My Journey with ABI

My name is Judy Johnston and my ABI story begins seven years ago. When it happened I had spent most of my adult life as Judith A. Johnston, a professional, a Licensed Employee Benefits Consultant and Vice President of a Life Insurance Brokerage. It took many weeks of being in hospital before I came to understand that I had been a victim of a car crash. The injuries I sustained have left me with Acquired Brain Injury, impaired vision, recurring back and neck issues, loss of hearing, the loss of my sense of smell and balance issues. 

It has been, and continues to be, a long journey to recovery, but I now call myself a survivor of a life altering event. Inside I am still that Judith Ann Johnston I was before the accident, and I am grateful for her qualities and strengths that have come through as I slowly make my way down this road I call my “New Normal”.  

Judy's Blog 



Over the past 5 years the majority of my “ME” times away from home have happened on weekends. My husband slowly introduced me to the Buffalo and Rochester areas, the benefit being they are within 2 hours from our home here in Ontario. Throughout this time we have developed a routine that fits with my need to feel comfortable with where we stay, the restaurants we choose to eat at, spa time for me, and shopping at one clothing store chain where I always feel at ease when served.

My husband, Rick, makes the arrangements, books our hotel room, makes breakfast and dinner reservations where needed (a quiet table away from patron and staff throughways) and, if it was a spa weekend, before I learned how to book my treatments online, I would let him know what treatment/s to book for me. If we plan to visit friends when we are down there, knowing my schedule for having rests and not having late meals, he sets those up too.

So with the weekend trip away set, and the itinerary in place, I have time to think about what I need to pack for three days and two nights. No leaving things to be done at the last minute! This dance with ABI has taught me that the best way to pack is to plan, well in advance, what items will make up a complete outfit, including undergarments, and put them all on one hanger to be placed in a garment bag a day or two before we leave. When we get to the hotel room they get hung up in the closet in the order I plan to wear them. My only downfall is that I am a matching purse and shoes person, always have been, so they go in my weekend bag with the toiletries and medication I need. I wish I could travel with one pair of shoes and purse but c'est la vie! 

From the point Rick packs up the car and we head out on the road I know I can go with the flow. Routine, even when travelling or on holiday, is my strategy to help temper the unexpected appearance of ANXIETY into my day, or the encroachment of FATIGUE. When we arrive at our destination I will take a nap while Rick does some correspondence or, because of our familiarity with the front desk staff in case I need assistance, he heads out for some “HIS” time while always remaining in touch by phone. And that is okay, it is both of our time away. And if we are at one of the hotels that has a spa, I have my time being pampered while he goes for a drive around town until I am ready to head back to the room. 

For the trip home the worn clothing are hung back up on their hangers, then are placed in the garment bag, while the weekend bag is refilled with all its sundries. And, even if it takes a few days to unpack them once we get home, that is okay!

Posted 253 weeks ago

© Copyright ABI - MY JOURNEY