Jeff Fowler is back home with his family in Alaska today after suffering a traumatic brain injury while on the job. An installer of fiber optic cable, the father of nine children was involved in a one-vehicle accident on a road he traveled many times.
Jeff, together with his wife, Trista, traveled nearly 3,400 miles for rehabilitation in Lincoln, Nebraska. Jeff says, while the trip was unfamiliar, he soon came to realize Madonna was exactly the place where he needed to heal.
“When we left Anchorage I thought I was well, I thought it was silly. I’m like, ‘I can walk around I know how my brain works.’ I’m thinking, ‘I need to go home,’ you know? And then my first week here as a patient I realized physically my brain had you know, shrunk and the bleeding had stopped. And I was, physically, I felt pretty good but I realized pretty quickly, no. My brain’s not working 100 percent," said Jeff Fowler, a traumatic brain injury survivor.
“Even when they give you the papers and they tell you this is what a traumatic brain injury is, these are the levels each patient goes through … You don’t really know what it’s like to go through that with somebody that has a traumatic brain injury until you have … you basically have to walk through it. And not that you’re not thankful for the information that’s given to you, but it cannot truly sum up what it’s truly like to live it day by day," said Trista Fowler, Jeff Fowler's wife.
"When we walked in, this speech therapist in inpatient, Amy, I said that, I told her, I said, 'The Lord knew just what I would need to get here.' Because she was just so compassionate and just everything that, you know, it’s like she just had the exact words that I needed to hear. You know, this is where he’s you know he’s accomplished to here but these are just the areas you know we’re working on. Just the way she conveyed that to me , I don’t know, that just meant a lot,” said Trista.
“One of them even sat down with me and went through every part of my brain injury with me online. Looked up all the symptoms, the causes, the therapy, the everything, the healing. They’ve just been so overwhelmingly good to me. You know, to spend time explaining all kinds of things, you know, it’s above and beyond just being a speech therapist,” said Jeff.
"There’s some people that were specifically used just for me, that helped me. Helped me understand, that helped me, you know just because there’s so much you don’t know about a traumatic brain injury. And when things would come up and I’d ask questions or I’d need help with this, they just always seem to have the answers to point me in the right direction, and help me move you know, from day to day," said Trista.
“Any therapy place that makes their list of the top so many in the country would probably be a good place. But I believe he brought me here because I needed to be treated the way I’ve been treated, you know, I needed that to help me understand, and so coming here taught me a lot,” said Jeff.
With comprehensive services like recreational therapy, work re-entry and occupational therapy, Jeff returned home to Alaska with his family after spending two months at Madonna.
To learn more about Madonna’s Brain Injury Program, go to www.madonna.org/traumatic-brain-injury.