Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Jonathan Meola

Jonathan MeolaRAE and TBI

On May 18, 2013, I was riding the subway home from working selling lemonade at a concert in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Witnesses said I got up, and foggily (traumatic brain injury / TBI) walked out the door leading from one subway car to the next. (Those doors are now often locked I’ve noticed.) Once I was between cars apparently I collapsed, sliding off and under the subway car. The conductor was alerted, the train stopped, and I was found on the tracks with my right arm crushed above the elbow by the subway’s wheels.

I was rushed to Lutheran Hospital where the surgeon could not save the limb and amputated above the elbow. I had a drain put in my skull to drain the aneurysm they found in the right frontal lobe of my brain. I had fractured my left ankle, right scapula, and right clavicle as well. Fast forward four years, and I am living in my own apartment, and have recently worked with my prosthetist to receive my first myoelectric prosthesis. Things are still tough, but the TBI was equally or even more difficult to recover from than the loss of my right arm and dominant hand. I do get disability, but honestly it’s because of the brain injury (along with the loss of limb) and it barely covers monthly rent, so I’m struggling daily to figure out where I go from here.