What Doesn’t Kill You Can Make You Stronger
How I recovered from a life-threatening brain injury
My name is Adrienne Walker-Pittman, and I currently work for MTA Mobility. I have a very inspiring story that I would like to share.
I was the spokesperson for Baltimore/Washington International Airport until January 27, 1996, a day that has changed my life forever. On that day, a stolen car driven recklessly by a juvenile being chased by the Baltimore County Police, struck me, amputating my left leg above the knee right at the scene.
I was in a coma for 15 days, and spent 60 days recovering gin two different hospitals, and was out of work for nearly a year. I still suffer from a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)(, however my injury is a closed head injury because I had no open wound or cut on my head from the accident.
As spokesperson for BWI Airport, I was the person reports looked to for information, and I was often on television and radio or quoted in the newspaper. I had to think fast on my feet and come up with answers immediately. If I did not have the answer, I had to find someone who did. After the accident, thinking fast was no longer something I could handle because of the TBI.
Depending on what was happening and where, I could be walking in the terminal with passengers and their families and friends, or walking on the airfield in all types of weather. If an accident occurred, I might be at the crash site with survivors or victims. Once again, because of my injuries, it was not safe for me to be in such an environment.
TBI impacts your brain and all parts of your body. When someone has this type of injury, their brain does not work the same as it did before. But it is how one adapts to the change that makes the difference.
My transition back to work at BWI did not go like I thought it would. My job there was my dream job, and it was hard finding out that I could not do it anymore. Things were moving too fast on the job now, and I soon realized that I could not keep up with that kind of pace. There were just too many things happening at once, and too much to remember. What once seemed simple was now hard to understand.
I finally came to realize that TBI could jeopardize airport security and put my life and other people’s lives in danger, and it was hard to follow God’s new plan for my life because it was so different from my plan!
As part of my rehabilitation process, I attended Sinai Hospital’s RETURN! Brain Injury Program. I consider myself one of the more “famous” clients of RETURN! It was not until I left RETURN many years later that I came to realize the impact that the staff there made on my life. When I was there I hated that place and thought the instructors were the worst! I would cry every morning when it was time to go there. My husband would push me out the door because he knew it was what I needed if I was to succeed in my fight to get my life back.
I have now come to realize that what the RETURN! staff at Sinai does is nothing sort of a miracle. It is definitely a gift from God that allows them to mold, shape and transform the broken lives of TBI survivors. Now I drive to work and hold down a full-time job, provide housekeeping duties at home, and support my husband’s entrepreneurial endeavors and my son’s football pursuits.
Finally, because of the type of person that God created me to be, I WILL NEVER GIVE UP! I am always looking for ways to keep improving. I believe God puts people and situation in our lives for a reason, and I am a living example of His healing power. My support system, my husband of nearly 21 years and my son who was 4 years old then and is 17 years old now, are always there for me, and together we have helped each other through these life-changing situations.
I truly thank God every day for giving me the strength to continue working for MTA Mobility and for being able to drive a car again.