Brain Damage Advisory Council Member Spotlight: Amy Zellmer
On February 3, 2014 at 8 a.m., it was 10 down below zero as I started to walk down my building’s driveway with my doggy, Pixxie, securely tucked in my left arm. It’s amusing how we bear in mind the date so evidently — identical to the way we keep in mind our birthday or wedding ceremony anniversary.
I stepped on a patch of black ice, leading to my toes to go out from less than me. Because of the incline, I landed head initial on the driveway. I can however listen to the awful thud of my skull producing impact with the concrete ahead of briefly dropping consciousness.
When I sat up, I promptly knew one thing was terribly improper. The discomfort in my head was excruciating, and my vision was off-kilter and fuzzy. It took every ounce of electrical power I could muster to seize Pixxie’s leash and direct us again into my condominium prior to contacting my neighbor for aid.
She requested me who was President, to which I answered “Bill Clinton” (the reply should really have been Obama … I was off by various administrations). She requested what I ate for evening meal the evening before, and I couldn’t imagine of anything at all — my thoughts was blank. She gave me an ice pack to set on my head and explained to me she’d check on me later.
The reality that I was not capable to read anything, and I was observing places in my vision, remaining me experience fearful and concerned. I named a further close friend who instructed me to go see her physician/partner quickly.
Against my better judgment (I indicate, let’s be authentic, I was concussed), I selected to push myself the five miles to his place of work. He gave me a extensive test and advised me I experienced a fairly serious concussion, cervical spine C4 and C5 destruction, a dislocated sternum, and torn muscle mass in my neck, upper body, throat, and abdomen. I was instructed to consider the upcoming two months off and rest with no stimulation — like Tv, pc, audio, and studying.
I struggled alongside for a stable 10 months of aphasia, dizziness, harmony and coordination troubles, quick-phrase memory deficits, and a plethora of cognitive problems. The Neurologist I also frequented had explained to me to just “give it extra time,” and I turned additional and much more pissed off at my lack of ability to do uncomplicated responsibilities with no staying fatigued.
At the fifteen-thirty day period mark, I went back again to the Neurologist begging for aid. I requested for therapies that may well assist my memory and multi-tasking, to which she was skeptical that I would at any time get much better considering the fact that it was now over a yr since my damage. She did concede to ship me for CranioSacral Remedy and a NeuroPsychological test.
The NeuroPscyhologist mainly explained to me that I scored worse than a dementia individual, and that I obviously must not have tried using tricky enough –– and it was probably psychosomatic (meaning I was faking it). She then went on to explain to me I need to begin taking Ritalin, anti-depressants, and sleeping drugs. I politely declined her offer you and ran out of her workplace as promptly as I could.
Emotion defeated, I plugged together at existence for a further year right before a doctor go through just one of my Huffington Publish posts and attained out to me. Dr. Jeremy Schmoe stated that he was sure he could enable me, and we each transpired to are living in Minnesota.
I blew him off for a number of months, sensation skeptical as no one in the medical area had at any time really bothered to take the time to pay attention to me, permit by yourself believe that me. He was persistent and informed me to arrive in for a complimentary exam, so I figured I had almost nothing to get rid of.
His exam was two hours extensive, and integrated tests my eyes — and he instantly instructed me my eyes weren’t functioning jointly properly and that, merged with my cervical spine concerns, this is why I was sensation so dizzy and off equilibrium.
In just one particular week of intense solutions with Dr. Schmoe, I commenced to really feel a lot less dizzy and foggy. Bit by bit my other symptoms commenced to drift absent, and I was feeling greater than I had in in excess of two and a 50 % years. I continue to have flare-ups, but I sense fantastic a lot more days than not, which has given me back again a quality of everyday living that I was lacking.
My enthusiasm for supporting other survivors, caregivers, and health care providers has taken me throughout the place keynote speaking at conferences, producing for the Huffington Submit, Thrive International, BrainLine, Goodmen Venture, and many other publications, moderating a big “Amy’s TBI Tribe” Fb group, and also publishing my first 3 guides.
I believe that that this invisible injury is amazingly misunderstood, but it does not have to outline us. There is normally hope — no matter how lots of a long time you could have been battling. I have preferred to make the greatest of my situation and turned advocacy into my total-time enthusiasm.
How has the BIAC modified my lifetime?
In March 2015, just a single calendar year immediately after my injury, I was invited by one of my fellow Tribe users to show up at Brain Damage Consciousness Working day in Washington, D.C. This is the place I was first launched to the Mind Personal injury Affiliation of The united states, which I had no strategy existed up right until this issue. I was launched to Paul Bosworth, who took me underneath his wing and assisted me understand the ropes of BIA Working day. It was soon afterwards that I was requested to be a part of the Council wherever I have designed the most remarkable friendships. The BIAC has taught me that despite our deficits, we all have remarkable strengths, and when we operate together we can make an even more substantial impression on the mind injury neighborhood.
Image credit: FacesOfTBI.com