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Support Services

Ingredients for Recovery

Personal Stories

Ingredients for Recovery

Understandably the biggest issue after acquiring a brain injury for many is the extent of recovery that can be expected. In the hospital estimates can be based on various medical factors such as the length of coma and post traumatic amnesia. But there are other factors that have a significant influence.

Many rehabilitation professionals have found that people with determined personalities and a positive outlook do better than expected during the rehabilitation phase. This also applies for people who tended to be selfless and concerned about others before their injury. They often make sense of what has happened to them by turning it into a positive outcome, such as using their experience to help others by running a support group.
Supportive family and friends can also be crucial in the long term. Social isolation is very common for many after a brain injury, leading to depression and difficulties with facing the long road to recovery. The following is the story of Gail Pursey, a survivor who has been fortunate to have all these factors helping her towards her recovery after a motor vehicle accident.

I awoke in hospital wrapped in bandages and plaster. This is all I remember of a serious hit and run car accident in December 1990. My car was parked on the road and a witness said that I was unlocking my car door. He noticed another motorist who drove around the corner then ploughed into me. I was hit on my left side and flung twenty metres from the car. Landing on my head left with me with a fractured skull and brain injuries.

My fractured pelvis and left leg healed fairly quickly but my brain injury remains. I have hidden disabilities such as epilepsy, tinnitus, communication problems, poor eyesight, poor balance and some behavioural problems. I do not drive a care but if I want to (and keep my licence) I need a medical certificate every year.

I have learned strategies to trigger my memory, help my hidden disabilities so that I can manage to get by day by day. Initially doctors thought I would never work again as a ward nurse except maybe in a voluntary capacity. However I defied their opinion when I returned to work as a theatre nurse.
My family, friends and a self help group helped me to grow strong and I am always active. During Brain Injury Awareness Week and throughout the year I go to schools and give talks about brain injury awareness and prevention. This has given me a lot of self confidence speaking to young people of the age that have most car accidents.

I have had these disabilities since day one, but due to my determination and support from family and friends, I take one day at a time and have never looked back.

I look forward to each new day and chances to grow. So look ahead and don't stop. Think positively and you too can reach your goal!


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