Can You Survive a Ruptured Brain Aneurysm? Part 3 of 3
by Richard Tolar
The recovery process can take months or even years to restore normal everyday

1. Do you recognize everyone in your family?
2. Can you button your shirt?
3. Did you remember to zip up your pants?
4. You got your shoes on okay, but did you remember to put on your socks?
5. Can you walking across a room to answer the phone?

These simple tasks are just that, simple; unless you have been through a
traumatizing brain injury. Everyone will do these everyday things without giving them
a passing thought.

A Note: My cerebral aneurysm burst 5 years ago. I am still working to regain some
physical abilities; some will never be restored.

Physical abilities, like not being able to control body functions, can be devastating.
You learn a lot about the caregivers during this phase of recovery.


One thing you have to come to grips with is the idea that the brain controls
everything you do.

The hardest part of recovery is realizing that you are having problems you never
thought possible. A few common problems are:

1. Concentration.

Your ability to think things out is limited. (My mind goes blank when I get tired.)

2. Reasoning.

You know how much money you need to pay for a meal at a restaurant. You are
positive that the amount of money you have in your hand to pay the bill is correct;
but it never is.

3. Speech.

You stutter or get stuck on a word when trying to carry on a conversation. Getting
stuck on a word is very frustrating.

For example: "Can I get --get-- get-- get-- get-- get-- you a drink?" Those that do
not know you will sometimes give you that "raised eye brow" look, or worse, laugh
at you.

4. Fear.

Those of use that have experienced a brain aneurysm that hemorrhaged are really
sensitive to anything that involves the head. Any kind of a headache sends us into
the panic mode fearing that we are having another head injury.


One of the hard parts of getting back on your feet is accepting the fact that you will
need help. You cannot do it on your own, there's no if's, and's, or but's about it. YOU

I spent two months in a rehab center learning some of the fundamental things that
are required to get back to a some-what normal existence.

My arms and legs needed to retrained. Basic speech was a major task for me. I
relearned how to count money.

1. 2 dimes and 1 nickel = 25 cents

2. 3 quarters and 2 pennies = 77 cents.

That is pocket change. But it takes on a whole new meaning to one that has survived
a ruptured brain aneurysm.

The rehab hospital we have in our area does a very fine job. They spent many
dedicated hours helping me relearn life. The problem is, as I see it, they seem to have
a rubber stamp program to rehab all brain injury people and that has it's limits.

However, after two months I still did not know the names of my children, or for that
matter, that I even had kids. My wife stepped in and started working with me to
reeducate me about me.

She made up a list of common everyday questions. The questions do not seem to
make much since to those that know the answers.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your last name?
3. What is your full name?
4. When is your birthday?
5. What is your father's name?
6. Where were you born?
7. What is your mother's name?
8. Are you married?
9. How many children do you have?

This is only a sample of questions that someone that suffered a brain injury cannot
answer. Bonnie, my wife, came up with 300 such questions. She worked with me
every day with the questions until I started to get them right. It is really frustrating
not knowing who you are.

This type of Question/Answer game is very helpful. Try to get someone to make up
a set of questions that fit you if one of the deficits you are experiencing is a loss of
your identity.


A ruptured brain aneurysm turns your life upside down. You have survived. Just
surviving a traumatic brain injury makes you one of the lucky few. What's taken a
lifetime to learn can be wiped out in a heartbeat.

It is easy to say "Just hang in there. Everything is going to be okay." Here is the
truth. It's going to be a long and hard journey to get back to being close to where
your were before the life changing injury. Be patient and have a lot of faith in your
own ability to pull yourself back up.

About The Author

Richard Tolar survived a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2002. He is recounting some of
his triumphs and failures since the incident. Meet Richard at his blog at:
Can You Survive A Ruptured Brain Aneurysm?  Part 1 of 3
Can You Survive A Ruptured Brain Aneurysm?  Part 2 of 3
Can You Survive A Ruptured Brain Aneurysm?  Part 3 of 3

Physical and mental damage usually
occurs whether the ruptured brain
aneurysm is repaired with coils or
clips. The effects are very similar to
what a stroke victim suffers.

Collateral damage, others that are
affected, will take its toll. They have
to adjust to the fact that the person
they have come to know and love no
longer recognize them or is acting
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