Apparently not many fathers, men,
write first person trauma accounts.
In my childhood, my Aunt freed our
songless, grumpy budgie from the jaws of her cat. It was shaken up badly and
bleeding slightly. Moments later, it started singing, which it did until it
died years later. That tale came to mind when I realized that, in the past two
years, I have become more talkative, processing our current journey with my
critically injured son to anyone who would listen. Attacks of the budgies
appear out of the blue, like Tourettes, kind of alarming and charming. When I
realized that was happening as I walked the neighbourhood, I began to take
therapy-dog with me to protect my reputation. I’m better now, thanks.
Health care professionals (HCPs)
first asked me to write about my experience for the benefit of other collaterally
damaged families of the traumatically injured. Then other HCPs asked me to
augment that material specifically for the benefit of health care
professionals, even though I am not a health care expert. Presumably the
request was because I have other expertise including multi-year, daily
experience with a traumatically injured patient and months and years of
experience up-close-and-personal with health care professionals and the
experts believe that it would be helpful for you to read about and to visualize
the lives of patients and their families, as those lives evolve together when
you are not present. Also, the experts thought you would benefit from seeing
your profession and the health care system through the eyes of those
participating from the other side of the bed. To this task I bring
observational and formal experience as entrepreneur, executive and management
consultant, and a limited amount of expertise gained as volunteer, advisor and
consultant to the head of a cancer research foundation and clinic. This text
has been reviewed, edited and augmented by health care professionals, some of
whom are identified in the Preface.
The initial third is the heart of
the book. It quotes verbatim the raw, selected, daily Facebook and Journal
entries that recorded the initial bomb blast to our lives followed by the
evolution of the gravely uncertain present. I have augmented these entries with
previously undisclosed facts, observations and analysis. The next two thirds
contain separate observations for the specific use of health care
professionals, on the one hand, and other collaterally damaged families, on the
Understandably, to enhance patient
outcomes health care professionals and the collaterally damaged families need
to work together; but, apparently, don’t always do so. It is as if we speak
different languages, inhabit different worlds—and we do. I hope that this text
will provide insights that will enable you to lead rag-tag teams of
collaterally damaged; turning them into effective caregiver teams. By doing so,
you will simultaneously heal them and enable them to pull their loved ones into
viable new normals.
This text also delves into
experiences that are very hard to accept, difficult to describe and almost
impossible to explain. As a result, I hope that during your formal education
and health care practice you keep a mind open to unorthodox insights yielding
increased professional effectiveness and satisfaction.
As horrific as our journey was in
the beginning, our family members have benefited in ways that the general
public, the recently brain-injured family and perhaps even some health care
professionals will have difficulty comprehending. Our shared experience has
brought us great personal growth, greater respect for each other, stronger
selves and relationships, greater appreciation for the things of life of true
value, enabled insight, and, as strange as it may seem, yielded much humour.
Apparently, those benefits were
evolving early on. In the maelstrom, we could not recognize them but
professionals could. Drew’s young GP came to visit the comatose Drew in
NeuroTrauma ICU. She could do nothing for Drew but she stayed more than half an
hour to talk with my wife and me. As she left she said, “I don’t know how you
have been able to cope so well.”
Writing this text was very hard at
times but ultimately both illuminating and cathartic. As I write and speak to
interested groups and process lessons for business groups, I continue to learn
about all the normals we have lived and are living. As a health care
professional you will see things in this material that I haven’t yet perceived
and may never grasp.
I hope that you will see, as I have
been told, that our story has universality and applicability beyond
parent/child, male/male and brain injury relationships.
I hope that you don’t mind, but I
have used pseudonyms for close family in order to write more openly about our
experience. Also, you will notice that my tenses are a mixture of present and
past. I started to make corrections but stopped when I realized this is an
accurate reflection of how I relate to those events today. Those events are
still in my present. I don’t remember them so much as I relive them.
No doubt you will note my warped relationship with time.
To conclude our story, for the
moment, Drew provides his observations and insights which he wrote to help
other brain injured patients.
Go To Links
Table of Contents
The Health Care Professional Edition
Health Professionals: Course appropriateness, subjects & benefits