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2277 Highway 36 West, Suite 200 Roseville, MN 55113-3830
Phone: 612-378-2742
Toll Free: 1-800-669-6442
Fax: 612-378-2789
E-Mail:info@braininjurymn.org
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

About Brain Injury

Who Am I?
by MJ Engleson

This is my story about the brain injury I sustained in the summer of 1986. And yes, I have come a long way since then and feel much more confident about myself now. When I sustained this injury, they said I also had four or five broken bones and was in the hospital for month. Life has been pretty much a blur since then, bur I have learned to deal with the short term memory stuff by doing lots of "homework."

I feel more sorry for my family, as they remember all the things that went on from that car accident. I had to re-learn how to do many things over again, mainly reading, spelling, and math, as well as cooking. One thing I did not forget was how to drive.

I am glad it happened to me, instead of my daughter, who was in the car with us. She had just turned 14 at the time. For several months, I didn't comprehend that I was her Mother, and I thought my husband and his sister were husband and wife. Confusion? Yes! I guess that I had amnesia for a couple of years.

I handled my brain injury by numbing out the emotions and pain of what was happening to me. It is the left side of my brain that got damaged, so the right side of my body is like a stroke victim. I guess that I did wear a brace for a few years on my right leg. I exercise three times a week and swim twice a wee, so I'm much better now and not wearing the brace. Swimming helps keep the stress level down.

Having a brain injury affects individuals all differently. We all are different from one another. I have accepted my brain injury and have learned to do many things differently. Yes, I have lost some friends, but the friends I do have accept me for the way I am today. Going to a support group really helps, as we all do relate to each other as we all understand the bumps in our road to get to where we are going.

After a brain injury, we all say:

WHO AM I?

Am I that person who was in a coma? Am I that person who was in the hospital? Am I that person who can't communicate as well as before? Am I that person who says ABC and gets XYZ? Am I that person who the doctors say I am? Am I that person who is the shadow of me? Am I that person who always says I'm sorry for being me? The reality of this brain injury stuff is: Everybody else knows who I am-but me! So, what I can say, thanks for putting up with that person who is me. Smile and have a nice day!

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