Michael Blois is a brain injury survivor. We first met him a number of years ago through our close association with the St. Michael’s Head Injury Clinic. With our help he went on to law school and articled with Howie Sacks & Henry in 2014/2015.
Here, Michael shares his story about how he was injured fighting in Afghanistan, how he responded to his injuries, how he learned to seek out help from others, and how he used that help to achieve new goals for his life, while living with the effects of a brain injury.
Following is the third in a four-part series of articles, of Michael's ordeal.
I was seen by Dr. Ouchterloney at St. Michael’s Hospital Head Injury Clinic in Toronto, long after my fall. I knew that my condition was bad, but I still did not know how bad. I was very concerned about my future, because all I wanted to do was to stay in the military and the infantry. In the course of being evaluated on my medical base, I had asked each doctor if my injury was going require me to be released from the military. None of them had an answer for me, but I was told that the Head Injury Clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital would be making that determination.
When I arrived at clinic, I was very nervous. I knew there was a real chance that my career in the military would be over after being evaluated here. I now knew how serious my condition was, however, and I realized that if I down-played my symptoms, it could be extremely dangerous for my health. Therefore, when I saw Dr. Ouchterloney, I told her everything: the headaches, the dizziness, the problems with my memory, and every other symptom I had. I was afraid that the headaches would not end because I did not seek out the help immediately, but I was assured that with the right medications, therapy and rest, my symptoms would get better and that I could live close to the same life as I had before I was injured.
I was prescribed various medications for my symptoms, most of which I have since stopped taking because they were effective at eliminating my symptoms, in conjunction with a change in my lifestyle. I was required to reduce my activity initially, then over a few months I would be able to slowly start being active again.
At the end of my appointment I asked the one question that I cared about the most: would I be able to remain in the military with a brain injury? Dr. Ouchterloney looked me straight in the eye, and with a great deal of compassion said that she was afraid that my brain injury would require me to find a new vocation. I was devastated by this. I loved the military, and now it was gone. I would not let this keep me down for long, however, and the road to finding a new passion in my life began.
In the last part of this series, Michael will tell us how one door closed and another opened, as he fought to redefine his goals, while living with the effects of a brain injury.Part 1: How I Sustained my Brain Injury Part 2: Denial of My Brain Injury Part 3: Acceptance of My Brain Injury, and the Road to Recovery Part 4: One Door Closes and Another Opens…