Braining Forward

My personal story about the fight against myself. A daily fight yes, but a daily victory in knowing I am the survivor of a TBI(traumatic brain injury). With each day comes a new win.

Over Emotional…Emotions

No noise. I hear nothing but my children playing in the living room and my boyfriend digging through the closet to find his rain coat.

Another argument-Another moment of my over emotional self.

I envy those who can truly think out their next action or out loud thought because I just say what first comes to mind and I don’t care how it makes the other person feel. No, I take that back. I do care how it makes the other feel but I can’t stop what is already coming out of my mouth. It’s as though I am a person with a defect. Only my defect is my brain injury.

Today I spent all day with my kids. Today was Memorial Day and there was neither school no daycare, so it resulted in a day off. We spent the day at the car lot-having a diagnostic done, Fred Meyers for a late breakfast, Old Navy for shopping, O’reillys, Costco, nearby grocery store, and Red Robin. By the end of it, my brain was done.

What really put my brain on overdrive was when I couldn’t reach my boyfriend. He gets off work at three. I tried to reach him for one hour and nothing…I just kept getting voicemail. Finally, at 4:10 he calls me. I know I sounded irritated so he asked what was wrong. He always asks what is wrong because I, a lot of the time, sound irritated.

My irritable self has resulted to us now ignoring one another. I know if I speak I will snap so it’s better that I remain quiet as a mouse.

Going back to when my irritation began…When he said his phone died, I didn’t believe him. I am always scared he will find better. I will admit, I am insecure. I feel like an idiot half the time, I know I’m not the most social(because of feeling like what I say doesn’t make sense), I’m not adventurous any longer, I am forgetful, my emotions fluctuate a lot more than normal…I’m just…

I lack in reasoning and communication. Rather than talk, I yell. Rather than look at things with a wide scope, I narrow my vision to through the narrow tunnel. The tiniest thing sets me off and people end up looking at me as though I’m a freak. It’s times like this when I want my old self back.

My boyfriend says he loves me and I believe he does, but I also know my relationship will run short because he will one day give up on me and my irrational self. Every day, I tell myself that I must get better…every day, I promise myself things will change…every day passes and then I hope for the next.

Continued prayer is all I find in my stressful self. No one but God seems to understand. All people see when I get upset is a crazy person. I’m always asked what’s wrong with me when I flip out. How do i begin to answer when you can’t begin to understand? People tell me to calm down and that only makes me madder.

Eleven years since the accident and I see no improvement…well, I at least no longer swear in restaurants because the service is taking too long.

I’m not an empty shell and I do care. I am sorry if I end up hurting you because my brain takes over. The good angel in me would love to take over but sometimes the bad must make an entrance to. Just more than it should.

Advertisements

Uninvited Restart

August 2, 2002.

I was nineteen. Blond hair, blue eyed, spunky, fun-loving, social, normal late- teen girl.
Two weeks prior to August 2nd, I had met a younger man. For privacy reasons, his name shall be Sam. Upon meeting Sam, he seemed charming, fun, easy going, and I loved being around him.
It was easy to be myself around this young man-easy to trust.
At nineteen, I wasn’t old enough to fully understand people can be deceiving.
One week after meeting, while at the lake with a large group of friends, Sam pulled me to the side and asked me to be his girl-I of course said yes.
One week after that, he showed up with a Honda crotch rocket. He said he got it from a friend who owed him.
On a Friday night, he asked if I wanted to go for a ride. Like any giddy girl, I excitedly said I would love to. I grabbed his backpack, a neighbors off road helmet, said bye to my best friend, and off we went.
Stopping at a nearby gas station, Sam gave me some money to give to the attendant for gas for the bike. I went in as he got ready to put gas in. When I came back out, he was doing something funny with some wires. When I asked what he was doing, he mentioned something about the keys. I didn’t second guess anything and hopped back on when gas was in and he was ready.
Hitting the freeway, I felt free as a bird. Wind hitting my hair, cruising in and out of nearby cars…I felt nothing could get in our way. I wrapped my arms tightly around Sam and felt at peace.
Harmony feelings can suddenly come to a halting stop.
Sam took an exit off the freeway and failed to slow down. At first, I thought he was maybe showing off. But he only went faster than faster. At one point he was doing over 100 mph. I was scared and unsure why he was doing this.
Looking behind me, it became obvious when I saw the red and blue lights. I was the forced participant of a high speed pursuit.
“SAM, SLOW DOWN! PLEASE STOP”. I begged this over and over only for him to continue to tell me in a calm and oh so haunting way, “it will be alright baby, just hold on…I promise it’ll be alright.”
Promises as we all know can be broken.
God came to mind and I began asking him for help. Begging for this not to be the end.
Suddenly, I froze. I became petrified with fear. In all of my years of watching Cops, I knew the result would more than likely not be good.
Looking to. My right, I saw a field. The field calmed me and I seemed to be brought to a place of calmness and surety that everything would be okay.
God? Maybe.
The field is the last thing I remember.
“FLIGHT BIRD STAT! We have a possible fatality! I repeat, a possible fatality! They’ve hit!”
I don’t remember this moment but I’ve read the reports enough times over to develop an internal visual.
The officer ran up to me first since the driver seemed to be fine other than whining of a broken wrist. I, on the other hand, laid in a fetal position-rocking, while making gurgling noises.
The officer went to touch my shoulder and I turned over, flailing…screaming. I called this man all sorts of names with pig being one of them. I have always had the most utmost respect for police officers…I never.
Listed as combative. Listed as uncooperative. The paramedics showed and I was rushed to the nearest ER.
Screaming and spitting at the nurses. If they only knew me, they would’ve known I was not being myself. They tried to drug me but it killed my heart so they had to rejump me.
This was the moment when the old me died and the new me was born.
One week later I started coming in and out of conscience.
In first opening my eyes, it was just me lying in a hospital bed. I was scared and not knowing. There were IVs all over and something stuffed up my most private of areas, I was so unsure on what was happening but I knew it was morning and I had to get to work.
Standing up in the hospital bed, I tried with all my might to pull out the catheter. I was late for work…I had to get to work.
Frustrated it wasn’t coming out, I began to sob.
My mom suddenly rushed in. Trying to get me to sit back down, I only repeated the same thing in how I was late for work and how I was going to be fired. My mom tried to calm me but I wouldn’t take any part of relaxing.
Finally, my mom wanted me to look into the mirror. I did. What I saw in the mirror was something so unfamiliar. It couldn’t have been me looking back.
Blood caked to my face, large red circles surrounding my eyes, hair matted, teeth stained with blood…
Confusion set in…why was I here? Where was Sam? My mom tried to tell me but I wouldn’t believe her. She even tried telling me Sam wasn’t his real name and he was in reality a multi time felon, criminal, but I wouldn’t believe her.
I ended up being diagnosed with a TBI(traumatic brain injury) to the left frontal lobe region, multiple hematomas, multiple left fractured ribs, and a shattered left scapula(my dominant arm). Sam only had a broken right wrist. All this pain for what? But I never blamed him…something went wrong but I was failing to see it was him.
At one point while sleeping, a sticky fluid began gushing from my nose like water from a faucet. My mom grew scared running for the doctors. The doctors tried to tell her it was snot until she forced them to look further. Brain fluid. I had brain fluid gushing from my nose!
At another time, I met with a speech therapist. I grew up on the farm with all types of animals. The speech therapist quizzed me to name as many animals as I could in two minutes. I named ten or so. She had me walk the hospital then find my way back. I had a difficult time retracing my steps.
The speech therapist felt I needed to stay but the hospital said I was fine to go home. I wanted to go home but my mom, dad, friends, family, everyone knew better.
The hospital cleared me to go home. Huge mistake. I was no longer the sweet, great memory, funny, fun loving, social butterfly…I was forgetful, mean, angry, emotional rollercoaster, depressed, confused, resulting to bad behavior, nineteen year old. Worst decision still…I stayed for nearly ten years longer with the man who killed the old me.

Frontal Lobe Rollercoaster

Yesterday, I was happy.
Today, I am sad.
Tomorrow, I will be…

The left frontal lobe is the main part of my brain that was injured as a result of the motorcycle accident in 2002. My frontal lobe…really? The part of my brain responsible for emotion and reaction. I’m a woman…I’m already emotional and up and down, let’s just jump that issue by 50%.

Today is Valentines Day. Today is the day of love. Today my boyfriend went shopping to get me something he thought I’d like. Today I instead received something I dislike entirely. Today I resorted to the behavior of a sixteen year old girl who doesn’t get the right cd from her parents on Christmas.

I pouted then moped then yelled at him then cried. He called me selfish. He is right. After all, my emotional circuitry was cut resulting in my ‘I don’t give a shit in hurting your feelings because my brain has gone one track and I don’t know how to turn me off’ behavior.

I’m sorry. I love my boyfriend, I do. I know he meant good. But this immature side of me, this side I hate…this side that meets no halfway or fails to see an attempt…refuses to remove its blinds because it is already stuck on the one way highway of hell.

Tears are building and I’m not knowing how to shut them off.

He looks at me because I stay quiet. I’m a strange woman…what he doesn’t understand, since he didn’t know me before the accident is I choose to stay quiet. I choose to stay quiet since I know I will go from zero to one hundred the second I open my mouth. Anger management taught me well and keeping quiet is something I learned works for me. But if you keep pressing those buttons…if you keep pestering me, I will snap. I will probably even say things I do not mean to say because trust me, the last thing I want to do is hurt those I love.

My world spins and I don’t know how to make it stop. How I wish I could be a normal thirty, almost thirty one year old woman. Let me pretend to like a gift so my boyfriend doesn’t result to feeling like he belongs in loser vile. Let me be able to show fake smiles that look real rather than a pouty face.

I’m tired of changing moods so drastically in only a short period of time. Life is too short and it’s only getting shorter.

Today, I am sad.
Yesterday, I was happy.
Tomorrow, I will be…

Tired

The book opens. One page flips then another. I am at my tenth page when my eyelids begin to close and my brain seems to shut off.

Exhausted…..

Was the book boring? No. But maybe…no! The book was fantastic! I wanted to read for longer, I truly did. Then why?!? Why can I not remain focused…why can I not finish just one god damned book in such a short period of time!?! Why must it take me days or possibly weeks to finally get to the end!??

Time…

Libraries are pointless. Thank God for my iPad and it’s reading app since hell, I get to read as many books as I want for only $9.95 per month. What a fucking deal. Maybe for someone who can keep focused…maybe for someone who doesn’t have to reread the same shit twelve times before it sticks!

Weak…

Cognitive ability…what in the shitting world is that? You know, I use to know…I use to have this amazing memory. I used to breeze through books and remember everything to a tee. *eyes water-tears form*. If you wanted a play by play, I was your girl…I was the go to.

Was…

All I wanted was to read. I wanted to sit down and read one fucking book. Instead, my brain injury has won again. Maybe tomorrow night.

Maybe…

Invisible Pain

“Please stay home. You are sick. Just trust me.” My boyfriend pleads, begging for me to stay home from work since he sees my throat is not in a good ‘me’ condition. He sees the unhealthy me but I sure as hell don’t. “I’ll be fine. Please don’t worry about me.” I grab my purse, throw my boots on, and head out the door.

My three kids all sit out in the warm car as they wait for me. My throat is a tad sore but I’ll manage. I make sure everyone is buckled before I leave. I drop the kids off at daycare. It’s early and a tad hard to breathe. It must be the cold air.

So early. I’m extremely tired but not sure why considering I’ve had all weekend to sleep and even went to bed by seven the night before. I’m not feeling anything other than a mild sore throat. I pop a cough drop before I head in to work.

About an hour into my shift and my throat really begins to bother me. One of my co-workers asks if I’m okay since he hears the change in my voice. I tell him I’m not sure. Honestly, what I want to tell him is the truth…I want to say, “you know, I’m not sure…I had this terrible accident so many years back that I can’t feel if I’m truly sick or not till it becomes too late…but thanks for asking.” Too harsh? Probably. Instead, I kindly respond with, “I’ll be fine. Thank you.” I get up from my desk and hunt for a good friend/manager of mine. When I find her, I have her peek down my mouth using my phones flashlight as a guide. “Honey, you should really go in. Well cover you.”

Getting out to my car, I text my boyfriend to give him the latest and no so greatest.

Update: strep. I have strep. Never have I had strep. Do my kids have it? How long will I have to be out? Have I infected others? My endless list of questions is just that…endless. But I have to realize what is done is done.

The doctor couldn’t believe I waited till I did. She couldn’t believe I couldn’t feel it till then. No fever, no sore joints, nothing…brain injury doc…totally messed up circuitry doc…that’s how I was able to have three natural child births doc.

I’m sure most of you reading would love to live a pain free live. It’s not so fucking perfect. Your pain may build…mine hits hard with no warning. I don’t know until the end is near…the end that is my less than perfect beginning.

Example…about two weeks after having give birth to my son, I grew violently ill. No warning, just wam! In the hospital for two weeks. I nearly died. Uterus infection…I had a toxic uterus infection.

If my body can go that long without telling me something is very much wrong with me, then what will happen when something big may happen…something big like cancer?

Maybe I’m exaggerating, but I don’t think so…especially when I have a faulty system. It can happen…and if it does, chances are it will be too late.

Welcome to the Beg. of Me!

For my own reasons, I am choosing to stay anonymous. What is really in a name anyway? A name doesn’t make who the person is but their experiences can.

This blog is meant to serve as my personal story and maybe yours to; my story about who I was before my death to who I am now in my new life. I am the survivor of a TBI(traumatic brain injury), ten years post and counting. Not alone but as with the millions of other TBI survivors, my injury is mine since as with people, no two TBIs are alike.

August 2002 was when the horrific motorcycle accident happened and today I still live with the scars of that tragic day. Every day is a battle against myself and I am actually glad I get to share this battle with you, the reader.

My blog will focus on my past, present, and future. Besides my story alone, a wealth of other brain injury information will be shared including lists of books to read, other blogs to browse, and sites to seek.

So, welcome. Welcome to my life.

Post Navigation