A loved one survives a serious car accident, but he or she suffers a brain injury in the process. It leads to months of hospital visits and treatments. The costs become astronomical. The process feels exceedingly slow. Even as healing happens, you realize that the person may never be the same as they were before the accident.
It’s tough. It’s hard on the individual, on the family and on close friends. That’s no secret.
To help you move forward, here are four things you absolutely want to keep in mind:
Brain injuries are different for everyone
Never assume that your loved one will recover the same way someone else did just because you read their story or met another survivor. Injuries are rarely the same. There are too many factors: severity, location, treatment, overall health and more. Make sure you know that each situation is unique and will have unique results. Do not put pressure on the person or build up expectations based on other experiences.
The changes are also unique
Some people become tired and lethargic. They easily get exhausted and seem fatigued all of the time. Others struggle with mood swings, making them unpredictable. Some have trouble walking and performing physical tasks. Others struggle more with mental tasks, like concentrating and speaking.
Again, never expect things to go a certain way. The location of the injury in the brain determines what changes you’ll see. So does the cause of the injury and the severity of that injury. Understanding what your loved one faces helps you meet them where they are.
The brain is complex, and so are brain injuries
Medical science has come a long way, but brain injuries are still complex and difficult to treat. Don’t assume that going to the right doctor will magically make everything better. Sometimes, these injuries don’t heal completely. Doctors do their best, but they do not always have successful treatment options.
That injured individual is a person first and a patient second
Do not let the brain injury define them. Think of them as a person first and offer them all of the love and support they need. This can grow difficult, especially when their personality seems to have changed. In some cases, family members have claimed changes were so drastic that they barely felt like they knew each other anymore. Be prepared for this and get in the right mental state to help them work through it, rather than letting it push you apart.
At the same time, dealing with a brain injury in your family can grow very expensive. Make sure you fully understand all of the legal options you have to seek compensation.