Acceptance of TBI’s Hard News: Words Nobody Wants to Hear!!
by Pamela Taylor
Hearing words nobody wants to hear!
Yesterday, I heard the words that nobody wants to hear.
“Pam, you have known that you have a traumatic brain injury. We have tried therapies and medication. Your progress has been good. But, we are at a place where your recovery will not go much farther. You have to understand that the brains cells have died and they do not come back. You are closer to the old you than you were, but getting all the way back is not possible.”
The Reality of Knowing
In my heart I knew this was coming. I had researched and gone to everyone I could find to help me. It had taken me over a year to find therapists that understood and could guide me. There I had learned so much about who I am now, in the post accident part of my life. I was glad that I had the personal strength to look for help myself. In so doing I had healed more than I would have, but also I learned that I had been pushing myself too hard. I was over stimulating my brain and making things worse. Driving was one of the ways I was doing so. I miss driving.
“Pam, I will send a recommendation to your general physician for a sleep apnea test to see if that might be the reason you are so tired in the mornings. But, I must say that even if that comes back positive it will not help much. Other than that we are done here.”
That’s All. There’s Nothing More.
I sat there not wanting to get up from my seat. I had no income, could not get cleared to work and now no other ways to get back to the old me. I wanted to cry, but as usual, held back the tears and got up to leave the room. Walking to the exit the nurse asked if I needed to schedule another appointment. I told her, “No.” Taking a hard candy from the dish on the counter, I unwrapped it, popped it into my mouth, then turned and walked out the exit. The rich taste of the butterscotch jewel wrapped around my taste buds as I walked to the elevator and later out the front door of the building.
I had no place else to go. No cure. The old me had died. The new me was taking over. My standard self-pity party began rising up inside. I wanted to crawl into the back seat of the my truck and hide. I did not want to tell my husband that I was no longer going to be able to work or help him with the ever increasing piles of bills.
As I approached the truck, I looked up and saw he had fallen asleep reading his book in the front driver’s side seat. If it had not been so cold outside, I would have gone back into the doctor’s building for a bit to allow him to live in the “not yet knowing” state that he would have to support me as I am for the rest of his life. I really didn’t want him to have know and accept that reality more than anything.
Sharing the Grief and Loss
As I gently knocked on the passenger’s window, I watched him as he woke up and unlocked the doors. In hushed tones, we talked about our current reality as the taste of tears co-mingled with the butterscotch in my mouth.
“I’m so sorry. There’s nothing else they can do.” The words stung as they came out. He had worked so hard to put me through college and now this. I ached to the core, knowing the financial burden I had placed on him.
Looking at me with those blue eyes of his that I love so, he spoke, “Life is like that sometimes. We will be okay.”
Now the floodgate of tears let loose. Here in this place of love and safety, I broke down. I grieved the old me and all that we had lost. But, I knew in my heart that we would be okay.
Focus on What’s Coming!
Life is like that sometimes. We must keep on “muddling through the muck and mire” to find the hope that awaits us. There is a light at the end of the path. I pray we find it soon.