About Lori Faitel, Author & Survivor

Lori Purdy-Faitel is a paid motivational and inspirational speaker on the topic of brain damage and head injury.

I am a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant/ COTA and I have worked in Metro Detroit Since 1992.  I went to college for OT with one thing in mind and that was to work with the brain injured.  Since 2011 I have been blessed to professionally work with the brain injured.  Our Father God has given me guidance throughout my life and I find when I listen; and when I follow his guidance I am not confused. I pray for all who are troubled.

Born in Lansing Michigan in 1962, as an only child until 1973 when, her favorite toy,  which is her brother Christopher was born.  She lived with her parents until she was 24 years old  at which time Lori began a promising life as an up and coming businesswoman.  A life devastating automobile accident occurred which changed everything in 1986.  She suffered a TBI: Traumatic Brain Injury in April of 1986 and was in a coma for 7 days.   She spent the next 6 years in therapy until I felt like a functional person, again.   She  became a student of various therapies and private study for about 6 years. Post Brain Trauma people must recreate who themselves.  Lori began working in the health care field, went back to college received an Occupational Therapy Degree in Allied Health.

Lori’s goal is to “pay it forward” and help others. Since 1992 Lori has lead a happy and healthy life in the world of the  Non-Brain Injured with her husband and many  pets.

I  created a book from memoirs written during recuperation: “Am I Brain Damaged?”  I pray this book will open the minds of the general population, above all I wish to provide motivation and comfort to other Brain Injured people. 

I am a TBI survivor from a car accident.

We all have been through life changing events and that is why we have something in common.

I was on my way to work one morning in April of 1986. A stake truck carrying hay bales, for road construction, dropped a bail of hay on my windshield. That Lori Purdy at 24 years of age ceased to exist.

I have been blessed to live and work in the world of the non-brain injured since 1992. I am currently a C.O.T.A./L Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant/Licensed here in Michigan.

During my recuperation when I was still an inpatient at the hospital (Providence in Southfield) my Neuro-Psychologist suggested that I begin keeping a journal/memoir to help me organize my thoughts. I wrote thoughts on paper regularly. When I began to write my thoughts I was still very mentally confused. My motor function allowed me to write, almost legibly. I could draw the character of letters, but I did not remember words or how to spell. I then tried to put words to my thoughts; some of the writings came out very elementary.

My TBI occurred late in the Month of April in 1986, I am guessing I began writing by the end of summer in 1986. I kept writing in notebooks for almost 20 years. My writing became my source of power. I knew that some day I would help others with my thoughts.

In 2007 a Speech Pathologist friend/co-worker suggested I put these thoughts into a book.  I tried to create such a book. But, to read the words, my own personal confused words and vivid memories were too upsetting to me.

In 2008, for me to create something others could understand became very important to me.  I put out an email to everyone I knew asking for an editor who had patience to read what I had written, to write their own view of what they were reading.  I found such an editor through the chapter president of a volunteer group I am still active with, Queen for a day, (currently known as Queen for a Day/ Heros-QFAD/Heros) Queen for a Day (QFAD) and Heroes are national non-profit charities whose mission is to raise the self esteem and confidence of children 3-21 with cancer.

My Editor was Heather Haack.  Heather worked with me for a year, spending many hours reading, editing old and new writings. Heather and I worked with the writings back and forth until my information could be put into a story format then created into a book.

This book is “Am I Brain Damaged?” by Lori Purdy Faitel, I self-published in February of 2009. I am very proud of this book.  I know that if I had something like this when I was recuperating it would have been a great source of inspiration.  As a writing professional, I was told I am a WRITER, being that I have a published book regardless that I self-published. I am aware of 10 errors in grammar in this book.  I also have a downloadable version that I believe is error free.

A goal in my recuperated life is to do all I can to motivate and help other brain injured. I would be honored if I could come to one of your meetings and introduce my book.  Blessings!!  Lori

 

A letter for the family from Lori’s brother

My brother sent this email to me a few months back. He said I could put it out in my blog and I did. I recently re-read it, initially I was overwhelmed with shame. After review today I can see the great love my brother has always had for me.
I am blessed.
I love you Chris.
I’m eager to share this:

Today it all came crashing in…
Driving to work today, as is my custom – I put on a favorite album.. Usually something with a story to it. This time it was “Mercy Falls” by Seventh Wonder..
The song – “Tears for a Father” comes on – and I nearly skip it
“ahh why not, lets give it a listen – I’m feeling a bit melancholy today anyways” I think to myself…
[song plays] “What’s going on inside of you…
Still wondering
If my voice is reaching through to you…
.
.
Don’t want to play
Another day without you
Oh – daddy
Open up your tired eyes
Want you to watch my games
And say you’re proud of me
Want you to do whatever fathers do…
.
.
But I won’t cry
No I won’t
I’ll be strong, goodnight dad
I will turn the radio on”

Before I knew it I had tears in my eyes and I could barely keep composure. It’s an hour later now and I’m sitting at my desk at work and I’m still visibly shaking…
I realized something today.. That boy in the song – is me.
You see – when I was 14 I lost my best friend. I came home from school and everything changed. My parents told me that my sister was in a car accident and was in a coma.
That was the beginning of a year that I don’t remember.
I’m not being melodramatic, I literally don’t remember. Not one detail. Not one sound, smell, conversation… Let me take that back – I remember one single thing. The most horrifying thing a young boy can possibly remember.

I remember seeing my brain injured 25 year old sister pulling her catheter out.

I remember that… and that is all.

23 years ago I lost my best friend – the person who I idolized. We played together from the time I was little (She is 11 years older than me). She cut my hair. I went to her apartment and stayed with her.. I loved her.
And then it was gone.

And for the last 23 years, there has been a 1 year void that I can’t recall.
Now – let me give you a little more detail on myself. I’m an Engineer and have a wife and two kids – pretty typical for my demographic I suppose… Late 30’s (for a few months still).. Active in my church, and I have a few hobbies to keep me busy..
But there has always been something – something there that I couldn’t place my finger on…

Until today.

It all came crashing in when I heard that song.

You see – I have listened to that particular song and album about 100 times and while it has affected me in other ways, today it hit me like a brick.
The album is by the Swedish Progressive Metal band Seventh Wonder. I like them because they have a singer who doesn’t do the whole crazy screaming thing and really has a quality voice. The album is called “Mercy Falls”, and it tells the story of a man who is in a car accident and winds up in a long term coma. The album deals with his family as they visit him and many of the songs are from the point of view of people at his bedside and what they are feeling over the last several years while he lays there, unable to communicate with them.
As I listened, I realized that not only could I relate to the boy in that song (and his Mother which is a whole ‘nother story), but I literally WAS the boy.

“Don’t want to play
Another day without you
Oh – daddy
Open up your tired eyes
Want you to watch my games
And say you’re proud of me
Want you to do whatever fathers do…”

Every time I had listened to that before, I thought of how touching it was, and even teared up a little thinking about my own son… But today, a new thought exploded into my mind. Something I that had been hiding for years and I had never realized. Ideas I never allowed to come to focus coalesced in my mind and I was left with the thought.
I lost my best friend 23 years ago, and I have never been the same since.

You see, I have always had a bad temper – and been very emotional and I would even say co-dependent and insecure. Sure, I can put on the act and walk the walk when I need to – but those that know me, especially my wife, know that there are scars there…. scars that even I, until now, didn’t know much about how to deal with.
I now realize why – why I have the character flaws, why I have trust issues, why I still – to this day – have trouble dealing with my own sister whom I love… but for some reason I just can’t relate to.
For those of you who are not familiar with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), let me give you a little background. Many times, after someone goes through a TBI, when they recoup from it they may lose some ability to function, or they may develop different personality traits than they had previously. I’m not a Doc, and don’t claim to completely understand the process involved – but from what I have experienced with my sister and the process – it appears that the brain co-opts different areas to compensate for the damaged sections. In the process, things get “rewired” so to speak… and new traits appear.
My sister has different likes and dislikes than she did before – she has different attitudes toward certain things, and she has a different temperament. She isn’t the same. I love her – be she is different.
That is not to say that the changes are bad, or good… they are just different. And that is where my “lost year” lies… in those changes.
You see – when my sister started to function normally again – and started living on her own again… when we started doing things again – it was like being with a different person. Imagine meeting a long lost friend after 20 years… you grew up together but then were separated by a distance with no contact – allowed to grow emotionally with different inputs and experiences…
Now when you meet again – you still can see the shadow of the person you knew, but the surface is different. Its like being with a very good copy that had a few things missing and the builder had to improvise…. very close, but just not quite right.

That is what it was like..

And for 23 years I have had this nagging ache – this tiny splinter deep in those old wounds that I couldn’t get out – and I couldn’t place my finger on the cause. Today it became clear.
I put up those walls when I was young because I couldn’t process the hurt, the pain, the torment of that time when my sister was suffering. I couldn’t deal with it, so my brain built a wall around it all and hid it.
Hid it so deep that I still can’t remember the details..
But now I know – now I know why its hard to accept my sister and her work with the brain injured – why its hard for me to read her book and listen to her accounts of the ordeal… why its hard for me to get truly “close” to her.
Its because, deep inside – I’m still that little boy. That little boy sitting by her bedside thinking:
“Don’t want to play
Another day without you..”

So – why do I write this?

Because – I wasted 23 years on anger. 23 years on pushing people away and finding reasons to hide. 23 years angry at the world and not knowing why. Pain, torment – they became normal… I let them become normal. Because I simply didn’t know… and like a shadow – it was hidden from my view.

Until today.

– Chris Purdy

 

 

 

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