Friday, March 22, 2013

Can you relate?

Our "Buddy", he can relate (hehehe)
Another very difficult thing in recovery, for me (formally a 'people person') has been "relating" to other people again! Part of this is a brain injury.  I remember after leaving the hospital, I had wonderful friends and family who had lived through my nightmare with me! We could all relate in our own unique way! In my head, they had each other but I "craved" somebody to relate to, a friend to understand me!!! I attended a women's brain injury support group, and while we had many similar "issues" to live with, most of them were my parent's age and in a different stage of  life! In my mind, it was different if you hadn't just had brain surgery! Specifically, if you hadn't just lived through a ruptured aneurysm, I had convinced myself you couldn't relate to me, or I to you! Facebook didn't exist "back then" so I started my blog hoping some poor soul would stumble on it who desperately needed to relate to people again, like I did!!! I remember the first time I had hope. Hope I could 'relate' again happened while watching a documentary on Bob Woodruff.  Finally, somebody who was 'relatable' as he relearned everything over again, including how to walk after near death and "major brain surgery"! He was the speaker at one of my first Brain Injury Conferences.  It was at that moment I began to have hope I would find others who could truly understand me and what I had lived through!! While many people suffering from TBI had to convince doctors, friends, and family that they had an "invisible disability", mine was very obvious!! So, I spent all my remaining energy trying to convince people I DID NOT have one, and believe me I tried everything!!! I wasted a lot of energy trying to act exactly how I remembered before my aneurysm.  It was exhausting, and practically impossible if you knew me (or were specialized in rehabilitation!) Of course, eventually in my desperate attempt to be understood I found (she found me) a young aneurysm survivor friend through the Brain Aneurysm Foundation webpage! I think this is when true "healing" began!!! Eventually, as time passed and I relearned more things and began to embrace/accept my new reality, relating to people again seemed a little easier, MOST days.  Thankfully now, there is  a wonderful bunch of people who have all survived aneurysms online. I confess I spend a lot of time online now!! A few of them even live reasonably close to me! It is much easier for me to see past my "aneurysm bubble".  I have incredible friends  each with their own unique struggles and trials, many of which now seem "worse than mine", although my husband would disagree. I think this keeps us all moving forward (the idea that someone has it worse than you, although you should never, ever compare yourself to others)!! For me, being able to relate to people (my own age, with or without TBI) again, made me feel more like a human being, or the "old me" and less like an unexplainable anomaly (but let's face it, I was always a little bit odd anyway, hehehe).  I like this fitting quote by Jodi Picoult :
         "All any of us wanted, really, was to know that we counted. That someone else's life
            would not have been as rich without us here."

Friday, March 8, 2013

SNOW usually makes me happy :-)

    I try to be a positive person and always be thankful for how blessed I am in SO, SO many ways.  But, I'll be honest, I still struggle with the little things that shouldn't be a big deal, sometimes!  It snowed today and determined to cease the moment I grabbed my cross country skis excited to try them out again before spring!  But after what seemed like half the day, I could not, for the life of me, get that left ski clipped in my boot! I tried everything my hubby had recommended before! Feeling tired and defeated and a little bad for myself I decided "nothing was fun anymore, it was all too exhausting and frustrating." On the verge of tears, I called my poor hubby to vent! After calming me down, for the millionth time, he promised to be home early today and help me get a ski in before dark.  Knowing my brain was now too tired and flooded to be successful without help, he made me promise I would abandon my efforts for now!
Sometimes it is better to just take a break and come back to it later, as irritating as it may be!!
So instead I took a few pictures of Mookie
enjoying the snow, and I felt better!
She doesn't mind my small camera,
my good one she refuses to look at!

dead battery!

I had two appointments to go to Wednesday! After finishing the first one I was very exhausted and very early to the second one.  Trying to respect my limits I decided to turn my Jeep off, pull out the pillow in my back seat, lay my seat back and take a cat nap before my second appointment! After resting for about an hour I climbed out of my Jeep and tried to tackle my second appointment, although I was still exhausted!!! When climbing out of my Jeep, my "idiot beep" went off telling me to turn my lights off!  Oops, good thing there is an annoying beep.  I thought I hadn't really rested that long (I still have a poor sense of time, it only gets worse with fatigue as everything else) the battery was probably fine! Out of my appointment an hour later, now thoroughly exhausted I  climb back into my Jeep. I decide I will start it and let it get warmed up while I "rest my eyes" for a few minutes before attempting to drive! I put the key in and tried to start it.......moaning sounds are made, the pathetic moaning of a battery completely out of juice and it's driver is too!! So, take a deep breath and call your hubby!! The poor man finally answers his phone while I eat humble pie again, and tell him what I have done! He was still out on a service call an hour away and assured me he would come get me right away if I couldn't find anyone to help me jump my Jeep (he keeps me well stocked with jumper cables and basic tools, "just in case".)  Determined to save him from rescuing me and going WAY out if his way after a 12+ hour work day I decide to look for help, now what I haven't told you is that I am at "Living Resources" for cognitive training, they have programs for individuals with all sorts if disabilities!  The first person to come by was a "transportation aide" of some sort.  He informed me he was on a "very tight schedule" and wouldn't be able to loan me a few minutes to jump my Jeep! Knowing N was there to rescue me, I remained amazingly calm, for me! The building I had come from was now locked but I saw movement inside so I began to pound on the door.  Some poor soul, (also the one the time stressed van was there for) opened the door and let the crazy (me) in!  Everyone in the lobby was waiting for a ride and was obviously not concerned about my predicament, although between their disability and mine,  they may not have understood exactly what I needed! The first person with a "Living Resources" badge on was now my target!  The poor lady agreed to help me as much as she could but overhearing my plea, another gentleman also with a badge offered to help me jump my Jeep! Ah, the sweet relief of a willing, knowledgeable stranger!! Now, please know that I have used jumper cables before, before my aneurysm! Poor N has reviewed the procedure with me but I am still scared of hooking those things up to the battery! Electricity scares me! The "good Samaritan" brings his car over to mine (which was backed in to the parking spot just as my hubby has instructed me to do just in case I ever need to jump my Jeep) hooks it up as he walks me through what he is doing. He certainly understood working with people who have disabilities as he spoke slowly and calmly.  He then even instructed me not to try to start my Jeep until he beeped his horn.  He told me this like 3 times, well played my new friend, well played.  He beeped the horn and my Jeep turned right over! Still concerned that this "happens often", (I suppose by looking at my vehicle you may conclude this), he recommends I get a new battery! Thankful for the kind gesture I assure him I just left my lights on while I took a nap since I have never had a problem before, and my husband was very good about taking care of it!! Of course, as would any "Good Samaritan" would, he refused my offer to give him something for his trouble!  His kind act truly saved my day as small as he thought it may be!  Thank you "Good Samaritan", may your good deed not go unnoticed!!