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Don "maddad" Valone

Traumatic Brain Injury - The Unseen Injury
This injury is one of the most misdiagnosed and is often written off as stress, depression etc. The injury itself has many different levels but all of them take a piece of who you were and will not be again.

There is what they call mild head injury,(but I am still trying to figure out what's mild about it) or closed head injury. This can totally take you away and make you a different person. You may suffer memory loss, a change in personality, your emotions run rampant. These are only a few things that can happen with a mild brain injury.

The Traumatic Brain Injury has all of this and more. People for the most part will never be the same person. They may have seizures, confusion, learning disabilities, impulsivity, and obsessive- compulsiveness and more.

They may become uncontrollable and a dangerous to themselves or others. The injured person may make threats, such as; telling their family they hate them, want to kill you, you do not love me, etc. Each head injury is different although with some similarities.

If this isn't enough, the worst may be the people around you, extended family, co-workers and/or friends who mean well but don't have a clue. The head injured person may look fine and thus they expect you to be fine. If they can't see it then it must not be there. They may get angry with the person when their emotions spill over because they do not understand the confusion and overwhelming feelings the person can't control (sometimes even with medication). Mostly the friends and families want the 'old' person back and put too much pressure on the person to make this happen. The head injured person desperately wants themselves back too but can't get there and then becomes very frustrated and angry with themselves and those around them, often the ones who love them. The good news is the injured may not be the same person but they can make the new one just as good. It will take a lot of effort and hard work. They will need love and support but it is possible. Until this can be accomplished we live day by day and hang by a thread hoping one day it will be a rope and then one day you've discovered you made it! However, head injuries are for life as they do not heal like a broken bone. They are very real for the rest of the person's life.

This is not meant to be all inclusive of head injuries. This is my personal experience from both my own brain injury and what my daughter has experienced and continues to struggle with daily. A good site on the web is www.tbihome.org, lots of info and links to other information. They also have a chat and discussion board. Please feel free to contact me anytime at maddpop@yahoo.com .

Don Valone

The Injured Victims: The MIA Of Drunk Driving
The injured victim is the lucky one, so alot of folks think and say. Let see, I'm lucky because I get to live in extreme pain the rest of my life. I am lucky because I lost the things I used to do with my family but no longer can because of my injures. My wife is lucky to she also lives in extreme pain and needs both knees replaced but can not because she is too young. Then there is my girls, oh yes, Samantha is lucky she will have back problems the rest of her life, emotional scars that will never heal and just for good measure a mild head injury. Then my youngest, Jamie, the luckiest of all; her skull was cracked wide opened with fluid coming out. She was so lucky she got to have emergency brain surgery and be in a coma for a month. We were told Jamie probably would not live, oh boy that what I call lucky for us!

Well Jamie did live but life has been hell for her every second of the day. Two months in the hospital and over a year in full time rehab, boy lucky and she has come along way.

The worst thing you can do is tell someone they are lucky because they did not die or have a love one die. I lost my Jamie that night she died and is never coming home and the pain of that is as real as if we had buried her. I love the new Jamie but will never forget the old one and what she could have become. Our lives that were to be, will never be. Instead we have lived and will continue to live in pain both physically and mentally. We continue to have our lives a open book and to be re-victimized over and over how lucky can one family be? I have many things that bother me being a injured victim but this by far is the worst.

We were even re-victimized by MADD as injury victims we were low on that pole. However, when I was able to I got MADD and joined to fight for injured victims rights with in MADD. I am happy to say MADD has the right perspective on injured victims and have come a long way but still a ways to go. I like to think my family and me had a little something to do with that. So to all remember there is nothing lucky about being hit by a drunk driver whether you live or die. As there are many things in this world that are worst than death. Remember the injured victim with compassion and do not judge them. Do not tell them to get on with their life and make them feel there lost is any less then anyone else injured or bereaved.

If anyone would like to contact me to chat or what ever email me at maddpop@yahoo.com

Don Valone

My Two Jamie's
You were a leader at the age of 4
You continue to grow to a real leader at the tender age of 7
All your peers would follow you anywhere
I could see you were going to be a very special and successful adult
Then it happened you young life was swept away by a drunk driver
Now you lay in a comma 1 month away from your 8th birthday
They're telling me that you may not survive wait 72hrs they say
I lay in a hospital emergence room were I get the news
I am 60 miles from your side and can not get to you
My heart turns to sadness and I do not know what to do
So I just lay on the gurney and cry
One month has passed you come out of your coma
The doctors and nurses came in and cried
For they thought you would not survive
You awake as a new person nothing like the one that was
I wheel myself to your side your head is shaved and you are restrained
You look at me and say daddy in a strange voice
I hug you and tell you I love you
But I have to leave the room for I am being over come with emotions
I go out to the hall and cry and shout in anger
Oh way oh way did he take my little girl away
She dose not deserve this at her young age
But the drunk driver dose not cares
You spent the last 10 years trying to get what you once were
The distance never seems to be in reach
But you do not let that stop you from continuing to grow
To come so far make's me proud of you
But your pain in growing and see you lose your
childhood really rips my heart out
For this should have never been

Don Valone

Here I am sitting and staring off in the distance
I move my leg and it cracks like a ball bat breaking
I scream out loud nothing I can do
My life that was to be is no longer
It has been taken away from me and replaced with pain
Yet the drunk driver has not suffer anything for the last 10 years
They tell me you need to get over the anger
I say never how can I the aftermath is all around me
My pain my wife's pain
Then my children there lives taken away at age 8 and 9
Now they live the life the drunk driver has given them
So at end never more never more

Don Valone

I sit in my dazed world again
Trying to find out who I am
I once knew who and what I was
However, I do not remember that any more
Some days I think I do but then I just get blue
Then I remember who I was and the anger flows like new
I look around and I want to shout
What this DD did to me?
I think he should be me

Don Valone

If I break my legs
I'll get some wheels
To do my walking
If I break my voice
I'll let my fingers
Do the talking
If I break my eyes
I'll buy a dog
To guide my way
But what will I do
If I break my brain?

Don Valone