Your Husband had a Traumatic Brain Injury – Living with a TBI

Your Husband had a Traumatic Brain Injury - Living with a TBI
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In December 2001, I answered the phone to the news that every wife fears. Bradley, my husband of three years, was in an accident. He was riding his motorcycle on a country road. His crotch rocket hit gravel and he went down at high-speed. Brad was in serious condition with a Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI, and he was being flown from our small town of “population 3000” to a big city hospital, an hour away. My stomach was in knots as a friend drove me to the hospital.

Your Husband had a Traumatic Brain Injury - Living with a TBI

I was not allowed to see my husband when I arrived at the hospital because he was literally out of his mind. At the scene of the accident, Brad was having seizures and fighting the paramedics. They sedated him for the helicopter ride to the hospital. After being admitted he broke the restraints that held him to the hospital bed and was now wearing heavy-duty cuffs. All of this can be “normal” for a traumatic brain injury, even though the words normal and brain injury don’t belong together.

Bradley was wearing a motorcycle helmet and armored clothing. He did not break a single bone in his body but he rattled his brain around inside his skull, bruising and tearing sensitive tissue. Without his helmet, I have no doubts he would be dead or worse. Brad was heavily sedated for a few days and upon awakening, he was not the man he was before. He spent 28 days in the hospital and in-house rehab therapy for his injury. Thankfully he did not need surgery because the internal swelling went down on its own. On the downside, Brad could not talk, walk, or think properly.

A stroke is a kind of brain injury. Brad’s brain injury was brought about by outside forces, not a battle within like a stroke, but there are similarities. Stroke victims may have to learn to walk, talk, and think again. Brad had to relearn all of these simple things too. For him, much of it was still floating around inside his head but the pieces were not connected. Such as:

  • He was awake but not really awake. He would say and do things that no one could understand. At times he was like a child. Not only was his speech ineligible but so was his thinking.
  • He had to learn to walk without a walker. He had no balance and he could not support himself without help.
  • He would brush his teeth six times in one morning because he did not remember brushing them. Short-term and long-term memory were affected.
  • His dreams were real to him. The science-fiction books he loved were coming to life. One night I was leaving for home, (because by law I could not stay overnight at rehab therapy), and Brad was worried to the point of tears about my safety because “the robots” were out to get us.
  • He could not understand where he was or why he was there. Rehab had to put an alarm under his bed for his safety. When he got up the alarm went off.

When we came home Brad was improving a little every day. He continued outpatient therapy for a month or so, but that is as long as our insurance would cover it. We drove an hour each way to therapy to make sure he was receiving the best care. On one trip I caused an accident with a dump truck. I was stressing and not paying attention. You can never prepare for someone you love and live with to have a TBI. A lady who lived down the street from us in Kentucky left her husband after he had a TBI at work. It was a sad situation. His injury was severe and he did not heal as well as Brad. He went to live with his parents even though they had kids together. I wish they could have stayed together.

How Does a Person Live with a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Never give up. People who don’t know my husband would never assume he had a TBI. Eventually, he went back to work. It’s crazy how the brain works but he did not forget how to do trim carpentry. That doesn’t mean it went smoothly. Brad’s father and brother were there for him, as well as his hardworking employees. His long-term memory was deeply impacted. As the years go by, he forgets more and more of our time together. Sometimes he will remember small details like flashes of light, and is happy for these. Brad knows people who remain close to him but if we lose track of individuals for long periods of time, he forgets about them. Brad is better at math after his TBI and is claustrophobic after his TBI. How is that for weird? I have known this guy since we were 11. I mean, we were close growing up. We have been best friends for 25 years. Brad is different after his Traumatic Brain Injury. A couple of our friends said he was sweeter. He has always had a sweet spot for me, so I don’t know on that one :-)

Brad worked hard for nine years after his TBI. Yes, nine years. There were so many things that happened behind the scenes, things I won’t share. I can tell you that this was not easy for anyone. Unfortunately with Brad’s brain injury, as time passed he developed more problems, or maybe he just couldn’t hide them anymore. During in-patient therapy, Brad’s psychologist said this could happen. TBI victims are prone to dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well. Brad was having complex partial seizures in his frontal lobe. This caused aggression, disruptive behavior, anger, swearing, and blackouts. The more stress he was under, the most seizures Brad experienced. After the particularly bad ones, he would be drained of energy, have headaches, and dizziness for a week at a time. We needed the help of family and friends to get through those times. We had to make changes, especially Brad. They included:

  • Avoiding anything that causes seizures or blackouts. For Brad this was dehydration, becoming over-heated, hitting his head, energy drinks, alcohol, overexertion, strong chemical fumes, and the worst and hardest to control, stress.
  • Taking prescribed medication as needed. This stuff all has side effects but sometimes it’s necessary. We went through several medicines before we found what helped Brad.
  • See your doctors. Rehab doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and family doctors. They can help, especially if you have to apply for SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance.
  • Cutting back on work. Brad went from running a company to working part-time and this still wasn’t enough. He had to sell his company shares to his father, leave the business, and apply for SSDI or disability. Then we declared bankruptcy, finally moving to Mexico, where our life is much simpler and calmer.
  • Realize your limitations and accept them. For Brad, this has been the hardest part of this journey but with humility and sacrifice come blessings and happiness. Eventually.

How Do I Live with Brad’s TBI?

The same thing, never give up. Sometimes I want to. Traumatic brain injuries are hard. This TBI was not our first rodeo in our time together. When we were dating Brad had a serious auto accident. He lost a lot of blood and almost an entire arm. Both of these accidents were very traumatic for him and his family. I am not going to lie. They sucked for me too. I have suffered from PTSD for many years due to these accidents and the aftereffects of the TBI. In the States, I had therapy, which helped me cope. Only since moving to Mexico have I been able to function without Clonazepam or therapy. My panic attacks are practically a thing of the past and the bad dreams are lessening as well. Life is going on and it’s not leaving me behind.

I love my husband and our beautiful children. I love Mexico and our new life here. I am very happy that Brad is realizing his limitations. He is a good husband and father. Things can always be worse. The TBI could have dealt us more damage and pain. What more can I ask for than what I have now?

How Should You View a Traumatic Brain Injury?

With care. Remember the following if you meet someone with a TBI or if someone you love has a TBI:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury is a serious injury.
  • It may be a disability for this individual.
  • Their personality may change. This can be good or bad!
  • They may say or do things that don’t make sense. They may lose their filter between their brain and their mouth.
  • Don’t treat this person differently. Give them the respect they deserve.
  • Don’t let this person mistreat you because they have a disability. It’s not an excuse for bad behavior, although it may be a reason.
  • Their life is not necessarily over and neither is yours. Never give up.

The reason I write this is because a TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury can be very hard to understand. For one thing, no two brains are alike and no two injuries are alike. The brain is the world’s coolest and most advanced supercomputer. It can not always be fixed and it does not always heal correctly. Many war veterans return to the US with a TBI. It is an injury everyone needs to be aware of. You can’t assume, “That person is drunk.” or “That person is mentally incompetent.” Many times a TBI will present itself like drunken behavior or mental illness. A doctor once told me that the TBI was a past injury. Perhaps but I live with its scars every day and I am only the wife. Do you know what my husband is going through? A little understanding can go a long way.

I can only hope that sharing part of our experience with Traumatic Brain Injury will help others dealing with this situation. Take what advice works for you and leave the rest :-) Signing off in Mexico, Tina

Originally published July 29th, 2015

22 thoughts on “Your Husband had a Traumatic Brain Injury – Living with a TBI

  1. Claire says:

    My heart goes out to both of you. 9 years ago I suffered a severe TBI as well and, as I read your story, I cried. My broken bones healed and many initial brain issues resolved within the first couple of years. But…I had changed. Things no one would see from the outside… memories forever lost, resilience replaced by anxiety. The frustration of being unable to complete tasks the way you used to. Unfortunately, dear sister, this is one shared experience I’m not happy to discover that we have in common. Jehovah has helped us in ways we could not have imagined over the years, so stay close to him and the brotherhood. My love and prayers to you and your husband.

  2. Megan says:

    I know I am very late to this, but had to tell you how well written this post was. I work with men & women with TBIs and have often wondered what it’s like for the families who don’t get to “clock out” at the end of the day. Best wishes and prayers to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      I was hoping this post would offer a bit of insight to what a TBI is really like for all involved. It isn’t something that goes away. Thank you for reading Megan and leaving me a comment :-) I am happy you found it helpful!

  3. Deew says:

    Hi Tina,
    I just stumbled upon your blog. I too, have a husband who suffers from TBI due to a car accident in 2011. Although not officially diagnosed, I did some research a year after the accident and found out about TBI. I noticed a lot of changes in him. Little things will annoy him and he’ll yell or get upset. His depression got worse, he sleeps a lot and also his memories has been choppy. Sometimes he remembers things that happened 30 years ago, and forgets things that are recent. Memories of our life when we were starting our family were forever lost. In the beginning before I read about the TBI, I thought he was just making things up. I used to get so upset with him because he even remembered his first girlfriend and their outings together, but couldn’t remember our events!
    I am trying my best to understand and work with him, but at times I feel as if I am no longer needed in this marriage. Things that he does and says….
    Thanks for reading my rant, I hope and pray my situation changes, before I decide to let go. I am glad you’re doing well in Mexico, take care!


    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      I am very sorry you and your husband have to experience this Dee. Communication, patience, and understanding are very important qualities for TBI caregivers. Be sure to pick a good time and be calm when communicating. Also, your husband needs to take action on his part by seeing a doctor, possibly many doctors. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right person to help you. For us, it took a psychiatrist in Mexico and a few prescription medications, and this was after many years! Just don’t give up on doctors or medicine and hopefully, your husband will agree to get some help. Take care and I wish you the best, Tina

      PS Your comment went to my spam so I didn’t find it right away :-( Sorry about that!

  4. A K says:

    I lost my wife to a tbi. She was in a wreck on the interstate and her airbag did not deploy and steering wheel met head. Concussion for months and a tbi. She was no longer the woman I married. She lied, she was secretive, she was talking to other men, she was mean and cruel. I never forgot my vows and I was prepared to do anything to help her. She moved while I was working. She lives 70 miles away and I’ve seen her once since April (it’s almost Sept) In the handful of times I’ve talked to her it’s all manipulation and lies. To paraphrase the Grateful Dead “She’s gone and nothing’s gonna bring her back”. I still haven’t figured out how to process this. I go to therapy but I miss my wife so much. Death is logical. An instant change to another persona is baffling. I’m not getting divorced. She did not ask for this. I might never see her again. I’ll remember the woman I loved and continue to devote myself to her as if she were here. I took off my wedding ring because I couldn’t look at it anymore. It became a ring of pain. All these months later during a pandemic I’m starting to grieve. I have no support system. My daughter from my first marriage does not need to hear me dump on her about a woman who isn’t her mother. She’s only 13.

    “I wonder if this grief will ever let me go”. Sade “King of Sorrow”

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      I am very sorry that you have to experience this. How terrible for you! For me personally, two scriptures give me comfort. Isaiah 33:24 says “No resident will say I am sick.” And Revelation 21:4 promises “He will wipe out every tear from their eyes,” and pain will be no more! I am thankful to have hope for a better future with my husband where he will no longer be sick or in pain! I hope they help you feel better as well. If you feel like it, you can visit this article for more info: What Will God’s Kingdom Accomplish? Tina

  5. Sherry L Hume says:

    how long do you continue with therapy for the tbi survivor? I’m only 10 months post injury and I have no idea what the future will hold for us. God does and I’m clinging to that. fortunately my husband can physically care for himself but at this time we’ve been told he will not be able to return to work – my hope is that someday he will be able to given the opportunity . our biggest argument right now is me not giving him the keys to the car as i have been told not to let him drive which makes him incredibly angry with me. I have always been in great health but as a caregiver yourself – you know the toll it takes on your body. My husband is oblivious to the fact that he even has an injury and is in better health other than the TBI than he has ever been. Just the opposite for me. Am I looking at a lifetime of going to dr appts, therapy and counseling sessions?

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      Each person is different Sherry. Each brain is different. It took my husband many years to accept his disability. It was better for both of us afterward. Now 20 years after the accident, he is taking three medications that help him cope with the brain injury and they work very well for his symptoms. As far as therapy, it comes and goes over the years. As life changes, other problems arise, and we get older, we may see a therapist as needed and then we may not see a therapist when things are better. Since your husband’s injury was recent, I highly recommend learning everything you possibly can about TBI and get as much help as is available. Before my husband could drive he had to take a test ftom rehab. And then later when he had seizures, it was put on his drivers license for safety. Much can also be learned if you know the areas that were damaged in the brain. Because each injury is also different. I wish you the best. It can be a long road. Tina

  6. Sherry L Hume says:

    Yes I am certain this is going to be a very long road – not one I want to travel but will make the trip. Thank you for your reply.

  7. Amanda says:

    Hello Tina, my husband was in a dirt bike accident and suffered multiple broken bones, a fail chest, and a DAI TBI. I had our 3 year old and our 3 month old at the time. It’s been 2 years since the accident, and we are extremely lucky he’s made such a good recovery and is able to be resuming life almost the same as before. If you asked him today the only change for him is pain, he rarely complains about it but I know it has to be excruciating, two rods in one leg, 5 rib plates, and a ball of scar tissue under his now heald scapula. He works full time and stays busy outside of work. I can’t get him to sit or relax because that’s when it hurts and his mind if free to think about it. But he has no idea how much his brain injury changed him.. emotionally he’s become like a robot. Sometimes he will blatantly disregard feelings, and when talking about any one person’s feeling or views on anything he feels as though his are right and there is no evidence that can proof other wise. It’s like he thinks how he feels or sees something that is how everyone else should be. When he does show some kind of empathy it’s with very little emotion. He hates going to doctors especially neurologist or counseling. But…
    I wanted to thank you so much for writing this article, it has been very eye-opening and enlightening to hear about others tbi struggles because you feel like your going through it all alone. I’m so thankful that your husband and you are so far in his recovery and experience of life.
    We are young and have young children and I worry how the mental changes in his brain will continue to impact us and how we do in life and raising our children. I wish I could do more to help him become more emotional and loving to himself and others…

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      You are very welcome. Thank you for sharing your experience. The path in front of you will not be easy. Both of you will need to accept and change along the way. It can take many years. Brad’s injury was before our children. Now we have 17, 16, 10, and 8-year-olds. And we are both still learning and growing. One of the best ways you can help him is by helping yourself. Find a good therapist for yourself. Someone you can talk to. And someone who can give you good suggestions to improve your situation, maybe not the brain injury but how you deal with it. That is what I am doing now and it is helping me a lot!! I hope you find some peace and light, Tina

  8. ashley says:

    My husband had an accident exactly 31 days ago today. Our 1 year anniversary is in exactly 2 days. He is now home, I brought him “home” 2 days ago, but we have lots to look forward to in terms of outpatient therapies, and learning to cope as a TBI Survivor, and a wife of a TBI Survivor. Our situation is a bit unique though. We got married after 3 months of knowing eachother, because well, when you know, you know. I was so head over heels in love with this man, and still am today. Theres nothing in the world I wouldnt do for him. He is my best friend, and other half. However, in the beginning of our marriage he had a personal event happen that greatly altered our relationship. Things went from absolutely wonderful, fairytale sort of marriage, to absolute hell. Not bevause of us though, we still loved eachother, but bc of the things that happened within that personal event, he turned to other ways to cope, things that he became addicted to, and was going down a terrible path. Throughout it, I stuck by him, through way too much to even tell on here. Because I was the same person, I was still sober, I was still me and still so madly in love with this man that I was starting to learn wasnt himself anymore. I prayed and prayed and prayed. For something to give, something to just change, to make him see that he is so loved, and so wanted and so cared for. But we just kept drifting apart. During this time we had decided to separate, but never actually separated, he still came home every night, and if he missed a night for any reason, he was there during the day at very minimum. He became cold during everything, he just wasnt the same person, He told lies about me, told his family all sorts of stuff. We said terrible things to eachother, everytime ending in me crying myself to sleep not bc of what he said to me, but because what i said to him in response. It killed me that we were the way we were. One night, not long ago though, I made a comment when we were both home, had the record player going, I was working on my tumblers and he was putting different clothes on to go work on his motorcycle. I said, “come on, dance with me, it can be like our first dance all over again, except itll be our last dance this time” In a joking manner, bc at this point i thought we had both just accepted this wasnt going to work. It still killed me everyday, but who am i to fight a man that says “I think we should divorce”. Well that very comment, broke my husband. He walked off to our room, I yelled after him “ah come on I was just joking!” Not realizing how seriously it affected him. He came out of the room a few min later, red faced and teared up eyes. He said “its not our last dance, I dont want it to be our last dance. We’re not divorced yet, right? So why do we have to be.” I was in shock. I couldnt say anything and he just walked outside to his bike to work on it. He left that night without saying bye, and didnt come back home that night. The following day, I text him trying to be nice, but not bring the situation up, as I wanted to see if he were still wanting the same thing, see how he acted. He was nice, for the first time in what seemed like ages, he responded to my text immediately. He came home that day for awhile, we didnt jump into a “Talk” or straight back into being okay again. Bc we werent yet. But we did take a step back, and we both were nice, we both flirted, we both made small but loving gestures toward eachother. He left for work shortly after, so we didnt get to spend too much time together, and it was jsut basic stuff, he talked to me while I did the dishes, and I went outside with him for awhile to work on his bike, which ended in us joking and cutting up etc. That night, while he was working, I text him and said “I really need to talk to you”, as I was really struggling with everything, I wanted my husband back I wanted us but how was I supposed to know he wouldnt turn right back into the same person the “other substances” turned him into? But how could I say goodbye to someone that I dont want to say goodbye to and that doesnt want to say goodbye to me. He called me immediately, He said “im at work right now but im leaving in a few and ill be straight home. Well, time for him to come home came around and he called again, he had left work, stopped by his moms, went to the gas station, and just wanted to let me know he was on his way home finally. I was happy as hell, bc itd been so long since hed called to update me on where he was or that he was on his way home etc. Itd been so long since he said he was on his way home, and actually meant it. Well, 30 min passed, soon an hour, soon two. I called a couple times went to vm, I text, nothing angry, just told him I was disappointed because for the first time in a long time, I believed him when he said “Im coming home”. He never showed. The next morning I woke up to a text from his mother (His address on his license still said his moms address, as we were only renting a place, and planned to buy soon, so the cops went to her door not ours), it said “Hes in ICU now..had to have brain surgery to relieve pressure. has breathing tube now, hopefully tube can come out tomorrow..very serious life threatening condition. Doctor said for us to go home and its day by day. Bc of has NO visitation. They let me and kayla see him in hall from or to icu. we are to call icu to check on him..MRI will be friday” Thats it. And where it says he, i actually mean he. She never said his name, so my heart stopped, I called her and I said wheres josh, where is he tell me now. I dont remember after that until I got to the hospital. I went inside and asked about my husband, they were unaware he was even married. His mom, sister, dad, ex wife (daughters mother…they dont get along), and a few others had already been up there bc somehow I was the last to know, nobody mentioned to the hospital that he has a wife. Fine, got over it. Explained I AM the wife, and i wanted to know RIGHT NOW where my husband was. The social worker came down adn we spoke. Had a long long month in the hospital, however, they let me visit 2 times while he was in ICU, because he was shutting down to everyone except my phone calls, so they brought me in to get him to liven up, wake up, eat, etc. Then I spent 4 nights and 5 days with him while in the rehabilitation unit. All while on code red no visitors no caretakers allowed, because again, he would only respond to me. He looked to me for answers to all his questions they asked him, in which I made him think about it and try to answer himself. He looked to me when it was lunch breakfast or dinner time, he would eat, but only if I sat with him and we had a meal together. He looked to me every single night not to sleep on the chair beside the bed, but to climb in bed with him and hold him, until the last night, when he wanted to hold me. I was his rock throughout his whole hospital stay, and he was mine. I didnt cry around him, which made me be strong. I teared up one time, while we were sitting there talking about the day we met, and I was explaining how i remembered exactly what he was wearing, and how it didnt matter if he remembered my outfit caiuse I was working, we all looked the same in there that day. haha. And then I told him all about our first date, and when I first fell in love with him and realized I was in trouble (i never believed in marriage, never was going to get married etc, been dead set for 28 years, until I met him. He changed my life in so many ways). I teared up during our talk and he smiled and said “What do i have to do to take you back to that place all the time, to make you smile like you just were and to make you tear up with happy tears). I was in disbelief. This man who just suffered a TBI and still couldnt walk correctly, or think or speak correctly, wasnt worried about himself, he just wanted to see me smile. And the words he said came out perfectly, when nothing else had so far. I knew then that even despite our recent past and despite having only been married a year, we’d make it. The entire time there, He insisted he was coming home with me, that WE WERE going to live together. That i was home. etc Fast forward 2 days, the hospital released him to me, as his mother and sister staked out the hospital, waiting for him to be released, with what I believe is a forged POA, which makes no dif in the state im in, bc were married, and sat out there so long and caused so much stress on everyone, that a doctor and a unit director snuck us out a side door, walking us all the way to my vehicle in the parking deck, to make sure we got to our car without any stress put on him, or me. The unit director told me and him about the situation at hand with his mom, before we offically got released. I had final say, but as he is an adult, I let him make that decision on where he went. Neither place could do him harm, it is his mother, and i am his wife. So ultimately I believed, whatever he wants. He still chose to come home with me. They told him they were going to inform his mother hes made the choice to go with me, and he agreed, he said okay. Ill tell her if I need to, were his exact words. Then we left. That hospital was literally a Godsend. When we got to our hometown, we got lunch to go, and went to a semi empty park, to just relax, talk, eat, breath finally. He said “Can we at least go see my mom” I said “of course, im never going to keep you from your mom, we can do whatever you want honey” Knowing itd be hell on me, bc now his mother all of a sudden hated me, even though I had no say so in the way we left, and I did not make the choice of where he stayed. I even was the one to call and inform her that we left out the other tower. I didnt want her just sitting there. So we get to his mothers and first thing, his uncle who hes never liked, comes in wanting to talk to him see him etc. I went outside to let them talk (mom and sister wasnt there yet) by time i came back in, idk what the uncle said, but apparently my husband now wanted to stay at his mothers. Alright, what harm can that be. It is his mom, right? I was sad of course but I wasnt going to show him that, as he insisted over and over “Do you promise if I stay here we can still be together? Do you promise youll come see me everyday? Can we work for sure if i live here?” I assured him i wasnt going anywhere, that i was his until he no longer wanted me and that hopefully thatd never happen. He hugged and kissed me. I left it at that for then. Few min later 15 people came to the house. 15. The day he comes home from his 30 day stay at the hospital. I was in disbelief. Bc covid, bc of overstimulation, bc who wants 15 ppl coming to see them the day they come home from even a 2 day hospital stay, much less a 30 day stay?! His mother then snarls her nose at the gait belt as i was explaining all the safety stuff theyd taught me for him at the hospital. Im sorry, but this man has a quarter of his skull missing, half of his frontal lobe, and you want to snarl your nose why? Bc you have to hold onto a gait belt? Bc it isnt fashionable? Bc some days hes foing to fight you on wearing it? SMH. I explained everything, and I left a few min after he went and laid down, due to him shutting down bc of overstimulation, and then her STILL sending people in and out of that bedroom where he was tring to sleep, to see him. I left bc I was going to explode, and bc there was 15 family members there, all who hated me for some reason, (partially bc of what husband said while things were bad, partially bc they blame me for all of this happening), and I wasnt trying to be attacked by 15 people at once, while trying to stand up for my husband. and because he had gone through ENOUGH that day. Today came along, all of that happened yesterday, and as promised, i got ready and i was going to go see him, when she responds “not today, maybe tomorrow.” -_-. I explained to her that i left him there to be nice to her, and to respect his wishes, but legally, she has no leg to stand on with a poa and if he finds out shes keeping me from him, hes going to willingly get up and leave himself. No response. I let it be. Told her id be there tomorrow. And I 100% will be. I’ve contacted my attorney, who explained all the rights and rules. and I plan to get my husband tomorrow, but I dont want to traumatize him in the process. I understand the brain works in so many dif ways and can change in an instant affter a TBI. So how do I go about this, with the least amount of drama possible, but while still standing my ground, and bringing my husband home, to me and his stepdaughter, where his ex is going to have to just suck it up and bring his daughter to see him here. How do I not traumatize this man whose already been through so damn much, but still bring him where I know hell get the exercise he needs instead of just visiting all day till he gets overworked then shuts down and sleeps the rest of the day and night, where I know we wont have 15 people in and out to overstimulate him at all, or give him covid. I got him in the hispital to go from sleeping all day, to waking up at 7 am, everyday, staying awake 95% of the day, maybe short cat naps if he did alot of therapy but thats it, then going to bed at 830 pm every night, then sleeping all night. I got him motivated to be awake, I didnt overstimulate him, I didnt push him too hard, I didnt bombard him with people or ask 500 questions or have my phone on loud even, so it didnt disturb him mentally. I did my part. And now shes trying to take all of that from me, and im so afraid hes not going to do well living there, even though he said he wants to stay, hes not understanding why he shouldnt. He hasnt even heard once why he shouldnt bc I never pushed staying with me on him, or not staying with his mom, on him. I simply said he could do whichever and Id support him. But now that I see how things are going, and how shes already wore out from it, I cant believe honestly that its the best place for him. Im so lost. Please, if youre willing and read this far, please reach out. I need someone thats been through this with their husband, who understands the ins and outs of tbis.

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      I am sorry that I did not respond sooner. It sounds like you have a lot on your hands! Not only the TBI but working things out with the family. I hope that you can be with your husband and support him. I am sorry that this has been such a trial. I never had problems like this with Brad’s family. We all worked together for him. I am so sorry but I don’t have any solutions there. Perhaps talking with his doctors or a lawyer would be best. Maybe trying to work things out with his mom, and reason with her, appeal to her heart? I honestly don’t know what will work or what you need to do. But I can listen or at least read! So let us know how things are going now if you get this message! Thinking of you, Tina

  9. Ashley says:

    I will add, for those that think Im just being hateful to his mom, he never would stay at his moms before the TBI, he would go work on his truck there, and eevry now and then fall asleep in his truck in the driveway, but he would never sleep inside. And his grandpa lives there (His gpas house) and when he stayed there before, while one lease ended and the other didnt start for a couple days, not just bc he was mooching, his grandpa literally wouldnt let him sleep inside.. He gave him a cot, and told him he could sleep in the open air barn that was falling apart due to rot. So its not like he was “at home” there before the TBI. And yes, we had issues, alot. But after the hospital stay, hes now obv sober, and he is right back to being the man that I married, and the situation that was at hand that caused to :”substances” isnt such an issue now.

  10. The older brother says:

    My brother sustained two TBIs, the last one robbing him of the sense of taste and smell. The TBIs resulted from seizures. My brother, an incredible horticulturist, world for years under an unappreciative boss, who would take credit at times for the beautiful public gardens my brother had created. I’m saying, there was a lot of built up stress. One day, talking to his men, he simply passed out and walloped his occipital lobe, behind the ear. There was a time when speaking with him that he would take maybe 10-15 seconds to respond, but that has passed. He moved out for a while, a mutual decision btw, to give him and his wife some breathing room. He’s moved back home now. To me, he seems fairly normal, but to his wife he’s a stranger, as she says, he’s not the man I married. That tears him up to hear that, but I’m sure she’s right. He’s seen various therapists, and the medical docs put him on several anti-seizure meds, like Depokote, which although preventing seizures caused their own set of problems, angry outbursts being the worst. The docs have reduced the dosage and things are better, but my dear sister in law is struggling to cope with him. My brother right now today seems rather normal to me. But she would know best. I think neither of them are able to constructively communicate with the other. I’d like to help, but don’t know what to do. Any suggestions?

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      I don’t know what to say exactly so I will just say it… Your sister-in-law needs to learn everything she can about brain injury and the results. You can do the same, but it won’t mean as much coming from you as it will if she puts the time and effort into it.

      A brain injury is a one-time injury but the effects do not go away in most cases. The brain is too complex for any doctor to go in there and repair the damage or restore the brain, as it was before. Learning to accept our new circumstances is very important. After 20 years my husband is still taking medication and seeing doctors for his TBI.

      Never give up and continue to learn because as time passes, new information is discovered about how the brain works.

      Besides doctors, therapists are very important. According to a new psychologist we are seeing, there are neuropsychologists who can perform testing that will help you determine what functions are most damaged by the brain injury. I never heard about this until today.

      I hope you are able to encourage your sister-in-law with some of these suggestions without being too pushy. All of this depends on whether she is able and willing to help her husband. I hope she finds the strength and compassion :-) Tina

  11. Amy McDonald says:

    I just came across this article. I don’t normally comment…but “…don’t quit. Losers quit.” Quite frankly pissed me off. You’re really lucky you haven’t been beaten to a pulp or nearly killed at the hands of your spouse who has a TBI. I have. Multiple times becuase I didn’t want to be a loser and quit as you cheerfully said.

    I’m not a loser. I value my life. Not all TBI is the same as what you’ve experienced. Be thankful you didn’t experience the same TBI spouse I did.

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      Thank you for pointing this out to me! I changed the phrasing in my article. I would never expect a woman to endure a violent relationship even if a TBI is the cause of the violence. I am glad you were strong enough to protect yourself and I am very sorry you had to experience this. You are definitely not a loser and you are correct, every TBI is different. We all have to make the best decisions we can under our circumstances. I hope you are now in a safe place and I hope you are able to find a measure of happiness. Tina

  12. Holly Darby says:

    I’m grateful for stumbling across your story. I’m at the beginning of being the wife of a TBI husband. I’m already pooped. Lol. But I’ve been married to my man for 20 yrs. Till the wheels fall off.

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      I am so sorry you both have to experience this. Accept all the help you can and be sure to do all your research. My husband’s TBI was many years ago and they are still stumbling across new solutions and possible cures for TBI survivors. Don’t lose hope! Tina

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