Healing After a Head Injury

The story of Chad Church

Chad Church graduated from the pain and neuromuscular outpatient programs in spring, 2007. He and his wife, Lynnette, credit the multidisciplinary approach at St. Luke’s for his success.

During a routine cleanup of logged acreage in the spring of 2005, Chad Church was knocked unconscious when a tree fell on his head. Thankfully, his hard hat saved his life, but the force and momentum of the tree still made a deep impact, causing injuries to both his body and his brain. Normal life turned into day-to-day survival.

“At first I was very light sensitive. I had severe migraines,” said Chad. “I stayed in the dark for the first two months.”

On top of the unrelenting pain, Chad’s speech, previously smooth and full of wit, had become a slurred monotone. His balance was unsteady and his sense of time gone.

Before the accident, Chad had delighted in naming song titles to any tune on any station of the radio; but after, he found himself struggling to find words to express his thoughts. Once a lighthearted man, he became frustrated and discouraged.

“We didn’t know why his body and brain were doing what they were doing,” said Lynnette. “It was a very horrible roller coaster ride.”

Finally, after nearly two years of pain and struggle, he was referred to the St. Luke’s Pain Clinic.

“At St. Luke’s we started getting answers,” said Lynnette, who was thrilled when she saw how all the different specialists worked together to treat Chad and met with them every week to explain what was going on and how to make it better.

“They never gave up and they encouraged him,” said Lynnette. “He has learned how to do things differently to not cause more pain. They taught him the difference between good pain and bad pain. They helped him learn how to recognize what his body was doing when he was having an anxiety attack…how to control it.”

“They worked with each other,” she continued. “The speech therapist told everybody about his difficulty with time management, and the other team members got on the band wagon, helping him with that during their sessions. They worked together as a fantastic team.”

This interdisciplinary approach was effective, and Chad graduated from the program in the spring of 2007, with the techniques he needed to not just survive daily life, but live it.

“They put the program together and tweaked it St. Luke’s style,” said Lynnette. “Whatever it was they did, it
was perfect. I can’t tell you the difference between where he was and where he is now.”

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St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute
711 S. Cowley St.
Spokane, WA 99202-1330

Inpatient Information: (509) 473-6058 or 1-833-FOR-SLR-1
Outpatient Information: (509) 473-6869