Woman documents her own experience of a brain injury

A science journalist who has previously reported on the effects of brain injuries has now written about her own experience following a road traffic accident.

In a piece for The Guardian, Elizabeth Lopatto described how she had been riding her bike when a collision occurred and she was knocked unconscious.

The consequences of the crash were lasting and took quite a bit of adjustment.

“I opened my eyes to see a clear blue sky and two men leaning over me to put a brace around my neck,” she recalled.

“I don’t know if I was already on the stretcher or if I was still on the pavement, but then there are plenty of things I don’t remember. As I would find out later, I had a brain injury.

“Was I badly hurt, I asked. I felt as though someone had smashed a plank of wood across the left side of my face. The two men on either side of me carefully lifted my upper body to finish fitting the brace, giving me a view of my legs. I wiggled my left toes, which were more obliging than my lips. It couldn’t be that bad, I decided. My spinal cord still worked.”

Elizabeth’s concussion left her dealing with confusion, fatigue, dizziness, fluctuations in mood and difficulty remembering new information – all fairly common in those who have taken a blow to the head.

She admits that it took her time to appreciate the severity of the injury and her recovery was fraught with difficulties; she notes that the only real treatment for a brain injury of this nature is patience and time.

“I started writing again about two weeks after I hit my head, which is the longest I’ve gone in my adult life without writing. That diary entry shows more cross-outs and uncertain spellings than any of the previous ones. As I continued writing, the number of cross-outs and bum spellings declined. But it was clear: there was a before, and there was an after.

“My personality change – the loopy good mood, the entirely unfounded sense of wellbeing – isn’t something any of the experts I spoke to run into that often. What are more common, and tend to be listed in the literature on concussion, are two things: anxiety and depression.”

  • At Almond Care our staff have the specialist training required to support those living with brain injuries. For further information about our services, please contact us today.