I recently visited an aneurysm support group and heard heart felt stories of career frustration as well as successes. Stories included:
- Employers who were very supportive
- Difficulty getting back to work
- Career success after a long road to recovery
After viewing the PBS Documentary, “Brain Emergency” hosted by Kaity Tong and California neurologist Dr. Rick Atkinson, the group felt support as they shared their experiences.
I heard the story of a young woman who experienced a ruptured aneurysm, overcame challenges in her recovery, and successfully returned full time to a job with complex responsibilities. During her recovery she felt the frustration of overstimulation in the workplace and impatience with herself, but through her heroic persistence she was able to work at a high level of competence and advocate for others who had experienced a brain emergency.
Difficulties people often experience while recovering from a brain emergency are short-term memory loss, slower assimilation of information and response time, headache, and too much information coming at them at once.
What you can do
As an employer or colleague, you can be patient if someone asks you to repeat what you said, speak more slowly, or use different words in your explanation. After a brain emergency, a person may be fully able to work and function but they might process information differently. Whether it is a brain emergency or other brain trauma, a person may look and sound the same, yet process information differently.
Educate yourself about brain emergencies and brain trauma to assist clients, friends and family members recover and regain full employment whenever possible. The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation has information and resources on their website.
There are some who receive support and rehabilitation counseling, yet find they are not candidates for full time employment, but with the support of the medical community, support groups, family, and counselors, many successfully contribute to the workplace and community.
Understanding the process of recovery from a brain emergency will help you effectively support and work with a person transitioning back to work. Whether you are a career professional, a fellow employee, or an employer, you can make a difference.