OT - Does Anyone Know About Head Trauma. Dad in Auto Accident.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by azcactuslil, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. azcactuslil

    azcactuslil New Member

    Last Friday my Dad was in a very serious auto accident. In fact, he is very lucky to be alive. He had his seat belt on and that is probably what saved his life as he rolled his car end for end and then from one side to the other. It appears that he did hit his head on the windshield. The CAT scans show that there are not any injuries. He is very vague, drowsy, fading in and out, and confused. Is this normal behaviour for someone with head trauma?

    My brother is wanting to get start legal proceedings to take over his affairs. I think that it is just too early to make an assumption that he is not going to recover. He is 73 years old and is getting better daily. Today he was able to carry on a conversation with me about his bank account and an upcoming trip he was making to visit me.

    Does anyone have any experience with this type of thing or any medical background? I would appreciate all the input I can get.


  2. Megster

    Megster New Member

    You are quite correct that it is way too soon to think that he won't recover. The brain is a very poorly understood organ, and there is just no predicting what kind of recovery he will have, nor how long it will take. Certainly what you are describing are all very common symptoms of head trauma, many of which are likely to become less and less of a problem as the brain heals. Unfortuantely his age is a factor that is likely to increase the amount of time it takes to heal, as well as limmit the extent of recovery, but still, it is also possible that he will make a significant recovery. There is just no way to know at this point, and if anyone tells you different, they're selling something or their ego is getting in the way!

    Wow. There is so much I want to share with you, but I have very limmited energy for the computer, and I don't know where to start. I sustained a closed head injury in 1996, and have still not recovered all I lost from that, but I am MUCH better than I was. However, dealing with the medical community about this has been even more frustrating than dealing with the Fibro, for me. Has your father been seen by a Neuropsychologist who specializes in mild traumatic brain injuries? Have they talked about any type of rehabilatative cognitive therapy? Is your brother looking to take total control, or just temporary, so that things are taken care of while he recovers?

    I'm glad that your father survived, and trust your instincts on this. There is every reason to believe that he will make a significant recovery. It may take quite a bit of time, or it may take very little.
    In part, that will depend on the skill and effectiveness of the rehabilitation he recieves, so do what you can to get that organized and going ASAP!

    I wish you the best, and I will try and keep up with this thread, though I just can't make any promises, as I never know how much I'll be able to do on the computer. Since my brain injury, the computer tends to "fragg" me out pretty badly. Maybe it won't be so bad with the new laptop...

  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I'm glad your Dad survived the crash. He is probably suffering from a concussion but not a skull fracture. His progress seems very normal to me. I had an accident when I was 12 and suffered a bad concussion. I felt just like your Dad. It takes some time as the brain is bruised from being pounded against the skull. You know how long a bruise stays tender and discolored. The brain is about the same way. He should be careful for a while to keep blood clots from moving in the area of trauma.

    I would definitely not be trying to take over his affairs permanently at this point as he will most likely full recover. He will just need some help with things for a month or so. He is a relatively young man and should be able to get back to doing for himself as soon as possible. That is the best therapy for a recovery. Good luck and I am sending up a little prayer for all of you. It's difficult to watch a loved one who has been injured. I pray for a speed recovery.

    Love, Mikie
  4. kgg

    kgg New Member

    I agree that it wouldn't hurt to repeat the CT scan or MRI to see if anything shows up. Doesn't hurt to ask. Some other symptoms of a head injury are short term memory problems and sometimes bursts of anger. But your dad sounds like he is in the beginning of healing.

    They do give temporary power of attorney and they can limit it too. My brother got one for my mom that was just medical. She wasn't able to make decisions on her hospital care.

    Hope that his recovery is swift. -Karen
  5. azcactuslil

    azcactuslil New Member

    My dad was on a morphine drip the first couple of days he was in but they have since discontinued pain meds. Docs ran another set of MRIs and CT's yesterday and I am waiting for the results from those tests. I am not with him to see him on a daily basis but am in touch by phone aat least one to two times a day. Thanks for you input and advice.
  6. Dobbysmom

    Dobbysmom New Member

    Unfortunately I have bitter experience with TBI's. My daughter suffered a traumatic brain injury in 1999 at the age of 4.5. She needed 5 brain surgeries, had to learn to walk, talk, swallow and breath again all over. Her initial scans came back showing severe brain damage. It looked like she would be severely hanidcapped. Somehow, be it the grace of God or pure determination she shocked the medical world. She is now in 4th grade (regular school) and can do all the things other 9 year olds do.

    We were told the brain takes on average 5 years to recover from a TBI. And as time progressed/progress we continue to see improvements.

    Insure you are comfortable with your medical staff, never hesitate to question something you want further explanation of or are uncomfortable with.

    The suggestion for a neuropsych evaluation is an excellent idea! Many times they perform a battery of cognitive tests and can see strenghts an weaknesses. They are trained for this purpose and can offer insight that greatly compliments that of your neurologist.

    Wishing you and your father the best
  7. hope-floats

    hope-floats New Member

    Hello Carrie:
    It sounds like your father went through quite a scarry experience. Our skull acts like a helmet for our brain. With all the tossing and turning his car did, I'd have to say his helmet did a good job of protecting him.

    If your Dad's symptoms are unrelated to the pain med he was given, he has apparently acquired an injury to his brain, regardless of what the CT scan said at that time. It is not uncommon for the injury to show up sometime later with subsequent CT's and MRI's. At the very least, he suffered a concussion.

    Depending on where the impact was, functioning could be impaired in one or more areas. Because the brain is thrust forward upon severe impact, it is then thrust in another direction causing the brain to make contact with the skull in more than one location. The neurologist should be able to tell you what parts of the brain were vulnerable to injury.

    The staff will be tracking your father's vitals and most especially his cognitive status to determine what, if any, changes have occured. That's were the family comes in. You are able to provide an accurate baseline of your father's functioning prior to the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).

    You can get more information (if needed) from an organization called Brain Injury Association (BIA). This is the web site for BIA in my state: www.biact.org

    I hope your father recovers well from his injuries. Best wishes!

  8. kathyr

    kathyr New Member

    My mother-in-law was in a car accident and was care-flighted to a trauma unit. She also hit her head on the windshield. Things were iffy for a few days while she was in ICU. She is back to normal now.

    It is normal after head trauma for a patient to be disoriented. They may not recognize you or know where they are. There is a thing called ICU dementia that occurs when a patient has been in ICU for an extended period of time. Also pain medications such as morphine will cause the patient to hallucinate and say strange things. My mother-in-law cussed her son (my husband) and told him she was going to kill him.

    I will pray that your dad recovers quickly and that you have the strength to deal with things. Bless you!

  9. Megster

    Megster New Member

    just wanted to point out that they don't always show damage, and yet there is disruption in the brain's pathways, which can cause difficulties in cognitive functioning. My CAT scan was "normal", but there were a number of areas where I had severe deficits that weren't there prior to the mTBI.

    The other factor to keep in mind is how frustrating recovery can be, when no one can see the injury, but the injured person knows that their brain just isn't functioning the way it did before.

    Meg[This Message was Edited on 09/04/2003]
  10. Dar

    Dar New Member

    I had a concussion, and that is what your dad sounds like he has. You need to read about Brain injury. There is a web site that is called the Brain Injury Association. There is a
    site a lawyer has on this site which is very helpful. I ended up having alot of things go wrong with me after this concussion. I now have Fibro, and Ms. You really need to read about what can happen and how the brain can get damaged. Good Luck--- Dar
  11. azcactuslil

    azcactuslil New Member

    You guys have given me a wealth of information and places to go for more. Dad was very clear minded today and we had a very good conversation. He is more aware of his surroundings and knows how he got there, etc. My Dad lives in a very rural part of eastern Montana. His house is 85 miles away from the nearest doctor's office or hospital. My brother lives in the thriving megaplex where the medical gurus live. I know that he hasn't been seen by a neurologist yet. I plan to have him checked out when he comes to Arizona. It's a good reminder to all of us how life can change in the blink of an eye.

    Anyway thanks again. It's much appreciated. Life was pretty overwhelming for awhile but I am coping and getting by with help from my friends and family. All is well.