Saturday, July 18, 2009

Manufacturing Misery

Alex and Bella and I were at lunch today at a local restaurant, and it was one of those seating situations in which our booth was right beside another booth, just kind of visually separated by a wall with a bunch of plants on top. My point being that we could hear every word of the conversation from the people sitting beside us, a fact of which they seemed to be completely oblivious.

As many of you may have noticed, I've recently been kind of awash in pitifulness, feeling helpless about what's going on with Alex's brain, and what the implications might be for our family. I listened--wasn't really trying, but couldn't exactly help it--as the party of four (Grandmom, Mom, Daughter and Daughter's live-in boyfriend, both of whom happen to live in Mom's house with at least one child of their own) discussed such commonplace topics as shopping for furniture and a lost set of keys. I was actually feeling envious at what I considered to be the absolute blissful mundanity of these people's concerns. How lucky are these people beside me, that they can all express themselves so easily, and have such simple, uncomplicated lives? Do they realize how great they have it? Would they believe me if I told them how jealous I was of their furniture shopping and trivial key-loss issues? What a grand life they had!

Then the arguing began. Still, I smiled to myself and to Alex, who I had by now drawn into my eavesdropping. They were arguing about the keys, because someone had moved them, causing someone else to be locked out for a very brief time. This is all they have to argue about? How beautifully uncomplicated their lives must be! How happy would I be if all I had to worry about were some lost keys?

As the arguing progressed, it began to involve all four of the people in that booth, and it began to get more heated, though covering no less (to my mind) trivial ground. Someone left a cup of water on a nightstand, and someone else had to carry it to the kitchen. Someone promised to chip in for laundry detergent, but didn't, and then used a cup (!!) of someone else's detergent. Someone washed their own dishes, but not anyone else's. Someone promised to fix the vacuum cleaner, but didn't. But that person tried to fix the vacuum, and the problem with it was not what the first person said it was, and oh my gosh I have hated you since I met you and I have hated you my whole life because you are a horrible awful person who was always mean to me and don't you dare use that baby as a pawn to punish me and we have had enough of this and WE'RE LEAVING RIGHT NOW AND NO, I WILL NOT SIT DOWN AND BE QUIET GET UP RiGHT NOW WE ARE GOING!

Whoa.

Apparently, what bubbles to the surface isn't always what is creating the bubbles...but we all pretty much know that home truth. Another thought I had was that we are amply able, as humans, to manufacture misery of our own when there just doesn't seem to be enough of it happening organically. I realize how much I, myself, have done this. We do abhor a vacuum, don't we? (Especially a vacuum that you promised to fix but the brushes weren't rolling yes they were no they weren't I looked you don't know shut up shut up SHUT UP!) Since reality has been on the harsh side for us, I haven't been borrowing too much trouble. But did I, when things were easier? You bet.

I'll be trying harder to not do that, in the future.

For all of you who have been so caring and concerned about what's going on with Alex, he's doing a little bit better. He has had every neurological, toxicological, biological, and everything-else-ological test that medical science has to offer, eliminating every possible condition under the sun and leading us right back in a circle to the exact thing that we went in telling them this was in the very beginning: A traumatic brain injury. We're awaiting the "official" diagnosis, but he has begun speech and cognitive therapy to try and reconnect the synapses that are misfiring (or whatever it is, all you brain surgeons among my readers). The outlook, with therapy, is very hopeful. Already, his movement and gait are tremendously improved, and his speech is getting better every day. We're working on sequencing and coordination now, and have even been able to incorporate video games, like Boom Blox (hand-eye coordination, planning) and World of Warcraft (planning, cause-and-effect, sequencing, coordination) into quite a workable form of home therapy.

If anyone with brain injury experience has any tips or exercises for getting all your grey matter's mojo back, we'd love to hear from you. *MWAH* to you all.

19 comments:

  1. I am truly happy to read that Alex is improving, incrementally. As I read your post, I recognized myself lately, envious of those who seem to have things proceed so smoothly while I struggle to eat a single ounce of food twice a day.

    I know in my head things are going to get better, but sometimes it's hard to beleive that in my heart.

    I hope things are brightening for your family.

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  2. I have no tips. Just a "welcome back, and you were missed". And I'm so glad to hear that Alex is showing improvement.

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  3. I don't have any advice. I just wanted to say how glad I am to hear he's getting a bit better and getting the help he needs. And that you need too. I hope it will only keep getting better.

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  4. Belinda, a few years ago a woman in my church suffered a traumatic brain injury. She later passed and her husband began an organization dedicated to helping those with TBI. His site is http://maryfoundation.org/ and his name is Matt Buckley. I think you might find some good info there. I'm thinking of you, Alex and Bella.

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  5. the ruling out process sucks donkey balls. I suggest threading beads, throwing balls and connect the dots. anything that crosses the midline is going to make his brain work just a little bit harder and heal more. Wii Sports and Fit games are great, too. Hula hoops and bowling are good for midline coordination. You guys could try taking an aerobics or dance class together also.

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  6. i'm so glad to hear things are slowing improving. :)

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  7. I've got nothing in the way of advice, just happy to hear that there has been some improvement. Wishing you all the best.

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  8. I am so glad to hear that there has been some improvement, although the cause isn't yet quite determined. You have been missed but you are in my thoughts so often. Hugs and continued best wishes to you all.

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  9. I'm glad to hear Alex is improving. Make sure you take some time for yourself whenever you can. All the best to you and your family.

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  10. Just so good to hear from you, have been checking so often. Good to hear baby sets are being made! Baby sets are a big deal! Not moving backwards, or standing still, but moving forward. The only thing is, I wish somebody would have fixed that dang vacuum!
    Continued prayers...

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  11. I can't help with brain injuries thing. But if he needs help with his WoW-therapy, I'm your girl.

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  12. Oh man, can I ever identify with this post!

    I will never forget when my husband's liver stopped working a few years ago (because of a prescription he was taking, they later determined) and we didn't know whether he was going to get better or not- We took the kids out on Halloween night and I just hated every young, comfortable couple we passed on the road. I just couldn't stop thinking of how good they had it and how they almost certainly didn't appreciate it ONE BIT.

    So I get it. And I'm glad things are starting to look up for you guys now. :)

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  13. :-)

    Hugs to all the wee NinjaPoodles and the Jedi Master NinjaPoodles alike.

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  14. Good to hear that improvement has been experienced. Hoping for the best for all of you. May we all learn how to be grateful for what we have.

    It's been a while -- do you remember your tick filled post from two summers ago? It made me scream and laugh until I damn near fell off my chair. Thank you again for that. (Eeeeeek!)

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  15. My uncle survived and has mostly recovered from a near fatal traumatic brain injury. He has recently written a book detailing his recovery as he remembers it and his life now. The book is called "Every 21 Seconds" by Brian D. Sweeney. I do not have an extra copy of the book at the moment, but I could probably procure one for you if you are interested in reading it. I will send him a link to your blog and maybe if he is able can give you a little more info on dealing with a TBI.

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  16. I was so afraid the news would be so much worse after you were gone so long. Whew. Healing vibes for Alex and the rest of you too -- sounds like you're finally on a positive track, even if he's got a long way to go.

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  17. Hi Belinda! Glad to have you back. So very glad to hear that Alex is improving! I think of you a lot and have wondered how things were going.

    Hugs,

    Barb

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  18. Hey there...just had to come back and re-read that hilarious argument.

    I am praying that things are improving for your husband. I am amazed that you can still laugh in the midst of all you're facing. Don't lose the smile!

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