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Toll of Traumatic Injuries on Marriage

Research advances involving traumatic brain injuries have spurred more interest in the wide ranging ways that these injuries have on all those involved. For example, much more attention has been focused on how spouses of those with brain injuries have their own lives turned upside down by the often dramatic changes in their partner. Each Chicago brain injury lawyer appreciates that these issues are often-underappreciated. When these injuries strike, dozens of people are often affected even though there may be only one person who suffers a physical injury.

Of course, spouses of those hurt usually are most affected. A recent story from WJLA News touched on how TBIs affect marriage. The article shares the heartbreaking story of one young couple who had their marriage turned upside down as a car accident-related brain injury. The husband vividly recalls the promise of the early days of his marriage. That marriage was rocked in 2009 when his wife was in a serious car accident.

The injury was life-threatening and doctors told the husband that her prognosis was likely permanent brain death or a permanent vegetative state. There were serious doubts that she would even completely pull out of the coma. If she did, doctors warned him that her long-term recover would be uncertain.

Now three years later, the woman has regained some her brain function, but nothing is actually the same. She is still unable to control most of her basic functions. In many ways she was a new person, with emotional outbursts and frequent confusion.

The husband’s life has similarly been turned on its head. He is now required to essentially provide her constant care. She needs to be carried from room to room and requires bathing daily. To help with her physical strength and mental health, every day he tries to work with her on daily therapy exercises.

Our Illinois brain injury lawyers appreciate that this turn of events obviously has serious effects on a marriage.

The husband in this case explains how the situation has affected the marriage. He noted that “It’s a brave new world for us going forward-very few books written about this, [and] don’t’ have time to read them if you’re me.”

He went on to explain that, like many families following brain injuries, finances are tight. In his case, the husband recently lost his job, and so every day is a stressful struggle as he tries to keep everything together. Yet, he reported that despite all of this he is committed to sticking it out, because he is certain that his wife would do the same thing if she were in his position.

Interestingly, there is one psychologist who works with families in this unique situation. He combines marriage counseling with an expertise in the affects of brain injuries. The doctor explains a concept known as “ambiguous loss” where uninjured spouses realize that something is “different’ about their partner, but they have trouble identifying exactly what it is. To help in the process communication and rebuilding are apparently crucial.

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Many Illinois Brain Injury Victims Never Fully Recover