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Survivor stories

sheila.jpgSheila’s Survivor Story
After school one day, I met a few friends down at the track for a few beers and chug-a-lugged several beers, when later we noticed that my friend Sian wasn’t there yet. Darryl and I started arguing over which one of us would go get her while we downed more beer. The day was hot and I was thirsty. We finally agreed that whoever got there first, would pick her up. The race was on.

As a joke Brian grabbed my keys and threw them into the grass so he could get away first. I retrieved them and then quickly opened my door and fell into the driver’s seat. Brian took a different route, and I was taking a short cut – sure to win!

Both routes were on gravel. His route was in fairly good condition while mine was washboard almost all the way. Suddenly my front tire blew out. As if in slow motion, the car rolled to the left while my body continued forward. I struck my head on the passenger doorframe at approximately 90 kilometers per hour as the car continued to roll onto the roof. The passenger door flew open and I was thrown out. The car came to a stop eight meters from where I landed. Blood was oozing out of every hole in my head but I didn’t have a scratch or a bruise on my body. I was seventeen, facedown in the ditch, drowning in my own blood.

Up until that moment, everything that I ever decided to do was such fun and came so easily to me so why should this be any different? I loved life and everything in it.

I woke up in a strange bed, hearing muffled voices as I lay in the dark. I shouted, “Hey, somebody turn the lights on”. The doctor came in – called me by my name then told me he was going to do a little test on me. He sounded so far away. He started with the soles of my feet and worked his way up my body by pricking me with a pin and asking if I felt anything. I felt a burning sensation on the right side of my face as the doctor ripped off a bandage from my cheek. I still did not know where I was or what happened but I managed to lift both hands to explore my face and head to discover that there were bandages on my ears. I could feel that there was dry blood in my hair and nose and under my ears. The doctor then said, “You’ve been in a car accident.”

The doctor removed the bandages from my ears as he explained my condition. The left side of my face was paralyzed and that was why I was having difficulty seeing. Both of my eyes were inside my head looking at each other. I had sustained two skull fractures and a severe concussion.

Following the crash is the hardest I’ve ever had to work on anything in my life. My right eye saw the left side of the room while my left eye saw the right side of the room. I had to use my fingers and act like a puppeteer to keep my lips together on the left side of my face in order for me to sound normal when I spoke.

My facial paralyses is almost gone, my tear ducts work fine and now I can cry. I cry when I sit down and think of what I put my family through and I cry when I think of how they still love me despite what I did.

The Manitoba Brain Injury Association Inc. has been the catalyst in my personal emotional recovery to the degree that I permit myself to be real and enjoy sharing my story and expertise to help and educate others about the effects risk-taking behaviour can have.

arnold1.jpgArnold’s Survivor Story
I was born in April 27, 1943 in Winnipeg, Manitoba and later attended Kelvin High School. I was a good student and played a variety of sports, especially football for the Kelvin Clippers! Instead of completing Grade 12, I went into First Year College at the University of Manitoba, in 1960 and completed my pre-requisites for medicine, and played football for the BISONS 1960 to 1963! I applied and was accepted into the Faculty of Medicine in May of 1963. To celebrate, my two best friends and I went on a holiday drive to California. On our way home driving to Calgary on June 1, 1963, a car driving in the opposite direction, hit our car head-on, killing my two friends, killing the three men in the other car, and threw me out the rear window of the car I was in!!

I suffered a broken jaw and severe cerebellum hematoma and was unconscious for over six weeks. When I was transferred to Winnipeg in a plane, I had to have a tracheotomy and a myriad of tubes for blood and medications to keep me alive and didn’t wake up again until July 17/63 with my jaw wired shut, the entire right side of my body paralyzed, my senses of heat and cold dulled, skin sensitivity dulled, senses of smell and taste dulled, and most importantly the ability to remember events that occurred over a short time, was gone!!!!

I was released from hospital at the end of July/63 lived with my parents and began my rehabilitation. I went daily to regain my strength and balance. I was told that I would not be able to handle University courses again due to my brain injury. In Sept/63 I attended University and had to work hard. I managed to write my exams and pass the courses. In 1964, I completed the courses required for a B.Sc. and received my degree in 1966. I later entered the Faculty of Education, where I completed my Certificate of Education and began teaching.

I have completed my Bachelor of Education and my Master of Education in Learning Disabilities while teaching as a Junior/Senior High Resource Teacher, as a Division consultant in Mathematics and in Science, as a Head teacher of the Division’s Junior High Summer School, and as the Department Head of Mathematics and Science at R.B. Russell High School. I never gave up.

I have been married for thirty-five years to a wonderful woman, and I have been blessed with two brilliant daughters, and two gorgeous grandchildren.

The Manitoba Brain Injury Association Inc. (MBIA) has become a vital part of my life. I am a dedicated volunteer with the P.A.R.T.Y. program, Heads Up Dinner and Auction and am also a member of the Board of Directors. MBIA has given me the opportunity to share my stories and expertise with others who have experienced similar effects related to a brain injury and also to help in the prevention of risk taking behaviour in our young people.

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In 1987, a small group of individuals recognized the value of education and mutual support for those affected by a brain injury and established the Manitoba Brain Injury Association.

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EMAIL: info@mbia.ca
TEL: (204) 975-3280
FAX: (204) 975-3027
TOLL FREE 1-866-327-1998

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TEL: (204) 638-4702
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