In 1986 I was in a devastating car accident on my way to work. A construction truck ahead of me on a local Interstate dropped a bail of hay, which landed on my windshield. My car then spun out of control off the Interstate into a construction area.
The construction area was to prepare to the extension of the interstate freeway. The hay that fell on my windshield was a freak accident; the rest of the accident again was a one in a million. Once my car was on the side of the road I hit a cement abutment-very small chance of that happening. The cement abutment crushed the driver’s side of my car leaving me unconscious, bleeding and trapped.
A state police officer was alerted to the accident and arrived shortly after; using the Jaws of Life he pulled me out of the car. An ambulance was called and I was rushed to emergency. I was registered legally dead two times in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Upon admittance to the hospital I was found to have a closed head injury resulting in a coma.
I was in a coma for 7 days.
AM I BRAINDAMAGED? Is a compilation of writings I did over the course of my healing from the injury. Beginning when my brain was that of an infant but my body was that of a 25-year-old woman. I soon was able to write, but not speak or walk. I kept memoirs of my recovery as I mentioned early on after the injury for about 6 years, then I wrote off and on for over 20 years.
In reading my updated memoirs I hope to enlighten everyone to the internal trials and confusion of one particular head injured person: me-Lori Ann-Purdy Faitel.
I understand every head injury is different and we all have different levels of recuperation, where I am and how I have mainstreamed back into normal life is truly a blessing. In publishing this book of memoirs my main goal is to open the eyes of everyone involved with someone who is head injured and to encourage my head injured colleagues to find their own level of comfort and live the best life available.
Through my memoirs you will read about beginning rehab and therapy, from the first time I moved in my bed to my first recollection of medical intervention to returning home to my parent’s house. My parents possibly accepting that their oldest child may never return to normal life again. My parents fight and love which enabled them to accept and build their lives around helping a mentally and physically handicapped child.
You will rejoice with me in my triumphs and cry with my downfalls. Simple things everyone takes for granted and easily becomes frustrated with were a blessing to me. There was a time when I prayed to be able to walk and stub my toe. Unlike the normal people I saw daily stub their toes and become angry. I would have given anything to feel that normal pain. I quickly moved from inpatient rehab to outpatient rehab while I was living in my parents home. From there I quickly advanced to being able to move back into my previous apartment with my old room-mate, who worked with my parents and lovingly offered to monitor me.
During my return to normal life I was a child in a female adult body, you will read difficulty the normal public has with the mentally handicapped. I had many moral and social struggles; I again was blessed to have followed the correct path. Many head injured individuals do not have or listen to moral direction and lead a life of immorality and dishonesty.
In my memoirs I am excited to learn a new way to make income. I begin working in a group home; I felt this was giving back to the world for what it had done for me. Before working in the group home I attempted to return to my work status as an executive secretary, which never came to fruition. While trying to return to the business world I had a few friends who helped to direct me and lead me into health care. I worked in many group homes, one of which was for the closed head injured. During my employment as a caregiver I was lead to a higher form of health care.
I am proud to say I went back to college. During my time at the hospital I was told I might never heal beyond an 8th grade education. I beat the odds and returned to college and received an Associate’s Degree in business and a 2 year Certificate in Occupational Therapy to become An Occupational Therapy Assistant.
My story ends very happily with my life as it is today. I am a happily married woman. I married the man I was dating at the time of the injury. I have over 16 years experience as a medical professional. I have normal friends and I can truly call myself a normal functioning lady.