Friday, 3 April 2015

Brain Injury Forever

Not all wounds are visible.

One could also say "Not all disabilities are visible."

Brain injury is like no other.
Brain injury is like no other brain injury.
Brain injury is like everyone.
It is unique and unto its own.
The treatment therefore needs to be tailor made.

Brain injury recovery may measure in years and not in weeks, or months.

Recovery may be a lifelong struggle.

How does one recover?

I have mentioned in previous blogs the difference between loss of limb, sight, hearing or mobility to that of brain injury.  
The glaring difference is when you have cognition, you can adjust to the physical limitations from other forms of disability.
When cognition and conversely when memory loss occurs the struggle back becomes more than learning to accept your new physical limitations.
More severe cases of brain injury include loss of mobility, loss of communication and even loss of comprehension of the spoken word.

At first glance a person with a shaved head, question mark scars, swollen eyes indicate the trauma.
After six weeks the hair is now 1/2 inch long and within six months the hair needs it first trim.

On the outside, we look uninjured.  We may present with a vocabulary sufficient enough for you to think we are fit for duty.

Inside we still have a broken brain.

We forget.

Yes, so do you.

We forget on a scale that would scare you.

We do not know when normal forgetting ends and disability begins.

We forget every single second of every day.  You may not notice it because we never make it known.

I have mentioned in the past that I have misplaced 8 wallets.
I fail 99 percent of the time to shut off the stove element.
You may not notice it, but I do.  Each day after preparing my lunch I sit down and begin consuming and a checklist starts running in my mind.  When I get to the question, "Did I turn off the stove?", my answer is "No".  I then arise to confirm my suspicions and then 9 out of 10 time turn it off.
It is the small things.  The keys to the car and going back in to get them.
The appointment, my phone, my smokes, my jacket and the list goes on.
I went to buy a toothbrush because I left mine in the camp where I was assigned.  I got to the store and bought Easter eggs for my grandsons and a loaf of bread and returned home without the brush.
Try doing this for 40 years and counting and try to acknowledge how trivial this is.
We all forget?  
You don't even register on our scale of forgetting.
Often we are accused of using our forgetting as an excuse to get out of work.
I want to be thought of as
A) Lazy?
B) incompetent?
C) unreliable?
D) stupid?
E) malingerer?

Now that's a great resume to be proud of.  It's my mission in life to forget names including my wife's, my grandchildren's, my friend's and the list goes on.

Now couple that simple function of forgetting and add anger and frustration brought on by memory loss.

But don't end there, let's add obsessing to the recipe and follow that up with a dash of Aphasia, an inability to find words, and now you begin to see how complex this disability is.
PTSD ensues this and of course there is the possible paralysis, vision impairment or speech issue before one begins to appreciate the full scope of brain injury.

Now, friends disappear, relatives give up and still the brain injured with a rewired brain are left to cope by themselves.

Please understand that we are not faking it.  
We have no control on when we remember one minute and not the other.  

A brain injury is forever.

It is never one simple issue but rather multiple complex issues affecting many functions of the brain.

Please stand by, regardless of our failures, our anger outbursts, our slow recovery rate. 
We need all the support you can give us.

No comments:

Post a Comment