After she suffered a traumatic brain injury during combat in Iraq, Holly Crabtree’s life turned upside down. However, she is never going to stop improving. The staff at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, in combination with her unyielding perseverance, helped ensure a brighter future for Holly.

The bullet’s path was only an eighth of an inch from being fatal. Waking up after the incident, she quickly realized the challenges ahead of her — to rehabilitate and relearn basic skills she had all her life. Upset at the turn of events, she fell into depression and felt a strong sense of defeat. After a period of distress followed by acceptance, she began to look at her injury in a different light. With the help of neurologists, physicians, and others at VHA, Holly began her therapeutic treatment and rehabilitation towards a better life.

One of the primary focuses for successful treatment is the continuous use of medication. These medications alone do an excellent job preventing seizures for patients with epilepsy. Frank Smith, a neurology nurse coordinator at VA, explains that her medications have been therapeutic, meaning they are working for her and suppressing the seizure activity she had in the beginning. “Overall, she is managing well and she is where we would expect her to be,” says Frank.

Some of the other challenges that traumatic brain injury patients face are issues with cognition and physical weakness. These specialists work together to assist Holly in her recovery by repaving her ability to perform the skills she once had. They have the utmost faith that Holly’s continued success and perseverance will result in a bright future. “She is somebody that is very driven, very focused and family-oriented, and I think she is going to have a great outcome,” says Frank.

To recover from such a traumatic and life-altering experience takes more than just an exceptional staff of medical professionals. It takes someone like Holly, who is determined not to let her disabilities define her or her future. “You look at yourself in the mirror and you have to accept what is there, and even though you may not like the person, you may not like certain things about them; but if there’s one thing they can do right, you’re going to go off that and feed it,” says Holly. “It’s just like when you have a small plant and you want it to grow, that’s what you do.” Holly is a fighter in spirit and in her everyday life and, with the help of the neurologists at VHA, she is on her way to leading more of the life she wants for herself.

When you’re ready to learn more about the myriad opportunities at VHA and how we support and assist Veterans in every facet of life, search for your new career and Join Us.


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Published on Sep. 29, 2016

Estimated reading time is 2.4 min.

Views to date: 193


  1. charles seitz October 3, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Again,The V.A. is the best thing that ever happened to me.

  2. charles seitz October 3, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA For the V.A.They have been taking care of me after retireing when coming home from Vietnam in 1968 hurt in action,and getting service connected disablity and severens pay for life.TY Again V.A. Hospitals.Charles Seitz BM1 Retired C.G.

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