The Test Drive
On March 25th, 1971 I was offered a test drive in the new Porsche 914 – but the salesperson said that business policy was that the employee had to drive the car away from the dealership. I never got to drive the car. In fact it was years before I would get into a Porche 914. The salesperson drove up toward Skyline Boulevard and seemed not to care for the Speed Limit. Then he began a curving right turn at 85 mph (posted at 35 mph) and when he started to shift down a gear, he could not get it into the lower gear. The car drifted across the center line of the 2-lane road – into the path of a Plymouth sedan. We collided.
When I awakened, all was dark. Then I began to hear something, so faint that I could not tell what it was. The sound repeated, becoming louder – someone was saying
Are you OK? Are you OK?
My vision began to return and I moved back onto the seat. I had been lying on the floor in front of the passenger seat.
I was helped out of the car, and I heard someone say
and someone put something on my head. An ambulance came and took me back into Portland to a hospital and I drifted in and out of consciousness. I remember being in an operating room and someone was doing something with the top of my head. Then a voice said
Better call the resident neurosurgeon.
I awoke sometime later and – evidently the neurosurgeon – said “Don’t take such small stitches, get him sewed up to stop the bleeding.”
How did I get Home?
I am still not clear how I got home. The hospital released me with a turban bandage and a concussion that later tests said caused “15% permanent brain damage in the memory and short-term memory areas.” It still seems strange that I can remember those words, when my memory is so sporadic.
That is probably the worst concussion I have had, but that’s just conjecture. With nine concussions, how can we know what is the “worst” of them?
Living with Brain Damage
This blog will contain my thoughts and feelings about traumatic brain injury (TBI), as I am able to move into the memories, the details of living with brain damage, the research about TBI, and the Good News.
The Good News, so this first post ends on a positive note: Our brains “over-learn.” They store information in different areas of the brain about how to speak, how to write, how to ride a bicycle and much more. Recovering from brain injuries for me is really a process of
- Getting past the “I don’t want to look at what happened. I don’t want to do exercises that remind me of new limitations.”
- Getting myself to do the mental exercises that connect the existing pieces of information to the others.
- Relearning some missing information, skills, and building new habits.
Also, you can read the follow up Post here.
Let me know your thoughts about this post, will you? I appreciate it.