True Life: I have traumatic brain injury

I chose to watch the True Life episode “I have traumatic brain injury”.  It centered around the lives of three male patients, Adam, Donnie and Neil who had all gotten in an accident which changed their mental capacities in various ways.  As an episode it was not exactly the three patients telling it themselves, but more their stories being told.  Therefore as a whole the episode included aspects from all three narrative types: restitution, chaos and quest.  Although each case showed frustration and temporary loss of hope, Adam showed the most resemblance to a restitution narrative because brain scans indicated his brain was continually improving without stagnation.  For the most part Donnie’s story was a quest narrative because he was most interested in bettering himself and others after his accident.  He volunteered to speak to DUI offenders and tried bettering himself by re-enrolling in community college.  Lastly, Neil’s was a case that appeared to be a chaos narrative.  With his brain injury, he lost social skills, has had trouble maintaining friendships and seemed to suffer the greatest from frustration and isolation.  However, he also benefitted the most from using narrative.  He joined a church group in which he could continue to meet new people while also forming a small group with other people with social troubles.  All three stories included the six structural features taught in lecture: abstract, orientation, complicating action, evaluation, result/resolution, and coda.

Cultural stigma surrounding these cases of brain injury seemed to amount to social discomfort as many individuals did not know how to act around an old friend with new mental handicap.  Also, each story involved interaction with medical professionals at the outset of injury, though Adam was the only one to have a brain map done to measure improvement.  As for the sick role, all three had to give up old responsibilities such as school and work and submitted to the help of medical professionals.  However, acknowledging that their health was abnormal was not always easy because of short term memory loss and one individual with Cap Grass Syndrome, that is, thinking your life is a substitution or a dream.

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