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Brain Trauma

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babyseeker Posted: 11-29-2010 3:20 PM

Has anyone on here had a friend or family member that suffered brain trauma? I am concerned because one of my very best friends accidentally overdosed on her pain medicine for her back and almost died. Now that she is awake, her pupils are REALLY big. I think this is a bad sign but she does seem to be getting better at following basic commands like lift 2 fingers up on your right hand.... She has no movement in her toes or her right leg. She is grabbing people really hard, and hugging her children way to tight! Her arms are kind of spastic, all over the place....

Anybody dealt with this? I have never had to face this and I am curious as to what my friend's outcome will be. She does remember her family and said my name when I walked into the room. But she still seems kind of far "off"...

will she get better? I am so afraid for her!

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lks1024 replied on 11-29-2010 3:34 PM

hi...i am so sorry that your friend has experienced this...and that you are watching her recover.  It can be difficult.  While I have no family or friends who have had a brain injury, I am actually a psychologist who specializes in recovery from brain injury so i can only speak on a professional level.  First, the outcome will be based on the type of injury and the location of the injury....the two type of brain injuries include anoxic (loss of oxygen to the brain) and traumatic (with a physical injury).  Do you know the type or what parts of the brain were affected?

However, the first step to recovery is following basic commands---we are always happy when we see that happen.  What you are seeing with her arms is a change in her "tone"--that can also come back with time, again depending on the type of injury.  It may be helpful for you to look up the "ranchos los amigos scales"  they describe what a typical recovery pattern can be with a traumatic brain will give you an idea of what to expect.  Every brain injury is different however, and so no two people have the same recovery.

Again, I am sorry that you are having to go through this.  I wish your friend a good recovery!

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babyseeker replied on 11-30-2010 11:26 PM

Hi and thanks for your response!! I suppose "trauma" isn't the right word then...let me clarify- they BELIEVE she accidentally overdosed on her Methadone (she was taking it for permant injury back pain) and it depressed her respiratory functions until her blood pressure was deadly low. She was in respiratory arrest so it is technically a brain injury due to lack of oxygen.

I couldn't tell you the technical terms as to where the scans have shown damage... but the nurse said 3 areas on each side- top front, middle, and top back all down the center pretty much (I doubt that helps but that's all I was told sorry)

Today she was talking to me... once in a while she just starts staring off into space and you have to get her attention again. She did bring up a very funny memory that we had together. She nicknamed me AmyJoeJimBob about 5 years ago and when the nurse asked her who I was, she said "AmyJoeJimBob" she started laughing really good at that!! I don't know I just can't tell. Sometimes I think she's there and other times she kind of "slips"... I think she is showing wonderful improvement but it is obviously gonna take some time.

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lks1024 replied on 12-03-2010 8:38 AM

I am so glad she is talking---that is huge!  You're right, it would be loss of oxygen to the brain or an anoxic injury.  Those do take longer to come back from, depending on the amount of time she was without oxygen.  BUT, if it was a minimal amount of time, and if she is already remembering and joking that's a REALLY good indicator of some good recovery.  That spacing out is not uncommon, ANY type of brain injury big or even small (like a concussion) causes immediate slowing of the brain....which will cause that spaciness.  My guess is that is what you are seeing.  I think you are seeing some really great signs--I hope she continues to make great gains!!!!


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Jeanne replied on 07-04-2011 6:56 AM

Methadone overdoses would usually have caused three different symptoms. It would have causes a coma, pin point pupils and muscle twitches along with shallow and slow breathing. Your friend would have got supportive care immediately to clear the airway, circulation and breathing. She would also have got the antidote to remove the effect of the opioid.

As your friend is conscious, alert and breathing normally, she should be well within a few days or so given that her organ functions were not put at risk.

I have a similar experience with one of my aunt. She is 75 years old and recovering from a Trauma.  Brain Trauma is common for senior citizens and we should place special attention and alert.

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