Who was he before his severe brain injury?

Lethan Candlish Part Four

severe brain injury

Lethan was just a normal teenager who wanted independence from his parents before his severe brain injury.

Lethan was just a normal teenager before his severe brain injury. He was a senior in high school who wanted to study acting in college. He had the normal teenage desire to move away from small town Pennsylvania where he grew up. He wanted to have more independence from his parents. He wanted to have creative freedom. And like most teenagers, despite his longing for freedom from his parents,  he wasn’t beyond asking them to borrow ten bucks.

Lethan’s best friend, Ryan, adds more to the story. Lethan changes voices when he gives us Ryan’s perspective. The next day after the accident was the SATs. Ryan was surprised not to see Lethan. But it was a Saturday. Anything could have happened. They were supposed to meet up after for coffee, conversation, and cigarettes. He and his friends were part of the intellectual crowd. But Lethan never showed up.

Ryan remembered visiting Lethan in the hospital. He remembered talking to him about music, movies, and girls before the accident. They had normal conversations. However, when Ryan visited Lethan, Lethan was having trouble forming sentences. He was relearning to talk basically. “It was weird,” Ryan said.

Lethan was an ambitious young man. He was an older brother. He was his parents’ son. He was a normal teenager, trying to navigate life and trying to be cool. His frontal lobes were still developing, explaining the coexistence of wanting independence from his parents and wanting money from them too.

He was probably going to become a fully functioning, well-adjusted adult, with his own set of successes, failures, and experiences, that would build him into the adult he would become. Lethan was trying to be cool and was well on his way to becoming it. See our next post about disinhibition.


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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