March is Brain Injury Awareness Month! To celebrate and help spread the word, I’ll be posting a different resource every day all month. Today’s book is Over My Head: A Doctor’s Own Story of Head Injury from the Inside Looking Out by Claudia L. Osborn This is the inspiring story of how one woman comes … Read more
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month! To celebrate and help spread the word, I’ll be posting a different resource every day all month. I’m starting with my own award-winning memoir, But My Brain Had Other Ideas. When Deb Brandon discovered that cavernous angiomas―tangles of malformed blood vessels in her brain―were behind the terrifying symptoms she’d … Read more
We stayed in Israel for two weeks. I woke up on the morning of our departure, my right eye felt itchy. I shrugged it off, probably allergies. By the time we landed in Boston, my eye was swollen shut and weeping. The next evening, both eyes were itchy, and by the morning of me return home, both eyes were swollen. Opening them was painful, and when I did, all I could see was blurry shapes and colors.
I moved to my new home a few months ago and am still in the process of unpacking. Not yet in the habit of placing items in appointed places I often forget where I put them. I’ve lost my glasses several times and occasionally my phone has shown up in odd locations, as has my wallet. Finding my phone hasn’t been a problem—I just asked my partner, Cindy, to call it, so I could find it by sound (unless it wasn’t on vibrate). But when it came to my glasses or wallet, I had to do it the old-fashioned way.
Where should I start? The first time I experienced a seizure? The first time I was diagnosed with psychogenic seizures by that awful neurologist? What about beginning with my sojourn in the epilepsy monitoring unit, several years into my recovery?
There’s so much to this story, so many twists and turns. Whenever I think about the topic, my emotions dart all over the place—frustration, anger, and resentment, grief and sadness, and finally relief that for the most part, I’ve come to terms with the whole story.
Standing in line behind her in Starbucks, I observed her as she leaned nonchalantly against the counter. I knew that stance—that was me, more than a decade ago, the slight swaying in the nonexistent breeze, the carefully annunciated speech, and the slow response to the barista’s terse questions. There was no doubt—this tall, skinny, unkempt woman was a brain injury survivor, in her early days of recovery.
We had to take a COVID test within 72 hours of travel, i.e. on Friday morning. Uh oh—the results were only guaranteed to arrive within one to two business days. I.e. there was a distinct possibility that they wouldn’t arrive before our flight.
Then came the day when we were both fully vaccinated—we could resume our walks. Speaking on the phone, finalizing our plans for a walk in the nearby nature reserve, it sudden
She lived happily ever after.
Or so she thought
Brain bleeds and subsequent surgeries ended the life she knew and her dreams of the future.
In the wake of the surgeries, she struggled to reclaim her place in the world, to regain the life she lost.
I’m sure that some point soon, I will feel comfortable grocery shopping. I try to tell myself that I will be able to visit my parents in the foreseeable future. I hope that the hatred will wane, that it isn’t symptomatic of the beginning of the breakdown of society.