Sunday, January 24, 2010

No Longer High Functioning

As i speak to my friends about how i used to be and how i am now, they mainly tell me that the way i'm 'suffering' in my lack of functioning is the way they live all the time.

I then realized; before the accident and brain injury, i was a high functioning individual. I never had to write down an appointment. It would just be in my mind ... time, date, what i would need. I would remember things i had to do without lists. I could prepare an entire show with promotion, esthetics, for myself and the stage without so much as a list. I would just remember and get it done.

Now my world is lists. I generally have about 4 on the go at the same time, but they never coincide with one another, so i never remember which list to look at, if i remember to look at a list at all lmao! Yes ... i have to laugh ... or i'll drive myself insane with frustration.

I finally got a paper daytimer. I tried to use my phone. It was not working for me as i couldn't see if i was packing my weeks to the max. I would put things in and then would have too much on my plate for a recovering person. Now i see my week laid out as a schedule. It's working. I can put addresses and what i need to bring with me in this book.

But just the other day, i realized that i was beginning to remember the odd appointment. Not the ones i have every week at the same time ... those ones i have a grasp on now. I've healed enough to see a recurring schedule. But the one offs? They've been difficult.

But here's one that i was thrilled about! I put an appointment in my book and put the letters dr beside it. It wasn't my doctor, because i have to see a few, so i have to always put in the name of the doctor i'm visiting or i won't know who the appointment is for. But for this entry it just said dr with no period beside it, as in 'dr.', and i had no idea what it was for.

I would look at it every day and look back a week and forward a week to try to figure out what this appointment was for.

Finally the other day, as i was at my acupuncturist (which i write down as such to remember who i'm seeing) i was speaking about this damn appointment and how i was afraid of what it was for fear of having a missed appointment and having to pay for it with my entire meager disability cheque lol!

Then my tongue felt my temporary tooth from a cracked crown i had a few weeks ago and i remembered that my appointment was coming up. I looked in my book for that appointment and couldn't find it. I knew i had written it down, because i have enough focus now to write down appointments the moment they arise so that i don't screw up.

I realized that this mystery appointment was my dentist. Now, this would normally be something that people wouldn't get too excited over ... but for me? I was thrilled! I made it through a thought process that enabled me to remember that i have something coming up. It's not quite the high functioning brain that i had before the accident, but i'll tell you ... it's closer than it has been for the past 14 months.

This pleased me. I had a moment of realization that it's possible ... quite possible ... that my brain may return to a high functioning workstation.

I have new hope :) these are the days that make me smile ...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I remembered :)

Today i managed to remember the name of the street my dentist is on...but not only that...i remembered the floor! The first time i went after the accident, i had to get there by driving along the street until i found it. Then i had to look at the board, find my dentist's name by going through every line (i couldn't remember his name) and find the floor he was on. But not today. I remembered the street, and the floor. It was a relief!

Slowly but surely, my memory is getting better and better. It's a far cry now from the times last year that i would walk into a building, only to come out and not have a clue where i was. Or when i would put a pot of water on the stove to boil, then turn to my partner and ask her what she's cooking. Or the worst: waking up not knowing who i am, who that person was beside me in that foreign bedroom was and what the sound was on the floor above my head. It was a terrifying way to wake up!

I'm remembering little things. Little things that mean so much. The funny part is i don't remember what i remember and i don't even know what i forget until the time comes. Everything is a bit of a mystery every day. Like the day i tried to sew on a button. I knew how to thread the needle, but when i looked at the button and the material, i had absolutely no idea how i was going to get it on.

First, i put it on the needle i had just threaded, then put it into the material. Well...the button went flying of the thread, because the button hole was bigger than the knot at the end of the thread.

Next, i put the needle through the material and put the button on the needle this time...but the logic of getting to this point took me a minute to figure out. Once it was on at this point, i still couldn't figure out how the hell it was going to stay on the material.

Bit by bit i experimented and figured out that it was going to stay by me going in and out of the material and button holes. But there was thread sticking out all over the place, knots in amongst the holes and was a mess. And thank goodness it was just for show...because it was so tight to the material that there's no way it would have gotten through a button hole hahahhaha!! But it was on.

I'm sure next time i'll be able to do it better now that i've built a path in my fresh section of my brain on how to sew on a button.

I find it fascinating when i can recognize that i should know someone's face, but not sure how i know them. Then they speak to me. After a minute of listening to them speak, my memory comes back. Audible memory trigger! I'll then see their face as the person i've always known and a lot of the past comes back to me in quick flashes.

It's a tough thing to get through all the memory problems, but when you start to see them come back, it's truly amazing.

I'm starting to remember some of the yummy healthy treats i used to eat. This is good. Because when i first had my brain injury, i was living off chocolate bars, waffles and corn chips. I have a bit of weight to lose from this journey...yikes!

But i'm remembering things like goat cheese on rice cakes with tomatoes and marinated artichokes. Something i used to eat all the time, but only remembered about 2 weeks ago. I remembered this by making a salad that i got off the internet. It had some of the same flavor and this triggered the memory of the yummy treat i used to eat.

It seems that the more i experiment with recipes, the more i remember the foods i used to eat. And eventually, i'll get back to my health and lose this accident weight! I've lost about 8 lbs. I have about 18 more to go...and a carb and sugar addiction to battle!!!

But the point is, i'm remembering. Slowly but surely pieces are starting to come back to me. I still however can't remember why i bought a bag of coconut lol! It's been sitting there for about 5 months. Staring at me waiting to be consumed.

I just have noooooo idea why i bought it hahahha! I'll have to figure out what to do with them by experimenting with a recipe i suppose.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I had a morning routine before the accident. It was a routine that i would do to get my day going without really thinking about it. It was a way to wake up because i’m not a morning person.

After the accident the routine was lost. I couldn’t do the things i did before, even if i could remember what they were. The foods i ate weren’t working with the pain meds i was taking. I spent a year getting out of bed and not really knowing what i would do. I would literally stagger around the house and think to myself, “What should i do now?”

I had to find a food first. I finally found it. I also had to let go of trying to quit coffee. I need it. So my morning routine is this:

I make 2 eggs (broken yoke, cooked hard) with goat cheese on top. A fruit or vegetable (sometimes i have veggies steamed in advance to just serve in the morning). A cup of coffee and the computer.

I’m trying to wean myself off the computer as it has been a staple in my life because of not really being able to move or get out to be social. So now, i get on during my morning routine and get back off and get to the gym to do my physio. Not this week however…i’m actually having a really bad back week, so i’m stuck on the couch…but it has been part of my routine to get to the gym.

Then i come home and play 10 - 15 minutes on my bass guitar. Or more if i can! If i can i do other things too. But just as long as i can get my 3 things done: breakfast, gym and bass, then i know i’ve done my morning routine.

When you lead a normal life, you’d look at this and say, “Well…what’s the big deal? We all have a routine.” But i’ll tell you. It took a year to figure out what my morning was going to look like.

Until you’ve had brain injury, you would never understand it. I met another of ‘our people’ yesterday. My brain injured people. She had brain injury 3 years ago and completely understands everything i’m talking about. You can just say a couple of words with ‘our people’ and they know how you’re going to finish your sentence. We’ve been there.

There’s not enough information about surviving it. There’s not enough talk. There’s not enough support. It’s like all of us with the problem bumble around until we bump into ‘our people’. Then we bumble off and go survive amongst the others. I’ve had an amazing journey of meeting ‘our people’, but i need more.

The problem is, when i think of trying to start some kind of support network, i forget what i was trying to do! Off i go…wandering around saying, “Ok…what should i do now?”

I hope that whomever is reading this never has to understand. And if you do, i hope you find more of ‘our people’ and get better fast. There really is no fast healing when it comes to brain injury. You can only work hard and let the brain do it’s thing. You have no control.

But at least now, while i’m waiting for it to heal in it’s own time, i have a morning routine. So…now i’ve finished my computer time. I would normally go to the gym, but right now i’m going to…ummm…i don’t know what i’m going to do, because i’m too injured to go to the gym. Goddamit.

What should i do now?