Jim and Yvonne Raisin's Story
When someone you love has a TBI, not only does his/her life change in an instant, your life changes, too. The life you and he/she had planned out is gone and a new life is formed. The hardest part about TBI is it takes months and sometimes years to get your lives on a new path. The first thing you will hear from the doctors and professionals is, "We do not know," and this is true — you do not know how long your loved one will take to recover or what he/she will get back. It is one of the hardest roads you will ever go down.
On April 4, 2006 our son was in a cycling accident. The first reports from the doctors were very grave. We were told that he could die at any moment and if he lived he would probably live the remainder of his life in a hospital bed, or at best, a wheelchair.
As caregivers, we read everything we could about TBI and talked to doctors, professionals, and other caregivers. We decided we wanted our son to have the most normal life he could live, and we wanted to have our lives back. So we took him out into the real world to eat in restaurants, to participate in family parties, to shop, and to experience life. We felt the real-world experiences helped speed up the connections in his brain and his recovery. There were times when we had to treat him like a 5-year-old, and for the parents of a 23-year-old, this was not easy. We cannot lie to you — at first it was very hard and the days were filled with lots of sadness. But as he slowly began to heal, we began to heal. It has been four years since Saul's TBI accident and he now is enrolled in college, driving his own car, and giving inspirational speeches all over the world.
We can tell you as caregivers that with hard work, love, and patience, the benefits of seeing your loved one getting better and enjoying life are fantastic. As Saul says, "There are blue skies ahead!"
Jim and Yvonne Raisin