By Daryl Talbot, Commander of the CPN Veterans Organization
To start, I am sad to inform you that of one of our very active members, Robert Barrett, has walked on. He was a member of our CPN Honor Guard and Color Guard and will be greatly missed by all.
I would like to address an issue that has been in the news a lot lately, traumatic brain injury. Many veterans are suffering from this affliction, but they are not alone.
Sports events are becoming aware of the need to be concerned with TBI. Many of us have experienced it ourselves or know someone who has. TBI is a blow to the head that disrupts the normal functions of the brain. It may knock you out briefly or for an extended period of time, or make you feel confused or see stars.
Not all blows to the head result in a TBI. The most common form in the military is mild. A concussion is another word for mild TBI. In the military the leading causes of TBI, both deployed and non-deployed are: blasts, bullets, fragments, falls, motor vehicle crashes and rollovers, sports and assaults. In the deployed setting, blasts are the leading cause.
Common signs symptoms of are:
- Physical – headaches, sleep disturbance, dizziness, balance problems, nausea, visual disturbances, sensitivity to light, and ringing in the ears.
- Cognitive – concentration problems, temporary gaps in memory, attention problems, slowed thinking, and difficulty finding words.
- Emotional – irritability, anxiety, depression, and mood swings.
Most people recover from a concussion. Symptoms usually begin to improve within hours and can resolve completely within days or weeks. Even after repeated concussions full recovery can be expected, but each additional concussion will take longer to heal.
Some coping tips are to write things down – carry a small pad and pen, store important items like keys or wallets in a designated place to keep from losing them. Keep a steady pace and take breaks as needed. Try to focus on one thing at a time and perform tasks in a quiet and non-distracting environment. If you’re feeling irritable or angry you can try relaxation techniques or just walk away from the situation.
In the VA, TBI has become a major focus, second only to recognition of the need for increased resources to provide health care and vocational retraining for individuals with TBI. These TBI veterans are in need of our understanding and support. Migwetch.
Remember the CPN Veterans Organization meets on the fourth Tues. of every month at 6 p.m. (or as soon as you can get there) in the North Reunion Hall on the Potawatomi Powwow Grounds. All CPN and spouse veterans and their families are welcome. A meal is provided.