Michael’s independence days
At 36 Michael Whitmore’s life unexpectedly changed when he fell six metres through a floor at a Sydney loft.
Michael was incredibly fortunate to survive the incident, though it left him in a coma with a traumatic brain injury.
As a high achiever, Michael struggled to come to terms with the new set of challenges he faced when he awoke from his coma, so he sought the help of the Alfred Acquired Brain Injury Community team based at Caulfield Hospital.
“My mind, speech, ability to walk… all of that is intact, so I sort of felt like I could continue living the way I was before the injury,” he said.
“But I was struggling with things people take for granted like structuring my day, organising my finances and setting myself goals.
“I was 36 living my life and all of a sudden I’m in a coma, waking up in hospital and having to start everything over again – but the team really helped me adjust to that.”
The team took a holistic approach to Michael’s care, which helped him regain the independence he’d struggled to reclaim.
“I hadn’t taken such a goal-orientated approach until I went to Caulfield – now I set myself goals each day, break them down into steps and strategize how I’m going to approach them.
“I’ve been able to set my finances up so they’re manageable, get back into work and bring some structure back into my life.”
Clinical Neuropsychologist Dr Jane Khoo said Michael has regained a strong sense of independence.
“Michael has really thrived in a position of taking responsibility for his treatment and setting goals.
“We still check in regularly to see how he’s going. He has come a long way and grown so much in his understanding and acceptance of himself.”