Your morning commute almost turns deadly when another driver runs the red light and slams into you at nearly 60 miles per hour. You don’t see it coming. You don’t even remember it after the fact.
Fortunately for you, emergency crews get you out of the wreckage and rush you to the hospital. Medical professionals give you immediate care and extensive treatment. They save your life. You only remember bits and pieces of the process, but you know what they did for you.
The tragic downside is that your brain injury is serious. They warn you that you may never fully recover. You’re lucky to be alive.
You are aware that this could still change your life. It will never again be the same as it was a few seconds before you drove into that fateful intersection. What types of symptoms and changes might you experience?
Brain damage can impact your major senses, such as sight, hearing and even taste. These senses can be altered or lost completely. For instance, you may have blurry vision or find yourself unable to see at all. It could clear up with treatment and recovery, as your brain heals, or the changes could last forever.
You could also lose some of your learned abilities, even if they seem like basic abilities that you take for granted. For example, some people struggle with their balance and find it hard to walk. They certainly cannot run or participate in other complex activities. Others have trouble speaking. They may not be able to find the right words or they may not be able to speak at all.
As you probably expect when you hear about brain injuries, you may also struggle with cognitive problems in the wake of the crash. Your brain just does not work as smoothly as it did before. For instance, you could have trouble problem-solving or making decisions. Things that were easy to you before are now complex and difficult to grasp. You feel like your abilities have regressed.
One thing that many caregivers note is that people’s moods and even their personalities tend to change after serious brain injuries. You could go through mood swings that keep everyone else on edge. Simple things could make you far more angry than they should. Your fundamental personality — just the way you handle yourself and interact with others — may be so different that family members feel like they don’t even know you anymore.
Living with catastrophic injuries is not easy. After an accident, make sure you know what rights you may have to financial compensation.