pulitzer prize-luminary commended author
BY KARA HOBAN
Born March 9 1979. Died, and brought back to life again October 7 2009.
October 6, 2009 I was 30 year old Kara Hoban. Fun loving, goofy, looking for a good time, responsible Kara. October 7, 2009 I was still fun loving Kara. Maybe too fun loving. I got on a motorbike with another person. We crashed. Where did I go?
Sometime later I wake up. I’m in a room I do not know.
This amazing-looking man is undressing me. I like this.
I pick my head up and my mom is there watching. Oh dear god what the hell is going on?
I am in this place. Some people are young like me and most are older. Why am I in a wheel chair?? I can walk god dammit. What is this place? Every day is the same. People wake me up, help me dress, get me to breakfast. I can no longer eat Rice Krispies. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, neuropsychology. I don’t know if I ever really knew or understood why I was there or what it really was. But I will focus on the good looking nurses. That I knew.
I had to wear a helmet. I don’t know if I understood truly when I was there why I needed it. Finally at one point it sunk in. I am missing part of my skull.
In 15 months I had 4 brain surgeries. I have a horseshoe scar like our beloved Ashok. After every single surgery I was different. I had to relearn myself. Relearn triggers for outburst , triggers for crying spells. Know that I am not stupid but feel stupid because things are harder for me now. Feeling like I deserved this hell because I made the bad choice to get on a motorbike with someone who I missed the fact was drunk. I did this without wearing a helmet. I thought we were moving parking spots. I did not know he would take me for a ride.
I am now 36. I have found my groove. Have not had any brain surgeries in 5 years. I am me. I am Kara that was able to get a job, that passed state evaluation to drive. I am the Kara that struggles with behavior and emotions. I am always tired. I am the one that takes 21 different medicines and keep getting more. My Traumatic Brain injury has trickled down to many other medical issues. I cry and whine and stomp my feet. It is not fair. Yet, I laugh. I always laugh and I always will. If I lost the ability to laugh I would have completely lost myself.
I have strived to save the world or at least make it a better place. I have worked in mental health my whole life. Worked with children that are autistic, children and adults with down syndrome, children and adults with many mental health issues. Families in the “poor/ghetto” neighborhoods.
I have graduated from college which was no easy feat. I have always worked since the age of 15.
This new version of me has provided hope to other with Brain Injuries of any kind. Hope, understanding, laughter and advice. No one wants to be in this club, but we support each other and I feel honored to be someone that others can count on.
This life is not a sprint. This life is a marathon and I will never give up.
Kara Hoban lives in Pennsylvania. She is a Care Attendant in a hospital, and gets placed one on one throughout the whole hospital. She is paired with patients that are suicidal, homicidal, flight risks, fall risks, have altered mental status, and delirium tremmons. For Kara, it's hard sometimes but it's easy in aspects that she doesn't have to answer phones, write notes or keep track of things. No major functioning skills needed.