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Brad Makowski's Life with Traumatic Brain Injury

On 7/10/03 my stepson Brad Makowski was involved in a motorcycle accident and sustained a (TBI) Traumatic Brain Injury.  Brad's life for several year thereafter revolved around striving to regain independence and understanding.  Thirteen years on, he has now settled into a routine.  No two brain injuries are the same and each differs in resulting effects.  Brad continues to manage with TBI's physical and mental constraints.

 Fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has resulted in a flood of new TBI injuries.  Along with this has come added knowledge and focus on how to deal with TBI both from an emergency trauma and long term rehabilitation standpoint.  I wish this additional knowledge had been in use at the time of Brad's accident.  I am very happy however, for those recently discovered techniques that can be immediately applied to new TBI victims.  Now immediate treatments can result in long term effects from TBI that are much reduced in many cases.  This is in marked contrast to the "relieve pressure and wait" techniques used when Brad suffered his accident.

 Physically, Brad's primary symptoms are spasticity & contracture of the legs and restrictions of motion range in one shoulder.  Over time this has resulted in reduced ability to stand straight and walk, even added by a walker.  Regular injections of Botox help, but Brad has inability to walk further then very short distances.  Mentally, the transition from short term memory into long term memory remains impaired, although some improvements are seen.  This results many times with the inability to retain what occurred yesterday, especially with common non-emotional memories.  He now however able to often recall recent events if prompted.  Sometimes there remains confusion as to when pre and post TBI events actually occurred.  Brad has adapted but frustration sometimes surfaces when dealing with such errors in thinking.  Things like what he had for breakfast.  How long ago you last spoke with someone can be forgotten or confused.  Finding the correct words for common items can difficult, especially when fatigued.

 Brad has endured a series of physical procedures resulting from the accident.  As recently as in 2008, surgery was required to deal with leftover accident injuries.  If you wish to know more about Brad's timeline of injuries, information can be found by clicking here

 Traumatic Brain Injury is fascinating in the way it effects the human brain.  It is also heart breaking in the results.  In Brad's case it has taken a Northwest Missouri State University 1997 graduate who had a promising full life ahead of him, and confined his world to that of coping with limitations.  If you are interested, I have captured my observation over the years since this injury, in hopes it will help others who have loved ones going through a similar ordeal.

 Recovery does continue over eleven years after the accident.  Years of help Brad has received with daily in-home physical, occupational, cognitive, & transitional living therapies from Community Works Inc. & Minds Matter LLC., and through the Kansas Brain Injury Waiver helped significantly, but ended in 2011.  Daily care giver help continues through the Kansas Physical Disability Waiver.  But that comes with only a very limited amount of physical therapy.  We now have settled in to routines.  Brad spends much time on the internet and looks forward to trips out of the house.

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Bradley Makowski