Brain Injury in Nebraska

This week finds me in Lincoln, Nebraska. I stopped by Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital to visit with Judy Harvey, CCC-SLP. She earned all three Cs in Nebraska and focuses her care on the brain injury patients at Madonna. After a delightful lunch in a nearby bowling alley, Judy took me on a tour of the facility.

Madonna is big. I think it may have gajillions of beds, plus or minus a gajillion. Judy told me that average length of stay is about 20-25 days on the brain injury unit, and that they’re more “hospitally” than their brain injury rehab neighbor to the east, QLI–Quality Living Incorporated, a sprawling campus-like rehab for high-functioning TBI patients.

While touring the facility, we walked through the pediatric unit where I noticed a small boy working deliberately at a coloring book. He had a glistening red wound on the crown of his head, round, the size of a quarter. The boy stayed hunched over his book, not even looking up as we passed by.

It’s easy for us who work in rehabs to forget that TBI affects individuals. As I continued walking through the halls, then out into the parking lot, and later into a cafe in Lincoln’s Haymarket district, the image of the boy’s wound stayed with me. The solace is that he’s in a great place, getting great care, but I wonder where he’ll be twenty-five days from now.

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