My wheelbarrow tire suddenly goes flat. With the spring thaw, dirt and debris to be loaded on and carted around, not good timing.
What to do? What turns out is a classic TBI exchange. Mike, a fellow TBIer—he a car crash back in ‘96, me a fall off the iron in ’73—will come to the rescue. Mike repairs, fixes and changes tires on cars and trucks—and now a wheelbarrow—that pull up to a single-stall garage attached to a busy truck stop, Crystal Café.
Since my accident, I’ve taken up an interest in nuclear physics. That alone is a bit of an oddity. Most of your Kids don’t realize that all the matter that we see, all that we touch, all that defines the word as we see it, all that matter comes from exploding stars. Every atom and molecule that makes me is a piece of stardust. Virtually every human being who has walked the Earth since time began is made of stardust. It’s a bit humbling.
Four years ago, I survived two Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries, one from a car accident in which I was broadsided while idling at a stoplight. My driver’s side and curtain airbags deployed. Contre Coup. Less than a week later, I slipped and fell on the sidewalk at work; ice disguised beneath the snow, and hit the back of my head. I coined the term, “the near normal,” instead of “the new normal,” in relationship to the way in which I function today, four years later.
Sometimes I forget a name. People without brain injury try to make me feel better with, “Oh, I do that too! Maybe I have a brain injury! Ha, ha!” That doesn’t make me feel better. Before my TBI, I forgot names sometimes. I just didn’t forget my own family members’ names and call them “Um, Excuse Me.”
As you well may know, victims of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI’s) are not the only ones who face a tough and challenging road ahead of themselves. Families of survivors face just as much fear and confusion a TBI sufferer will most certainly be feeling. Imagine if you will, the long wait in an emergency room in a trauma center, you’re confused, scared and worried beyond belief, for the loved one who has just been brought in after their tragic accident.
Tonight at 10 p.m. eastern time, Kim Justus is interviewing Marilyn Lash on the Brain Injury Radio Network. Hosted by Kim Justus, this is a great forum for anyone living with the challenges of brain injury, whether you are a survivor, a family member, caregiver, or service provider.
On Saturday March 9, I woke up at 6:00am to take the infamous test that would decide my future…the SATs. I have been preparing weekly with a tutor for this test since January and it was a lot of hard and extra work. Going into the test, I felt very prepared and confident in my knowledge and ability. However, unlike someone without a concussion, I had to worry about more than just the test; I also had my symptoms to be concerned about. I also chose not to have extra time or accommodations for this test.
On more than one occasion along my journey with my MTBI, I was told that the average person is at this point, and so therefore I should be at that point as well. I was told the average person who has a MTBI, might have certain symptoms, but does not have symptoms such as speech changes so therefore I was told I was “unusual”. I began to reflect on what average means, and how many of us actually fit in to the average category.
Iimagine I talk to my young adult son with about the same frequency as any other mother, which is to say possibly once a week, and even then, only when I call him. I suspect Neil and I touch on the same subjects other moms and sons talk about—his graduate school program, my work, the family.
What perhaps makes our relationship different is that I’ve written a book about my son… And he has read it… Multiple times.
This month is brain injury awareness month. I read it on a brain injury resource website. Ironically, most people who are going to that website, are quite aware of the impact mild or severe brain injuries can have on our lives. Where is the awareness in the media? Where is the awareness that everyday people like me suffer brain injuries just like athletes and military personnel?