Muscatine woman with brain injury wants to help others who suffer the same fate

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MUSCATINE, Iowa - Diane Orr-Kelly's kitchen is decked out in Coca Cola red. Her obsession with the popular soda company started after a car accident 17 years ago.

"My lungs had collapsed, I had a lacerated liver, eight broken ribs but the worst injury was the brain injury," said Orr-Kelly.

Doctors explained to her that brain injuries can trigger new obsessions like hers. It's taken the place of her old dream of being an accountant.

"Of course I haven't been able to return to work, my license certification was issued while I was in a coma," said Orr-Kelly.

She remembered thinking her injuries were only temporary.

"For the longest time my goal was to get back to work, get my life back," said Orr-Kelly.

She now knows her brain will never be the same.

"Every day I have to pick and choose what I'm gonna do that day, if I'm gonna do something in the evening I definitely have to have quiet time and nap time," said Orr-Kelly.

She learned a new way to live life and wants to help others do the same.

"There are more people like me out there and how do they overcome this feeling of worthlessness when you can no longer do the things that were productive," said Orr-Kelly.

She is working to start a support group for people who suffer from brain injuries with help from the Pilot Club of Muscatine.

"I may not be able to enjoy doing taxes, talking to the IRS or audits like I used to love, but I can hold my granddaughter and be important to her."

She knows there's so much more in life to love and wants to help other suffering with a brain injury feel the same.

An information session on brain injuries will be held Thursday, March 23, 2017 at Trinity-Unity Point in Muscatine.

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