Tag Archives: head injury

Silence is not always bad

Doing this #100happydays thing with a few friends – where you try and find at least one good thing about your day.

It’s been… interesting. I will admit that I skipped a day, or two. Not because I couldn’t find anything to feel happy about, but simply because my brain has enough trouble remembering things that help keep me moving each day and I just forgot completely to “take a shot” of something good.

I wanted to take a shot of my dog’s poop – that’s when I realised that I needed to think again. Reason being – my dogs have been so sick for so long, that seeing a “good” poop from them made me happy beyond words. Seeing it consistently for the last few days has really kept a lightness to my heart. Also, seeing Gina’s new energy level and playfulness (like when we first got her!) and Azzie calmness and happiness, makes me feel bad for them that they were sick for so long.

It’s still slow going – taking it a day at a time with this – but they are definitely getting better and this makes me HAPPY!

A happy fur mom.

Azzie has another issue that we now need to deal with – but it’s not making her sick and it doesn’t affect her in any way other than it embarrasses her and makes a little mess. Doesn’t happen all the time, of course – almost random, really – so it’s hard to sort out. Going to try something natural first, before we hit the drugs. Just waiting for it to arrive in the mail.

Husband has been gone “on mission” for a little bit and will be gone for a little while longer. I miss him, of course, and the house is silent without him – especially in the evenings and on the weekends when we let our hair down and listen to music, watch movies, laugh about things or he plays his games and gets loud and silly and has fun with his friends online.

But sometimes, it’s alright, the silence. I focus on things that I would normally ignore – me, for instance, and how I am doing.

Some people find it hard to understand that I really don’t mind being on my own. I’m never “alone” – just, not in the company of people. This is fine with me – I like my own company. I can say/think what I want when I am with me – no filter necessary to either tone it down or make it understandable to other humans. My husband gets me better than most, I will admit, but even for him, some of the things that come out of my mouth, from the depths of my dark mind, even he doesn’t always understand it.

 

I’ve had more memories return, as well, from my youth. It seems 10 years is long enough to keep them locked away and now they are starting, slowly, to resurface. I’ve “dreamed” a few – but I know they are _real_ not just my usual vivid dreams. I “remember” them when I wake up. Things come back to me. I have been a little… saddened I guess is the word, by some of them. Because I could not (cannot) remember most of what happened to me before the accident, when things come back and I can understand them better, see them from an older and wiser perspective – I see things now that I was completely oblivious to when they happened.

One of the memories nearly woke me screaming the other night. I woke up with jaw clenched, hands clenched so hard my nails dug into my palms. I was sweating profusely and my heart was beating so hard I felt like I was going to vomit. And my head hurt so badly I couldn’t move it. My husband slept on, so I am assuming my “noise” was all internal. Which is fine. It’s not a memory I wanted to share, anyway.

 

Head injury, and PTSD, affect us for so long after they happen. Sometimes the recovery can be painful – not just physically, but emotionally and mentally too. New pathways are formed in our brains, which means new ways of seeing things. Some of the things can really suck.

Luckily, one of the good things that came of my head injury, PTSD, and subsequent recovery is that I am very strong, mentally. I am also very close to myself. If that makes sense. I know _me_ and I know what I am and who I am and what I can and cannot handle. So, while I feel like I wasted my youth trying to have things I could never have, be with people who didn’t want to be with me at all, or get myself into situations I should have been smarter about – I learn something from every memory that comes back.

Any fellow sufferers who read this – hang in there. Don’t give up. Be strong. Be yourself. Trust yourself.

 

meh

Been thinking some more about my deadline (Friday) for deactivating my Facebook account (and other sundry peripheral social media accounts) and pondering what would, in fact, be the best option.

Complete deactivation? Or simply a very pared down version – remove all “likes” and peripheral groups that I do not interact with in any way? Check it only once a week, to forward on animal rescue group posters etc?

I know I don’t have a large audience, with this blog, but I know there are some thoughtful and intelligent people who might be able to offer some comments on this matter.  I know of a few people who have bandied about the idea of “quitting” Facebook.

I want to, I really do, but I know I would feel badly that the good work I can do with networking lost/found dogs and dogs looking for loving homes would be stopped. I know of at least 4 cases where my “share” has led to a happy ending for the dogs (and cat) in question.

 

On a completely different tack – I love the clothes that Lucy Liu wears on “Elementary” – I am pondering a “style change” for myself – I’ve been “this way” (whatever _this_ is) for so many years I don’t even know what I was like, style-wise, before. Of course, the head injury doesn’t help with my recollection of my past. I simply.. CANNOT remember.

I know I borrowed clothes from “friends” – because I could never afford to get my own clothes, and I wore a lot of handmedowns. But other than that – I have no recall of that time.  Probably a blessing in disguise, right? I did, after all, grow up in the eighties.

Thankfully, I know I couldn’t AFFORD to be trendy, so my fashion sins are fewer than my acquaintances.

 

On another note: IT’s SNOWING!!! FINALLY! Been snowing for hours, but nothing is sticking yet, as it’s still too “warm” for that. Hoping it continues overnight, so we can have a nice blanket in the morning for the dogs to play!

My Friend Lizzie

My New Zealand friend Lizzie (aka Elizabeth Charleston) has been through hell and back. We met many many years ago in Cape Town, and for many reasons (our mutual love of horses, the outdoors and being awesome) we became friends, despite all the crap going on in our lives.

A few years after my massive head injury, she suffered one herself (her horse fell on top of her, causing many injuries, including the head injury that basically stopped her life in its tracks) and we found ourselves consoling, complaining and comparing reactions and stress factors and triggers. Her friendship helped me overcome some terrible psychological issues thanks to the PTSD from my head injury. When she came back to Cape Town for a short visit, we spent quite a few mornings sitting on the stoep (porch) of the house on the farm I was watching for a friend – sipping tea and watching the early morning mists rise off the grass paddocks and the Guinea Fowl flapping and dancing in the dew covered grass. These quiet mornings were therapeutic for both of us.

She’s been through some rough times since then (a secondary knock on the head set her back quite a bit) but she bounced back, and is slowly (as all head injury sufferers will understand – slowly is the best way, or the wheels fall off) climbing back on the (proverbial!) horse of life. She is a staunch advocate and spokeswoman for  THINK! Head Injury Awareness in New Zealand and has made huge ground breaking steps in both removing the stigma of this “invisible” injury and making people more aware of the help they can get, and the steps they can take to live a “normal” life.

She just started a blog and I wanted everyone to check it out – she’s only written one post so far, but that’s the way it goes :)

She is an interesting and clever woman – just give her a chance to “recharge” :) – not to mention one of the most beautiful women I know :)

 

A mental raccoon moment

*rustle rustle*

Hello :)

I realised I haven’t posted in a while and I wanted to gather myself a bit and put down my thoughts from the last few weeks.

 

* Azzie is coming along very nicely. We seem to have sorted out her tummy issues with careful application of 100% pure pumpkin for when it was very bad (yes, I will swear by it) and boiled chicken and plain rice (white or brown, it doesn’t matter – they both work) – first as total meal, and then adding her dry food very slowly. Now she is eating her full portion of dry food, but still with chicken and rice (just a little bit) which I am slowly removing, once we know her stomach is completely settled and stable.  I think they both got a bug, which they passed back and forth between them for a few days. So I washed all their toys, bowls, Kongs and bedding and blankets and it seems to have gone away… We’re taking it slow, and we’re sticking to one brand of food, too. I don’t think our search for the “right brand” helped her puppy tummy, either.

As far as her training, manners, behaviour are concerned: we are impressed. She sleeps through the night, no issues and she is learning very fast. They are highly intelligent, these dogs, and she’s definitely on a par with Gina, despite her young age. We’re working on a few bad habits (that she picked up from Gina as well) with both of them, but we see progress every day, so it’s a positive thing. I’m trying my best to use positive training – but I would say I use a mix of it. I’m not 100% positive reinforcement, as much as I would like to be.

I adore Azzie, and I am learning to love her (I will admit we butted heads a lot in the beginning and we still do sometimes – she’s very stubborn) but I must say that it was much simpler with just Gina. She and I were tight. Close. Amigos during the day and when husband went away. I just hope she doesn’t feel like she’s been usurped by Azzie, because I still love Gina far more – that’s being honest. I don’t dislike Azzie – not in the least – and I wouldn’t want to lose her now – she is part of our family and we stick by her through everything –  but I think that it was such a huge undertaking, such an enormous jolt to our quiet little lives, when she arrived, that my … id? my ego? my… nature?… something… it’s still settling. She’s only been with us just on 2 months now. It feels like forever though – and not always in a good way, to put it bluntly. I was so used to my calm, gentle, well-behaved G-Girl, that it was just an attack on my senses: this wild, stubborn, enormous pawed, white toothed monster who took whatever she wanted, ate everything, lay where she wanted, didn’t listen to anyone, pushed Gina around and jealously destroyed toys that Gina had had for years if we paid too much attention elsewhere. At least _that_ has eased off.

She is lovely though, and her personality is finally emerging and she’s calming down and settling in with us and I know she is happy now she has a family too – and I would never take that away from her. I would never want to! She grows on you :) I am sure that in a years time we will look back and laugh (and sigh in relief) that all this “crazy” is over and she’s a sweet, kind,  gentle, CALM, little munchkin – like her big “sister” Gina.

* More snow! We’ve had a few days of snow now, and apparently a few more to come… which is awesome, as I love the snow and so do my dogs! Husband is not so keen, but he knows the dogs love it, so he grumbles less when he takes them out and they play around like hooligans in it :) You can’t help but pick up on their enthusiasm for the weather… it makes you smile.

* My sewing should pick up again as soon as my sewing paper arrives – tracing paper for patterns. I tried wax paper and it worked, for one brand, but every other brand I tried is too slippery to write on, so I had to give that up and just buy proper stuff online.

My material for my pencil/wiggle skirt arrived, so I can’t wait to start on that either.. that should (SHOULD – without puppy interruptions, of course) be a one day thing, maybe two. I just really want to COMPLETE something now… I’m tired of sitting here in seamstress limbo…

Starting with this one Just need some snaps

 

* I was asked to take photos at another military ceremony (a promotion for an awesome man and great officer) recently and I was honoured to be asked. Photos came out well, despite my Speedlight giving me issues. I know that I have grown as a photographer, when something like that doesn’t phase me and I still manage to get the job done! The Viper Pit has honed my skills, for sure.

* I’m missing home terribly, recently. My friend Steph says it’s probably because everything is settling into a “normal” routine here, and I finally have come down to earth and feel the distance because I am no longer focused on other things (my green card, viper pit, school, moving). I miss my mom. I miss my beautiful dogs back home too, and my gorgeous cats. I even miss my brother.

* My husband is moving forward nicely in his school, and I am exceptionally proud of him. He’s almost completed his Maths module and has seemingly discovered a strange love/hate relationship with mathematics that he didn’t realise he had. I think I felt the same at one point, when I was in school, but after my head injury my brain is just too scattered sometimes to focus as one should. I’ve managed to keep up with him, so far, and managed to help him figure out some steps a few times… but mostly I just feel a bit pathetic and lost. It’s a horrible feeling for me – I’m not saying I was a genius before, but it’s times like that when I become aware of how much my thought processes have been scrambled from my head injury, and because I have not had to “use” those processes necessary for mathematics and more “logical” thought (which is surprising, for someone who is, generally, very logical and rational) I seem to have “lost” the pathways necessary for it. I’m very sure that with repetition and practice I would get it back, with new pathways formed in my brain, but I am a little scared that if I try, and it doesn’t come back… I am scared of how I would feel. I would feel humiliated. I would feel “less’ than I was before. I think I avoid “trying” so that I can’t disappoint myself.

That’s being pretty honest with myself. I didn’t think I could put that down in writing. There it is.

I need a cup of tea and a headache tablet.

 

Stay strong, TBI sufferers. There’s always hope, and we have more strength than we know.