Traumatic Brain Injury due to MVA

We were in a very serious motor vehicle accident when a man ran a stop sign going 45mph and hit us. The initial impact caused both of us to lose consciousness for an extended time. We were told, our truck spun around and flew through the air 124 feet and then embedded itself in the ground, thus, essentially a second impact. That took place 6-14-09 and I continue to have a 24/7 headache at the forehead level and nasty earaches. Loud noise and bright lights are something I avoid. I also have nausea. I could not get the doctor to hear me until last week, I guess he was thinking it was going to clear up on its own, which would have been great. Then he insisted I had a sinus infection, so I finally agreed to a CAT, which ruled that out. He then ordered an MRI and I am waiting to hear the results. What if nothing shows up on the MRI to explain all my problems? I have probably had 5 headaches in all my 64 years and never had any earaches, even as a child, so I know this is all MVA related! I have not shared with the family doctor (or anyone else) that my memory extremely impacted and i am forgetting simple things, like the make of my car for goodness sake and many other examples. I am terrified psychologically and miserable physically. Does anyone know anything about this type of reaction to a concussion? Any suggestions for treatments? Is there a "cure" for any or all of these problems. I thank you for any insight you have.

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I would definitely discuss your memory problems with your doctor, im not a doctor but I do know that trauma to the frontal lobes of the brain will affect memory. You may have bruising or injury to this part of your brain, and this may also be causing all of the headaches. I would suggest seeing a neurologist.

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Amandav77, thank you for your feedback. Here is something "new" (everything about MVA's is new) I learned about neurologist, at least the two "best" ones that were contacted. They refuse, up front, to see any MVA patients. One did finally say he would see me after I got a doctor friend to intervene for me but only if I agreed to be a cash pay patient for the visit and all the expenses for in office tests they would do. Someone said doctors don't like to get involved in MVA cases because sometimes they end up going to court. I guess I could come up with the money to see that doctor IF I knew there was anything that could be done to "fix" me.

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My mother was in a car accident about 3 years ago and experienced dizziness and headaches for quite some time after her concussion. I would say that it was well over a year before the symptoms subsided.
So, there is hope!

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Wow, to hear the that Drs. would not see you is very shocking! If I was you I would not take no for an answer, and I would keep insisting to be seen! Change family doctors, explore new doctors around your area until you get the answers you are looking for! If you can still not get the medical help you need I would write a letter to your congressman, and other political people in your state, they may be able to demand that you get medical help! I wish you the best of luck!!

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My son had "mild head trama" at the age of 16. We were very lucky and now at age 29 he is doing fantastic. Problems: behaviors are more intense, headaches are more intense - He has "bad" headaches from time to time and they are extremely intense. Check out a Mental Health agency in your area and see if they have information regarding head trama. Also, my son went through testing and treatment from a behavioral psychologist and a Neurosurgeon. This is not something you should be dealing with on your own. BE PRO ACTIVE! This can be very serious. It took at least a year before he was better. The other part is he is not the same person we had prior to the accident. Not bad - just different.

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Dear weymouth007,
Thank you so much for this information as well as the support and encouragement for me to be pro-active. You most kind in how you describe you son's changes as, just being different. He is blessed to have a mom like you in his corner. Unfortunately I am on my own in all this and have no support. It is hard to be pro-active when i feel so awful and do not feel I am being heard by my doctor. He states the MRI doesn't show any reason for my headaches/earaches etc and since he cannot discern the cause of them, he prescribed a drug called Tegretol, I looked it up and it is for Seizures (I have never had one) and for bi-polar disorders (I am not bipolar, nor have I ever been) The drug has the most serious "high incident" of side effects I have ever seen, so I did not even pick it up from the pharmacy. I told the doctor i had not and would not take a drug like that and suggested there had to be something else to address my issues, that was not so dangerous. He is upset with me but i don't care, except for the fact that he is dismissive and he is NOT being proactive on my behalf. I am having to fight an up hill battle for care and it is wearing on me. Questio: Was your son admitted to the hospital after his accident? Did he have an actual brain bleed? I hope i am not being too personal with those questions and feel free not to answer them, i am just trying to get info that will help me understand what is going on with my doctor's take on the situation. I would also love to know what kind of treatments were given your son by the professionals he saw but i am sure that is lengthy and i don't want to abuse your kindness. Even if you don't have time to answer any of these questions, I thank you for your initial reply:-) barb

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I do not have a problem sharing what info I have with you. Our son was admitted to the hospital-transported by chopper as a Level 1 trama patient. He did not have bleeding on the brain. They described his trama "as if someone took a full swing hitting him in the forhead with a baseball bat." He had no memory (he knew his first name & that he had a mother, that is all). He is still missing sections of his memory, but he copes. Some days are harder than others. He had sleeping problems, energy problems and the biggest was when he was "backed in a corner" he would lash out at the person and run (fast and hard). All of these concerns are still there, only to a lesser degree and he has learned coping stills. Another thing was having to many people in one room (all talking), T.V. going on-this causes to much stimulation to the brain. You need quiet time and learn to relax-closing your eyes and deep breaths is one way to start. You want to be aware of one thing - we were told that he could have a seizor within the first year after head trama (they have no reason why, it just happens). He did a test to see if he would have seizors (had to be sleep deprived-up all night) by a psychiatrist. It showed that he was clear for seizors. I found out that some doctors do prescrib meds first to insure the patient does not have the seizors while recovering. Our son had one of his "bad headaches" and had to be transported to the hospital. They checked again for the chance of seizors and he was again cleared. He has learned the triggers for his "bad headaches" as to much caffine, poor diet, sleep deprived. Keep a log daily of how you feel, what you eat and the amount of sleep you are able to do at one time. I have found that doctors pay more attention when they see a patient come in with a log.

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My daughter had a spinal cord injury as well as a traumatic brain injury due to a hit and run accident. She was in a coma for the first two years going through various stages of recovery. If there is no active bleed or signs of seizures which is high in brain injured clients then mostly it takes time, rest, making notes to follow due to memory problems, wearing sun glasses to decrease glare, maybe even indoors as fluorescent lighting is harsh on the eyes. Her personality went through various stages as well.. confusion, memory loss, difficulty controlling emotions... sadness, joy... but now , four and a half years out she is learning, reading, needs to take copious notes and makes many written reminders, she stays on a routine, eats only foods good for her, takes her vitamins, exercises what she can still move regularly, and sleeps... she listens to music to help her relax, closes the blinds, covers her eyes to decrease the stimulation at times.... Yes she did have serious global brain bleeds as well as brain stem injury... she was completely unresponsive for over 2 months... she had to learn to speak, read, write, breath , eat, all over again. Brain injuries can also affect depression, hormonal changes, due to the hormone producing areas of the brain being injured. The CT and MRI can show damage. Do you have a neck injury? Sometimes that can create tension headaches, stress from pain and poor sleeping.. again though the best medicine maybe just giving yourself time to heal. Unless you are having seizures... I would not take that lightly at all. People can have very light seizures that may look like brief moments of daydreaming and the body going limp. A neurologist maybe helpful in making sure that you do not have seizures. I wish you well... decrease your stress as best as you can.

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I do hope you are doing better. I haven't been able to get in and read for a while so I wanted to see how you are. I will keep you in my nightly prayers and with Gods help you will get better. Stay positive.

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Hello Barb,
Sorry to hear about your accident. I too was in 2 bad auto accidents and as a result I also suffer from headaches 24/7.
The pain starts at the base of my skull and shoots up over my head to the front. Sometimes they turn into migraines and sometimes it feels like someone is stabbing me in the head with a sharp object and that lasts a few seconds to a minute. I was diagnosed with a closed head injury which would make my moods change without cause or notice. My jaw was slightly dislocated and I can feel it, but the doctors argue with me about that one.
I haven't found anything to releave the pain and have no advice to give you. I am sorry. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

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Have any of you seen a chiropractor for the bad headaches?

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Hello Barb1! I am just checking to see how you are doing. The holidays could be difficult for you so keep up with a daily log. This has to be hard to go through this by yourself, but keep active and stay positive. You will get through this and get to a place where you are able to cope. I do like the idea from rmbr343 about the chiropractor - I use them a lot. If you try one and don't feel confortable just find another. You will find someone that understands you and your medical needs. Remember you know your body better than the doctor, by keeping a log you can let them read what is taking place daily. Some days you may have nothing to say, but just write that in the log. It will give the doctor/chiropractor a peak into what is happening and you won't need to try and remember everything. Memory is a problem with head trama also. Good Luck and have a very Merry Christmas!

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my husband 41 has a brain injury from a chemical spill at work he has alot of cognitive problems and his progress is slow his speech is still very bad and writing we are doing therapies he had some headches right after the accident in sept but they have gone away his personality has changed a little too we have a 1 year old i am home now taking care of both since i am unemployed my husband is going to court for workers comp.he is follwed by a nureo doc hope things are better with you all have a nice christmas kellyjoe

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I have not been able to log on and check my emails for a lot of reasons. I so appreciate everyone responding to my posting and the helpful information and suggestions folks have made. The Holidays were awful for me and just the little bit we did was overwhelming to me. The headaches continue and I noted that, due to the holidays and my having to get out in the shopping crowds and do more errands that they got so bad, like they were right after the accident, I got very sick at my stomach and thought I was going to throw up in a couple of stores. I would find a spot where I could sit down and catch my breath and it seemed to help a little then I just hurried up and checked out, knowing I would have to go back again for the rest on the list but knew I had to stop or be embarrassed by throwing up.

I finally got a local neurologist who agreed to see me! Now I am nervous about being seen and having my problems just be dismissed or discounted. I know I should take a list of questions to ask but I don't know what to expect from the doctor.

Does anyone have suggestions for questions I should ask? Does anyone know what happens when one goes to a neurologist due to a TBI (traumatic brain injury)? Are there tests they do or tests I should ask that they do?

Thank you everyone for your help and your prayers.
barb

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The tests they did to me are painless. They will put little wires on you with little shocks to check the nerves. This is only my experience and that was in "92", so they may have different tests by now. He also did something like accupuncture, but this did not hurt either. I wish you luck and please let us know how things go for you.
God be with you!

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good luck with your health and do you have a good neuro dr and i hope you have a good lawyer
Good luck and keep us all posted

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I got a call yesterday saying the neurologist had a cancellation and I could be seen this Monday, 01-04-2010. I agreed to that day, rather than wait for the 21st to come around. I don't know if the doctor is "good" or not, yet, just praying she is. I sort of chuckled at your comment about having a good lawyer. I have never been one to want to have anything to do with lawyers...before the accident...now I can openly say, we have an outstanding lawyer who has taken that burden off me. which has been such a blessing.
barb

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I don't have the same illness as you. something completely different. However, I have learnt the hard way that anything that you are feeling that isn't right for you, you must relay to the doctor. At the end of the day you are paying them, so you are in effect employing them. I am English living in France. So you can imagine that there is a bit of confusion with language etc. However, I have now learnt, when the doctor asks me: how are you? I answer SICK. Then we go from there. I also write down all of my symptoms and questions otherwise I forget what I wanted to say.
Another thing that I have learnt is that some doctors, and I think this is all over the world, are arrogant (especially Cardiologists). I never forget that this is just his chosen job and he is not God. My daughter is a nurse and she pointed me in the right direction. Another thing it never hurts to see a new doctor from time to time. The new one sometimes looks a things differently and it can be a help.
Good luck and be tough with them, it's your body and you know it best.

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Hi Barb, Please let us know how the visit goes, not sure if you are aware of the laws in California, but if I'm not mistaken, California is a no-fault state and the doctors should be taking you if you have legal representation. You might have to check that route. There is no reason for them not to see you and the symptoms that you are experiencing sound like some level of a brain injury. My husband was ejected off of his motorcycle 5 years ago when a women ran a red light and he suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and now suffers from a lot of different symptoms and seizures. It's great that you are seeing a neurologist. Hopefully they will get to the bottom of your symptoms!!

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Thank you all for your input...if you think of additional pointers, please share them as I need all the help I can get.

I went to see the local neurologist who agreed to see me (the only one that would) and she was very kind and compassionate. She did some tests, like close my eyes and touch my nose and walk heel to toe and memory tests. I don’t know how I did on most of the other tests but I got the impression that I wasn’t doing the finger tapping and finger to nose test fast enough as she kept saying for me to do it faster. I was doing it as fast as I could and tried to speed up but not sure I did. She thought I might be having migraines but I told her I had never heard of a 24/7 migraine but admitted I only knew about them, through people I know who have them. She wanted me to read some book about things that can trigger a migraine. I wanted to suggest that IF this was a 24/7 migraine, in a person who never even had headaches, then I would have to assume the “trigger” was the MVA, since that is when all my head problems started. She stated her reason for thinking it might be a migraine was the headache, the sensitivity to bright lights, loud noises and the nausea. She also said I had what she thought was a post concussion problem, whatever that means. She said she could prescribe an Rx for the migraine and I sort of shock my head indicating I did not want to do that IF there was anything else I could try first. She suggested I had a great deal of tension in my shoulders and neck that could be contributing to the headaches and that she would recommend PT or massages to help loosen up that area. I didn’t even know how tight it was until she pressed on a couple of places and it was very painful. I admit to being discouraged after having so many problems with my body and mind, since the MVA, so decided to ask about what Rx she would prescribe, if I decided to go for a chemical qucik “fix”. She named the same drug my family doctor had wanted me to take, Tegretol.

Neither she, nor the family doctor asked if I have glaucoma (I do) or if I take herbal preparations or dietary supplements (which I do, a rather extensive number in fact), nor did they ask if I have, Osteoporosis which I have to a small degree. When I checked on this drug again, after seeing the neurologist, these three (out of a rather large number) issues were to preclude one taking that Rx. The drug manufacturer also stated, in my earlier research that : Tegretol may rarely cause serious and sometimes fatal skin reactions. I could handle side effects that did not cause existing conditions to get worse. I could handle side effects that would go away after I stopped taking the Rx but “fatal skin reactions” sort of got my attention.

Anyway, the neurologist did say she thought I would get better over time and I just have to hope she is right. TUPELOHONEY stated it took her mother a year to get better and that gives me hope. I have also gotten a number of books on the whole head injury topic. “Coping with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” has been very helpful and next I am going to read “Head Cases - Stories of Brain Injury and It’s Aftermath”. I am in the middle of “Brain Injury Survivor’s Guide” and it is outstanding. What is interesting in all the books is that the medical community doesn’t ‘get it’ and the patients have to struggle to find answers and the help they need. I am sad for all the people walking around with head injuries who have to go it alone. I am told that many of our troops are coming home with head injuries and that will help get more attention by the medical community in addressing the problem but for goodness sake, why did it take a war? There are MVA every day in our own “highway wars” and no one has bothered to address these issues before now?

evieheart’s post about making a list was great and I did and the doctor kept it.

dawn2dawn’s post about the California laws is most likely true and I did find one local neurologist who would see me but only if I paid cash for all tests and visits, thus meeting the letter of the law but being of no help to the patient.

D5493's post about us having a good lawyer. We were hit by a driver, without a drivers license, on a cell phone, who ran a stop sign at 45mph. Our insurance company found my husband, who was driving, to be 100% NOT at fault. The driver that hit us, his female passenger and the parents of one of the children in their car are ALL suing us. So, yes, we have a lawyer and a good one. I know it is nuts but it is what it is and I have to deal with the stress of that, even with a good lawyer.

Most folks believe I “should” be better by now and that has put additional pressure on me to hurry up and meet those expectations. Now I realize I cannot rely on others to be my advocates, so I am going to have to do the best I can with what I can and give myself permission to take as much time as needed to heal. Suggestions from everyone still greatly appreciated.

So, I am going to give it a week, then ask for a referral to either PT or massage therapy and try that route.

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