Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

March 22, 2019

“You’re Crippled…Get Used To It!”

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 8:00 am

“You’re crippled.  Get used to it!”  With all the uncountable things I’ve forgotten, that comment, said to me by a balance specialist more than twenty years ago, stays.

I wept in his office that day.  He abruptly left after proclaiming what he did.  His nurse came in and held me while I cried.  She apologized for him.

I have never forgotten.

Over the years I have realized the truth in it.  Yes, his delivery was disgusting.  His utter lack of compassion was appalling.   But, by definition, crippled means “unable to walk or move properly” and that is true.

What I also took from that moment was significant in my successful recovery.

For one, a doctor gives you his diagnosis, his prognosis, his best guess, his opinion based on your facts and his experience.   Some will prove true and some won’t.  Some diagnoses will beat us and some we will overcome.

But it is simply a capturing of a moment.  One that can change in a million ways.  It is up to us to respond.  To apply.  To investigate.  To try and prove false.  To continue to create a better outcome than we are sentenced with.  To get other opinions.  To try more than we’ve tried.  To try differently.  To change, as we have to.

In my mind, I am not crippled at all.

The other significant thing that that moment, crying in his office, taught me….was that we can avoid many many hurt feelings when we choose wisely the sources from which and from whom we seek compassion and understanding.

Survivors have told me for more than twenty years how they are so devastated that their spouses or their kids or their parents or doctors don’t understand what they are going through.

How could they?

We cannot keep hitting our heads against the wall, so to speak.  We cannot expect that a person without a brain injury would understand what it’s like to have a brain injury.

Yes, they can love us.  Yes, they can support us.  Yes, they can comfort us.  Yes, they can show compassion for our struggles.  But it’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to us to expect them to understand what this is like.   They simply cannot meet that need.

We go to a restaurant when we are hungry.  We go to a gym when we need to work out.  We go to a salon when we need a haircut.

You wouldn’t go to a priest for understanding of a troubled marriage.  You wouldn’t go to a middle schooler for understanding after you got a divorce or lost a child.  You wouldn’t go to a civilian for understanding of the nightmares of fighting war.

While they might have comfort, compassion, even sound counsel or guidance…they will not have understanding.

The people in our lives cannot be expected to give us what they don’t have and it’s not right for us to ask.

There are, sadly, countless people in our community in whom to seek understanding.  Support groups on Facebook.  Meeting groups in the community.  TBI Conferences…

Blogs by sexy gals eating cupcakes :)))))

Just please do not seek understanding from people who cannot gift it.  You can’t get your hair cut at a restaurant….Nobody needs the additional frustration or hardship or hurt feelings.

No, I won’t ever forget that time in that doctor’s office.   I wish I could remember where my keys are, instead.  But, for as much of a cad as he was and how cold he proved to be, I have sifted through it to find the good.  To make it mine.

What do they say?  Forget the pain;  Remember the lesson.

We will always welcome you here.   We will always meet you and greet you at the door with warm armfuls of understanding.

Happy Spring, everyone!!!



  1. Timing is everything re your writing themes

    Comment by Sandy — March 22, 2019 @ 8:09 am | Reply

    • Hope it is great timing, Sandy :)))) Have a super day. Kara

      Comment by karaswanson — March 22, 2019 @ 8:15 am | Reply

  2. It is so true no one understands until they live it. I and my husband both have brain injuries. I would love to connect more. Thank you for being so open and honest it does help to know others do understand the journey.

    Comment by Katiedash — April 13, 2019 @ 11:53 pm | Reply

    • Hi, Katiedash! Thanks for writing. Sorry to hear that you and your husband are both struggling to connect with brain injury mucking up the waters in there. Wishing you laughs and loves and light moments outside this injury where the two of you can meet and enjoy. Kara

      Comment by karaswanson — April 14, 2019 @ 10:26 am | Reply

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