HealthBriana Rice's Journey to Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury

Briana Rice’s Journey to Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury

Aryana Noroozi

Briana Rice, 38, was driving home from work in December 2021 when she was rear-ended by a semi-truck. Her resulting injuries were a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a spinal injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

She returned home that evening after taking photos and gathering insurance information, without going to a hospital or seeing a doctor. The next morning she woke up and began to vomit and experienced vertigo. That day began a nearly six-month-long journey of appointments with physicians and specialists to determine the long-term effects of her accident.

After a year and half of physical therapy she eagerly returned to her job as a scientist, where she’d worked in international healthcare regulations for more than a decade. However, in the fall of 2023 she experienced fainting spells after which her doctor ordered her to bed rest and limited her to two hours of mental labor per day. 

During those two hours she responds to messages and prioritizes following up with medical appointments. The rest of Rice’s day is primarily limited to laying in bed without interruptions which includes her phone being powered off. During this time, she often listens to ocean waves or practices deep breathing exercises to calm herself.

Over the past four months, Rice’s focus has been recovery, rediscovering and returning better than before. Black Voice News had the opportunity to spend a day with Rice and document a slice of her journey.

Briana Rice, 38, arranges a floral bouquet in her home on March 22, 2024,  a hobby she picked up during her recovery process,  After her accident she began to receive flowers from friends and found that arranging her own bouquets was a peaceful activity that brightens her space. Initially,8 after her accident, Rice says she avoided her friends because she felt that she had no good news to share, but realized that it was “okay to see people if all she could do was lay down.” She said she wasn’t giving her friends the option to support her and saw they were more willing to help than she imagined. (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News / CatchLight Local)

Rice pours water into a floral arrangement she created on March 22, 2024. Rice recently began drying flowers from the arrangements she creates. (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News / CatchLight Local)

Rice washes lettuce as part of preparation for a taco recipe she makes for lunch on March 22, 2024. Rice says suffering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) made it difficult for her to grocery shop and cook, but since she has dedicated the past four months solely to healing, she recognizes the strides she has made and feels proud. (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News / CatchLight Local)

Rice cooks fajitas as part of the recipe she uses to make lunch on March 22, 2024. (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News / CatchLight Local)

Rice drives to her chiropractic appointment on March 22, 2024. Her treatment plan includes chiropractic appointments twice a week. (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News / CatchLight Local)

Dr. Shamus Sheridan poses for a portrait in his office at Sheridan Chiropractic, Inc. in Riverside County shortly before he treats Rice (left) on March 22, 2024. Rice receives treatment from Dr. Sheridan twice a week as part of her healing journey. Rice saw Dr. Sheridan shortly after her accident and then paused treatment until she experienced a setback in the fall of 2023 and then returned. (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News / CatchLight Local)

Dr. Shamus Sheridan holds a model of a compressed vertebrate in his offfice at Sheridan Chiropractic in Riverside County on March 22, 2024. Briana Rice receives treatment from Dr.. Sheridan twice a week as part of her healing journey. In December 2021, Rice, 38, was on her way home from work when she was rear-ended by a semi-truck. She suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a spinal injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News/ Catchlight Local)

Dr. Sheridan adjusts Rice’s neck at Sheridan Chiropractic on March 22, 2024. With the help of Dr. Sheridan and her acupuncturist, she was able to increase her mobility from 30% to 100%. (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News / CatchLight Local)

Rice fills out an evaluation after her appointment at Sheridan Chiropractic on March 22, 2024. Since her treatment over the past four months her pain has improved. (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News / CatchLight Local)

Rice takes a moment of gratitude by the lakeshore on March 22, 2023. Part of her healing process includes walking and practicing meditation outdoors. Rice notices the progress in her physical strength and hopes to soon begin hiking. (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News / CatchLight Local)

Rice lights an incense stick before beginning a sound meditation on March 22, 2023. Prior to her injury, Rice was experienced in the practice of sound healing and has continued to use it as a form of healing and rejuvenation. (Aryana Noroozi for Black Voice News / CatchLight Local)
Source: Black Voice News

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