Friday, July 26, 2013

If You Have A Traumatic Brain Injury,Don't Miss This Opportunity

If you or someone you love has survived a traumatic brain injury,there will still be a lifetime of struggling ahead. Many survivors face the difficulties alone. There is help available. There are others who know exactly what you are going through. Many of our doctors initally do not recognize our symptoms of TBI. We know something is horribly wrong but,we are too sick to know how sick we are. We may not have the proper support or therapy as we deal with our injury.There is a place to go and meet others who can enlighten us. We all have different information, stories and resources that need to be shared. No one should have to face this journey alone. That is why Ann Boriskie created her website.



The Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association® provides HOPE, SUPPORT, EMPATHY, EDUCATION, and INFORMATION for hospitalized and rehabilitating brain injury survivors and their families. and via email and the telephone, from someone who has BEEN THERE …and DONE THAT.

   Would you like to: 

  • Speak to a brain injury survivor?
  • Talk to the caregiver of a brain injured loved one? 
  • Have a personal visit, email or phone call from someone who has BEEN THERE …and DONE THAT?
  • Receive a free helpful packet of information? 


All types of brain injuries are visited (caused by aneurysm, anoxia, tumors, surgery, brain disease, brain bleeds, car wrecks, falls, beatings, sports related, and stroke).


All services provided are free.


       Click on this website link or contact Ann Boriskie, Director and Founder at 770-330-8416,


This association is run by Ann Boriskie who is a survivor of a serious car wreck in 1998.  She is a volunteer who leads her team of 150 volunteers (all types of brain injury and stroke survivors and caregivers of brain injured survivors)




Saturday, July 13, 2013

We Only Pass This Way Once- And Mostly What We Leave Behind Are Memories

As a caregiver for a family member with dementia, I am always collecting memories and holding on to them. Each day takes him further into his own private world, which is far removed from the one we shared. As the horrendous disease claims his memories, I am the connector to his past. I remind him of the things that were important. Everyday experiences that seemed ordinary are now precious.

I went to the gardening shed to get the electrical cord to do some hedge trimming today. The bright orange professional grade 100 foot cord was neatly looped, just as he had taught me to do it on a long ago day. He was the owner of his own construction company until his disease took away his ability to function in that capacity. There were things that were very important to him. One was putting away tools properly. He taught me how to loop the cord to prevent tangles. Today, I almost cried when I saw it neatly stored just the way he taught me. It was a bittersweet reminder of the man who kept everything in order.

Now, I am the one who makes sure everything is done. His red truck remains spotless. The yard is neat and trimmed. His hours are ordered and filled with things that I know he likes. Little Debbie cakes and Sundrop are always in the kitchen. I call his old friends and hook him up with them by phone. I label the old family photographs. I encourage the familiar stories that bring laughter to his face. Today, I went inside and told him about the cord and how it was stored just the way he had taught me. His eyes sparkled because he realized that  he still has great influence on my life. He is the love of my life and the has taught me so many things. I want him to know this.
Preserving old family memories is one way you can help your loved one to hold on to reality. Label old photographs and share them as an activity.Share the stories that go with the photos.

It is a struggle to be a caregiver when I myself am a traumatic brain injury survivor. I suffer from memory loss also. As I search for lost pieces of my life, I realize the importance of holding on to what you can. It is a blessing to be able to keep up with all the important pieces of our lives. Be thankful if your little brain still works properly and be understanding of those who no longer are able to function as they once could.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Keeping the balls in the air and the ducks in a row

Today the balls were flying about everywhere and the ducks were running in many directions. My little broken brain just could not keep all the balls in the air while I was rounding up the ducks. I am everyone to my family.Whatever they need,I make it happen.I am shopper,nurse,laundress,therapist,maid,yardman,car detailer, and Mom. Multi-tasking is enough to make anyone tired.Simple truth is....I was exhausted.So,I temporarily let some balls fall.Brain injury people find it difficult to disengage from things they feel passionate about. They seem to repeat the same mantra,I think I can, I think I can,I think I can. I am a perfectionist. I want everything in order. As a TBI survivor, I have trouble keeping everything in order.

Today, two added pieces of my life's puzzle were thrown into my day. It was too much for me to handle. I had a family concern that caused me to be sad. The situation required my brain to address those feelings.And, a former co-worker contacted me by e-mail. She is a part of my past that is very painful to remember.

I lost my job due to my brain injury.In my job as a department head in a nursing home,I felt pressured because I couldn't work at my prior level. My TBI hindered my ability to run my office and keep up with all my responsibilities.I tried to keep up with everything. I was accused of not listening,not being interested, not being friendly. The truth is that my brain injury made it hard for me to concentrate and focus. And, I was working so hard to keep up and stay ahead of my staff that I forgot to remind myself to smile.All the interruptions and demands that disturbed my efforts to get my work done were very harmful to me. It wasn't that I was unfriendly, I was just overworked and stressed.

I was trying to manage conversations and responsibilities in a tiny office with at least three other people who were trying to carry on their jobs and details of their private lives.I was held to a standard of perfection that I had set before I was injured. Co-workers expected to see the old Sylvia and her creativity and level of expertise. That Sylvia died in a four car collision. Her life was gone. I, a broken replica, was left to gather the shattered and forgotten pieces of her life and create something useful out of them.

Today,I felt unraveled by the added stress of the day. I had to take some time to allow my brain to slow down and become calm. I drove to the park and sat in my car reading an inspirational book while the caregiver took care of my family member allowing me the gift of a small respite.

I have a TBI, an injury that would require special understanding in the workplace-as a blind or deaf person's injury would. A person with no legs would be given the help needed to accommodate his workplace needs.I suffered unmercifully in my workplace because of lack of knowledge of TBI and lack of empathy for my injury.In the middle of a million dollar renovation my office was untouched. The renovations stopped at my door. A baby grand piano was permanently moved to within one foot of my door. Loud programs were held right outside while I was trying to work and concentrate.Nothing was done during this renovation to make my workplace more accommodating.I have hear the stories of other survivors and how they have been able to remain in their chosen fields. Accommodations were made and coworkers were educated about TBI. This is as it should be.

No survivor should be forced to sit in a meeting with another co-worker who formally accuses that they have no brain injury-that they are lying and that they are pretending to be sick. This happened to me. Over and over, I have heard stories of mainstream society refusing to validate the existence of a person's brain injury. Survivors are often accused of pretending. Because our injuries sometimes can't be seen,TBI is often referred to as an invisible disability.

Why would anyone want to falsely imply that they have a brain injury? That information certainly wouldn't serve to advance you to your goals. The only reason would be to get disability payments. That is not a goal, it is a compensation for what you have lost. It doesn't make up for what you might have been able to accomplish if you were allowed to pursue your dreams.This ignorance and lack of information causes much suffering to brain injury survivors who already are dealing with such tremendous pain and loss.

I was accused of being rude when I shooed co-workers away with a hand when they interrupted while I was trying to carry on business phone conversations. I heard their blended office conversations, overhead speaker announcements, conversations from the next room,radio sounds,computer sounds and more. All this stimuli was coming at me while I was trying to process the business conversation that I was engaged in on the phone. I waved them away as a coping mechanism to be able to do my job. They could have educated themselves about traumatic brain injury and the difficulties of processing information with the hindrance of not being able to properly filter sounds.

By creating this site I hope to educate the public and doctors about Traumatic Brain Injury survivors. That will be my legacy-to keep others from enduring the pain that I have encountered. We must educate,educate,educate and then hopefully,we will be supported by the medical profession, our employers and peers.

Please be kind to yourself. Don't be so down on yourself about what you are no longer able to do. Parts of you don't work so well anymore-but,parts of you are exquisite and you still deserve to be loved. Check out my other blog it features my Etsy shop and my newest design, a shabby rose necklace that is shattered on the inside but is (normal) perfectly intact on the outside. It was created as a reminder that even though we are broken,we are beautiful and worthy of love.