Londoners’ experiences of life-changing injuries

Amy

Female
Age at interview: 59

Brief outline: Amy and her husband were involved in a car crash in 2003. She sustained a traumatic brain injury and broke her back, neck and sternum. He sustained some physical injuries too.

Background: Amy is married to DJ (Interview 40). They have two grown up children, aged 35 and 40. She is a researcher, conducts brain rehabilitation and is a Christian missionary. Ethnic background' White American.

Audio & video

Nine years before they took part in this research, Amy and her husband DJ (Interview 40) were involved in a car crash. They were at a stop sign when someone hit their car from behind. Amy sustained neck, spine injuries and brain injuries. She doesn’t remember what happened next, including the hospital where she had neck and spine operations. 
 
Amy had extensive rehabilitation, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, surgeries, neurology, acupuncture, massage, laser and medication. She found alternative therapies like electronic acupuncture helped her ongoing physical pain. One of the best forms of rehabilitation she did was aided by her five-year old granddaughter. Amy said she felt ashamed that she had difficulty with counting, reading and spelling after her injury. Her granddaughter taught her how to use her ‘Read a Rabbit’ programme, which is designed to educate children. This showed Amy how much more work she needed to do. 
 
After a brain injury Amy found there were several things she had to relearn. She explained that she didn’t “have the same degree of social grace or discussion”, so she said everything that came into her mind. She also said it takes longer to think, so there can be misunderstandings in conversations with other people. Amy said that after brain injury, people can look perfectly normal, but other people don’t feel comfortable around them because they’re “not working within the social norms that everyone’s comfortable with”. 
 
In addition to striving to get her life back on track, Amy also helps rehabilitate other survivors of brain injury using a computerised cognitive rehabilitation programme. She finds this work exciting and the first thing she does is to “build back hope and get them to a place where they can improve even a little bit”. 
 
Amy described her husband as her best friend and supporter. They were well supported by their two children after injury because, as they were both injured, they couldn’t really be there for each other. 
 
Amy said that after a life-changing injury, “the most important thing is not whether you fall, but whether you get up again”. She is currently studying at a prestigious university in the UK and wants to do a PhD. 

 

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