Here are a few stories of some of the successes we have had at the Midwest Brain Injury Clubhouse, as written by our members:
My name is Aurora Lizardo. I have been married for over 30 years to Aliberto A. Lizardo Sosa. Aliberto and I were married in the Catholic Church. We have three loving children together: Veronica, Emmanuel and Mariana. I’m proud of my children growing up to be independent and successful. As a mother, I know that I did a well job in raising them. I enjoy baking pastries and cakes. That is one of my hobbies. The Clubhouse offers cooking activities, which gives me the opportunity to work in the kitchen and to relearn cooking and daily living skills. Now I can cook my children’s favorite foods again, such as pizza and spaghetti. I attend the Clubhouse two days a week. Attending the Clubhouse has helped me to improve my life, such as helping me to regain my memory because I used to forget things regarding my children’s names and what I did for a living. The Clubhouse allows me to work on my social skills and patience. At the Clubhouse, I have built friendships. The friends that I have made at the Clubhouse are like a second family to me. However, what I enjoy mostly about the Clubhouse are the outings that staff and members attend because it allows me to be out in the community and to meet new people. My goals at the Clubhouse focus around education because I was a Certified Nurse and would like to return to school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. With the help from staff and my fellow Clubhouse friends, I am working towards achieving my goal.
When I was twenty-three, I had just got out of college. I began working at my Dad’s company-Duroweld, which deals with metal fabrication. I had an accident while I was driving, which left my brain and body badly injured. I was in the hospital for six months. I left the hospital and resided in my parent’s home for the next few months. After going through a lot of physical therapy I moved down to Carbondale, IL. While living there I worked on many different projects, we even worked on a tractor-diesel truck's engine. Having a degree in Diesel Engine Mechanics gave me the knowledge to rebuild the engine. After a year I was able to move from my parent’s home. I now moved to my own apartment-in my parent’s house-which they designed for me in the basement. I started becoming more independent. I started working out, which I had not done since I was a wrestler in high school. Now I have a very busy life, I go to concerts at Ravinia every year, I ski in Utah, and I also go to my house in South Carolina every couple of weeks. It has been a long and tough road, but with the help of my family, friends, and the Midwest Brain Injury Clubhouse, I have been able to overcome all these hurdles and live a happy life.
I would like to thank all of the people that surround me. They are the reason that I have been successful. I can be myself at the clubhouse while surrounded by people who have the same condition as me. Due to my involvement in the Clubhouse, I am living on my own. My place is nice and clean because I am a clean freak. I love my home and I look forward to returning to it. I have everything that I need and some of the things that I want in my home. I am now living the life that I wanted to live before my injury. Prior to my injury I was selfish and didn’t want to help people. Now I am a regular volunteer at a women’s homeless shelter and a mentor at the Clubhouse. It took a major setback to make me realize that I wasn’t living up to my full potential. I am happy to say that I am back on track and I am living my life to the fullest.
I am very pleased to share this with everyone because I’m very proud of myself. I am here because I got my brain injury in the hospital while I was having surgery for a pituitary tumor wrapped around a cyst and I came out of surgery like this before I even knew it. I was in a wheelchair when I first started here at the Clubhouse. I couldn’t even walk. After one year I started using a walker. I now plan to use a cane when the snow is all clear, so I can get around and improve my mobility. I do not speak very well. I’m always trying and I get really excited when I am understood. I claim this Clubhouse as one of my success because I feel that just here is a great place!