What I am Doing Here

Recovering from a bicycle crash has been a difficult journey, much different from other crash injuries I’ve had. I didn’t wind up with any awful bodily damage this time but I did sustain a traumatic brain injury due to striking my head, on the ground I figure by the way my helmet looks. I’m not an authority on the recovery process so I try not to come off that way but I suppose that’s up for debate. Whether I act like it that is. Heh. I know I’m not an expert, but I am a survivor and this process continues to show me new things about living a different life.  Anyway, these are my own experiences and observations as well as items I find that I see fit to show on this blog. And, considering all these cognitive issues I’m still wrestling with, you’ll find a few places where I could use the help of a good editor. Probably a lot of them. If you’re new to this blog I also hope you’ll read my second post that discusses more of what I’d like to do here. Hopefully it will be more than just telling tales. Continue reading

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Look out for poor travel accommodations if you are physically disabled

While on a visit home I booked an inexpensive room at a hotel near my sister’s place. It was the Days Inn in Brewerton, NY and was set up through the Hotels .com site. When the reservation was made I saw no information regarding the fact that I might be and had been booked into one of that hotel’s handicapped access rooms. The person at the desk made no mention of it when I checked in, especially after seeing me carry my suitcase and bags without a problem. It was late and I was tired so I didn’t say anything about what awaited me in the room. It was a curious surprise.  Continue reading

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Kid Gloves or NOT Kid Gloves?

That is the question at the moment. I was at our local BI support group meeting tonight. We were discussing some of the commonly uttered things we in the survivor community hear. Here’s a decent link to some of those things from BrainLine.org if you’d like to read further.

http://www.brainline.org/content/2012/10/9-things-not-to-say-to-someone-with-a-brain-injury.html

Many of us do not look like we have suffered a brain injury of some kind. It’s often an invisible injury and people do not deal with it the way BI survivors might like them to. It’s now been 3 years since my crash and this thing still rings true – and it just might forever. People rarely know how to interact with you after a brain injury, both strangers and those who you have known and loved for many years before your BI. No one really knows what is like to have a BI until you have one. It’s a problem. In fact, I’m sure I didn’t know what it was like right up until the moment I regained consciousness on May 18th, 2014.  Okay, probably some time later that week I suppose. But anyway, I’m sure I didn’t handle such occasions with the grace I wish people now had.

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Sometimes I wish I had this sign up there. Sometimes not.

Continue reading

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Troubling Sign of Recovery?

I realized something the other night at a support group meeting. I’m getting better, I suppose, but it may not exactly be a good thing. I hope the way I felt isn’t closer to the way I was before my accident if I was, in fact, an asshole.

I wrote a little about a night some time ago when I got frustrated with another member of my support group. That time it was a newer brain injury survivor who was really working hard to recover his former abilities. He was actually making some amazing progress out of his defiant attitude towards the naysayers but he was impatient. That led him to try some pretty dangerous things like trying to get up out of his wheelchair or walk without anyone there to act as a safety just in case there was a mishap. I mean, sure, we try to get things back that we’re used to doing and we (at least I know I did) often fail a few times before we succeed. I understand that kind of frustration better now. I did want the guy to succeed  but I was upset by the way he was needlessly putting himself in harm’s way to get there. Continue reading

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Occupied Yet Adrift And Aimless

It’s been quite a while since I actually prepared a post here. I’m not sure why I fell away but it does fit a pattern. Maybe I was like this before but I do know that now it is much more pronounced. I often do get some good idea to write about and I promise myself to do it.

And then it’s like 3 days later and that idea is off somewhere hitchhiking its way through Nebraska. At least I am really busy these days, doing what I can’t really say. I’m involved in so many things, a patchwork of part time jobs, volunteer things and hobbies that have me all over the place. It’s like a couple lines from Having a Blast by Green Day. No, I rarely ever get so angry that I lose all compassion for humanity and want to leave a long trail of destruction. But I will say it’s fun to sing the song though, especially that chord change at the line “Well no one here…” Those lines I’m referring to are:

Do you ever build up all the small things in your head?
To make one problem that adds up to nothing

Only for me it’s all these supposedly good and inspiring things I’m doing that just seem to add up to nothing. Continue reading

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Maybe divorce ISN’T so probable after a brain injury

Brainline.org just seems to be on fire lately (May 2015) and this article caught my eye. Two things: I am posting it with little comment AND I must admit that I was wrong when I referred to dismal stats on the stability of marriages after a TBI. I was well enough to look up other stats at the beginning of this blog but I didn’t make any effort to check this out. In 2008 researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University published the findings from marriage stability data across America and the truth isn’t what I was sure it was.

The Truth About Divorce After Traumatic Brain Injury

As you can tell if you’ve read a few posts here, I’m someone who leaves most of the happy stuff for others to talk about. That doesn’t mean I’m not able to be happy, myself, but I don’t mind getting into some disheartening topics and discussing them. Well this whole relationships will fall apart and people will leave mantra was heavy in my mind all summer & fall and reading that more than 3/4 marriages fall apart becaue of this just fit so comfortably into my own internal narrative.brainlineDivorcestory

I mean heck, the article mentions that close to half of ALL marriages end in divorce. Why was I making it seem like it was so much worse for brain injury survivors? Read the article and decide for yourself but the data don’t indicate as much doom and gloom as I suggested.

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Killing your sleep to stay connected

You might benefit from changing your screen’s color temperature after sundown. Make it like twilight when it actually is twilight out. There. That’s the bottom line here. But first, let me give you some context to show how import this actually is for everyone.

How to Deal with Friends Falling Away After a Brain Injury

BrainlineStayConnectedVideoStay connected. I can’t emphasize that enough to a survivor. If you are able to make the effort I have to say it is worth it, especially for younger survivors. This video from Brainline.org focuses on that population and discusses how they can wind up isolated and lonely to the point of seri0us depression, even thoughts of suicide. It’s worth watching and just about 2 minutes long. But wait until after you read my post, okay? I’m talking about this from both sides of the fence here. I managed to remain in frequent contact with a core group of people, some of whom did a hell of a lot for me in those months following my release. Continue reading

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A coffee extract (EHT) may help brain injury recovery

Whether coffee is good or bad for you is a topic with many opinions to be had. Too much caffeine and all its baggage or benefits – you could spend days debating that. Most of the scientific inquiry into coffee’s effect has focused on caffeine’s pharmacology. However, it turns out a completely different compound found in coffee may actually be helpful in suppressing, and possibly reversing, neurodegeneration. Continue reading

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The opposite of losing your life connections

Here’s a blog post from Brainline.org about what we do naturally when our social network in real life falls apart. If your brain injury hasn’t caused too much debilitation you find that your world just isn’t what it used to be. The previous post about how being stuck with an image of yourself or the survivor contributes to your isolation was pretty depressing, I know. This post by David A. Grant is better than the one I was working on about how I’ve reacted to that this past year. It turns out that I’ve been building my own personal network of survivors of all different types. We get along. We understand each other’s struggles and just seem to know how to send supportive messages. It’s like a different kind of family.

Building a “Survivor Family” After Traumatic Brain Injury

DavidBrainline

A great thought here: …Perspectives I have in year five were not possible early on after my brain injury. Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, I now see that my family was not fractured. It was slowly being rebuilt as a new kind of family — a survivor family.

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