Rehab

I'm not great with details any more (my mom says I used to be super-organised, not that I remember that), but I recall feelings, and the memories I have of hospital seem to involve an immovable knot of frustration in my stomach.

I hated the physio sessions where I was taught to exert fine control over my movements, and eventually walk unaided again; I said more than once that I hated my physiotherapist and I really meant it. I understand now why he was making me do things that heightened my level of anxiety, but at the time, his slow-races made me want to scream.

I much preferred occupational therapy; colours, shapes and numbers were largely unaffected by the design modification of my brain. And there was a pleasing lack of horrible man making me do things I didn't want to do (who always did it with my parents' consent to make matters worse!). It's pretty blurry, but I do know that after a month they decided I had recovered sufficiently to be discharged as I could walk unaided and was making good progress (apparently...I was just pleased to be going home).

My thought processes mostly involved stupour. The world I saw around me made no sense, and probably to start sorting through the jumble of events that unfolded around me, I started commentating on the things I saw - I would append "said Mom/Dad/Adam/even my own name" to people's words. My stated motivation for that is actually conjecture, but it fits with the overwhelming sense of confusion I remember from those days.

I was kept off school for a term and a half, but my schooling continued at home with a tutor who would come in to work with me, but this wasn't the language reasoning exercises I was still reasonably good at, it was exercises that challenged me to interpret situations (something I still struggle with even 20 years later).

When I did finally go back to school it was a much different place than I expected. I had no friends because I no longer understood what friends were, or more accurately what friendships involved. The teachers of the subjects I had excelled in before I was run over continued to like me in spite of the drop in my abilities. But soon people (my teachers as well as my peers) forgot what had happened to me, what I had to live with every day, and criticism and frustration took the place of benevolence. I was alone in a bubble, in a world I did not understand, with people I didn't understand and few of whom even tried, let alone succeeded, to understand me.

My dad would take me to more physio, I would go to school, go home and do whatever it was I did, and things continued not to make sense. There must surely have been a rehabilitation plan, but I was certainly not aware of it just as I was not aware of any plans whatsoever. The early days made no sense so looking back in the context of the way I now think, with somewhat restored planning skills, there seems to be a lack of cohesion, but that very lack of cohesion probably did me a favour because beyond the trouble I was having with my motor skills, I was, like a baby who is only concerned with its next meal or its wet nappy, I was blissfully unaware of pretty much anything.

To be continued (maybe)...

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  • Thanks for sharing with us fuzzyhead x x

  • You have explained what you are going thro so well! You have to touched my heart with what you are going tho, I wish I could help! Please keep writing on here, it may help, I hope you won't feel so alone x

  • You have explained what you are going thro so well! You have to touched my heart with what you are going tho, I wish I could help! Please keep writing on here, it may help, I hope you won't feel so alone x

  • Hi Jigsaw, I think your name sums up pretty well what it was like for me in the immediate aftermath of my accident. Luckily, most of the bits are back in place now...I still remember what it felt like not getting stuff (perhaps because I still don't get some stuff) so perhaps a few bits are missing still, or else it's not quite the same puzzle I thought it was!

    Even after 20 years it still frustrates me that I find it so hard to remember stuff, and that I find it so hard to mix with people, but I just have to make the best of it and like I said in another post, I'm really happy with my life, I have a wife who accepts me as I am, a son, a daughter on the way, I'm at university and trying to make a fist of it. I'm really so lucky, it's just not always easy to maintain that perspective when I have my blinkered brain malfunction hat on, and all I can think about is what my brain can't do because I'm so acutely aware of it.

    My boy is just starting to have tantrums and it occurred to me that the emotional lability (or at least the frustration/anger part) is probably prompted by similar things, in that injured brains don't know how to do stuff just the way toddlers don't know how to say stuff to ease their frustration because the neural connections haven't been made yet. Then you have to add in to the mix a likely reduction in the function of the cerebral cortex, which is what moderates anger. It's probably worse for TBIs though because in most instances the victims know that they used to be able to do what they are now trying to do, but the neural pathway isn't there anymore and a new one needs to be forged.

    For instance, I now tie my laces with the bunny ears method, whereas I used to do the round the gate and through the gate way, which I can't get my head around any more (and I have tried...you would think something as simple as tying my laces I'd be able to just get, but no). It's not a significant example, but in another way it demonstrates how TBI's can affect even the minutest details.

    I used to be quite succinct too, apparently...

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