Friday, 30 January 2015

What have you got to lose?

I have been living with this broken brain for about 80 percent of my life so far.  I was born with an AVM(ArterioVenous Malformation) since birth in July 1959.  It raised its ugly head, no pun intended, about 4 years before my actual brain surgery at age 18 in 1977.  My concentration all but vanished and my memory, short term, was wiped out and has never recovered.
So how am I writing this?
My long term memory is fully intact and I recall things that happened back to my early youth of age 5-6 years of age.
I am very fortunate that I can hold down a job and as long as it is repetitive in nature rarely forget a process.   Now my learning curve is longer but eventually I master the computer, the piece of equipment or the task at hand and have no issues.
I am truly blessed to be high functioning brain injured.
The things I write in this blog are shared experiences of both myself, my wife and those around me who have little or no voice, the more seriously brain injured whose mobility, speech, memory, cognition are greatly affected.
I stumbled through this world with no formal rehabilitation and after 15 years of recovery joined the Comox Valley Head Injury Society in hopes I could help others facing similar issues as I had.
Little did I know that this chance encounter, would forever change my life.  As I smuggly went to the group, I soon saw in others, things I knew to be true about myself and had not considered it to be in direct relationship to a broken brain.
My memory was the fact of pot smoking.
My anger just a bad trait and not due to cognition, frustration from memory lapses and the like.
I had so many comparisons that I sought out Anger Management courses, found counselors who understood brain injury and most importantly knew how to communicate with a brain injured as not to upset of cast blame on him but rather at the TBI or ABI.
The merging of me with a group of similar wounded warriors was as therapeutic to me as I was to the ones who were just starting their journey.
We understood without ever having to apologize for losing track of our conversation.
We could laugh at how names elude us.
It is a sanctuary where you can be yourself without explanation or apology.
It is a place where the caregiver can find relief.
A place to vent their frustration and heartbreak.
It is above all a place that celebrates hope.
If you are too proud because you are not as badly off as someone else, think again.  You can learn about yourself in others.  You may see that though someone else is worse off traits that they display are the very issues you deal within your own life, just slightly watered down.
What have you got to lose from joining?
What have you got to contribute?
What have you got to gain to shorten your journey?
Find a group online or locally and make a difference.
It may just save your life or someone else's like it did for me.

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