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Your Healthy Family: Recovering from a traumatic brain injury

Posted at 10:56 AM, Aug 30, 2018
and last updated 2019-07-09 11:27:44-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – This week we saw Colorado Springs police officer Cem Duzel released from UCHealth Memorial and transferred to Craig Hospital in Englewood.

There was cause for celebration as fellow officers and hospital staff lined the hallways streets as Cem made his way to the ambulance.  Craig Hospital is a rehabilitation hospital that specializes in spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, also known as a TBI.

In time everyone hopes that officer Duzel will transition into an outpatient type of TBI program.  Rocky Mountain Health Care Services In Colorado Springs has a program called Brain Care, that assists TBI patients who are progressing in their rehab.

Through other Your Healthy Family stories I have met Brain Care patients and learned the ways a TBI manifests itself is as diverse as the people who have them.

Julie suffered a TBI in a car accident and explains, “Sometimes people have TBI and they look perfectly normal, but they may have memory problems, balance problems, problems with their emotions.  Many times a TBI can be invisible to other people.”

Shawdee was hit by a car while crossing the street and remembers a long transition.  “Just coming out of the coma, when I was in a coma it was like a dream state. After I learned how to walk again, I didn’t know how to act.  I didn’t have a filter so the first thing I would say would be something inappropriate or unexpected. This program’s taught me how to pay attention to my filter.”

Linda Draayers is the Brain Care program manager and sees daily multiple and various challenges as well as the courage of people recovering from a TBI.

Linda says, “They don’t look different, they don’t necessarily act different, they don’t talk differently and so many people don’t understand what they struggle with on a daily basis.   Just remembering the day to day details of how to get through the day. How to get ready in the morning or how to pay bills or take transportation. These are things that many of us take for granted on a daily basis.”

At this point we don’t know what challenges Cem Duzel’s TBI will present in the future, all we know is he is improving and that he and his family are grateful for the support of the Colorado Springs community.

We certainly wish him the best.