Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color

Beyond Brain Injury

As One

January 21, 2012

The most important aspect of paddling in a dragon boat is following stroke, paddling in unison: all twenty paddles go in the water together and come out of the water together.If any of the paddlers are off stroke, the boat doesn’t run smoothly, it jolts and jerks as it moves, it feels wrong. All it … Read more


January 17, 2012

“Are there still pirates?”My daughter was about four years old at the time, and quite precocious. Even though I knew that my answer would unnerve Sarah, I admitted to the continued existence of pirates. I always tried to be honest with my kids. “What if pirates come to take our treasure?” I tried allaying her … Read more

Not Much of a Young Lady

December 31, 2011

I looked at the calendar, and one of the more innocent limericks I learned from my mother came to mind: There was a young lady from Barking Creek Who had her monthlies twice a week How very provoking said the Bishop of Woking There’s no time for poking so to speak Well, I’m not exactly … Read more


December 24, 2011

“It was a dark and stormy night.” Is that where the story begins? Or was the beginning the calm before the storm? Or, before that, when the sun was shining and the first puff of a cloud appeared on the horizon?Where does the story begin? When I first became aware of the hemorrhaging in my … Read more

Movie Recommendations

December 22, 2011

Three women sitting at a dining room table.”I saw a really good movie last week. You have to go see it. The title was… uh…” Bonnie tried to help. “Was it… oh I don’t remember the title, but it had the actor… what was his name?” I had been out of commission for almost a … Read more

Pieces of a Puzzle

December 15, 2011

I feel uneasy. It doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t quite fit. I try fighting it, I try forcing the pieces into place, but they won’t go. I try writing and rewriting pieces that I know belong, but the uneasiness is distracting.I take a break. I play Sudoku, I eat a snack, I read. Then I … Read more


December 15, 2011

A friend of mine, Darlene, once told me that breast cancer saved her life, meaning that she now lives life to the fullest. I feel the same way about the bloody brain. A couple of weeks ago, I was telling Darlene about some people’s  reactions to my stories. In order to illustrate my bewilderment at  … Read more


December 6, 2011

Stubbornness to me isn’t merely about going head-to-head with your teenager, letting the dirty dishes pile up for days in an attempt to shame him into emptying the dishwasher, seeing who will hold out longer. These days, post-bloody brain, stubbornness holds a much more significant meaning— stubbornness is about fiercely persevering despite numerous obstacles strewn … Read more

Sobriety Test

December 6, 2011

At my request, Joyce closed her eyes, stretched out her arm, pointed with her index finger, brought it in towards her face, and touched the tip of her nose. Just like that, in one fluid motion, with no hesitation. Then she did it with her other hand. I asked her if she could speed it … Read more

In the Shower

December 1, 2011

As soon as I reached my room, I jotted down on a piece of paper: In the showerbest ideasChanges—chantFinger to Nose—with JoycedemoNote from neurologistThen I relaxed and finished getting ready for the day. I had enough notes to capture my ideas so that I could act on them later, when I had time. Some of … Read more