I will not be reading today’s entry to Corey. In fact, it is one of the most painful entries I’ve written to date.
I have worked with some families who have shared the insensitive, callous comments from what we all call ‘professionals’. Today was my 3rd encounter with a person that is trained in the world of TBI but truly does not understand the real world of “living” with a TBI.
We are working on a seminar for an upcoming conference. The subject of the conversation was directed to the interests of a caregiver. Caregivers continually search for practical applications, strategies and techniques to answer the intangible question, ‘How can we advance our loved ones recovery’?
The clinician disagreed with how I phrased the question. The TBI professional flatly stated, “first of all, there is no recovery. You can never recover from a TBI. Once your brain has been injured it will never be the same as it was prior to the injury, it has no chance of recovery”.
The meaning behind this person’s sentence is true if you look at the definition of recovery;
1. a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.
If we choose to define the word in this manor, I agree, Corey will never return to the state of health, mind or strength that she had prior to the accident. In fact, I have yet to meet a survivor that would admit they are as “good as they were” prior to their injury.
But, this word has more then one meaning;
2. the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.
The discussion became muted as my body was engulfed with emotions ranging from shock, rage, resentment and confusion that a trained professional in this field would be so detached from humanity that they could not only speak to a family member in this way but they also could not hear how their words recreated the pain of the initial injury.
This issue is not the word, it is the process!
We MUST take action, we must regain possession of our hopes, our dreams and our lives. If we accept the “recovery” definition in it’s truest form, that it will never be achieved, how do we get out of bed in the morning? We are not looking for the purists version of recovery. We are looking for an adaptation of recovery. We are not in denial. We are not delusional. We are well aware of what was stolen from us; what we lost that fateful night. We are not asking for what we had. We are working towards what we could have again.
Consider this; a magnificent vase shatters. You’re fortunate to find all the pieces to glue back in place. Fortunately, it holds water and displays a beautiful bouquet of flowers ready to bloom. Is the vase the same as it was before? No, it looks nothing like its original state. Now it’s a magnificent Mosaic that has more character, design and interest then it did before.
Put away the dictionary and start using a thesaurus! xoxo