Mark’s Story

Recovering from a traumatic brain injury is a long, but not impossible process. Before my injury, I was working in retail management; I had a girlfriend, and had previously been active in the military. One afternoon, I was on the balcony of my girlfriend’s house, standing on a ladder painting, and a family member (who was intoxicated) bumped the ladder and knocked me off. I fell 22 ft. and landed directly on my head. It required 3 stitches and 13 staples to put my skull back together; I had a concussion, a left ear fracture, puncture over my right ear, and had to have my head drilled in to drain the fluid.

I had the best care at Norfolk General Hospital; they were very professional. Wilson Gardey is the neurosurgeon who performed my brain surgery and he didn’t understand how I survived through this ordeal.

My lady friend has helped me a lot through my recovery, and I hope to marry her. I have 2 kids who live several hours from here, but I don’t want them or my grandkids to see me in this condition. I don’t look bad, but I can’t do the things I used to.

During my recovery, I called BIAV and talked to Christine about the resources available to me.  She was very helpful – she actually acted like she cared about me!  She was sensitive, knowledgeable and just AWESOME!

Today, I face difficulty with my short-term memory. It often causes problems in my relationship because I cannot remember dates, times or things I may have said very well. I have also lost my sense of smell and taste.  My lady friend is part Jamaican and cooks very well (from what I hear) and I would love to taste the food she prepares!  I am also half Italian and I miss the pleasure of eating! I get very tired after short intervals of exercise. For example, the library is only 3.5 blocks from my house, but I have to take breaks frequently because I get tired, start having weak knees, tunnel vision, and tingling. Interestingly enough, my eyesight is declining, but my hearing is getting better!

I really hope to return to work one day soon.  I thoroughly enjoyed my previous job – doing payroll, vendor services, and store management, but I know I must improve my stamina to endure the long periods of standing and walking!

Finally, I have some advice: don’t fall on your head!  The good lord already split you – land there!  No, I’m just being sarcastic! I think it’s important for people to know it does no good thinking negatively.  Positivity is a good cure.  It has helped me and it will help you, too.  Don’t let the little stuff get you down.