A former patient of ours, Colman O’Connor, will be sharing his survivor story and be giving the Beverley Bryant Memorial Lecture at the Brain Injury Association of America – Maine (BIAA-ME) 14th Annual Conference on Defining Moments in Brain Injury on September 28, 2023.
Born and raised in Boston, Colman O’Connor has made his home in Wells for the last 20 years while he worked as a salesman in the tech industry and his wife Julie built her career as a realtor. While on a phone call in his home office in October 2022, Colman suddenly felt like something was terribly off. He got out of his chair and walked out of his office into the living room, told Julie, “something’s really wrong,” and then fell to the floor. Julie called 911, an ambulance came, and Colman was rushed to the hospital where he had surgery to remove the blood clot causing a stroke. In the subsequent days he had two additional strokes, and he was in a medically-induced coma for three weeks.
When Colman initially started rehabilitation, he struggled to even lift a finger. Now, nearly a year after his strokes, he has come a long way. While his memory is not what it used to be and he relies heavily on Julie to help keep track of his many medical appointments, he has regained many of his abilities and is working towards goals, like returning to driving and work.
Colman went through intensive outpatient rehabilitation with Rehab Without Walls, including speech, occupational, and physical therapy, and Colman credits this intensive rehabilitation and support (along with a lot of hard work on his part) with how far he has come. He started taking guitar lessons during his recovery, and he has recently joined a gym and gone on hikes that he hadn’t done in years.
Though many months of recovery have been challenging, Colman feels like he is now adjusting to a new way of doing things. His brain injury rehabilitation gave him a lot of the tools and practice with skills, and some things, like writing, are still hard, but he is working on them. When he wrapped up his outpatient rehabilitation, Colman wasn’t sure what he was going to do with his time, but he was feeling very fortunate, and he decided he wanted to find a way to give back and spread some hope. To that end, Colman recently gave a presentation to other brain injury survivors at the RiverRidge Center in Kennebunk.
One of the messages he likes to share with other survivors is to take it easy on yourself and give yourself time. There is not an exact science to brain injury recovery and getting better, but with the right support and rehabilitation, you can make a lot of progress.
Colman O’Connor will give this year’s Beverley Bryant Memorial Lecture at BIAA-ME’s 14th Annual Conference on Defining Moments in Brain Injury. Read more here https://bit.ly/3ZzkF1k