In 1997, I received a phone call with news no parent ever wants to hear: my son had been in a crash with his pickup truck. He was life-flighted to Kearney, and I was told to bring family because the outlook was not good. We learned at the hospital that Luke had a severe, diffuse traumatic brain injury. The damage was serious.
Luke was in the hospital for five weeks and was later transferred to a rehabilitation center where he stayed several months. Slowly, Luke improved. He remembered people, he learned to write again, his speech improved, his walking improved, he learned how to eat. Nothing was easy. Once Luke was released from rehabilitation, he went home and experienced many of the problems faced by those with brain injury. He was angry at his limitations, memory loss and he wanted his old life back.
Through the years the Nebraska Brain Injury Alliance (BIA-NE) has been a great help to us. For instance, they provided a wallet card that states the person holding it is a traumatic brain injury survivor and that most inappropriate behavior was due to a brain injury and not caused by alcohol or drugs. I have attended the annual Nebraska Brain Injury Conference, which teaches survivors how to accept themselves as a person with a brain injury and how to rebuild their lives in a way that is fulfilling.