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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

A hug is duct tape for the soul.

A small but growing photo gallery is now available here.

Since my accident I have had over 150 medical personnel consult with me on my injuries and conditions. This list includes neurologists, neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, primary care physicians, psychologists, orthopedists, physical therapists, ophthalmologists, osteopaths, cardiologists, psychiatrists, speech therapists… and it goes on. Half of these professionals had nothing of value to offer, pure junk, worthless. I found the more professionals involved – the more mistakes were made

Four days after my accident I was discharged from the ER without a diagnosis or treatment plan. I returned to the hospital and requested a second opinion. A second year resident physician refused to examine me. He stated he did not want to challenge the authority of his fellow physicians. I persisted, knowing that I had suffered a brain injury, knowing I needed treatment. He threw me out of the office.

On any important matter, one should obtain a second opinion. Many people are concerned that obtaining a second opinion will damage their relationship with their doctor. It is your life and not the doctor's feelings on the line. Patients under Medicare have a right to a second opinion and should avail themselves of that certainty. (It is important to check whether your health plan covers a second opinion.) A second opinion can validate the first doctor’s diagnosis and serve to relieve anxiety about a diagnosis.

A second opinion can be easy. The Cleveland Clinic offers a second opinion online, making it possible to obtain the opinion of some of the nation’s best physicians without the time or expense of travel.

Experiences with terrible doctors can rob patients of hope. Finding the right doctor can make all the difference in recovery and quality of life. Healing begins with caring, with touch. A good healer knows that part of the dismay of illness comes from isolation and the loss of close human contact. A good doctor can heal pain and disease through the doctor-patient relationship alone.

For more on second opinions link to the following sites:


Value of Support Groups

A therapeutic and valuable resource for TBI patients is the opportunity to attend a support group. It is important to distinguish support groups from group therapy. Support groups generally address difficult symptoms and how to cope with them. Group therapy often aims to provide an opportunity for interpersonal learning and to work out early familial conflicts.

What Is a Support Group?

A support group is set up to help people cope with difficult situations. Its aim is to alleviate symptoms. It provides an opportunity to explore and discuss troubling events, thoughts and feelings in a group setting. It is often very helpful for participants to discover they are not the only person to ever think, feel or act a certain way.

Who Attends?

The scope of group therapies is mind-boggling. For nearly every medical and psychological condition there is a support group. There are support groups for AIDS patients, eating disorders, post partum depression groups, cancer, asthmatics, irritable bowl, panic disorder, and many more.

Therapeutic Factors

Here is a short list of what support groups provide. For extensive information on this topic read The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, by Irvin Yalom, professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine. Most psychology graduate students are trained on his seminal research.

Instillation of Hope – Group members are often inspired and their expectations raised by contact with those who are improving or have found effective ways to cope with symptoms.

Universality – Many people feel that they alone have frightening or unacceptable problems, thoughts or feelings. A support group can be a powerful source of relief through the discovery that others suffer similar problems, and that no human deed is outside someone else's experience.

Altruism – Group members often benefit by giving. In group settings, members offer support, reassurance, suggestions and insights. Almost all group members credit their fellow members as important to their improvement.

Didactic Instruction – Group members may receive information on current research or techniques associated with their specific problem or condition. Oftentimes members will learn the physiological effects of their condition, how it affects thoughts, mood and behavior. Illness-related medical information is often imparted.

This is an important part of the group process, as fear and anxiety stem from the uncertainty of the source and meaning of symptoms.

Direct Advice – Group members often benefit from another's direct suggestions and guidance. It's often the process of giving advice that's valuable, rather than the content of the advice itself. The gesture conveys mutual interest and caring.

Development of Socializing Techniques – Social learning, or the development of social skills, is always at work in a group setting. Members often learn how to be responsive, non-judgmental and appropriately empathetic.

How to find a Support group.

There are many types of support groups available in a variety of locations. There are support groups in both inpatient and outpatient facilities, as well as online. Below are a few links to help you find support groups related to TBI: (an online support group connection) (links to support groups across the US) (an online TBI support group) (Lists a toll free # for assistance finding support groups in FL)


An auto accident in 1989 left me with a traumatic brain injury. As a result, I developed neurological, orthopedic, respiratory, dental and psychiatric symptoms.  The pain that resulted from this accident was undiagnosed and untreated.

After numerous attempts seeking traditional treatments for pain, I spent two weeks at the Upledger Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, FL undergoing cranial sacral therapy. Those sessions saved my life. My pain went from 200% to 50% at Upledger – which made it possible for me to attend to my injuries (broken bones, spinal cord injury, TBI).Miami University's Touch Research Institute

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that indicates touch therapy is an effective treatment for traumatic brain injury as well as other physiological and psychiatric conditions. 
[Touch Research Institute]

 With that in mind I invited practitioners from A Touch of Healing Massage Therapy Clinic to present at The Big Bend Brain Injury Support Group. The practitioners provided instruction and techniques for massage, relaxation and stress reduction.  The group received both didactic and “hands on” instruction.  The greatest outcome of this meeting was that we were able to treat one another.

 The presentation began with a discussion on the value and therapeutic effects of touch. Further the massage therapists explained the need for massage therapy in a society filled with people who have become “human doings” rather than human beings. Resultantly, our bodies are rarely at rest. A body at rest can recover from trauma and stress and begin to repair.

Massage Touch itself is healing. Scripture was quoted you shall lay on hands and be healed. : Christ was able to do most of his healing with physical touch.

 Our group was very receptive to the idea of touching one another. There was no lack of volunteers for a massage from the pros. Most group members have friends and family attend who administered massage.

 In attendance as well was the hospital Vice President and Chief Communications Administrator as well as the Department Head of the TMH Neuroscience Center. It was a show of good faith as there is a paucity of resources for TBI patients in North Florida. Thousands of TBI patients in our region could have benefited from information shared at this meeting. There is much more to be done.

 The next meeting we will get feedback from the group on how massage therapy affected their symptoms.

TBI Film Reviews
TBI Book Reviews
Traumatic Brain Injury Law Blog
Brain Blog
Brain Blogger
SoapBlox/Chicago: Protecting Our Troops
Head Injury Survival Journal
Losing the Physical Self

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