For Pam Barile, life changed in a second, but that didn’t mean that life ended. After suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2012, her family was told she had a fraction of a chance for survival. But after weeks in the Neurological ICU, and time spent in rehabilitation to recover motor skills and relearn how to complete basic tasks, she is living her new normal and has found opportunities that didn’t exist before her event.
Pam had to relearn language using the right side of her brain, as the left side of the brain that is responsible for language development was severely damaged from the rupture. Short term memory is a still a struggle, but her long term memory is spot on and she has even been coined “the human GPS” as she can truly direct you anywhere in her hometown.
Pam volunteers twice a week in the Acute Rehab unit at her local hospital which sees and cares for many stroke victims. She is able to share her story of survival to patients who don’t think they will ever have a life again. She enjoys going on long walks (and completed a 5K two years ago), caring for the birds in her yard, and spending time with her family. Pam also volunteers at her church to put together the weekly bulletin and enjoys visiting her friends around the city. She even recently took a trip with her sister to Jamaica… and had a BLAST!
For her family and for those she meets, Pam is a walking testimony to what the human spirit can accomplish. Social interaction is crucial for someone recovering from a brain injury, and isolation is one of the worst things for learning that new normal. Patience is the key to interacting and living with someone with a brain injury, but giving them time to create their new normal and seeing them thrive is so beautiful.