7 years with my husband’s severe TBI

BY: THERESA McCOLL

Where do I go from here?

There have been nights I waited for Norm to walk in the house at 5 p.m., when he used to finish work. But yet another day and night go by and no one walks through the door.

On Thursday April 28, 2011 our lives changed forever. Norm was in a very serious accident. The pick-up truck he was driving ended up underneath a tractor trailer.

As the days go by I am ok, the best I can be given the situation. But when the night comes, it’s a different story. The feeling of loneliness sets in, and without knowing it, tears start rolling down my face. I can’t find the off-switch.

I keep wanting to wake up from this nightmare, but it’s our reality. For over seven years, this has been my new normal. I find myself planning my life and his at the same time. It’s really scary knowing that I have to make decisions about my husband’s health.

I have learned how to drive a mobile van and how to secure Norm in place in his wheelchair. We go to the movies, dinner and to Toronto to check out places like the Hockey Hall of Fame. I am trying to give Norm a normal life even though I know he won’t get any better.

It feels like I have put my life on the back burner and become a full time caregiver.
I’ve gone back to school and took a Personal Support Worker course to get insight to help Norm in his new life. I have taken training courses through the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA), which have helped.

I am becoming more involved in Norm’s therapy. I assist Norm’s therapist with his treatment, such as assisting him in the therapy pool as he walks from one length of the pool to the other.

But I keep wondering  what happened to the golden years we worked so hard to enjoy? How am I supposed be a loving wife when I am living on my own?


After her husband’s injury, Theresa went back to school to become a Personal Support Worker. She has taken courses in brain injury, and is now a full time caregiver. You can follow her on Instagram, HERE

Advertisements

How we celebrate Christmas after my husband’s brain injury

BY: THERESA McCOLL

My husband, Norm, has lived in a long term care home since acquiring his brain injury six years ago. Each holiday, be it Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween or Christmas, the facility decorates the common areas, in attempt to give residents and their families a more festive experience.

To be honest, since Norm’s accident, I really haven’t felt like celebrating the holidays. Norm and I don’t have kids so why bother? It seems as though I am just going through the motions.

Thankfully, Norm and I have good people around us. We get a crew together to decorate Norm’s room each year. His brother, sister-in-law and friends come to help. They help bring out the holiday spirit – which is hard, as Norm doesn’t show many emotions.

Remember to take time for yourself. Even a walk around the block to clear your head, or sitting down to breathe can work wonders. If you don't look after yourself who will?

As much as possible, we try to keep things the same as before the accident. Christmas Eve we go to our parish church for mass. On Christmas Day we go to Norm’s brother’s to open presents and see the rest of the family. In the afternoon, Norm and I head over to our friends to wish them a Merry Christmas.

Despite this, our trips are more complicated now and planning is essential. When Norm and I go anywhere, I have to book the mobility van that is at his long term care facility. If the van is booked, I have to phone the taxi company. I have to strap Norm in with seat belts for safety. When we go out for Christmas dinner, to a restaurant or to friends, I have to make sure that Norm has a pureed meal to eat.

Remember to take time for yourself. Even a walk around the block to clear your head, or sitting down to breathe can work wonders. If you don't look after yourself who will?

 

At the end of the day, I think having family and friends around is all Norms needs as when they are around, he just beams.


After her husband’s injury, Theresa went back to school to become a Personal Support Worker. She has taken courses in brain injury, and is now a full time caregiver. You can follow her on Instagram, HERE