Howdy Hydrocephalus

Understanding my unique gyroscope

Gas Guzzler


January has been literarlly a pharmaceutical blur – yes we are still trying to get meds right to control the 24hr headaches. I tried to write and began a couple posts but then of course forgot about them and moved on with laundry or cleaning the bathroom until today where I promised myself I would get something down electronically before I completely forget about this month. I was sprung from Unit 58 on January 10th and officially an inpatient graduate. I was happy to leave because I know that there so many people waiting to participate in the program. I am referred out for Occupational Therapy to help with Executive functions and Speech Therapy to help keep my stutter under control It has been an interesting few weeks re-adjusting to life on the outside with my newfound realization of my brain injury and all the quirks that go along with it.

What I have found out in the last little while is that when the TV is going; three adults talking; the kids playing; dryer spinning; fan whirring; chairs scraping; creaking floors; trucks starting outside; dog shuffling – I still hear it all – it is all noise all at once that is hard to filter. I wrote a post called super powers. Yup didn`t realize it was a part of my injured nogg`n. Because of this lack of filtering, I am distracted easy and not pay attention (sorry folks – the smile and nod thing doesn`t mean I actually “heard“ ya). When I am overloaded I do not realized that my tone of talking sound like I am irritated or angry sounding even when I don`t think I am. I do recognize body language but may be confused that your body language showed something different than what I said or intended to say but it may have come out wrong.

I am learning that the damn visual disturbances are still there. I thought they were gone because I didn`t leave the house for 1.5 weeks and other than right-sided fuzziness and popping words when reading, I thought it was all under control. Then went to Wy`s school. I know we like to think of all school-aged kids as stars but to see them walk by with star trailing is not so cool and a little disappointing.

I have learned that when I get too much going on, I may not be reading correctly or understanding what I am reading without knowing it thus the kids passport fiasco. Usually I am the one in the household who does all the filling out of forms and paperwork. So I filled out the passports; had Chris sign; waited forty minutes to hand them in only to find that I had filled them out incorrectly in many areas of the forms. I am and was so embarrassed. Prior to injury I was extremely anal about forms and filling them out correctly. Now I know that Chris needs to overlook and proof my forms. He just assumed like me they were filled out correctly.

I was handed some homework at the end of a speech session and looked at the forms and couldn`t understand what I had to do. My therapist explained what was needed. I smiled and nodded and went home. After resting at home, I looked at the homework again and thought it was somewhat easy. So I am somewhat there when I am rested and in a distraction free environment. Everyday I still feel very dumb compared to where I was before. I haven`t accepted that I am not as smart as what I once was – just yet – that will come with time especially as I learn strategies in re-defining my life. The fortunate thing is that my writing is relatively intact and I can communicate more freely via typing than any other way.

I also do not know how to set boundaries when doing things. I will go full bore at something and then pay the price with complete lack of functioning and fatigue for 24-48 hours. Everyone preaches “pace yourself“ but to me there that is a foreign idea and I can`t relate. I think I will be working on this. This falls into the same category as when I didn`t realize that anything was really wrong with me.

It hasn`t just be hard on me; it has been really painful for Chris and the kids as well. We all didn`t sign up for this but we are all trying to pave a new road and make it work. There have been a lot of misunderstandings, frustration, stress and unknown especially when we are trying to have a “normal“ family life. We are learning patience, understanding and forgiveness. The TBI guide or Alberta Initiative Brain Injury Guide are two good thing to help us all understand what is going on.

I like to think of brain healthy people as hybrid cars – where the fuel they use is energy efficient. It can run all your unconscious brain functions, physical functions, cognitive functions all at once without depleting in any of the main areas. It is a well-run machine that picks up speed quick and corners well. I, on the other hand, am a gas guzzler. I am not so efficient with my fuel and energy placement. It doesn’t matter if it is cognitive or physical, it all takes the same amount energy and the energy gets depleted quick. I am always needing to re-fuel up with rest or else I have my fourways on at the side of the highway waiting for a tow truck. I may not be quick to speed up and a little rough at cornering but at least I am still getting from A to B!

Here is a great video explaining abit about a mild TBI. It helps me explain how I am feeling.


2 thoughts on “Gas Guzzler

  1. Another great post, Kelly. It is not easy to understand the complexities of our brain and the how or why things work (or don’t!). But then again the brain is the body’s ‘control centre’ so one shouldn’t be surprised that there can be so many different repercussions from an injury. Again your positive outlook and the way you express yourself on paper is amazing! Keep it up!

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