TBI One Love Survivor Greg Nordfeld
Hello, my name is Greg. I was a 35-year banking executive, family man and adrenaline junky when in 2011, I nearly lost my life after a Harley accident. When I woke from a coma with a life-altering traumatic brain injury (my third TBI), I was faced with relearning how to speak, read, write and walk again. To be alive while grappling unexpected obstacles, gave me a new purpose and voice. I found myself radically changed with a new personality and drive. The old Greg was gone.
My wife Laura watched me crash from her Harley and saved my life with her EMT skills in a lava rock ditch and kept me alive for 45 minutes until Life Flight arrived near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. In the aftermath, she was overwhelmed with grief, worry and post-traumatic stress, taking on the brunt of the burden of our lives. I was having a very different experience in the ICU. No one knew it, but a near-death experience landed me in a state of euphoria and sea of love, where no negativity or pain could penetrate my blissful “safe place.”
My neurosurgeon and critical care team at Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene saved my life again after my gruesome accident. After two weeks in a coma, I was flown to Neuro Rehab at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah where I had my first memory. The IMC physicians, therapists and medical professionals gave me invaluable recovery tools, enabling me to work earnestly to rebuild basic human skills and eventually return back to my Senior Management position at Zions Bank.
Laura, however, was getting a crash-coarse training as my full-time caregiver. She was forced into a new TBI caregiver role she never asked for with a changed man she had to fall in love with for a second time. She is my hero and eventually started Utah’s first Brain Injury Caregiver Support Group.
In my early recovery after being released from the hospital, I began writing down the sticky notes Laura posted around our house in order to stop asking her what happened because I had no short-term memory. Overtime, I wrote the stories Laura and our family told me in order to recreate the month of memory I lost. My writing evolved into writing about all the medical charting notes from Life Flight, Kootenai Health and Intermountain Medical Center. Over my first year of rehab, I wrote my storied timeline in a armature memoir titled, “Warmth and a Bad Fish.” On our Harley ride, I ate a trout at a diner that tasted off. I ate it anyway because I was starving. The bad trout gave me food poisoning, which caused me to pass out on my Harley and crash.
Eventually, I transitioned into Inspirational Keynote Speaking and joined the National Speakers Association and local Mountain West Chapter. I wanted to find a co-author to help me write my memoir into a publishable book. Sheila Ashdown, an educated author from Portland, and I spent two years writing my memoir, “RIDE ON: Adventures in Traumatic Brain Injury.” Angie Fenimore and Michael Sheen, owners of Calliope Press, trained me in creative writing and completed the final edit. They published RIDE ON in October and it is now available on Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/0578403358gregnordfelt.com
Thanks you for letting me join this helpful Family!