Acquired Brain Injury

Impossible is an opinion…

“Impossible isn’t a fact. It is an opinion….when my father looks possible in the eye and defeats it again and again, what do you think I am going to do when they say women shouldn’t box?”

Laila Ali. My idol. When I first saw her box, she won TKO on the 2nd round out of 14. I remember that day too. My dad was watching the television. I walked by, saw the fight, and stopped. I knew right then and there I wanted to get into that ring and wear the same shorts she did. Pink. I tried my hardest to find a gym that would train girls or allow girls ring time. It was really hard. I was about 14 years old. Both me and my 2 sisters. It was fun to have them there. I mean, we were the only girls so the only way we could get into the ring was with each other (yeah, Sayers’ girls in the ring sparring against each other!!!)

The boxing helped me to deal with the boys and girls at school who teased me. It was a way to get my frustrations out. Then when I was in the car accident, I obtained an acquired brain injury. I learned I couldn’t box anymore. Well, they said I couldn’t get in the ring but I still wanted to train. I kept up with the running. The running helped a lot. It helped to clear my head. It helped me to get away. Like when I was in the ring.

To all those people that ever said to me or even thought to themselves, “she will never make it…”, I just stand tall and remember that impossible is an opinion but it won’t be my opinion.

I may not be able to get into that ring anymore and wear pink satin boxing shorts and have pink boxing gloves, but there is a bigger world to conquer….and must remember,

Impossible is nothing.

I believe….

Today, I am sitting at my present school, University of Western Ontario. I wish I could be attending TEDxUWO right now, but must complete this essay instead. I normally have my essays finished well in advance but decided to change my topic last minute (may be a good idea or a bad idea).

Taken from the TEDxUWO website, this is what it is all about:

TEDxUWO is an innovative organization that brings the best and brightest innovators in the country to Western for a once in a lifetime opportunity for you on Saturday, March 12, at the Grand Theatre in downtown London.

This is an opportunity to learn from the best. If you’re a student who aspires to take on a larger role in the private or public sector, a young scientist who seeks to leave a mark in research, or an entrepreneur who is just starting out — you will have a chance to gain from leaders who have built successful and enduring careers, including some of our very own alumni.

‎​We embarked on a journey to bring TEDx to campus because we knew it would be an opportunity of a lifetime for Western students. We’re hoping that people will continue to take an interest, and we’re confident you’ll like what you see

I wish I could have gone. I noticed that one of the speakers was UWO’s Own Mr. Adrian Owen. I remembered reading about when UWO’s first media release announcing Owen’s arrival and thinking about his work. His work, according to TEDxUWO, is on:

Residual brain function in patients who are non-responsive after suffering a severe brain injury.

Mr. Owen’s work caught my attention because I am a brain injury survivor. Although, I did acquire a “severe” brain injury… I am still a brain injury survivor. I was in the hospital for a month. I don’t remember much of my hospital stay. When I was released, I was considered still “comatose.” I had double vision for 6 months, had headaches everyday, constantly tired, constant ringing in my ears, mood swings… I wrote a post titled Acquired Brain Injury. The post kind of describes my experiences living with an ABI.

Now how does this relate to Mr. Owen’s work? When I was in a coma, I remember, strangely, the things people were saying around me. I don’t know why I remember these things or why I cant even remember a few days before the accident. I remember people talking around me in the coma. It was a strange experience. I believe that Mr. Owen’s work is applying science to beliefs…

I can’t describe what my family went through when I was in a coma. But what I do know is that I had to get worse in order to be transferred to a different hospital. At the new hospital, I wasn’t just left there. I remember people talking around me, talking to me, holding my hand. I could feel them.

If there is one thing that I can take from this experience to tell other people who are or may be going through the same thing that my family went through:

If you have a family member or a friend who is in a coma, whether they are unresponsive or not, talk to them, touch them, just be there with them.

Imagine being in a hospital bed, with nobody there. Even if you could talk and open your eyes. Being alone in the hospital sucks. Now imagine being there, alone and unable to talk, unable to open your eyes, unable to speak… That would suck even more. It makes me angry when I hear doctors tell other patient’s families: “They probably won’t hear you, but you can try to talk to them.” JUST BELIEVE!

The work of Adrian Owen is applying science to belief. His work is saying, “You know what: people who are unresponsive may still have some responsiveness.” I agree with him because in my coma despite me not being able to remember accident, for some strange reason, I remember people around me, talking to me, touching me…

This is my story. I believe in Mr. Owen’s work. I may not have been one to be in a “vegetative” state but I believe that his work puts meaning to my words when I say that I remember hearing people around me, feeling them.

Even though some reasons may be harder to take than others, I believe that everything happens for a reason.