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The Storms Rage-Traumatic Brain Injury Storms

Two weeks ago, Josh was hoping to get back to his regular bike rides and training schedule. The weather had recently prevented him from riding as frequently as he wanted to, not to mention he suffered a fractured fibula after completing a snowy ride a few weeks ago. And then, Josh had a “storming” episode.

I had noticed on a ride that Josh didn’t seem to be himself. He wasn’t smiling or engaging like he usually does. I asked to meet with the Fohners at their home to get a tutorial on how to communicate with Josh. It was a Sunday afternoon and he looked like he was wiped out...exhausted. I was concerned that we were pushing him too hard or that his fracture was causing him pain and he was hiding it from us.

Mike told me Josh had been going through a “storming” episode. There I was, thinking I could help but knowing next to nothing about Traumatic Brain Injury, so Mike was kind enough to explain. He said, “It is rather complicated, but it is a process that brain injury patients go through and it manifests itself differently at different stages of recovery. Early on, they might happen every 7-10 days. Over time, they tend to be less frequent. Josh may now have one every 9 months or so, but his episodes are not as severe as they use to be.” Mike Fohner continued, “They believe it is a process the brain is working through to regain control of aspects of function. So, depending on the injury and location of the injury in the brain, it can manifest itself differently. Recently. in Josh’s case, he has become exhausted for a couple of days during the storming episode. That is his indicator that he has had some re-wiring or repair going on. It can vary from patient to patient. There are times when it can be very painful as well.”

It is difficult to see Josh in such a weakened state. Seeing this for the first time is concerning to the newcomer like myself. During my afternoon with Josh, it was apparent he was having to work ten times harder to interact with me. He was having to concentrate more as something had changed for the moment. However, Kelly and Mike took it all in stride.

All In For Josh,

Bret McCormick

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