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Welcome Visitor#
WELCOME to "Contradiction-a path not envisioned, a sheer genius concept"
....these were words penned by Blu in her Daily Art Journal she kept. Now Janice Blu, as a survivor of Traumatic Brain Injury and my self Pearl aka Dandelion, mother and caregiver 24/7 to Blu, wanted to briefly share her story and her artwork.
Below are two links for you to see some of the oil canvases Blu painted before her traumatic brain injury:
1-link posted by Sagasha, named Janice Blu, member poems section
2-Janice Blu - Visual Arts, Writings, TBI Resources, Friends Stories and their Visual Arts
Janice's artist names are Blu and H L (Honey Luvin) Buderickx.
Though we are working on painting again, Blu now has finished a clay sculture and painted it with my help. Ironically it is the small replica of the Monolith with the 2 astronauts from the movie, 2001-A space odyssey.
In January of 2001,Janice began participating in a sculputure Art class at the Independent Living Center for TBI Survivors, Van Nuys, CA. Teacher Shahin Atigheh, a Sculptist herself whose artistic career began in Tehran, took her to London to Geneva, to CAL State Northridge to a small class for survivors of TBI.
This unique interaction of two artists connecting (Shahin and Janice,) with sculpting was instrumental in tapping into the artistic skills Blu previously had. So a new path has began towards Blu's artistic recovery, despite her increased seizure activity.
I will be updating her art link to share with you Blu's continued artworks.
She was traveling the country to come back to California and do a Mural. It was to be her most intense work as well as self expression of her travels that took place in a period of three months. Janice (Blu) was the most determined, hard working, disciplined person while she began her process of doing any of her works. She would sketch out meticulously even pondered over the words and feelings she wanted to portray in her work. We both would interact briefly to share those times that she just needed to have a sounding board. In all her oil paintings, she would come and ask me what I thought of her paintings.
I now share this in hopes to inspire and to comfort any of you that deal with "past accomplishments" and now live as adult survivors of brain injury with the "new person" and "new endless challenges".
To have to depend on others for basic daily living care as an adult, would be beyond the wildest dreams for anyone to conceive. Yet it is a reality that so many survivors face. Janice was extremely independent, bright, caring, always smiling and warm person. To finance her college she began working fulltime at State Hospital in California as a psych technician. Her patients she cared for were Brain Injured due to auto accidents and young adults that had incurred Brain Damaged due to substance abuse. She was working towards becoming an RN as she had a big heart and saw the pain the young adults she had as her patients and wanted to make a difference in their lives by making them feel loved. Her Art was her passion.
Injuries left her in a wheelchair, unable to stand on her own, cuing must be done to do basic functions of life, along with not being able to have good vision, right side impacted though barely learning to move her arm and hand. When she smiles with her warm brown eyes, one sees the sparkle of life and vibrance she so often displayed.
Janice understands everything that's going on but cannot communicate effectively needs cuing to do so, she is as some TBIERS have expressed how it is like being....."trapped in her mind".
Blu had a motor vehicle accident as a back seat passenger in Kansas. Her accident was on 12/4/97 at approximately, 7:00 pm central time, on a Thursday wintery evening in a dark two lane Highway in Parsons Kansas. She was trapped by the front seat passenger so she was the last to be pulled free as jaws of life were used, yet she was the only one with severe head trauma 25 contussions to the brain, and multiple fractures both to face and leg. From Parsons, KS. ER room, she was transported by ambulance to head trauma center in Joplin, MO., critical hours passed before she received what we now know to be vital care for a head trauma.
The Los Angeles Times Newspaper did an article under Health section, Linda Marsa, writer, "Healing the Brain" dated 1/29/01. It tells about survivors and shows pictures of the 3 different families that experienced loved ones with head injuries all in southern California, Blu is one of the 3 survivors it talks about. The writer, beautiful described briefly the impact of brain injuries. We as surivors continue each day as no words can explain each day, each moment, each time we see gran mals...LIFE AFTER A BRAIN INJURY.
Janice Blu....Now a TBI survivors' perspective after penning the above words, I her mother am her voice and want to thank all of you that have impacted and crossed our path and with that path in view we share our experience and advocacy on behalf of all those that do not have a "voice" to cry out for them.
UPDATE: August 2002
Four years, 8 months from the onset of Janice Blu's TBI, MVA 12/4/97, update on "BLU":
"Blu" was recently diagnosed as having severe aphasia on March, 2002.
a•pha•sia (uh-fay'-zhuh) n. An impairment of the ability to use or comprehend words, usually acquired as a result of a stroke or other brain injury.
Her Discharge Summary dated 5/13/98, from a reknowned Rehabilitation Center in Southern California, described her prognosis as "PVS" Permanent Vegetative State, with no Cognitive Abilities.
To date, it requires self advocacy on her behalf to have Blu assessed for basic speech, physical and occupational therapies, having to overcoming the stigma of Janice Blu being misdiagnosed as "PVS". The pattern seems to keep repeating itself in that when she is assessed, the basis of Blu being denied on going therapy is that most facilities, go back to her original prognosis being classified as "No Congnitive Ability". Even before her assessment days, it has repeatedly occurred that the TEAM already has predetermined that it is "of no benefit" to try to help Blu re-learn methods of improvement thus she is only seen for 3 weeks the most and that is only one hour per session two times a week. The only exception has been USC outpatient therapy that has been the pivotal point in her recovery, due to Michele West, a unique individual, therapist that understands in depth TBI and has reached Blu and re-trained Blu to do what we had been told could never or would never be accomplished by Blu.
All along the reason she would not "follow commands" was that words had no meaning to her due to aphasia and it took one Physical Therapist, Michele West; USC Outpatient Rehabilitation Center, Los Angeles, CA, that had compassion and indepth experience working with patients with severe traumatic injury to work with Blu and see for herself what I in my heart all along knew that Blu was not in a vegetative state.
Previous attempts to obtain speech therapy for Blu were repeatedly discontinued as the speech therapist classified her as "non responsive to testing involving reading or answering questions within the alloted time of 1-2 minutes. Not one of the previous speech therapists nor anyone other medical personnel thought of testing Blu for aphasia till we met her latest neurologist and physical therapist 5 months ago. It was their expertise, compassion and indepth understanding of traumatic brain injury that opened up a door so many times had been closed before. We are now awaiting to hear if Blu will qualify for speech therapy along with all other disciplines she so badly needs.
This chain of events, calls to mind another member of tbichat, dear friend and peer, William "Bil" Vargas, survivor of brain injury with severe aphasia and writer pre BI. "Bil" for years has supported and encouraged me to keep on seeking speech therapy for Blu despite all previous declines by others who did not have thorough understanding of TBI and its effects on communication.
You will understand what the latest assessment means for Blu and I when you read "Bil's" story entitled: "Aphasiac Man"
Advocacy is crucial on behalf of brain injury thus the purpose of this site for all those that do not have a "voice" to speak out on their behalf."
Our new website "ARTISTS WITH BRAIN INUJURIES" is dedicated to all that crossed our path in our Journey of Survival post TBI/ABI.
Though originally I had posted only Blu's artwork in the websites, soon Survivors who are artists both Pre and Post TBI shared their artworks to become part of our quest to inspire and encourage the arts. Their incredible gifts inspired me to hope and work towards maybe on day Blu picking up her brushes and begin her new "CANVAS OF LIFE POST TBI".

Copyright: 1997-2002 Pearl,M.S.

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