Slowly but surely I’ve been fighting back from a serious concussion this past September. Some days are fine, others I just feel like sitting and staring off into space for hours. One thing is for sure, it is quite difficult for me to maintain a good conversation for more than an hour or two. My brain gets tired very quickly.
Today I want to share with you some new information to me. I was searching around the Internet and came upon this very interesting page from the Centre for Neuro Skills on brain function.I guess I did not realize how important it is to specify where your brain has been injured, in identifying what functions are compromised.
For example, my traumatic brain injury back in 2008 damaged my frontal lobe (in the forehead area). According to this documentation this section controls consciousness, how we initiate activity, judgments in daily activities, emotional response, expressive language and assigns meaning to the words we choose, word associations and memory activities.
After being unconscious for hours after my bike accident with a serious bleed inside my brain, I struggled for at least a year with judgment, my emotions, language, word meanings, spelling and memory. I never did remember my accident, just the aftermath, and then only barely.
Yes, I got very slowly better and thought that part of my life was history until this past September when I fell backwards onto concrete and knocked a small hole in my skull and injured my left parietal lobe. This led to even more problems with spelling and vocabulary. I now need to ask my husband words all of the time, and that’s very frustrating to me. In fact everything mentioned on this list rings try to me, especially “the inability to plan a sequence of complex movements to complete a multi-stepped task.”
I see now that brain injuries on top of previous injuries are the worst in terms of trying to get things done. At first I could only stare outside for hours. Luckily the views are fantastic up here! Believe it or not, I think coloring my mandalas has helped my brain a lot. It’s so hard for me to “be here now,” but I’m working on it every day.
Not to make excuses, but I’m pretty sure this new injury is making it much harder for me to put together my new memoir about moving to this beautiful new part of the country to retire. Luckily I don’t have to go to work, but even my new volunteer position at the local veterans nursing home could be a challenge at times. At least I’ll be among understanding friends.
With so much discussion of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and concussion in the news lately, I would like you to know more about these from a personal perspective. Most might say they know what a TBI or concussion is, but until you experience one, you do not. I know this because when I tell people I have had both, their eyes glaze over and they don’t respond.
In May of 2008 I apparently took a header over my bike handle bars and landed on my left cheek, ribs and thigh. This created chaos in my brain leading to internal bleeding, fractured ribs, deep thigh bruising and lung damage.
I say ‘apparently’ because I remember very little about the accident. Somebody found me on the ground and called an ambulance while my mind weaved in and out of consciousness for the next six hours.
Then this past September I fell backwardsonto our stone floors and sustained a serious bleed and concussion in the back of my head, requiring staples. I am certain this accident occurred partially because of my previous injury, which affected my judgment and balance permanently.
The combination of these two accidents have caused me serious cognitive and physical impairments not visible from the outside. So when I tell others about these problems, they have no idea what I struggle with.
Ruth Curran, a hero of mine, also experienced a TBI in a car accident, and spent months trying to find the kind of help she needed to get better. Then she wrote a book to help others understand and feel better if they have also experienced brain injuries.