IN THE YEAR 105(ish) and The Varsity TBI Squad

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This one turned out to be pretty long; it’s a blog and it’s long – it’s a blong.

I’m going to skip over the entries from July 7thJuly 13th and July 22nd, each of these talk about my time at Pate, which I have already discussed. Instead we will skip to August 5th. Coincidentally, that was 4 years ago today minus 105 days. What is the significance of 105? IDK, so I’ll Google it! Besides the Wikipedia entry for the year 105, I see mostly radio stations (105x BAM! The future of rock and roll). Reading through the Wikipedia article gets me thinking – why is there an entire article about the year 105? Put briefly, people died and a three month old was given the throne of China. Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is the fact that the year 105 started on a Wednesday. Coincidentally, tomorrow is Wednesday, small world.

Here is the original entry for August 5th (which, coincidentally is 105 words long. It would be if I took out 34 words. According to Google 34 is the number of…:D).

Oops, as I’m writing this on Monday, the number of days should be 104. I don’t wanna change it – I don’t think a three month old became emperor in 104 – they weren’t nearly as progressive with the age/potty training of potential rulers in 104. Either way, I think I’ll make a joke out of it later.

Ok, here is the entry from August 5th, I promise –
The (Near) End of Phase Three
My time at Pate and away from home is coming to a close. This Friday, I will go outpatient. As far as I know, I will be picked up and brought to Pate every weekday at first and gradually taper off.

I walk with a cane or independently now. Without a cane, I would look like a mummy if I stuck my arms out…but it’s walking. I do mostly physical therapy as cognitively I haven’t lost much if anything. Physical therapy consists of whatever my therapist cooks up (lately its been lunges), leg biking, treadmilling and what I can best describe as yoga (contorting my legs and midsection into various uncomfortable positions).

The thing that really sticks out from this entry is the first sentence – I was soooo glad to be done with the walker. Not only do people stare, but it makes it more difficult to carry stuff when both of your hands are holding the walker.

I still try to exercise the…uh, exercises learned during PT – I still get on the treadmill twice a week, instead of lunges I do squats; my balance is still a little wonky, lunging across a room = Jarrett fall down. As for yoga, I stretch my left quad and both hamstrings everyday and do a nerve stretch in my arms/necks (that’s right, I have more than one neck), then I vogue – I flail my arms about in front of a mirror to monitor/improve (monimprove?) my posture/coordination (coordinature?).

I continue to work out because I want to be more prettier; I grew accustomed to the easy to identify benchmarks (not sitting up in bed to sitting up in bed, taking 17 minutes to tie my shoes to taking 11 minutes, etc.) I’m not seeing these types of gains anymore, which is a bit disheartening. Thing is, what else am I gonna do? I don’t need to add overweight diabetic to my lot. At this point, I think of a quote I heard long ago, something like, “He/she who moves a mountain, starts by moving small stones.” I added the he/she because I’m pretty sure my daughter could move a mountain through sheer tyranny of will. It seems to me that I’m at a point now where I won’t really sense improvements as much as they’ll just become a part of what I do all the time. That is, I’ll keep chipping away at this “mountain” (disability) and, perhaps soon, I will realize the mountain has moved (no more disability).

Here is the next entry (August 20th) –

Home and Inpatient
Sorry for the delay…if I don’t think people are reading this blog much so I am more reluctant to post on it, holla if you wit me!

Everything has gone according to schedule so far, I couldn’t have asked for a more punctual rare brain disorder. I came home to stay on Aug. 7th and have been riding in a Pate provided transport (a Chevy Venture) to therapy everyday.

I have moved to the ILS (independent living skills) area for more distraction and “real world” type setting. I spend my day preparing lessons, being psychoanalyzed or working out. We also have a once daily education group, where we learn about brain injuries (and promptly forget, because we all have brain injuries :D). What was I talking about? Oh yeah; every Thursday I give a movie synopsis and review…I already forgot the films I reviewed. Okay, I have really beaten the “brain injury forgetfulness” act to death. Last Thursday I did Julie & Julia and this week I reviewed The Watchmen. Both are great, go watch them, dammit.

To answer everyone’s yet-to-be-asked question the answer is “yes, if you fight for me you get to kill Englishmen.” Oh wait, I mean, yes, I am happy to be home. I do what I can to help out, such as eat up all the food and flush the toilet when I’m done…you know, but there is a lot to be done. Jessica has been very gracious and supportive through this ordeal and is always thankful for the things I do manage to do.

At this time, I get around using a cane. I can walk without it, but need it for those gusts of wind that only I seem to feel…strange. I still have double vision. I wear a patch most of the time to single everything out. Lastly, my voice sounds like I just ran a marathon; I sound winded and tired. The latter two are the most bothersome.

Next up, surgery. I have brain surgery scheduled for Sept. 3rd…I will blog more about it shortly (preferrably before surgery, b/c my brain seems to have a profound effect on thinking and typing).

Otherwise, I make preparations for the coming school year or test my reaction time on the computer on a program called VMR to earn driving privileges back (this way I don’t run into the little yellow block).

I have another MRI and appointment with Dr. White on August 18th.Hopefully, I’ll be ready for surgery at that point and can get it scheduled ASAP. After that, more rehab (yippee!)
There’s quite a bit of content in the short passage above. Like a word flavored buffet (tastes like chicken), I’m going to talk about this & that and leave the rest to get sneezed on.

As it says, ILS = Independent Living Skills. Before my “promotion” to ILS, I was assigned to TRILS -Transition To Independent Living Skills. I remember feeling insulted that I wasn’t automatically assigned to ILS. I have this thing for hierarchies and rank. Listen, in the world of brain injury, there is no hierarchy. All the same, I saw ILS as the varsity squad to the junior varsity of TRILS. When I finally got moved up, I was thinking, IT’S ABOUT TIME! In actuality, ILS and TRILS operate in much the same way. The biggest differences are the radio and location. You see, ILS was right by one of the main thoroughfares of the rehab facility, so there was the constant distraction of people coming and going. Also, the radio was always on playing ear garbage – I was more distracted by contemplating how this “music” got on the air than the constant noise. The reason for the distraction is that people with brain injury have more difficulty concentrating, all the distraction is meant to train your brain to filter out the distractions of work/home (hork?).

Much of the entry deals with setting up surgery. Allow me to go into more detail – I didn’t have to have surgery. I was told that I could leave the cavernoma and recover more better BUT risk having another leak(s) and going through a whole new “injourney” or having surgery and sustaining what damage that might cause and not worry about more leaks. For me, this was a no-brainer (actually it was a “brainer” because I had to have a brain to be operated on). Anyway, because of my situation, I strongly advocate for surgery. If you are reading this and contemplating surgery, let me say this (if you’re not contemplating surgery please skip to the ***paragraph), you need to consider the expertise of the doctor (base this on what others have said and you’re gut feeling of the guy/gal), severity of symptoms (mine were pretty bad, some people’s are less severe, others are far worse), post op support (after having brain surgery, you might need help doing everyday things), and the quality of food at the hospital where the surgery is to be performed (not so much because you’ll be eating a lot of it, more so because you’ll want your upchuck to not taste so bad when the food comes back up – which it will, often).

***I’m going to skip to “TBI is…”

TBI is…Thanks Be To the Internet! I think we all know how awesome the interwebs is. For me, I can’t go a single day without looking up synonyms on In fact, I just got on there (unless you read this way after 12:43 on Tuesday 4/23, in which case I got on there a long time ago), to look up a synonym for thesaurus. Turns out, thesaurus doesn’t have that many synonyms. Ironic, much? I could give a lot more reasons for the awesomeness of the internet, but I’ll just give you a synonym for “end”



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