• Survivor or Caregiver


Hello, my name is Betty.

 I am a Navy wife, and was born and raised in Minnesota. Which when I was a young teenager I was in a car that rolled a few times till coming to a stop. I had my first concussion then, even if the term was getting your bell rang. 

Fast forward years later in life. Then the next would be when we moved to the Virginia Beach, VA in 1997 for a new duty station, that my husband would be at. In Jan of 1998 at Noon working for Target I was ran over a car, mostly my legs and ankles. I was able to reach out and keep most of me from going under the car. I crap the shopping cart frame in the parking lot. I pull my muscle in my back, arms, mostly. I just in shock, I have to say I have a higher level of pain threshold. The dumb manager called off the EMT's and the Police. I drove myself to a clinic. Almost passed out I could tell my body was going into shock and I needed to be awake. I am not sure if that cause any head trauma All of that is a mess of a story, 

I had a few rear ends when I was at stop signs or lights and had been hit from the driver not stopping. Each of those I had a whiplash from, most hits were at 30 to 35 mph. My car never had hardly damage.  And by the last one I had C5 and C6 damage. I would end up having surgery with metal plates and etc. about 2 years later. I had a few other surgeries but for other things before my MTBI.

Then came Feb 7. 2010 (my MTBI I was 49 years old when it happens) it was Super Bowl night. My son was out of town, and so was my husband, still active duty. My daughter at the time was 14 years old. I told her I was running out for a few things, I be home no later than 8 pm. We had snow and ice, which had not melted much. I parked in the driveway at 7:50 pm I put the bag and my handbag down in the garage. Then thought I really should start my husband's car it has sat for a week. It’s a winter thing with me. I turned around took a couple of steps and I slipped on the ice in are driveway which angled down a hill. I try to reach out to something. Just thin air, and I hit hard on my tailbone on the driveway and fall backwards hitting the back of my head on frozen ground and the left side of my head hit the bricks that line a walkway. I really never thought I had passed out. I just remembering rolling over in the worst pain of my whole life. I had my cell and keys still in my hands. I guess that might have been good. I hit speed dial into our home. My daughter couldn't understand me she noticed my car was home and came out to help me. My first thought was always to be Mom. I only had her to take care of and it was the first thing over me. I was crying and all I thought I need to take care of her. 

Well she helps me up and I had a warm leather jacket on. but my jeans were frozen and my legs felt like ice. I just wanted out of the ice cold clothes and into warmer ones. I look at the clock but it never really meant anything to me. I got warm clothes on, ran things like what day it is, where I am. I just question myself to see if I could think. I thought I did fine. I got an ice pack for my head and tailbone. I then tried to call my husband with his command out in CA. I couldn't reach him. So I called my Mother in law she is a retired RN. I told her I fall and hit my head hard. big lump but I didn't feel any blood. She asks me a few questions. I told her I see a Dr the next day. I wanted to be home and warm. I stayed up for a few extra hours and I seemed ok so I went to bed and got up the next morning. Send my daughter to high school and I went to work. I really couldn't sit down well it hurt a lot. My head had a big bump and it was very sore to touch. 

I did see a Dr and later I had been able to reach my husband, again I never thought I had passed out. I work my full time hours at the largest credit union in the world, we served the military. So I saw the Dr and I seemed fine, was told to watch for signs and come back if needed or follow up with my normal PC Dr. I seemed ok just sore. X-ray on tailbone good. etc. 5 days later as I am getting out of the shower. I bend over in major pain, it felt like someone hit my left side of my head with an ax. My PC Dr was book, so I went to see the other one. He wanted me to have a CT Scan. I was going to drive to the military naval hospital. He wanted me at the closer ER. Soon I went and waited over 7 hours and non-thing. I left came home to check on my daughter. Then call the Dr told him no one had been seen at that ER, drove to the Naval ER. That was a wasted of time..Dr in the ER made a joke about me not liking the wait out in town. I passed the look here and do this and do that test again. Pain was gone by then. So a few weeks pass and I seem ok. Hubby comes home, and one month from my fall. I get out of the shower and it feels like a burst of warm water over my left head, and my face is going numb. I call my hubby at work, he gets home from the base and drives me into the Naval ER. I don't remember much of the drive. I can't move my left arm hardly its going into my leg. I get seen ASAP, now my husband is super worried and scared. One Dr comes and sees me and then second, third, and fourth and fifth Dr. comes in... OMG Each with a different reason. Only the first one wants me to spend the night and be watched. He wins the battle I can hear them but I can't talk to well and I want to sleep. 

I spend the night with EKG hook up and etc. I fine by the morning. Hubby shows up and now the Dr three is there, telling me I needed 80 mgs of Lipitor? WHAT my blood work was a few weeks ago and I was at 180, he is telling me I am too high and etc. I agree and go home. then my world falls apart. One week later the world is all spinning around, lights are too bright, sounds are to loud, I taste metal in my mouth. I have no energy. I see my PC Dr she cuts me down to 40 mgs of Lipitor and orders an MRI and MRA and gets me set up to see a Neurologist. 

So fall Feb. 7, 2010....ER March 6, 2010 See Neurologist is now set for April 6, 2010. Had my image testing done, now my PC Dr wants my job to give me FML. Guess what they said NO... I am a loan officer and I work ATM's and you name it. I having major issues with short term memories. Now I am scared I am going to make a mistake. I can walk without handing on to walls. I can't talk to well. Everything is in slow motion to me. Jets from the base fly's over us all the time. I want to be sick. I can't blow dry my hair; I can't bring myself to put make up on. I look like hell and yet they will not let me go. I am getting jokes about me made from a few of them. I had work there over 10 years! I am so hurt. every time I am home I lay down I can't do any more. I know I am losing it and I want to talk but the words will not come out. I can 't type an email to my family in MN. I can't spell, I can't anything. Yet I am pushing to do the best. Mistake, but I do it without know I shouldn't. 

April 6th comes, and the Caption in Neurology is talking to me and my husband. I told him everything. Then he asked me how do you know you didn't pass out. Well I know what time I got in the drive way 7:50 pm. He asks me husband to check my cell call records for that night. I called into my house at 8:25 pm He says you had to have passed out, now his best guess is somewhere from 15 to 20 minutes. Well that's it..I can't talk even I look at my husband and I want him to talk for me but the Dr makes me talk it’s like pulling words out of me...I am fight with myself to talk to tell him anything. My Neurologist is madder cause his accounts are all with who I work for. I told him everything they did to me. He signed me out of work and if they didn't give it to me he would be calling up a few people. I finally found someone that knew what I was going though! When I left his office I felt like the weight of the world was off me. I was scared, I knew I wasn't the same. My head felt numbed, and it take all the energy I can pull together to do anything. 

I would have vertigo for over 4 months, sounds and lights were killing me for over a year. I love music and I couldn't handle it. I was scared to drive, I started to see black shadows all the time in my left eye. April is my husband birthday and our anniversary. Both I don't remember. I just was numb; time didn't mean anything. I would seat outside at evenings in a rope chair hanging from a tree. I would watch them though the patio door. It was dark outside, but it was good to me, no sounds. They would then watch TV. I would forget to come in and they would have to come get me. I was at peace hanging there. It was my one place I would learn to sit at more and more. I would nap in the day time with hat and shades. I wake up finding all the birds and bunnies around I just look at them and not move. Both the MRI and MRA and yes a CT Scan were good. Even though my Neurologist said that doesn't mean I don't have damage or something wrong that the test can't see. I would break down in tears daily, my moods and feelings were all over but mostly it was down and sad. I must had said I am sorry a dozen times a day. for months. 

He had me out 30 days of work and even then my one manager and supervisor would call me and ask me when I am coming back, I would just end up crying, and scared. I knew I wasn't ready. This I would be half smart enough to write down in my date book. Every Dr's apt, call or anything I thought I should do to remember what I could. I used to post notes all over my house. My neurologist would call in three weeks and told me to come back in the next day. Which I could. He was getting ship out to Afghanistan. I ask him to sign me out for another 30 days and he would. He knew I wasn't ready to. This time I told him I was leaving my notice to quit my job. He looked at me and I reminded him that he said stress wouldn't let me heal. My job was stressing me even on sick leave with phone calls. I just didn't have it in me to fight them. My husband helps me to leave my job. It wasn't fun either I had to go into my office and get on a computer and do a whole long form to leave. Thank goodness he would help me. It was like a big weight lifted off my shoulders. Now for all of this my husband is active duty Navy, and part of his job is travel. He hates to leave me but he had to a few times. I did manage to help my daughter get out the door for high school. She is worried about me to; one night I try to help her with a history question. I read the question find the little paragraph that has the answer. I try to show her, and I can’t, I forget it. I do it over 6 times in a row. She looks at me with big eyes and says its ok Mom. We'll learn together. I just break down in tears. The one week my husband is gone is the scariest time for me. He made sure we had everything we needed. I don't want to drive if I can help it. It scares me to drive to. When I left my job they wanted to give me a going away dinner. My husband drove me and I wore sunglasses the whole time. Some of my coworkers were surprised I didn't drive myself. I am the independent navy wife. I was scared to drive, none of them got that. I was touch that others I had worked with but no longer in my office came to see me that night. Then I had a couple of supervisors that told me to have fun in the sun down at the beach! What the idea again. I had asked them all when they force me to work unless I wanted to get a doctor’s note every day I was going to be out. Which would be driving to the Dr's and then having the note fax up to the Nurse at Head Quarters.  Even the Nurse up there seem well on the hopeless side to. 

This is long, and I feel like it’s to much and I am sorry but I am not sure how much you want to know either. 

I notice more and more black shadows on my left side, and I tell my Neurologist. He has the specialist at the Naval hospital set me up with an appointment.

I had a specialist eye dr check my vision out. He told me not to worry when I didn't pass the field of vision. ok, fine I can't stress. I just think I must limit my stress always.  I seem to be falling apart at least to me. My whole family is always popping up. It’s about a year later I was having trouble with everyone was scaring me I never heard them coming. So hearing check, well I got hearing aids, I am not to bad but it’s nice to have them now. About 2 years later I pass the field of vision test again same Dr at the Naval hospital and then I passed the test. Then he showed me I had lost 80% I now have most of it back just missing 5 % now. I was never given any real therapy. I was told to read, which was not as easy as it sounds. I would read and re-read the same over a few times. Well, I saw my normal eye doctor and had new glasses with permit tinted. Each year that has passed from my MTBI I have changed my glasses from dark brown tint to black tint and now at transitions. I do keep a darker tinted for when I need them. This year I was told I have dry eye disease, so eye drops 4 times a day. I got better sunglass that are Rx and they are wrap around's. I really wish I had done that sooner. It’s nice to have more bright light blocked out. It’s nice not to have the feeling of a pin poking right behind my left eye, and at times it happens to my right eye. 

I do get migraines and that has been not fun. I take my night time med which is amitriptyline it would help me to sleep. It was to help to warn off migraines. Which after a year from the brain injury I would need them. I started off on maxalt but after a year on that it stopped working, then I was moved to zomig. So far that works when I need it. My doze of amitriptyline has change, I started at 10mg and had to work up to 25 mgs only shortly to go to 50mg. Then in March of 2012 my husband was driving and I was with him. It was rush hour traffic and we were on the interstate. I glad we were in his truck; I am sure my car wouldn't have fair to well. He is about to exit and its crazy busy like always. It’s also an older model interstate pattern. Everyone is either getting off or coming on, sure just scaring me then it happens. A car hits us very hard ...I can't move and my husband looks at me and I told him I am not sure if I am hurt. Well he checks the driver that hit us, I can see in the rear view mirror that his air bags went off. The truck in front of us the driver comes to see if I am ok to. The 911 call goes out and I still not sure about how I feel. but I started to hurt all over again. So the EMT's have to come and that means the firetruck comes. My husband, (Tom) tells me don't move don't even try to turn your head. I am getting loaded up and it hurting even more my head, neck and my whole back now. The driver that hits us, says his breaks were not to good and the sheriff estimates he hit us at 50 mph.  I am like NO NO NO not more. On my special ride I happen to have a third new EMT person. OMG she asked what is DOA? Driver screams out she is not dead on arrival. I had a CT scan and I am told my C7 took damage, oh just really and the pain is all the way from my head, neck over 2/3 of my back. Yes, another concussion on top of my MTBI. My neurologist is at not more and tells me not only should I not be in a car I shouldn't leave my home. He has a point even if he is trying to make me smile and feel sorry for me to. That turns up more physical therapy for my back and up amitriptyline to 100 mgs. I just end up in bed few weeks and I can't stop crying more than once a day it seems like the whole day and for weeks. I am emotional feel broken now.  

I don't know how or why I seem to have the worst luck on things in life, but I did get the best luck when I meant my husband Tom. I have a list of bad things I've had to deal with from the time I was a little girl. None of them has to do with my concussions. I broke down in a few therapy appointments, I feel like I am always battling life and surviving. My rock aka hubby / Tom has stood by me and help me to overcome many issues. Yes, I have had talks with therapist, I had a lot of over come from my childhood, dark places that no child should have to go through. After one injury and the next and the next I started to feel like why me...and not again, why? and I had two Doctors in the naval hospital put down things on my records that I never said. Another injury and I am crying for weeks and feeling like I wish I had never woken up from hitting the bricks that night with my head. I am not working and soon my husband will retire from the Navy after 26 years of service.  I have always made sure we stayed in a budget and now I am stressed over how my injury will play’s only been over 2 years. 

I did once run out of my amitriptyline meds three days. I wasn't aware that Tom could have took my military ID and get the three days I needed before my refill would have been ready for pick up. I laid in my bed for three days and nights. It was like an ax was in my left side of my head. I hurt so bad and sounds and lights hurt more. I hardly could sleep...and I just sucked up the pain. I never want to go through that again. Now most of my meds come mailed to my home and I get three months on hand at a time. Plus, they mail them out when I have one month left. It has really saved me the worry. The dark room for three days and nights and I couldn't eat I would feel sick to. NO I never want to feel that again ever. 

Well lets fast word again...I deal with migraines and short term memory problems, I get emotional more and worry that my husband would leave me or cheat on me. I have a hard time trusting people at times. I have loss friends, I never had any special treatments or therapy to go though at the hospital. I would try to google about what happen to me. Why did I get this odd water bubble that broke inside under my hair that felt like it washed over my brain and left side of face? I once found a page that a neurologist talked about was the only one and well that laptop sort of died and I got the book marks to transfer to my new laptop.  I have come to terms that I feel more down and that my trust issues are really of no reasons. We been married now 28 years and 10 before that we dated. So 38 years together guess we are doing pretty good. He is retired and finish his college education. Then life had its twists and turns, so far we are making it. I am not sure how we do it at times. We don't get any extra's like vacations and that right now. But that's ok. I have thought about filing for social security disability, I once started online...and didn't finish it...personal it scares the hell out of me. If you ever saw the amount of forms to file out and etc. I ask my navy neurologist about me maybe trying to work again. He said he believes I would have more migraines and then he tells me this " I don't know if you can learn something new"......OMG...what I do know I knew before. I have to say a few weeks ago I was going thought a lot with my daughter in her Jr year in college. She broke down crying so hard and well I called the college and I had a meeting with the president, dean, and 2 of her teachers, and my daughter and both of us mom and dad were there. It lasted 2 hours. She on a break for summer and will be back in fall now. However, the night before I couldn't sleep I try everything. I don't do sleeping pill. Well major migraine and it lasted for most of the week. It was like my brain had a hard time releasing the stress. Wow, that showed me a new place of PCS. 

Note since I cut my amitriptyline down to 50 mgs so I can lose some weight. I added 5 mg of melatonin and 500 mgs of Magnesium. I will not do sleeping pills as in OTC or Rx ones. I once at the age of 24 had been in burn out for a number of years and self-hurt and I try back then to take my own life twice. Well I didn't do well did I? I sort of joke about it.but I know you shouldn't either. 

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All