This important book presents a unique, personal account of the impact a mild traumatic brain injury can have. It tells the story of Pauline, who was 33 when a late football tackle caused a bleed in her brain which went undiscovered for 18 months. The account includes descriptions of hidden symptoms of concussion and post-concussion syndrome, pitfalls in diagnoses, the uneven progress of recovery and the effect of the varied reactions which others have to an acquired brain injury.
The author incorporates memories alongside extracts from clinic notes, diary entries and emails to reflect the disjointed progress of diagnosis and recovery as- although similar- no two head injuries are the same. Through this book, the reader gains an appreciation of the confusion experienced by many brain injury survivors, which sheds light on why some may develop unusual behavior or mental health issues, and how such issues can be alleviated. Brain injuries are poorly understood by the general public and this can lead to difficult interactions. Moreover, complications in diagnosis means some may not realize they have this milder form of brain injury.
This book will enlighten brain injury survivors and affected families and allow professionals an insight into their patients’ experiences. As concerns grow over the risks which contact sports pose, this book shows how even mild brain injuries can wreak havoc with careers, relationships and one’s sense of self, but that a happy life can still be found.
Table of Contents
1. Brain Injury: The Incident & immediate aftermath
2. Clinical advice & symptoms: Just wait it out
3. Abandonment & support
4. Returning to normal after brain injury: Life gets in the way
5. Seeking professional help: Hard truths to face
6. Finding a diagnostic pathway: Enter the specialists
7. Hospital appointments: You wait ages then five come along at once
8. Dizziness and related treatments: It’s all in your head
9. Returning to former activities: Get out, do more stuff!
10. Vocational Rehabilitation: Work, once more, with feeling
11. Results of the brain scans: A voicemail diagnosis
12. Therapeutic and diagnostic orders: Much therapy, very wow
13. If it’s Tuesday, this must be a migraine
14. Fatigue management in the wild: Harder, faster, stronger
2017 & 2018: Pacing
15. Into the third year of recovery: Wait, is this normal?
16. Brain injury survivor: Who am I now?
17. Finding happiness within limitations: Who will I be?
Epilogue - Me, but different
Pauline O’Connor grew up in New Zealand where she gained a degree in Viticulture and Winemaking. She emigrated to London where a football (soccer) tackle led to a bleed in her brain. Pauline began writing during her recovery and documents her experience here and on the website: www.pigpen.page
"Incredibly vivid... this book will be of great benefit to professionals, survivors and their families alike." — Dr Neil Parrett, MA (hons), DClinPsy, PgDip, CPsychol Consultant Clinical Psychologist (Neurorehabilitation)