Friday, October 18, 2013

The Cane

Most of the time, the cane stands by the chair in a corner.  It is there for when I perceive that I need it.  I've come to suspect that I need it more than I am using it.

The cane was suggested to me as an alternative to a disabled parking permit.  I kept falling.  When I fall, I almost always fall to my right side.  I used the cane extensively at first. 

Summer came and with it my first pair of a certain kind of sandals.  Those sandals did wonders for me.  The first pair lasted me five years.  I went cross-country with them by myself for three weeks.  I was still falling with them, but less. 

Time passes.  I got a second pair of those sandals.  I used the cane less.  The dog keeps me upright when we walk together.  I don't fall with her now.

A friend of mine saw me walking one day.  "Where's the cane?" he asked.  He snorted when I informed him that I was walking 'fine' without it.  "What does the doctor say?" he asked.  I growled at him.

I've gone back to using the cane for walking any distance when the dog is home.  It helps.  The cane helps me judge where the ground is.  I am steadier with it than without. 

And I am good with that.

sapphoq healing traumatic brain injury

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Today is a Good Day to Live

Immediately after the accident that addled my brain into thousands of broken and misfiring pieces-- and for some time afterwards-- I was not focused on living or even on surviving.  I wanted three things:  coffee, sleep, and the classical music station playing 24-7.  I cried when the mate would try to shut off the radio.  The classical music stayed on.  I insisted.  I ached.  I couldn't see right.  I was tired.  I slept 22 hours a day unless there was a medical appointment or physical therapy which I barely managed to drag myself to.  I woke up only to eat, go to the bathroom, and drink coffee.  I was unable to walk the dog.

The ability to do laundry [but not to iron] came back first.  My ability to curse became pronounced.  Since there was no rehab for me, courtesy of fighting insurance companies, I found a t.b.i. chat room online.  It was there that I learned that I had to be in charge of my own rehab.  Gradually, I became able again to compose typed sentences that made sense.  That was big.  I joined an e-mail brain injury support group [and was summarily dismissed for refusing to change my e-mail address!  The word "witches" in the domain was problematic to the good Christians administering the support group].  I found some other people around here who were also living with brain damage.  Life went on in spite of the side effects from the head-bashing.

I was leaning heavily toward atheism before my accident.  After the accident, I lost any feeling for any gods but not my wonder at life.  I don't miss that feeling.  That particular feeling led me down many paths prior to the brain drain and some of those paths were uncool.  To say the least.  I don't feel any anger towards any of the gods that I no longer believe in.  I feel nothing about it.  It is a piece of my old life pre-injury.

It's almost a decade out for me.  Some things have changed and some haven't.  I've changed.  We all change.  I've embraced the truism that yes we can be "good" without any gods telling us to.  But I no longer strive for "goodness" in and of itself.  "There are very few altruistic acts in nature," is the axiom that I apply to living life on a practical basis.  I have a joie de vivre, a celebratory anticipation of living.  The quest to be "good" is limiting.  I'm done with that.  

This summer continuing into the fall, I've spent hours upon hours sitting on the back deck studying the birds that come to the feeders, the bees that surround me, the plants that grow in my gardens in spite of my ministrations.  And I've spent some time in the woods on simple walks with the now geriatric dog.  I've learned a lot just by observing.  Those lessons are mine for now.

I've been thinking about spirituality.  Or so-called spirituality.  I'm not sure if it exists.  I have awe.  And wonder.  And I do feel inspiration.  But this spiritual stuff-- seems to me that the words "spiritual" and "spirituality" are catchalls-- I'm not really sure that this spiritual stuff actually exists.  Religion in the public discourse has become a bad word and the word spirituality has subsumed it.  I think that this is all there is.  I think that this is enough.  I don't need any supernatural or preternatural beings to help me define my morals.  

Spirit is from the Latin espiritus [I believe] and that word means "breath."  Spirituality is perhaps the stuff and the essence of life.  No more and no less.  When people talk about a state of being spiritual, I look for the evidence.  They appear to be regular humans to me.  Humanity is both fascinating and terrifying at once.  Life is enough and humans are also enough.  I don't feel spiritual.  I feel deeply alive.  And that too is enough for me.

It's good to be alive, yo. 
~ sapphoq healing traumatic brain injury and atypical neurology