Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Services for Brain Injury (SBI), 60 Daggett Drive, San Jose CA

Today, after 3 days of rest, hot and cold packs, Advil and 2 massages, I can walk and drive. This means I can keep my appointment to meet Christine Camara and the folks at SBI. And that's good news!!!

It was a great meeting. First, Christine gave me a tour of the facility in San Jose. It's off North First Street, just a hop and skip from where I used to work. Seeing the physical setting and meeting the staff brings everything into focus.

During the tour I learned about the various services SBI provides under one roof, to minimize gaps for clients. For example, if someone needs strategies for managing finances, cognitive rehabilitation, retraining for work, as well as support in staying focusing on the present, they get all that here. As one staff member put it, "SBI picks up where the medical system leaves off".

This kind of integrated, coordinated approach is absolutely critical for folks with brain injuries, I think. We can't really coordinate our own care and navigate various parts of the medical system. After the accident, I was overwhelmed with things to deal with and didn't realize help of this kind was available. Getting the word out to the medical community is part of the mission here as well.

It turns out what SBI provides is pretty unique, certainly in Northern California. Ideally, no matter where you lived you would have access to this type of support and structure. But apparently not, at least not today. And I've learned that brain injuries are fairly common. According to the CDC, each year 1.7 million Americans will cope with a traumatic brain injury. (Almost half of those will be related to a motor vehicle accident.) Yet only 1 in 20 will receive comprehensive rehabilitative services from a provider like SBI. There must be a lot of people, even here in Silicon Valley, suffering in silence and isolation.

I can definitely see some themes in common between the SBI clients and my own experience. Follow this blog to hear more about them... :)

Then we all sat down and I heard about the vision for the auction in April. Each year SBI picks a destination as a theme; last year it was Paris (quelle coincidence!! L'annee derniere j'etais a Paris...). The grand prize for the auction is a trip to the destination! That is a great prize, if you ask me. So, some lucky sort April 21 will win an all expenses paid trip along Route 66, the Mother Road. The experience of a lifetime.

I left with action items, motivation, and a feeling of gratitude, for maybe being able to help.

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