Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Out of the jar and into the world

It's been quite a while since my last post. So many exciting things to report. What, you ask? I'm not going to tell you! Or at least not now. Stay tuned for future reports. I've been offline for quite a while now, years to be exact. My life has been a whirlwind. I spent months at hospitals and a bedside losing a beloved parent, then for myself over a year of hospitals, homecare, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. While i've talked openly for years about having Lupus this was not the culprit this time. Nope. I caught meningitis. That very public war of the vax vs antivaxers has become personal for me. I caught a preventable illness and lost abilities that were once mine without effort. I was fine (relative to being my own weird normal) one minute and woke into a nightmare of not having deliberate movement, skills or cognition the next. I'm not in a high risk category; I don't live or work closely among others like in a dorm setting, i'm old (in my late 30's) and didn't go to crowded gyms or other common places to pick it up. There was nothing I did that put me at higher risk for this. But still, I caught a deadly, preventable illness. It was not a cold, it was not something that would pass on its own, that could have been treated with homeopathy. It's a deadly, extremely painful, contagious, preventible illness. In a matter of hours my brain swelled to the point in pushed everything in its way out to make room for its growing size, no more room for eyes and ear canals. My brain needed space. I will elaborate further in future blogs. At this point the thing this experience has left me with most is how deeply personal the struggle is after a brain injury. I've had lupus for decades, I thought that was rough. I had no idea what rough was. My heart goes out to others struggling with the many causes of brain injury whether it from a disease process like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, a stroke, an accident, or in my case a bacteria or virus. I think this kind of injury robs you of the very being that you are by ripping your independence from you and the abilities that were your own. Without the immense medical interventions of rehabilitation and treatment I have had I wouldn't be here at all able to blast out this blog. Not only was my life spared, but the quality of it slowly being returned to me through tremendous professional dedication. If you know someone suffering from any sort of brain involvement and are confused about their struggles, that maybe their more obvious physical impairments are healed or not there at all so life should be returning to normal for them. It's not the case. The real damage of brain injury is the tip of the iceberg you can't see. The changes that are internalized within the patient, the daily struggles to communicate as they once did or have muscle memory movements, or move freely without serious effort. The overwhelming fear of loss of independence that has already began or is beginning. Just like in my journey with Lupus, others can't easily see the demon that possesses our bodies in brain injury. But it is real. Because of this journey I had to do yet another do over in my life. One that could accommodate my overnight disabilities. This is also opening the door to new possibilities I never would have considered before. Look forward to my next post "Forever Kittens!" as I jump (or hobble with assistance) into the world of kitten fostering. While those furry little maniacs help rescue me with their unconditional love and fluffiness I get to rescue them right back and return the favor. Stay tuned! love, your slightly less menacing and more wobbly pickle.