Rehabilitation After Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): a Helen Hayes Hospital Patient Testimonial

My name is Angela Lee Tucker and on July
31st 2008 my husband Rich and I were driving home from a Yankees baseball
game, on the New York State Thruway. An 18-wheeler on the other side of the
median jackknifed over a concrete wall and crashed into us. Six weeks later I
awoke at Westchester Medical Center and found out that my husband was killed in
the crash. The injuries I sustained due to car crash are significant. So
significant that I don’t remember them all, so I have them written down in my
phone and I’ll read them to you. I had a left frontal hemorrhage, a right
parietal contusion, a bilateral subarachnoid hemorrhage, a bi frontal
hemorrhagic contusion, intraventricular hemorrhage, a left occipital condyle
fracture. The doozy was the c1 vertebra fracture, a left scapula fracture, left
ribs one two and three. Third nerve palsy, that’s why I have double vision now, and
I was a Glasgow Coma Scale of three. A Glasgow Coma Scale begins at 3 and ends
somewhere like seven or eight and I was least likely to survive, but thanks to
Helen Hayes I’m here. What I loved most about the therapists at Helen Hayes
Hospital is they treated me with tough love that they they treated me not as a
number or patient in a particular room that this person was here and we had to
fix them. I really feel like Helen Hayes was a family. I don’t recall the details
but being at Helen Hayes kind of felt like being at a college campus. There was
a schedule, a routine, that you had to be in certain rooms at a certain time. That
was part of the therapy built-in was to help me map out where I was going next
when, what time, to make sure that I could organize and plan
my day properly, and there were times when they would help me practice.
Okay now from this session, where is the next session? So I do remember that part
of reorganizing and learning how to re figure out my calendar because being at
Helen Hayes is a busy, busy job of healing. Life after the traumatic brain injury
has been entirely new. The way I refer to it is, Angela one died on July 31st 2008
and Angela two was born that very same night. Angela one & two are very different
people. Angela one was the vice president of a
public relations firm, she’s just been promoted to partner of the firm, managing
a team of talented PR executives, millions of dollars of accounts, could
multitask like the best of them. Angela two finds it challenging to multitask.
Walks a little slower, sleeps a lot more, but understanding
these two versions of myself allows me to wholly love and appreciate who I am
now. I think that the greatest challenge for those who face a brain injury is
gaining acceptance. So many of us want to want to become, returned to who we
once were, and for me, I embrace that as, that person died, and those shoes no
longer fit anymore, so I love Angela two. Angela two has gone on
to do incredible things. I am the chairwoman of the New York City
chapter of the Brain Injury Association of New York State. I am on their board of
directors. I serve on their new development committee. I go up to Albany
four times a year to make important decisions for the state. I think that
this healing journey has brought me to a better version of the best version
of that I can be. So to everyone in Helen Hayes, on your healing journey,
from, from brain injuries, whatever your healing journey is, I
assure you and I would like to fill you with confidence that life only gets
better after Helen Hayes. Beginning at Helen
Hayes, once you leave those doors there’s such potential such possibility.
They give you the tools and and retrain me how to walk and talk,
read and write, and that it’s what’s within us that we bring from Helen Hayes
out into the world that continues our incredible stories.

2 thoughts on “Rehabilitation After Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): a Helen Hayes Hospital Patient Testimonial

  1. I hope this video inspires those who are currently on their healing journey at Helen Hayes Hospital. Have faith that our lives will continue to improve thanks to the incredible treatment we received there.

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