Being able to give back

Nothing all that special in this post but it is something I’ve been meaning to say with regard to a meaningful milestone in my recovery. I’m now at a point where I can do more than just hope things get better for someone else. I can actually take action. Not just because I’m physically able again but because I can think about the situation and come up with something useful. I also know that most times before going ahead with my plan I should ask the person beforehand, you know, if they actually do need it or even want it. I suppose being able to think that is also a milestone to acknowledge. 

I’ve always been doing things to help out people and I was glad to get back to being able to do that. While I could have declared that as a milestone I guess I was waiting on getting to a better level. I was offering my help earlier this summer & fall but what I had to do was determine if I could do whatever it was and/or see if I could follow instructions. I also did things for myself but they didn’t count in my mind. I had to make a couple of my vision therapy devices at home and they were easy enough – they were things I needed in my own myopic little world (not that I made a somewhat unintentional double entendre there or anything).

As an aside, you can make a Brock string for yourself by taking some old buttons you’re not going to use in a garment and stringing them up yourself. At first I wasn’t able to hold the typical Brock string steady enough to do the eye exercises on my own so I came up with this. I used buttons of similar size with a few different colors and put 6 or 7 of them on some thin white household string. The string and buttons are lighter and it’s easier to hold it straight and steady. The buttons also have little details that are easier to focus on than the bigger beads so you can be more sure your eyes have a button fused into a single image. Plus, it’s easier to carry it in your pocket. That way you can take it out most anywhere and make people stare and wonder what the hell you’re doing.

However, being able to see someone else’s need and solve the problem is a good place to be back to some 6 months out from my injury. I was having to come up with a tag to go with this post and the two new ones I decided upon were restoration and initiative. Somehow restoration sounds more appropriate for something like this as opposed to rebuilding. I recognize that I have gotten back something that I’ve always been doing and it was something that identified me.

I chose initiative because I’ve found that many people with brain injuries have a much tougher battle than I do. Sadly, many brain injury victims are left unable to help themselves do even the simplest of tasks. Their sense of personal initiative has in some cases been taken away, almost like an arm that has been amputated. I spent so much time being miserable and wanting one thing after another to be fixed, get better, go away – all with a sense of helplessness. In fact, when I had to get a ride anywhere I needed to go I jokingly called it the “forced helplessness” phase. It began to ease gradually as I got better and I’d say it officially ended when I was able to drive again. There’s a lost sense of personal dignity that I didn’t realize I was mourning. I sure was complaining a lot but I didn’t really have that insight, not that it would have helped I guess.

Getting this habit back is something to be thankful for this night before Thanksgiving. Oh sure, I have a long list of things to be thankful for but I didn’t want to write some long sentimental post about all that.

About peterwick

I was a long-time jack of all trades. Until suddenly I was different.
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4 Responses to Being able to give back

  1. Drew Saur says:

    Brock String – fascinating. It took me a while to understand it but this video helped me a bit: So what are you seeing right now?


  2. peterwick says:

    I still cannot fuse what I’m looking at into a single image unless it is at a certain distance from my eyes and in my upper right quadrant. I anywhere else makes me have to shift my eyes in a way that the left one cannot do well enough. I wear glasses with a prism lens on the left side to allow me to essentially have 1.05 vision. Even then it doesn’t work when I’m tired.

    Isn’t it cool to see the string images showing you the way your eyes are directed? A big X or V image only from a single string.


  3. peterwick says:

    Whoops, I meant upper left quadrant of my visual field.


  4. Your helpfulness is one of your most identifying features — I remember you offering to drive my mom somewhere, and coming by to fix Kate’s bike, totally above and beyond the call of duty. I’m glad you’re getting back a habit that I bet is so essential/defining to you!


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