blog is to show how faith, my professional training and a healthy sense of humor taught me and continues to teach me that Jesus Christ is always in control. I am a fellow learner as this journey for my child unfolds. My wish is that Ben's legacy gives others hope where there seems to be none. It is also my desire that the information I have assimilated with my medical mind and filtered through a mother's heart gives practical ways to deal with this ever-changing chronic disease. Finally, for the many friends and family members who continue to follow Ben's life change after the injury, the story continues.

Monday, June 10, 2013

As I listened to Jim's report from his recent visit with Ben, I was hoping to hear more stories of remarkable progress. Typically, however, brains do not heal quickly after a serious TBI.  I have to keep reminding myself of this fact. "Slow" is a word that I do not care for. The progress we are seeing in Ben's condition is common. Some days he is changing rapidly with improvements in thought processing, physical recovery, memory and attention. Other days are frustrating when we see the same struggles over and over again.   TBI is a chronic disease. Even milder injuries to the brain often take months, even years to heal. Many never heal completely. Even individuals who are recovering from a TBI  look fine, but are  often are overwhelmed and can be confused with even simple tasks.

 Recently I  pulled out a textbook on traumatic brain injury, recommended by Ben's neurologist.  The domains of impairment for TBI listed are attention, memory, executive function (planning, learning), and language/communication. Ben's attention problems are impairing his capacity for learning. When overwhelmed with simulation, he has trouble following conversations and loses his train of thought. 
Dr. Lilly, Ben's Houston neurologist, has told me that the most important thing to help regenerate damaged brain neurons is a strong, structured, therapeutic environment. God has provided that environment in the current neurorecovery center. Against all odds, our insurance company continues to allow him to stay there. Against all odds, I believe Ben was "booted' out of the other residential treatment center and placed exactly where he needs to be. The behavior modification program is specific for Ben's needs and quantifies how long he attends to each task. I am amazed at God's grace and mercy. When I have my moments of hating the "slow" word, I look back at this story and remember Who is writing it. I am praying specifically this week for Ben's impaired attention span, the first step to a better place.

Ben still has his joy. He is excited about life. I told Ben that Jeffrey, his brother, would be visiting this upcoming weekend. Ben said, "I am very excited to see him. I need him to be very open with me." Ben tells us everyday that he loves us. He wants Jim and I there with him constantly." It will be good.