From ‘cocoon to the real world’ after traumatic brain injury: A narrative case study

Makela, P. 2016. From ‘cocoon to the real world’ after traumatic brain injury: A narrative case study. Experiences of illness and death: learning from the discourses of realities and fictions. Durham University hosted at The Open University 28 - 28 Nov 2016

TitleFrom ‘cocoon to the real world’ after traumatic brain injury: A narrative case study
AuthorsMakela, P.
Abstract

This presentation considers one man’s narrated experience of the six months that followed his admission to hospital with a traumatic brain injury, exploring synergies and divergences in accounts of his own endeavours, support from his family and friends, and interactions with healthcare professionals.

This single case study, approached through narrative inquiry, captures the ways in which this man makes sense of the time in which he first became aware of his injury, emerging from ‘post-traumatic amnesia’ (O’Callaghan, 2006), assessments administered by healthcare professionals, and early attempts to leave the hospital ward. He contrasts the pen and paper tasks he was required to undertake in the controlled ward environment with the colours and sounds of the ‘real world’, in which he felt unprepared for being ‘exposed to my weaknesses’ and ‘afraid to be alone’.

Collective strategies with his family, friends and other people who had experienced brain injury become key reference points in this man’s accounts of navigating through the transitions following his discharge from hospital, travelling home to his family overseas, and later returning, alone, to attempt to resume his life prior to injury. During this time he endeavoured “to find my own voice, think about my own resources and project myself in the world”, describing ways he interpreted his capabilities within social interactions to gauge his own progress in recovery.

The storylines identified within this narrative case study will be considered in relation to the predictive normative practices within healthcare professionals’ ways of working with people following traumatic brain injury.

Reference
O'Callaghan, C., Powell, T. and Oyebode, J. (2006). An exploration of the experience of gaining awareness of deficit in people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 16(5), 579-593

KeywordsTraumatic brain injury; post-traumatic amnesia; narrative inquiry
Year2016
ConferenceExperiences of illness and death: learning from the discourses of realities and fictions

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