AW • HEALTH
WRITER: JANELLE BRANDON | REBEKAH SICKELS PHOTOGRAPHY
WHEN SHARON FELL Living with a Traumatic Brain Injury
haron Joelson, 65, of Moorhead, never thought a fall on the ice in January 2011 would change her life forever. Joelson is an RN with over 40 years of experience and was working as a medical reviewer at the time of her fall. Joelson loved being a nurse and felt productive and valuable at her job. When she fell, she hit the back of her head. Joelson immediately had a horrible headache, but didn’t think much of it and began her workday. A concerned co-worker noticed that Joelson was confused, irritable and just didn’t seem like herself. She was taken to the emergency room. “They did a CT scan in the ER and it didn’t reveal a bleed or fracture,” said Joelson. “But everything was different from that day forward.” Joelson developed debilitating migraines and felt like she was walking around in a fog. When she returned to work in February 2011, she was unable to fulfill the requirements of her position. The fluorescent lighting immediately triggered migraines and a loss of balance, she could not remember the steps for projects, and had difficulty with finding the right words when trying to articulate. Familiar work tasks were now very complicated and she knew she was unable to perform them. Though she didn’t tell her friends or family, she secretly feared that she was experiencing the onset of dementia. “I went to the neuropsychologist to get evaluated,” said Joelson. Instead, she was experiencing the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. “That’s when I was referred to Janet.”
Sophisticated. Intelligent. Informed.