Wednesday, December 22, 2010

good brain vs bad brain days

IF you say you are having a bad hair day every one understands what you are talking about. Unfortunately the same is not true when you are having a bad brain day. There are tons of reasons you could be having one when you are a TBI survivor of any kind: stress, not getting enough sleep or rest, trying to do too much, pushing yourself to do more than you are able,too much stimulation, too many people or noise around you, Trying to remember all the steps to completing a task you used to be able to do easily are just a few. I beat anyone with a TBI reading this can come up with many more. I was excited the first time I managed to have a phone conversation in the same room as the TV. I still get distracted by the images more than the sounds but it was years...over a decade before I could talk in the same room as a tv or carry on a conversation in a room where others were also talking like at a party or family get together.
I just recently went back on a med for Migraines from TBI that I have been off for about a year. This is making me have more bad brain days as I get used to it again., generic drugs are interesting depending on the company your drugstore buys from you may have the response intended it may not provide enough drug or it may be extremely weak. I recently changed pharmacies and had to have one med changed because the generic I was getting wasn't strong enough; this time this med looks different and is definitely stronger than what I took before. I feel like I am thinking and moving in slow motion hence the bad brain days.

On a lighter note, I got a great deal on freecycle today. Picked it up this afternoon and have just about laughed myself silly since then. I got a free used cat tree for Frankie Baby.  Right now it is in pieces and I am trying to convince myself I can put it together myself if I just go out to the shed and get an allen wrench the correct size. To be honest I saw a picture of what it should look like so I probably could do it alone but after the fun we had getting it into the car I'm not sure I am up to dealing with putting the pieces together while fighting off the cat. His newest trick is trying to get into my top cupboards. he discovered the bottom ones he can open hold no fun stuff like cans and pans so he figures the food must be up higher. He is also trying to open my fridge and oven and yesterday made himself quite sick by deciding to try out his litter as a food. It isn't as bad as it sounds his litter is ground corn cobs still not something I would eat but at least not clay.
I had some deep depression going earlier today but my friend in Washington state made it all better when I went out to go to PT a package had been delivered at my door. She sent me this beautiful stuffed wolf pup that is also a puppet. It gave me smiles. SO a big thank you goes out to her. I needed that smile and the giggles my aide gave me using the puppet and a silly voice to talk to me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I survived yesterday

The weather turned out to be clear and not even that cold so we did the Christmas party thing anyways. It wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would be except for once, the rest of the time none of us at our table could identify the ones that I was trying to figure out so we sent my cousin to ask. The one time I should have known but thought it was a completely different person was when my Aunt (who was sitting next to me) got up to do something and fell and I Didn't see her chair was empty or see that it was her until she started talking. She was in an unfamiliar place. She seldom leaves her houses becasue she is so afraid of having to have another joint replaced and when she is out once she sits she stays put and lets people come to her. I didn't recognize her because there was no reason to think she would be up walking around so her name never occure3d to me as a possibility for who had fallen. Such is life with a brain injury. ONe part of my brain injurued was my visual memory and the part that is responsible for visual recognition. Prior to my 1st TBI I could recognize someone I had seen in passing at the corner store near my old college 2 years later at a new college and know where I recognized him from. After the accident I didn't recognize family members unless they spoke. Voices I still recognized which made it easy for me to hide just how little I remembered. I admit I have never told anyone in my family that for the first 4-5 years after the accident I was only sure it was them when they talked. I mostly just came off as more of an airhead than I had pre-accident.
 I was never really an air head it was just a persona I used so I could get left alone to study. When you get high marks without opening the text people tend to assume that you never study, do the reading, do any schoolwork outside the classroom but I discovered if people thought i was just a bit flaky they figured I needed to study and left me alone when I said I needed to study. I do admit I have always been a bit unique. My brother says eccentric. My mom used to warn people I was a bit different before they met me and not to be surprised by anything I said or did. I've always seen the world differently than most and people find that confusing but .....they have just as many problems with me now that I have lost many of the skills that made them have problems before. I can't win with those people. I have to see it as their problem not mine though.
I'm basically still the same me. A few changes but I still love music and sing whenever I can, love to read and can finish a book a day in most cases, do all kinds of crafts, and the list goes on. MOst days I say so what to things like the fact I may recognize a face but can't say if it is a family member, somoeone I know, a strnger that I see at the store often, or someone who just look familiar.I was just going through a box and found my certificate of pledged eyes. I signed it at the state fair in 1978. I was 15 so I could legally sign it and then I dragged my mom in and made her donate as well.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Weather's making life easier????

I'm really at one of those places where I can't make up my mind whether to be happy about the weather or sad. Looks like we won't be going to the family Christmas party tomorrow  up North of here. I'm really not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand it is the last chance I will have to see most of the family before either Easter or Labor Day Weekend but on the other I is so stressful being in a huge room full of people that look familiar but I can only recognize maybe half and that is on a good brain day. Even some of the kids that I can place with names during the summer are nameless in the crowd. This is life with a mild traumatic brain injury.
Even my closest family doesn't realize just how hard it is for me to recognize anyone or anything visually. In many cases I have told friends more than I have admitted to family. In just a couple of week it will be 21 years since my 1st mTBI and I still get hit with the losses almost daily. On Wed. I was in the super Wally's World with my HCSS (home, community something or another) and we both needed to pick something up in different parts of the store. I finished before she did and went looking for her where she had said she was going. After one run through the dept where none of the head looked the least bit familiar I went back to my old way of finding people when I lost them. The method I was forced to use for years after that 1st accident. I couldn't remember what her coat looked like but I knew I was looking for bright blue capris and sneakers because she was not dressed at all for the weather so I had really noticed them. It still took me 20 minutes to find her since she was walking around looking for me as well by then but I wasn't looking at anyones faces I was looking at their pants. My ex-roommate I alway got to where a red or yellow coat when we went anywhere so I could find her again. But it is harder with family.
How do you tell Aunts and Uncles that you recognize most of their kids but don't have a clue what name goes to who? If I do mess up it gets brushed off as "well with 50 cousins you're bound to hit a wrong name occasionally". I try not to use names unless it is someone I am certain of because then it would be clear it was more then just an occasional thing. Granted my mom's family is HUGE!!! we are talk she is one of 11, I am one of 50 I think, there are close to if not more than 80 great grands and atleast 10 great great grands. My grammy is still living at nearly 104. My grammy has had senile dementia since she was in her 70s but didn't get bad until my grampa died 7 years ago. Since she has been in the nursing home and they have done things like taken her teeth out and stopped bothering to even dress her I have trouble even picking her out of the crowd of elderly people placed at the nursing station in wheel chairs. This is the person who stepped in to take up the empty place left when I lost my other gramma to cancer when I was 10. She was both grammas for me and I am hesitant about my recognition of her now since she is no longer in her own home in familiar clothing wearing her teeth. I am still one of the few people in the family she responds to consistantly when they visit. She doesn't remember exactly who I am but she remembers she knows me and I have no problem filling in the details while making it sounds like I am just telling her what has been going on with my mom, and us kids and the grand kids. She loves when my sister bring her boys. She doesn't know who my sister is but she always remembers she is the one with those twin boys.
I should be leaving for the coffee house for TBI survivors soon so had best say adieu.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Been a long day and it's not even noon.

I have my youngest nephew here at my home today. First time any of the kids have been here. All my toys and kid books I gave to my mom since they are at her house often. NO pictures of my boys will be on my blog. I love them and they are adorable but I don't want their faces out in cyberspace. It is just internet safety. He hasn't stopped moving since he got here and much of that time was spent chasing the cat. Sinatra is not used to kids, he is ok around them but he doesn't really trust them much. Plus being hit in the head by one of his toys didn't go over well. I gave him, Goober, a project to do that is making it hard for me to type. He wants me to count the coins as he puts them back into the piggy bank. Ever try to type while counting? I have trouble doing both individually so as a combo they are really working my brain.

Have you ever like a book so much that you accidentally bought it more than once.I'm having that problem with Game Over by Fern Michaels. Yesterday my third copy arrived in the mail. For most people this would be a severe mistake but for me it is just standard operating. Almost 21 years ago I was a recent College grad on my way into graduate school to be a teacher. I was working on 2 certificates plus my MA at the same time. I had an eidetic memory and life was good and learning was easy. Then between the first and second week of my 1st semester I went to visit a friend in Sacramento. A trip from MickeyDee's to a park to eat changed my life forever. Just feet from the park a car jumped the light and I watched him run into my door. That was in the early 90's. They didn't know much about mTBIs (mild traumatic brain injuries). Mild simply means I was never in a coma. My neurologist and I now suspect it is possible I had such severe damage because I was already recovering from an undiagnosed concussion. I was in the World Series quake that hit the SF Bay area> I got thrown around quite badly and was diagnosed with a pinched nerve in my neck. getting another concussion before the first is healed increases the damage. I gradually got worse for the first few weeks and then got stuck at that level of function. Imagine being a grad student studying to be a teacher and having lost, among other things my ability to read. I retaught myself to read but could do nothing about the lost of my physical memory. I recognized people by their voices. It was over ten years before I could recognize family and friends in places like stores or malls.That was just the first of my mTBIs and hidden Dis-abilities.

Still more snow!!!!!

I'm sitting looking at a down pour of snow that has been tumbling past my window for hours now. When I looked out a few minutes ago I discovered the snow was to the top of my wheel wells. Bright and early tomorrow I am going to have to bundle up and go dig it out and clear it off so the apartment complex doesn't have it towed. For those who have never experienced lake effect snow this probably doesn't sound like it is all that bad. For those who have they realize I am going to be shoveling what feels like a sodden 12 inch thick sponge off my car and digging the same off the ground to have a prayer of a chance of moving my car. Then I will get to slide my car to the other side of the parking lot so the plows can clean where I am parked right now then back across to let them do the other.

This is my beautiful little boy Sinatra. He is a bit bigger now but basically looks and acts the same. He has come a long way from the little kitten someone dumped in my cousin's truck at a work site. I have found he is a bit like having a monkey or maybe a toddler. Anyone who says cats always land on their feet has never met this one. I've only seen him land on his feet once. The rest have been his side, back, head.... He is incredibly stubborn and loves climbing and then pouncing. Normal for a cat but last week he fried my laptop by dumping water into the speakers today he scared himself half to death. He was climbing my china cabinet and I just didn't have the energy to make him get down which took all the fun out of climbing up there so he started climbing down only he was moving much slower than he does when he sees the water bottle aimed at him and he tumbled knocking most of the stuff off the shelves. hit the floor with several things including several angels ,one of them being a bell that rang quite loudly. He didn't stop running until he was behind the toilet. If you wonder about the name take a closer look at the picture. See those big blue eyes? They are even bluer in person. I have to get a tape of how he gets on the counter and post it words can't quite describe what he does.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's Snowing again!!!!

Everyone here is wondering just how much snow we are going to get. We got over 4 feet last week and it is snowing yet again. Warmed up a bit over the week end so some melted but looks like we are getting buried yet again. I love the way snow looks. How it can make empty branches look like lace against the sky. That feeling I still get the first big snow storm of wondering if the kids will be staying home or if they can both start the buses and feel it is safe to send them out. State aid isn't what it used to be so safety is more important now. Used to be if the buses started we went and then they sent us home again once we had passed that magic number of hours required for that day's state aid. I think I am dating myself a bit there. My nephews look at me like I am a bit nuts when I say things like that. Only time I can remember hearing state aid mentioned in several years was when government cuts in it make the news. Now schools just make sure they don't take enough days to have to lose some vacation time in the spring.