As a truck driver, Brent Lash is acutely aware of the risks he takes when he’s on the job. In spite of his efforts to stay safe, Brent sustained a serious injury last January. A blow to the head left him with a concussion and months of symptoms that went unresolved.
“You never think it is going to happen to you.” Brent explains. “You hear about concussions on TV and in sports, but you never realize how much that affects your life.”
On a winter afternoon, Brent removed a piece of equipment from a trailer, a task he’d done countless times before. The equipment was held in place by a tension bar. This time the bar slipped. Suddenly, Brent felt the tension bar hit him in the jaw and head, and he fell to the ground confused and disoriented.
“I don’t really remember much,” he explains. “I sort of remember walking into the main shop.”
Because of the blow and subsequent fall, Brent’s tooth went through his lip. The injury was bleeding profusely, and unlike some concussion patients, Brent sought immediate medical attention.
After arriving at the hospital, Brent received an examination, X-Ray, and CAT scan because medical staff thought his jaw might be broken – but his concussion went undetected. It wasn’t until Brent received follow-up care that his head injury was diagnosed
Nearly a year later, Brent still has a difficult time describing his symptoms.
“It’s kind of hard to explain. It was like my brain was functioning, but really it wasn’t.”
Brent would often ask his wife the same question multiple times. He was agitated and discouraged by his debilitations.
Brent’s appearance was misleading as he seemed just fine. But most of his family, friends, and coworkers didn’t understand the true extent of his injury.
Five months passed between Brent sustaining the concussion and receiving outpatient treatment. During that time, he sought help from an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) for his multiple symptoms.
“It was way too long,” Brent said, referring to those five months of post-concussion symptoms. “I had to go to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. I ended up getting vertigo really bad.”
The ENT encouraged Brent to seek therapy, and his doctor at Borgess Hospital recommended Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital’s Post-Concussion Program.
After Brent’s initial assessment at Mary Free Bed, his rehab team developed a treatment plan. Brent received more than a month of physical and occupational therapies, traveling to Mary Free Bed twice a week.
“The therapists were unbelievable,” Brent said. “I started seeing results within the first week through the exercises and tests they were doing. It was really unbelievable.”
Mary Free Bed’s post-concussion team gave Brent the tools he needed to improve his functioning and provided exercises to continue treatment at home.
“If anybody I know, or ever hear of, gets a concussion, they should go directly to Mary Free Bed. I am serious. It was unbelievable how they helped me.”
Looking back, Brent wishes he’d been referred to Mary Free Bed much sooner. He reports his five months of post-concussion symptoms were unbearable.
“After all of those months of fighting this it was incredible that I finally got my life back.”
Melissa Meitz is a Marketing and External Relations Specialist at Mary Free Bed. Along with contributing to the Stories That Move You blog, she represents many of Mary Free Bed’s inpatient and outpatient programs.