Well it has been a long time since i last posted, October last year in fact. As some of you will know, that is because at the end of October last year I was out cycling when I was hit by a wing mirror or similar and sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury. I have no recollection of the accident and only 'islands' of memory during the next few days in hospital. since then i have been recovering which is a slow progress.
I completely forgot about Facebook until a few days ago so, while i have written a few e-mail news-letters i haven't used this channel.
I spent 9 days in Hospital and have spent the rest of the time at home, sleeping 20 hours out of 24 to start with but now reasonable normal. I have included my latest mailing on the end of this post
I didn’t realise quite how long it is since I wrote something. It’s been ages! I blame the brain injury.
My short term memory is a bit naff and I have to write everything down on a list and if it’s not on the list it don’t get done. Now “write a mailing” has got onto the list so here it is. (I had completely forgotten about Facebook since my accident so I will be posting this in the next few days so apologies if you get it twice.)
It is now nearly eleven months since my accident and, although I can see an improvement month on month, it is still difficult having to manage my energy and rest so that I am a reasonable human being throughout the day. In my controlled home environment and with a few trips down the town (and possibly even Eastbourne) I cope quite well, but, if anything goes awry and I have to think more than expected or I meet someone unexpected who wants a chat I find my cognitive functions deteriorate rapidly and within a quarter of an hour I wish I had never left home.
I have devised a regime of “strategic naps”! These are naps or rests, usually only one a day now, which I build into my day and take ‘whether I feel the need or not’. I have learnt that if I feel the need for a rest it is too late. So best to get the scheduled rest in before I need it! I also like to have mini breaks for 5 minutes every half hour or so as this gives my brain time to buffer and download what has just happened. All this keeps the overwhelm at bay.
Recently I saw a consultant neurologist and I learnt more in that half an hour than I had in the past 9 months. He took a history and asked some pertinent questions, looked at my scans, and then lent toward me, looked me in the eyes and said“You have had a major brain injury with significant damage to your right frontal lobe and your eye socket. You are lucky to be here.”
Then he sat back and said “It is early days still but you appear to be making a remarkable recovery.”
This consultation was both a relief and a shock.
Relief because I have had a “major head injury” which is real and I am allowed to recover from a major head injury. No-one has said this directly to me before (not that I remember) and I was struggling with the thought that I had just “banged my head” and that I Should be recovered by now!
Relief that I can go gently on myself and give up all the ‘shoulds’ and the expectations of how my recovery will progress.
Shock to hear that I could have died.Shock to consider how major the damage was.
Shock to realise how fine the line is between alive and dead.
There is also some remorse that no-one told me this before as, on the low days when I was really struggling, I could have been easier on myself.
So there you have it. I am recovering well but it is still early days (?!) and I may never be the same as I was before, but, I may be better!! Still no sign of me going back to work but I aim to make some decisions at Christmas.
Here’s something that I have ‘known’ for ages but now has extra relevance for me now;
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Go gently on yourself and be kind to yourself and to others.