Something we’re all familiar with — waiting for a call. But after brain injury, it began to be a regular, daily, soul-sucking occurrence.
“I’ll call you back.”
Did they get my message?
“She’s gone to bed.” It’s 9:00 pm.
Is my phone connected? Picks up and hears dial tone.
I feel so stupid, I thought they were ill. When did they get so busy? I miss our calls. I guess they don’t.
“Yes, we got your fax. We’ll call you when the doctor has an opening.”
How many months has it been?
I learnt that when you have a brain injury, people really don’t want to talk to you. Communication is a struggle, and the therapists can only help you so much when others don’t want to learn. But I also learnt that for medical appointments, reports, tests, you just have to gear up your loins and keep at it. Waiting is exhausting but gets you at the back of the line for extremely underfunded, under-resourced, and low-knowledge brain injury care. Bugging turns into a fatiguing full-time job but gets you the appointments and tests you need or you have to go through to get to the health care you need.
That feeling when you waited for a phone call that you knew deep down wouldn’t come but you waited anyway.
— Shireen Jeejeebhoy (@ShireenJ) May 1, 2019
I haven’t had to wait for a call for a long time. I’ve changed my way of doing things so that I no longer wait for what’s not coming.
Until this week.
This call was regular as clockwork for years until the other person decided not to call last week. And didn’t tell me they weren’t going to. After I texted and called, they finally replied to say if they didn’t call this week, not to call them. So I waited. I didn’t know where their mind was, whether they’d call or not. I knew that their health had taken a downturn because of the usual medical fuckup. Between underpaying doctors for chronic care cases and doctors being unobservant and intellectually lazy, care of complex problems is abysmal. But through all our ups and downs, we had persevered in our regular calls. Apparently no more.
I waited. The phone never rang. I got the message. Life sucks, and I carry on.