What’s it like to recover from a brain injury? Well, it leads to odd moments like this:
Therapist: Give yourself credit.
Me: For what?
Therapist: For booking the tickets.
Me: *blink* Thinks: I know how to book tickets. I’ve booked tickets since I was so young, I can’t recall when. *scowls*
Therapist: You booked the tickets on your own. This is GOOD!
Me: *glowers and stares* Thinks: I’m not a child.
Therapist: You did it serendipitously too. This is GOOD! Give yourself credit! You did it!! *smiles broadly*
Me: *wants to scream*
He’s right of course, and I hate him for it. It’s good because booking tickets for anything, like for the Dr. Norman Doidge talk recently at the Toronto Reference Library, became extremely difficult for me, neé impossible, for several years after the brain injury. There are so many points of decision-making along the way when booking tickets, some of which we’re all aware of, like are we available that day? Can we go? But with brain injury, there’s also:
- The time it takes to process, meaning absorb, that there’s an event on and what it is.
- Figuring out if it’s an event the current me likes or is it something the old me likes and the current me would not.
- Do I want to go – what does my mind want?
- Being able to take in, understand, and know if I like the idea of going, quickly enough to be able to get the tickets before they’re sold out.
- How tired will I be? Having to check the schedule for several days before and after to see if I will be rested up enough to tolerate the event and have recovery time afterwards.
- Can I cancel at the last minute? Or go at the last minute?
- Can I go alone? Or do I need someone to come with me? Drive me? Help me navigate the place?
- Being able to navigate the ticket website. Forms are not easy for people with brain injury to fill in. Luckily, the Toronto Public Library webpage for the Doidge talk was relatively simple to navigate and easy to reserve the tickets. EventBrite though was not. Downloading the app and getting the tickets onto it was a headache.
What’s it like to recover lost functions from a brain injury? It’s one thing for a child to be praised for learning something new, but as an adult, receiving praise for something long-ago learnt and mastered is, well, a tempest of tears for lost functions, of rage for the years of lost time and the effort to recover the lost function, of frustration at being talked to as if a child by some therapists, of dawning happiness that you did it, and of fatigue that drowns them all.