Monday, February 27, 2012

Dear Rude Doctor at the V.A.

Hey Doctor,

Remember us?  You refused to sign for a swallowing eval for my dad.  You told us rudely that Dad was not "choking."  You said the over-the-counter cough medicine should be enough.  You were wrong.

The neurology team suggested a swallowing eval for Dad almost immediately after his appointment started.  He was in the middle of a coughing fit.  They did not argue when Dad said he was "choking" on food.  They took the time to listen to what both of us were trying to convey to them.

Dad had his swallowing eval.  Lo and behold, there is a genuine problem.  He will be following up with the E.N.T. that you also refused to authorize for a visit.

Try listening to those patients who you find to be annoying.  You just might learn something from them.

                          No Love,

                          sapphoq healing t.b.i. and her dad with dementia

Not Wanted

I went for a job try out a few months ago and although I did well enough, the boss indicated that I was not wanted, or in his words-- can't do it because of [a specific business-related decision]-- and I can accept that.  No one, absolutely no one owes me a living.  The job developer appealed to him recently by e-mail.  His response was predictably that he'd already told her he wasn't going to do that.  Again, business is business, and I get it.

Times are tough.  The economy is tougher.  Folks who don't have traumatic brain injuries are having difficulties with finding employment.  A traumatic brain injury is viewed by some percentage of employers [I don't know what percent] as expensive.  And risky.  Why should someone take a chance on me when they can get someone who is non-disabled and not [as much of] an insurance risk / workers' comp risk [as I would be]? 

Discrimination in employment is mostly illegal these days.  The reality is that if someone making a hiring decision does not want to take on an employee because s/he has a brain injury, is not straight, is not a Christian, is wearing a pentacle, is not caucasian, or [whatever reason that may be illegal to refuse to employ someone], that someone can pick another reason that is legal. 

Do I think that the boss decided not to hire me because of my brain injury or some other factor?  Nope.  Truthfully, I wouldn't care if there was a reason other than his stated reason.  I guess I am supposed to care.  I guess I am displaying political incorrectness by not caring.  But I don't care.  Folks who get fired from their jobs for illegal reasons have far more invested in their companies than I do in a place that I was at for two hours one day.

Besides the brain injury, I have some other liabilities.  I haven't worked since my car accident.  I haven't had a successful attempt at school since my car accident.  I can only work several hours a week due to my t.b.i.-related fatigue level.  I am not young anymore.

It's okay though.  Because I have a plan.  I have a specific plan with specific goals and a todo list.  And I've already started on it.

sapphoq healing t.b.i.

p.s.  I took the pic with my cheap digital camera and it is copyleft.  So go away now copyright police.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


This is one of this month's digital art pics that I made from two of my photos.  I named it "The Grid" after thinking about information storage and broken synapses. 

Sometimes when I am full of brain fog, I am able to stop what I am doing and take the dog out for a walk in a peaceful place. 

Sometimes when I don't know what to do, I take a line from one of my favorite singers and ask myself, "What would Jimmy Buffett do?"  If I am having a problem that requires clear thought and decision-making, I ask myself, "What would a logical person do?"  And if I don't know what a logical person would do, I call up a logical person and ask them.

Sometimes I force myself to slow down, especially when my wheels are spinning and I am restless.
Sometimes I force myself to speed up, especially when I feel mokus and not wanting to move.

Sometimes blogging helps, sometimes social networking helps, sometimes nothing helps.  When nothing helps, I can sit or stand and hurt for awhile.

Sometimes things happen that are too big for me to forgive.  Not being a churched person, I don't have to offer forgiveness unless it is asked for.  And sometimes I forgive "the part of" the person "that didn't know any better."  Apathy or indifference is preferable to resentments these days.  Forgiveness is not something that can be rushed.  The rush to forgive can lead one into fresh revictimization.

Sometimes I make promises and I don't deliver.  Sometimes people and organizations make promises and they don't deliver either.  I've learned to make less promises.

Sometimes helping people get stuck in traps.  They believe in fictions instead of investigating for themselves.  Or they don't really think that we can improve much at all or have a real life.  That has to be their problem.  My responsibility is to lessen the impact of their false, limiting beliefs on anything that has to do with my life and my wishes and my dreams.

Sometimes people don't want to deal with brain damage or the changes that are wrought in us because of our brain damage.  People get scared off by what they don't understand.  Friends flee.  Potential employers hide behind excuses.  Past employers don't want us back.  I don't waste energy being good enough for anyone else these days.  I have to be good enough for me.

Sometimes people label anger as being "negative" or "bad."  I have not found this to be true.  The truth is quite different.  Muddied anger and rage and resentments can all be liabilities which we allow to dictate our thoughts and behaviors.  There is a clear anger that is a call to action.  What I have found is this: Anger is my truest friend.
sapphoq healing tbi

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fatigue and Fog

     I lost a bunch of weight and have kept it off for a year now.  With the weight loss, my sleep apnea receded.  Unfortunately the fog and fatigue from my fibromyalgia (which I didn't have before the accident that gave me my traumatic brain injury) remains.  So although I am no longer sleep-walking through life, I just don't have the energy that I used to.  On top of that, I have various aches or trigger points which seem to be diagnostic of the fibro.

     Unlike some unknown to me percentage of folks with fibro who treat it with prescribed drugs, I take no drugs for my fibro.  I deal with mine through a combination of exercise and extra rest.  There are days when I force myself to get up out of bed.  There are days when I suddenly have to take a nap.  And there are a few days where nothing much at all gets done.

     The brain fog I combat by the little cognitive games I find on the net-- use your search engine and type in "brain games" if you want to try them-- which are designed for kids but do force me to think in a logical manner.  I also do research for a few of my blogs as well as sudoku.  From time to time when I get stuck on a problem, I ask myself what a logical person would do.  If I cannot come up with any thoughts on that one, I call up a logical person and ask them for ideas.

     One of the things that I have learned throughout my brain injury is that there are times when I have to say "enough."  When there are events in life which yield more stress, then I have to cut back someway somehow somewhere so I don't get all twittified.  An example is that my list of daily todos has gotten shorter over necessity.  Another example is that when I feel burned out, I know that is not the time to volunteer to help other folks.  The energy just isn't there.  When I take on too much, I pay for it.  I hung up my superman cape some years ago.  After my brain injury, I kicked it to the curb.

     If I don't take care of myself, then I cannot be of service to others.  If I say yes to every little request that comes along, then I get fatigued and brain dead.  If I never say no, then my yeses won't mean anything.

     I suppose some folks learn all of this without having had a brain injury.  I was a go-getter who kept going long beyond any reasonable person would have gone.  Keeping my health as my first priority means I can no longer live the way that I used to.

sapphoq healing tbi