“Our Stories” - Ben Boulter
Written by Ben Boulter:
I was hit by a pick up truck that ran a red light while I was on a bike ride (in a cross walk with the right to pass). I suffered a TBI to my frontal lobe and lost all sense of smell and taste which is just starting to come back (very slowly) as well as lots of broken bones and also lost the ability to drive my own car because I can’t get my insurance to cover me until it’s been two years since accident. So I’ve just been able to start that process over the last month.
What has helped me most in recovery other than my family and long time girlfriend (who comes with me to every neurology appointment and takes notes as neurologist and I go over symptoms, mri results etc...,) and my close friends doing research on their own accord to figure out where my brain is at and what the silent struggle I’m going through is. The other thing that’s helped me is being able to get back to the career I love (turf science and maintenance) with
A boss who is very understanding of my situation and has helped me progress In My field to the point where now I’m second in command under him and a staff of up to 30 guys. To be honest that promotion showed me this is possible and I’m not limited by my condition as much as I had believed I was.
Brain brave means everything to me. After going through this there is nothing more important than taking care of the most important organ in our bodies. Being brain brave goes beyond wearing a helmet when you think you don’t need one or ignoring a concussion so you can play your next game. Being brain brave means that 1) I have to share my story and struggles so that others know they are not alone and 2) knowing and acknowledging where I’m at and what happened to me as well as symptoms. There are days when I’m showing severe symptoms but it’s almost as if I don’t notice (every TBI is different). Being brain brave is about knowing no matter what I’m still breathing and I’m not going to let my condition define me. I have goals I want to reach and although they may be delayed I’m still chasing them down every single day.
To anyone going through any type of brain injury no matter the severity please try to educate yourself and all of your loved ones so that you have support. DO NOT TRY TO DO THIS ALONE. That is by far the biggest mistake you can make. If you are going through it alone reach out to me @bboulter14 I will give you my personal cell and email and will always answer or return a call or @brain_brave. We are in this together as corny as that may sound at this current moment in time the only people who truly understand are those who are going through it themselves. Always reach out for help when you’re having dark times because I myself was at the point a year in to this injury seriously considering suicide. There is no reason for that because you are still as valuable as before the injury and we need you here. This is not an easy path to recovery but there is always a way to find a light in the darkest of times. To quote one of my favorite bands the Grateful Dead “once in a while you get shown the light, if you look at it right” and those words have rung true through out my recovery.
I would say my injury has made me a better more caring and understanding man. I’m now much more able to meet people where they are at and help them grow when it comes to my career. Without this TBI I would of never had to move and had the opportunity to have the job I do today. When life kicks you down don’t blame yourself, ever. Dust yourself off, TAKE CARE IF YOURSELF. And in my case look up at the sky and say “IS THAT ALL YOU GOT?” and then continue to heal and recover but DO NOT GIVE UP. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Our injuries may change the trajectory or path we were on in life but that means nothing. Improvise, adapt, overcome and you will come out of this a different, stronger, prouder person.