Thursday, April 9, 2015

All Within One Year and A New Educational Calling For Our Entire Family

It has been officially one year since our son's in-line of duty military motor vehicle accident occurred on April 5th. Our entire family has come so far to deal with this life-altering situation. Our Jacob has and will always be a fighter, but coping and dealing with a TBI has been very difficult. This condition is permanent- which will affect Jake's personal, professional and social skills for his entire lifetime. Jake is coping and everyday is gaining a stronger sense of the severity of his accident, as he broke close to 70% of his bones in his body and the realization that the TBI occurred from the initial impact of the accident causing the sheering action of his head and then the final blow to his right side of his head, which caused his helmet to crack and penetrate into his right frontal lobe of his skull.  

Jake was never suppose to live from this accident. We were told this by doctors in Texas that Jake had less than 25% chance of survival that he would even make it through first night. We were also told he would be vegetable for life and that he would never walk again either. Even some nurses in this trauma unit stated there was little hope for him as they work with patients like this all the time. These negative projections and ill-fated outcomes made Jeff and I fight even harder and stay more determined than ever to fight for our son Jacob in his state of unconsciousness, and get him the hell out of this Texas hospital. 

I look back to these accounts and verbal statements and would now like to prove to those doctors and nurses how very wrong they were. Yes- they may see many cases that the outcome is so dire, but to provide a false outlook which is now the complete opposite- makes me truly question the health profession in these types of situations. I believe these healthcare professionals need to be educated on the most current research on how the brain is constantly changing. And how one's environmental and physical conditions and factors contribute to one in an unconscious and conscious state can positively contribute to the outcome by a supportive and nurturing family, the physical touch of one's hand to another, the soft-spoken words and gentle kiss on the forehead to an individual to acknowledge that someone cares and is there for them every single day. The natural drug of human touch and kind words heals the body and its soul at such a profound rate- way beyond any medical drug- as we have lived through this and proven this with our miracle soldier Jacob Harm.

This week, Jake and my husband Jeff made the trip to Fort Riley, in Kansas where Jake will be honorably discharged from the US Army. They have completed an enormous amount of paperwork, met with a multitude of Army individuals and officials to get signatures to complete the discharge paperwork process, and sat through many sessions and round table discussions as closing activities. Yes it takes a week "to get out of the Army" and it is ridiculous. As the Army treats every soldier the same- they do not take into account Jake's physical disability of barely walking and his TBI condition.

Information and visual overload is the most critical factor that can set any TBI individual over the edge to cause dramatic irritation, onsets of excruciating headaches, confusion, and a state of anxiety. After the second full 10 hour day, Jeff laid into an Army official and stated that this closing out process for Jake is the most inappropriate practice for any person with a TBI. You see the Army
doesn't have a clue as they are just now starting to try to understand the wounded warriors that have suffered a TBI, so in return- they treat everyone the same- like no other- you are a number in their system.  

Jeff declined the final commitment on day 2 of 4 to attend a dinner in Jake's honor with the other retiree's, which would have put Jake at a 13 hour face-to-face day day with the Army. Why the decline- these types of social situations of mass amounts of people leads to a total state of a confusion for a TBI individual. TBI individuals are trying to constantly keep up with the conversation, but at times can not because their new processing speed and rate of their condition is 2-3 times slower and more at sometimes than your's and mine. This social interaction with mass amounts of people causes mental frustration, anxiety, undue levels of stress and emotional state of confusion, and a sense of entrapment. See, the Army does not get this-  yet 370,000 wounded warriors so far have suffered a TBI since 1995, and because of their very slow process and procedures of getting something done in the Army, they are just now starting to recognize that maybe we should address this. 

Once again all of our societal issues and problems result from communication breakdowns, lack of current research and educational practices of understanding, and the cumbersome and convoluted paperwork to complete a simple task. We see this in healthcare, we see this in the US Army, we see this in educational system- and we see this in our everyday world.  Communication is key and simple is better, especial when you are dealing with a TBI.

Jeff is working on trying to educate many Army personnel through discussions on the importance of TBI conditions with individuals this week in Fort Riley, Kansas- as they want to learn from us- as if we are their case study. Jeff has introduced many to the Rancho Los Amigos - Revised a scale of levels of cognitive functioning. http://www.neuroskills.com/resources/rancho-los-amigos-revised.php as the US Army individuals he is talking with now - were not even aware of it. We were introduced to the scale at the Bethesda TBI Hospital in Minnesota, but never at the Texas trauma one hospital- where we should have been. Jake is one out of 370,000 soldiers that has a TBI, and they are still trying to scratch the surface of understanding this condition in the US Army. 

Our family's calling now will be to educate the US Army, the healthcare system and our nation's educational system. As there is a dire need to help those that are not self-directed learners in their own field of study dealing with TBI and its condition. Our family is writing a survival book on our son the "Miracle Soldier Jacob Harm," to educate future families, doctors, nurses, teachers and the entire US Armed Forces on the importance of understanding what a TBI is, its life-long health, emotional and physical conditions, and how to interact and socialize appropriately with individuals that have suffered a TBI through the Rancho Los Amigos - Revised scale during and after year one, two three and so on.

Another chapter in our lives will be starting with year two of Jake's ongoing recovery of his physical impairments and his TBI wellness program. We are looking forward to the positive progress Jake will make and watch from the side as his parental guides-  as he reaches to attain his futuristic goals of going back to college and pursuing an educational degree of becoming a brain scientist and doctor someday. We also look forward to Jacob pursuing a future relationship with a very special person to be his companion and soul mate for life. And who knows, maybe someday, Jake will have a child of his own too. The possibilities are endless, as Jake now has a second chance on life and love again. 


You can continue to read Jake's health and progression updates on his dedicated Post Hope page found here: http://posthope.org/we-love-jake