Spine and Brain Center in Holland, Guest Speaker

Tuesday May 11th, I was a guest at the Spine and Brain Center in Holland-MI. I attended a support group meeting, which took place at 7 PM.

This support group  meets monthly at 3299 North Wellness Drive, Holland, MI 49424-7271

(616) 738-4420.

The support group consists of people who have suffered various brain injuries caused from violence, car accidents and strokes.  I am learning that a TBI/Traumatic Brain Injury is  only a portion of people who suffer and require emotional support related to head injuries.

When I arrived to the Center I was honored to see a sign on the entrance door saying “Lori Purdy Faitel speaks  May 11th at 7PM, She is the author of AM I BRAIN DAMAGED.”.  I took a deep breath, wow this looks like I am important, I opened the door. The meeting was to be held on the second floor in the rehab department. Again as I got onto the elevator I immediately saw another sign, then another sign in the rehab department my name was written in bold on signs!

I met the meeting coordinator: Dick Gottlieb-MSW.

 Dick honored me by taking

me out to dinner before the meeting.

OMG, I pray I am worthy. At dinner Dick and I spoke in general of our personal lives. I grew to immediately like this man.  When we arrived back at the rehab department we were surprised to see a couple waiting in the hall. Some how  in an unusual occurrence the meeting room was not open, we were early. The man and woman were very friendly “I knew you would be here soon and the door would be opened”. The man smiled and said are you the author? OOOHHH, I am not used to this. He held out his strong hand, his other arm lie limp at his side, and we shook.

I then turned to his significant other to shake her hand. I smiled as I followed Dick to the back, we began to make some coffee for the meeting. This is gonna be nice I am very comfortable with everyone so far. I love these meetings, people are so warm and inviting.

The support group began as Dick said good evening, then he asked the members if anyone had any issues they had or if anyone had difficulty they wanted to share. There were about 13 members,  we all sat in a circle

in an open area

in the rehab department.

Members spoke of issues such as a “sci-fi new prosthesis” that a man was looking into, another member told of a handicapped person he met who had a booth at the tulip festival; the handicapped person was quadriplegic who was selling greeting cards and pictures he had decorated with drawings as he manipulated a utensil with his mouth. “I think my life is tough having a bad hand and arm, yet this man has no use of his arms or legs…and look what he does!” Another lady was excited to tell that she just moved into an apartment with her baby-a bullmastiff.

The tone of the meeting was set and I was excited for my turn.  I began speaking and asked if I may sit in a twirly doctors type chair. I often feel pain in my neck from an early onset of arthritis that no doubt was accelerated from the head injury I sustained in 1986.

I explained how if I turned my head back and forth I would be in great pain. Everyone responded by telling me to feel free to “roll around the room”.

“Let me begin by asking everyone to ask questions as I speak and comments are welcome”

We had an interactive meeting. A man in an electric wheel chair began the discussion “I like the introduction, I feel the same way” After an hour and a half of comfortable conversation with new friends and suddenly it was 8:30.  People purchased copies of my book “Am I Brain Damaged”, I felt awed by the honor of signing the copies. As I finished signing the last copy someone said “oh, you didn’t date this” I smiled as I gently shook my head, as if I am an important author or something.

Dick read a certificate the group had made then passed it around for  each member to sign.

“The Lakeshore Head Injury and Stroke Support Group of Holland Hospital certifies that Lori Purdy Faitel author of Am I Brain Damaged has provided the members of the Lakeshore Head Injury and Stroke Group a valuable evening of knowledge, experience and insights, and has given us a greater understanding of  ourselves, our struggles and our possibilities.  Presented at Holland Hospital Rehabilitation this eleventh day of May, two thousand ten.”

Just as I was taken aback when I saw the signs with my name on them, the certificate tugged at my heart.

I truly feel the presentation of AM I BRAIN DAMAGED, last night encouraged others. I intend to devote my life to sharing my experiences, which I am certain will benefit survivors, their loved ones and care givers.

Please contact me via email @ lfaitel@yahoo.com or my cell 248-310-4815 if I could speak at your group.


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