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Neuroscience Center Traumatic Brain Injury Advocacy Group

My Blog - Kathleen Hartsfield
August 2009
Something I STRONGLY suggest to do for those who are like I was (in a coma or unaware of my surroundings), is to keep a journal for them or something to write in daily for them to look at later. Whoever is writing in it might not realize it then, but years later when the person who was injured reads it, they will get to see who all came to visit them & who they should really be thankful to have in their life.

I just read the one that a close family friend kept up for me, & I really am a whole lot thankful for those who came & spent time with me! While reading this journal, I got kind of teary eyed realizing that I was in a very tough place in my life & just how far I've come!

I want this to be known, because it can be a major help!

July 2009
TBI’s can happen when you LEAST expect it & in a whole bunch of different ways! Remember...put safety first!! It kind of seems like something only for the elderly, but it actually is a good idea for everybody to use nightlights. I have the kind where you mash the top of it & it turns on. That has been a big solution at night for me when I have to go to the bathroom.

Also, ALWAYS wear your helmet!! SOOO many accidents, with head injuries, occur when people think that just because they're not going far they don't need to wear it.

Many TBI’s occur to football players, and they don't even know it! It's from mainly when they get tackled. The last thing they think about is: There might be something wrong with me. With all the adrenaline rush that guys get, and a lot of times they also get defensive and want to get the guy who got them, so they tell the coach "Hey, I'm OK, put me back in" when they AREN'T really OK.

So, even though we may not feel like we need prevention or protection from injuries, being smart and using lighting, helmets, and common sense can actually be to your benefit in the long run.

April 2009
My accident has had an effect on me in a lot of different ways. I’ve lost things, but also gained things. Like before hand, I was VERY independent, which I'm slowly regaining that back. But, one of the BEST things that I've gained is TRUE friends that I didn't know I had out there!

We all have friends that we 'think' will be there for us no matter what happens in life...well, this experience has been a real eye opener and has shown me who I can REALLY count on to be there for me when I need them the most. Some of them I already had as friends, but most of them I got to know because of what I had gone through.

In this experience I have lost alot of things, like being able to do things on my own. I didn't need anyone's help getting certain things done before, but now I do. But, I've gained friendships from people I probably never would have met & thankfully now I KNOW who I can count on to help me get things done.

Another thing I've established is a stronger relationship with my family. Those that were there for me, and still are, the whole way through this experience. And GOD. God has brought me through this....and is still helping me to push on & to keep on moving forward.

March 2009
The way people treat you changes too!! No one knows what's wrong with you, so they don't know how to act around you. What gets me the most is all the weird stares I get! From kids mainly! While I understand that they are only children, I think parents should put more effort in teaching their kids when it's impolite to stare.

Since people don't know what's wrong with you, they don't know how to talk to you either. I've had some people think that I was mentally challenged, so they talk REALLY LOUD to me at first, until they can tell that I can hear them and understand them perfectly fine!! Yeah, that's very aggravating!!!

January 2009
Do you remember what you were doing five years ago?

Well, I don’t remember, but I’ve been told I was fighting, fighting for my life!!

There’s nothing like learning how to live your life again, that’s for sure!! It’s like being a baby again when I was 18, almost 19! I had to re-learn to do EVERYTHING over again! Over half of it is still in progress though-but, I’m NOT giving up!!! Yes, it’s aggravating as all get out, especially things like: taking a shower, putting on makeup (yeah that was really funny!!), and getting dressed, yep, I even had to re-learn to tie my shoes, you should’ve seen that!! My Mama had to wash my hair for me and put on my makeup, or else I would have looked like a clown if I put it on, believe me-I tried!! Now, I’m 23 years old and I can put on my on my own makeup now, although relearning to put on eyeliner and mascara was REALLY a hoot!! After poking myself in the eye with the eyeliner a few 100 times, I think I finally got the hang of it!

I still have to walk using a walker. I’m still working on that, along with my speech. My voice still sounds very nasally, but it’s getting better! I’m at least “understandable” now. In the beginning it just sounded like a whisper, for anybody to hear me it had to completely silent, even then you really couldn’t understand me!

Now, I live down the same driveway as my parents, but at least I’m physically able to live on my own!! I also am working at two different jobs, 1) Jefferson County Coordinator’s Office, on Tuesday and Thursday, and 2) TMH Rehab center, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Here I am, thank goodness, trying to live life to the fullest, I did learn A LOT about who my true friends were, met a whole bunch of wonderful people, and learned who would really be there for me when it meant the most!!