From Near and Far
Former Shepherd Center patients from across the nation report on their productive lives post-injury.
Written By Phillip Jordan
Arash Iranmanesh, 25, of Madison, Ala., had fainted a few times before Halloween 2008. “I had a few episodes before, but they weren’t a big deal,” he says. “A little confusion, but nothing else. I just got back up.”
On Oct. 31, 2008, Arash passed out again – this time after playing basketball with friends at the University of Alabama’s recreation center in Tuscaloosa. He slipped into a coma after falling when he passed out. The prolonged period of time without oxygen led to an anoxic brain injury.
“I don’t remember anything from that night until Nov. 25,” Arash says. “Halloween to Thanksgiving.”
After receiving several weeks of acute care, he entered Shepherd Center’s inpatient brain injury rehabilitation program. “I was learning how to walk, how to talk, how to eat,” Arash says. “I was really starting over.”
He continued his recovery in Shepherd Pathways’ outpatient rehabilitation program before returning home. Adjusting to a slower pace to allow his brain to continue to heal at home was difficult. “I had been in college where you’re doing stuff all the time,” Arash says. “Class, sports, going out with friends. Even at Shepherd, you’re doing stuff every day, working to get back. Once you’re released, it’s a lot of downtime. A lot of sitting around, waiting as you continue to heal.”
Arash feels like he finally returned to his life in January 2012, when he enrolled in a biology course at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Having lost his ability to read because of his brain injury – “it’s like a type of dyslexia that keeps me from putting letters into words and words into sentences” – Arash uses auditory textbooks now. This past fall, he took two classes and decided to major in biology.
“Going back to school has been great,” he says. “Being active again. Simply going from doing nothing to doing something just makes your whole life more meaningful.”