In 1985, the eighteen year old Matt would have loved to have known how fast the future was going to be. Matt loved to race his bike, his car; he loved to run, downhill ski, to water-ski.
Yet once the future brought e-mail, instant message, text, Instagram and little computers in your phone so that you could answer everyone at any time and immediately, Matt begged for it to slow down. It took a long time for him to figure out why.
In 2013, Matt had a wife he loved, friends they valued, a home they both cherished and until recently, he’d always had meaningful work. Interviewers could see what his wife Natasha could see, that Matt was steady, capable, insightful, and skilled. His employers also eventually noticed what Natasha knew all too well– that he would not follow through with agreed upon plans. That he remembered things quite differently than explained to him, and that it took him just too long to respond, too long to take action. There were no dramatic problems. Instead, many small mistakes accumulated. After seven years or so dedicated to a job, his employer would reluctantly let him go. After he lost his fourth job, Natasha confronted him with her suspicions that he was using drugs.
But he wasn’t. When he reached out to his buddy Jim, Jim told him that he also thought Matt had a drug problem.
He asked his buddy Jim to Google his symptoms. (He didn’t like computers; even the ones his friends complained were “too slow” were just too much.)
“Okay, what do we have here… I don’t know, Matt, but, have you ever had a head injury?”
That summer of ’85, after high school had ended. He’d gone on a beer run and flipped his Camaro and landed in the road. They’d always told him how lucky he was when he recovered.
Staff at Carson’s Traumatic Brain Injury Program helped him identify the symptoms he’d been living with for so many years. They helped Natasha understand how to help, and helped them both come up with systems that could help him make things work more smoothly. Matt realized he was eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance. There was a Carson group, too, a community of people who saw that Matt was steady, capable, insightful and skilled and that Matt could, with some help, remember things as explained, and that the time he took to respond and to take action, was time they were glad to be with him.
By JAC Patrissi