Sunday, 20 October 2013

Some more Poems from a fellow survivor.

 Tears of a Chef
They say that passionate chefs only shed tears
When they would like to feign great failure.
How false it is what they most treasure;
How confused, ignorant, and vulgar they must be.
If my cries could reach my stockpot,
Reaching yet all the way to my sauté pan.
With this trembling hand of mine my tale could be written.
In tears a menu I would write,
And if my menu could not be seen,
For need of a darker ink
Black is the color that I’d choose, because it best reflects my bitterness,
anger, and frustration.
Even though I still dream of Grand Cuisine
The heartbreaking truth is that my arm no longer obeys me.
I cannot dream when I am so deeply entrenched in melancholy, sadness, and despair.
I have died but am still here.
Relight my fire I would like, but my tears keep putting out the matches

 "That Heartless"

Holy Crap! Two Posts in One Day!

When do you know it is permanent?

The short answer is not in the next few years.

Before my brain surgery, I failed at math and for that matter most every other subject.

After surgery I passed math with an "A".  It was math 11....Algebra.

I was to say the least, SHOCKED!

So there is hope, post injury.  With the new technologies such as hyperbolic chambers and music therapy and a host of other cutting edge technologies such as stem cell research, maybe one day we will have a cure and regrow lost brain tissue.

I believe the hardest part of brain injury is when is enough?  Enough?

I beat myself up regularly when it came to my lack of memory for certain things.  I even started my last blog with a tongue in cheek reference to how my truck's memory was akin to my own.

I find several things come into play and these signs will greatly affect my behavior with regards to whether I respond appropriately to a given situation.

Am I having a bad day with remembering?

Is my wife getting frustrated with having to go behind me turning off elements, closing cupboards, telling me where my coat was left etc?

Am I overtired?

I can read into these moments and determine whether or not it is time to call it a night or for that matter a day.

Quite often I need a "Time Out".
A power nap to recharge my batteries.

Accept this caregiver and brain injured alike, it is the new norm and in the early stages it will be paramount to the healing process.

Acceptance is the hardest part of the equation.  Here it is 36 years post injury and I still get frustrated at my inept abilities.   It becomes even more pronounced when someone like your wife or doctor, or co-worker rubs salt into the wound inadvertently.

As a child of 14 or so my mom would continuously berate me for not remembering to take out the garbage like I said I would.  I was always on the defense protecting my pride against laments of being lazy, a malingerer or a no good bum.

It kind of stung back then and though I have worked hard all my life, been an industrial first aid attendant in a Saw Mill, worked on the green chain, owned a restaurant, held this recent 12-15 hour a day job where my first break comes 11 hours into the day where I have my first meal as I drive the 1.5 hours back to my town of origin, I become a tad irate when someone accuses me of incompetence because I forgot to remember one thing.  It may have been important to the client that I remember to cut or add product for a sale however in my books it is still an attack on something I have been defending  most my life for something I have absolutely no control of.

This is my life and it comes with ebbs and flow's and I will be forever brain injured.  I reflect sometimes and realize that I have been so, for most of my life and for certain, all of my adult life.  One can never give a specific timeline or say for certain that the brain injury is permanent until it persists after several years.
What one can hope is that one accepts, quickly, the likelihood, of its permanency, and moves forward in a positive manner to mitigate its affects on your lifestyle.
How can one adopt new tools to reduce the memory loss or the mobility loss? How can one identify when one needs a "Time Out".
How can the family adjust to assisting in a positive way to increase the independence of the brain injured?
It is up to the entire family and the brain injured to work together and a note especially to my fellow brain injured, "Lighten up! It is not a sign of defeat to accept help.  It is a sign of healing to employ whatever it takes to make your life richer and if that gets you to independence, then so be it!"  Use whatever trick in the trade you can to make your life more functional and bearable.


Eureka! Brain Injury Defined????

I was driving my 5 ton truck with the cruise control engaged when I needed to make a right turn off the highway.  I disengaged to cruise control and made the turn and started to accelerate and then re-engage the cruise control.
As I did so the cruise control forgot what speed was originally set and settled on one that was 10K slower than the one I was at previously.

I had a chuckle as I realized the truck had as good a memory as I.

This isn't the answer to the definition of brain injury but it does help to have a sense of humor and not take your brain injury so seriously at times or you will find yourself all alone, frustrated and filled with anger as a result.

One can ask a doctor to define brain injury and unfortunately with all his degrees and devotion to healing the sick and injured, the actual role is not one to specifically define brain injury but rather to redirect you to a higher skilled individual.  Most doctors only get a smattering of education on brain functioning and are mostly trained to identify a possible brain trauma and then make referrals.

You may ask a neuropsychologist what brain injury is and you will be given a plethora of possible outcomes psychologically that the brain injured may present with over ones lifetime, yet, still no definition of what brain injury is.

You may ask a neurologist and would be introduced to a highly trained individual whom, like ones previous colleagues, would impress you on his or her expertise, and might be even more impressed by his or her bilingualism having spoken to you in both English and Latin, but alas no definition of brain injury.

Finally you may need to employ a neurosurgeon, the highest form of skilled purveyors of curing those with a brain injury, however still inept at defining brain injury.

PLEASE do not think for a moment that I am not grateful to these men or women who devote years to their profession in hopes to heal the less fortunate of the brain injury class.
I would not be here had it not been for Dr. Mackie, Dr. Cameron, and the wonderful nurses on 4 West of the Royal Jubilee Hospital back in 1977.  Without them I would not have the quality of life I presently have.  In fact I most likely would not have life at all.

Each and everyone of them are an asset to their profession and to the countless lives they in fact save.
It is not up to them to bring you back from your trauma, 100%, but in fact they are trying to bring you back with as much of your former-self as possible without causing further harm neurologically as possible.

It is a daunting task in many cases.  It may not be your fault for the position you now find yourself in, but it is also not theirs and one should hold the doctors up in high esteem, as it quite often is a thankless job that they do.

Having stated the above, one must ask then who has the answer to "What is the definition of brain injury?"

The answer is simple, ME.


And so are the millions of others who are likewise brain injured.

If you have not walked a mile in my shoes, then how dare you offer your expertise as being the ultimate, bar none, remedy to our plight of the brain injured?

I do not care if you have degrees, have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars educating yourself on TBI or ABI, unless you too are brain injured, you will fall short each and every time when it comes to understanding brain injury and how one reacts individually to that injury.

If someone asked me what I think of the plight of indigenous peoples or that of the African Americans with regards to race discrimination, I could not give them an honest answer unless like them the discrimination was equally thrust upon me.  Until then, I would ask them for the answer because unfortunately, they by experience, are the experts.

There is no definition as each is unique to that individual based upon where the injury occurred, what parts of the brain were damaged and also how that individual was brought up.
What do you mean, "How they were brought up?"

Each culture has certain aspects that differ from other cultures and that comes into play with the brain injured.

I responded to the passing of my parents as a celebration of life whereas in Italy, quite often with the older generation, the wife, adorns black for the rest of her life out of respect to he lost spouse.

Is it wrong?  Who am I to judge?

Do not get pigeon holed into thinking that there is a one fit for all mentality when it comes to brain injury.

Do not expect your brain injured person to either exceed or even meet a specific time span to achieve recovery.

Each is individual and they may never fully recover.  I haven't and its 36 years this October 31 since my last aneurysm ruptured.
This is why a I join brain injury support groups online.

Here are two that I belong too.  They are closed and one must be invited to join however, you may find a lot of information with regards to your brain injury.

Brain Injury