A Head for the Future TBI Champion: Eve Baker
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A Head for the Future TBI Champion: Eve Baker

EVE BAKER: On May 5, 2005, I
was hit by a car while I was riding my bicycle to work at
Marine Corps Base Hawaii. I was coming out of my neighborhood,
coming down a hill, and another driver came right at me. I
probably went face-first into the windshield at about 40 miles
an hour. And I went over the car, and I was unconscious for
several minutes at the scene. And they took me to Queen’s
hospital in Honolulu, and I spent three days there in
intensive care. I had about a two-week period of amnesia; I
think they call it retrograde amnesia. I couldn’t remember
anything from before the accident for about two weeks,
and then I don’t really remember anything that happened for about
two weeks after the accident either. I remember waking up in
the hospital in intensive care and my engagement ring was
missing. And I remember asking the nurses where it was, and
they said they had put it in the vault for safekeeping because I
was sleeping so much. And I am pretty sure I said something
like, “I’m a Marine; the safest place for that ring is on my
finger,” and they went and got it for me. Peter, my fiance at
the time ━ I’ve been married to him for 10 years now ━ he came
out to help out along with my parents. So the four of us were
living together in my one-bedroom apartment for about
a week and a half. And, fortunately, I don’t remember
anything about that, but my parents and my husband have told
me that he really helped out a lot. Like, I couldn’t stand in
the shower by myself very well, so he would help me wash my hair
and everything. And I guess I didn’t want to sleep by myself
either ━ I was scared, they said; I don’t remember that ━
but so he would spend hours lying next to me in bed, reading
a book while I would sleep all day. I think if you do sustain a
TBI, you need to follow the doctor’s instructions about
resting and recovery. I mean, your brain is the most important
part of your body. It controls who you are and everything that
you do. So if the doc says stay in bed and sleep for 12 hours a
day or don’t exercise, follow the advice. I mean, I made a
full recovery because I did: I took a month and a half off of
work. My husband and I are both Marines. He’s active duty, and
I’m Reserve. We have two kids, and we like to do adventurous
things. We like to take adventurous trips. We went to
Antarctica a couple years ago, and we like to go hiking and
biking as a family. And it’s just important to be aware of
what can happen to you while you’re out there. You know,
helmets might be uncomfortable, and safety gear might be
uncomfortable, or you might think it looks dorky or nerdy or
whatever, but it saves your life. If I hadn’t been wearing a
helmet, I wouldn’t be here today. It shattered on impact
like it’s supposed to, so it absorbed the brunt of the
impact. And I don’t know ━ I almost definitely would have
died right away if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet. It took a
little bit of time after I was injured while biking to get back
on the bike, but I do still enjoy bike riding. I think it’s
a great form of exercise and it’s fun. I’m a lot more
cautious about it now. I only bike in places with a dedicated
bike lane or a very wide shoulder and low speed limits in
good road conditions. I don’t bike in the rain, and I always
wear bright reflective gear when I ride so that people will
definitely see me. It’s something that I really enjoyed
before, and so I wanted to get back into it. I think it can be
really important after you have a head injury to talk to someone
else who’s had one, because there will be emotional changes
that are temporary or maybe permanent. So I definitely
recommend seeking out and talking to someone else who’s
been through the same thing. You definitely can recover from
brain injury. I’m living proof you can go on and have a full
life, a normal life, and not let it hold you back.

About Earl Carter

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