Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color

The Other Shoe

Back from a trip to visit my family in Israel, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Shoe.jpg On my first day back, I was exhausted, which was only to be expected. After all, I was jet lagged and combined with the usual bloody brain-related fatigue…
The bloody brain has taught me long ago that the other shoe would drop, at some point—an excruciating headache was bound to compound my fatigue.
But there was no headache.
On day two, still no headache, nor on day three.
Throughout my recovery, traveling drained my resources. During my trips I spent as least one day confined to a darkened room with a headache that defied words. And I came to expect being incapacitated for at least a couple of days upon my return home.
At the end of that third day, a thought crossed my mind—could it be that there won’t be a backlash? Then I made the connection—after my return from the last couple of visits, the headache was less intense than it had been in the past and it lasted no more than a day. And now, here I was, back from a whirlwind trip, at the end of my third day since my return, and there was no sign of the price I’d expected to pay, even though I was exhausted. Clearly I was continuing to heal. Moreover, I was making significant progress in my recovery.
I couldn’t help but allow myself to hope. Had I got away with it this time? Would there be no price to pay? I took my musings a step further: had I recovered sufficiently from my brain injury that there were no horrific headaches in my future? Could it be that in time, I would be completely back to the old me, the neurotypical me, as I was before the brain bleeds?
I caught myself at that last thought. I always prided myself on being realistic—I knew better than to be that optimistic. Though maybe, just maybe…
During the night after my third day, the bloody brain struck with a vengeance with a headache that saturated my entire world with pain. None of the pain killers I tried even took the edge off and the agony seemed to last forever.
The following evening the headache started abating and by the time I retired for the night, it was gone. I finally became able to think and my realistic nature took over. The damage to my brain was definitely here to stay. I would never recover fully.