New to Old. Beginning to End. The circle of life continues. When a stroke hit someone close to me recently I felt his hand guiding me to share. Fear combined with memories, or maybe the lack of memories, from a time when my brain suffered its own injury in a car wreck, pushed me to tell my story to help others.
It was a bright sunny Monday morning like so many others. A car pulled in front of a day rig truck and braked. The truck driver cut the wheel hard to avoid the car in front of him coming across three lanes of the interstate to hit me. My car was totaled. With only a tiny cut on my arm, I thanked my guardian angel and thought I was fine. I didn’t understand the injury hidden inside my skull. Because my nature is a mix of a salesperson and logical personality, only my husband and BFF quickly spotted the change in my life that morning.
I’ve always had a strange memory. I might not remember what I had for dinner last night or a name, but a face or random conversation from the prior week can be crystal clear. The first impressions I had after my wreck with that day rig truck was a black hole before I returned to find my car now facing the center interstate wall (my car completed a 1-1/4 turns according to the cops). For my brain, it felt like a spin in a blender.
Things like driving, going to the grocery, eating out with family and friends, even going to church, suddenly became a nauseating and exhausting ball of frustration after my wreck. The sounds and motions of life I’d once enjoyed, now caused problems with my brain. I wanted to return to the life I had before, but my brain disagreed. It struggled to tolerate noise or motion which frustrated the active me.
I only remember bits and pieces of that day. And though the doctors say I am supposed to be fully recovered, my brain still chooses to rebel from time to time. Learning how to manage the triggers and the results took time but I’ve grown stronger in building habits to cope with those days and accepting the limitations.
I’ve learned that head motion sets off memory breaches and exhaustion. Habits save my life and keep me sane. Rest and stress control increases the length of time I can shop and participate in life. Having a husband and grown kids that recognize and understand when I’m not all there, means someone knows to encourage me to take that nap in a dark quiet room.
I believe disruptions in life are there to get our attention and it’s what we do with the challenges they create that are important. In the last few months, I’ve felt the push to share my disruptions, my lessons. This is my first disruption. I hope my insight will help someone who needs it.