Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holding On and Letting Go: A Foundational Piece to TBI

It had been an idea in the back of my head all year long, to once again try my hand at selling on eBay. Motion would back this idea whenever I found something I could, “Flip on eBay”, as I called it. I would get excited, tuck away the treasure and then promptly forget about it!

At this writing I have 19 items listed in active auctions, this may be the most I’ve accomplished post-injuries. In preparation I unsubscribed from those ad messages we all get, but I never paid attention to how much brain bucks they extracted. I made sure I could focus solely on eBay.

Intentions being all well and good, here I am, almost at the end of one set of auctions ending and I am exhausted. I don’t mean a little run down, I mean flat out, daily naps are never under 3 hours! Oh yes, and let us not forget the nightmares. Interesting combination, eh? I am now beginning to wonder if overdoing it = nightmares. Curious question I’ll continue to explore.

I am not getting anything else done at all. Mornings, Richard takes care of the chores because I’m sleeping. Ugh! Calgon, take me away! :) LOL!

The fact I was once successful selling on eBay, a whole lot faster, etc., is a mute point. That was all pre-TBI. Just like this is a different fiscal economy than when I first started on eBay, my own brain economy has changed too.

I did that thing Pema Chodron mentions about asking ourselves how comfortable I was/am doing this? Not at all. My spirit disappeared to wherever spirits go when we compromise ourselves, add in the low energy cycle, the lingering images of nightmares, and I begin making mistakes…as if I weren’t slow enough to start with!

I forget this is why I couldn’t work. I’ll be damned, I STILL have a brain injury! LOL! I can maintain something short-term, but long-term, no go. I might have four good hours a day to get everything done, chores, etc.

Not even one week’s worth of auctions and my brain has left the station! On one hand, it is really good practice for me, I consider it my own Occupational Therapy, but, consistently making mistakes and my spiritual self vacating indicate this isn’t the most ideal path. I could muddle through, trying to ‘make’ myself do this, but I can’t do it.

Success without mistakes is pretty rare, but boy, when it’s there, my gosh, it feels unbelievably good! So, for now, I let go of what I can’t do and focus on what I can. I like helping and giving, so will focus on that. I need a place where my spirit is free…and I can just go back to reading and writing blogs and encourage all the souls I meet along the way.

So for now, I let go of the notion of selling on eBay as I had hoped. One more thing to let go of, but this path of TBI, to successfully navigate and live each day well, requires that. I figure I’ll sell the items that need the eBay audience, but, other things. Well, it’s time to let go of that. Not all letting go is bad…in fact, maybe none of it is bad.

Thanks for listening! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Janine Shepherd: A broken body isn’t a broken person

A kind soul on Twitter and Facebook shared a TED talk that really touched my heart.  So, since we don’t have TV here, and I was hoping to find another inspiring talk, I went to  Call it coincidence, Godincidence, Serendity, etc.  This particular talk was at the top, and I was intrigued by the title alone.

Yes, brokenness.  It is a topic known to so many, but how does one get through it well?  This is one woman’s courageous story.  I hope it fills your heart up to overflowing as it did for mine.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Peaceful Thanksgiving

Richard and I went next door for their family gathering and it was nice.  I worked hard on trying to simply remain in the moment and comfortable.  I usually carry a good (LOL, understatement!) amount of fear with me into social situations because I’m never quite fully sure what my brain will choose to do or not do.  It is the oddest thing!

I mean, think about it.  If you’re going somewhere you’ve gone before with people you’ve seen before, you know what to expect.  You have no issues adapting and going with the flow, knowing what you’ll say, do, heck, even where you’ll sit.  Not for me.  For me, it’s almost always like someone took a magnet over the hard drive of my computer (brain) and it’s almost always brand new to me.

I may have done something or been somewhere before but that doesn’t mean I’ll remember anything at all.  It is quite spooky…and is VERY difficult to get used to, that feeling of almost continuous groundlessness.

I still find it quite remarkable there is no drama there, just down-to-earth folks getting together to share time and holidays together.  One of the Granddaughters got married this summer and came in with her husband.  The other Granddaughter came in limping, she’d stepped on a nail. 

This being a calm, no drama area, everyone was interested in her injury but no one panicked or made more of it than it was.  Wow…the world could use some of that common sense!  The Mom and Grandmother got out some Epsom Salts so the foot could be soaked.  She’ll need to get a shot, most likely, but again, not really a big deal.

I sat there and marveled…is that what it’s like to have go-to people?  I am 45-years-old and am still struck by families who are, well, functional!  They knew what to do, it wasn’t like they were reinventing the wheel (which is the world I live in).  Such stability, OMG!  Remarkable.

It was nice, I also worked on breathing, trying to enjoy it, I didn’t eat too much, and kept asking myself, “Am I comfortable?”  It really is quite odd being there physically and needing all my senses to be present and accounted for, so I can be involved and all that.  I hope to learn, in time, how to ‘be’ and yet not be so on-the-edge. 

I guess the times of social embarrassment are engrained pretty well in my mind…but fear robs us of the moment.  So, I’m working on it.  :)

Thanks for listening. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving, Holidays and Stuffing

Hi everyone,

This gets to be a crazy busy time of the year here in the states due to the holidays which really get going prior to Thanksgiving.  Why?  Stuff.

It's a time of turkey and stuffing, stuffing ourselves and then we are off on a most unbecoming mad dash to buy stuff.  Because it's the holidays, that's why!  This synopsis is brought to you by your friendly, neighborhood Brain Injured!  :)

Not everyone gets into the race for material stuff, some realize it's about the stuff that matters...humanity.  They decide it's a great time of the year to reach out to others, to help those in need.

My wish for you is the stuff that makes you content in the long-run and at peace in the short run.  We could all use a little bit more of humanity, and a lot less stuffing!  :)

Be well, my friends.  Happy Thanksgiving to those who will be celebrating it tomorrow.  A large part of my thoughts and heart go out to those for whom this time of the year is anything but happy. 

Blessings, Love & Peace,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Be Grateful To Everyone

That was the phrase that bounced around in my head while Richard and I waited for someone to show up...five minutes, then ten, fifteen, twenty minutes...

Ugh!  It's just not that easy to do these sort of things, trying my hand at selling stuff on craigslist.  So yes, Richard drove us the 65-miles one way for this small event to take place and it didn't happen.

We did have someone come up to our vehicle and ask if we're the person or persons he was to meet...who had the gun!  OMG!  Um, no, that's not us!  WOW!!  After that, and having waited a full 30 minutes, we decided to leave. 

I could just feel the little energy I did have leave my person.  Great.  Just great.  And we had a long drive back home.  Initially I had planned a little more shopping, but at this point we both needed home.

We made the return drive fine, Richard had me drive some of it because he was so tired.  It's not bad driving, it's a lot of scanning left and right looking for deer that might just decide to implant themselves into your oncoming vehicle! 

When we got home I told Richard I now understood that phrase I'd heard Pema Chodron say about being grateful to everyone.  I said in cases like this it's not about the other person not showing up, it's about my reaction to it, and what it teaches me about myself.  Wow, that was a huge A-ha moment. 
I had to think about this a lot...because everyday life pretty much knocks the stuffing out of me, I had to ask myself if I was using that to justify feeling anger, resentment, disappointment?
I also mentioned to Richard what Pema said about understanding life...if we accept life on life's terms, what is there to get upset about?  If we KNOW people may not show up, then why get upset?

This was another huge A-ha moment and it was a LOT easier to just let it all go instead of having that sticky, heavy feeling of 'oh great, woes me, another disappointment, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.' 

I was right about feeling drained, I did end up in bed ALL day yesterday with a migraine.  So, note to self:  This is a lesson learned without a negative outcome, and in fact, it was a good test to see where my heart and spirit were...

...and, I learned, it wasn't really even that big of a deal in the big picture of life!  :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dr. Oz Would Be Proud!

Those were the words I said to my doctor today as she went over the results from last week's blood work, I was shocked, but in a good way.  My HDL, LDL, and Triglyceride numbers are all in Dr. Oz's 'optimal' range.  I am thrilled because Heart Disease is part of my adoptive family legacy.  So, my dear friends, the great news is that hard work does pay off...

My doctor said these were some of the best numbers she's seen in a long time, and, she added that I wasn't taking cholesterol medication, to which I confirmed, grinned, and said, "I juice." 

She said she learned about juicing by watching "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" online and recommends it to her patients.  She believes so many of our illnesses these days are due to dietary habits and lack of micro nutrients.  What a huge confirmation that was to hear, yeah!  My doc and I are on the same page when it comes to diet.

If you haven't seen it, you can watch it free here or visit the website here.  As you know, I do not monetize my blog or receive any sort of compensation for anything I share here, my motive is simply continue to share the help and support I did (and did not) receive.  :)

I wish I could e-share the incredible joy I had hearing these results and still feel right now.  [Okay, I have tears in my eyes!]  There have been countless times I've walked out of doctor's offices either crying or on the verge of crying because I was doing everything I possibly could and the news was still consistently bad.

It really did my heart good (terrible pun intended!) to know I was still able to be an overachiever, especially after the blood draw was more like a slow, blood drip!  :)

If this encourages one person to start, even make a small change, oh my gosh!  How cool is that? 
Without health, we have nothing.  I was 16-years-old when I lost my Mom to Heart Disease, how piercingly painful we had been at Disneyland "The happiest place on earth" that Fourth of July so many years ago.  My elderly Dad has had his own heart issues.

We can break the cycle by what we choose to do each and every day.  I'm not saying it's easy, but I am saying it's necessary.  I may not be able to undo head injuries, but I guess in one small way, I am still fighting for my do my utmost to make it a good life.

Now it's your turn!  :) 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Not This Time: A Costly Lesson

I dream in horses…well…actually horse clinics of the Vaquero tradition.  Last year I actually got to go to a Buck Brannaman clinic after many, many years of not being able to (thanks to TBI).

Being back at a clinic, it was pure equine bliss!  But unlike clinics attended pre-injury, by the end of the first day I felt like crying…not because I was so happy, but because my brain was so tired and I knew I had two more days to get through and I wanted to soak it all in!

The only way I got to go was for Richard to drive me there and back.  He stayed for some of the clinic and drove me the entire way home, or, on the days he didn’t stay, he drove home again, then came back and picked me up later.  Huge, long, exhausting days for him because of all the driving.

When I was at the clinic, it was a time machine back to the era pre-injury where I enjoyed chatting with others, made a lot of jokes, and got a lot of people laughing.  It was, a precious moment in time, to say the least.  I got to see my true self!

This year I didn’t wish to inconvenience Richard and so I adamantly went to, got a room for about $50/night and started planning.  I was to be packing and resting today, but didn’t plan on getting sick…or whatever this is…

Yesterday I had bloodwork done for the annual physical I have coming up.  No big deal.  I fasted overnight, and went in first thing in the morning.  The happy vein that had been used last year wasn’t as inviting as my other arm, so we started there.  Yes, I say started because my blood literally dripped annoyingly slow into the vial.  Oh yeah!

The nurse said, “You just must be a dripper.”  I thought that was hilarious and I jokingly said, “Well, I’ve been called worse!”  My blood has never dripped like that, at any rate, she had to switch to the other arm, so there we go sports fans, dual needle pokes.  Still I didn’t consider it that big of a deal, but it did make me wonder.

After that fun Richard and I went to breakfast and it felt so good to get to eat, especially on a very cold morning. Later on, after we got home I took a typical TBI nap and when I got up Richard had made a meatloaf so I had a little bit…but wasn’t really hungry in the first place, but felt really out of sorts.  I ate some and then got a huge stomach ache, even my back hurt.  What a way to compliment his cooking!  I had some Pepto-Bismal but haven’t quite been the same since.

With not feeling even slightly well, I called the motel and canceled the room, then had to call Priceline to see if they would issue a refund, which the itinerary said the would not.  If I could get a doctor’s note, they would refund $93.36 after the $75 cancellation fee.  Oh yeah.  I hate to say it, but feeling as poorly as I did, I didn’t have the energy or brain bucks to pursue anything so I’m out a big chunk of change.

The folks at the motel were very kind, she said they would not pursue any fees and, she said she hoped I felt better soon.  Needless to say Priceline did not have the same heart.

Note to self:  Always have a Plan B and never do anything where I cannot cancel in case of TBI crash or health.  No clinic for me this year.  It was hard enough going last year when I had a lot of energy and excitement, LOL, at least initially, before I started to get exhausted.  With not feeling well, being this tired, and who knows if I’m sick or whatever, I would be hard-pressed to be able to tolerate any time in a freezing cold arena.

I guess if I can look at the bright side, it was good practice trying to plan and prepare for something so near and dear to my heart and not allow disappointment.  At least I got to go last year and had him sign some of the treasures I refused to let go of when I nearly lost my house.

This is why I’ve been quiet for some time, just resting and preparing, preparing, preparing!

Isn’t this a life lesson for us all, though?  How we handle things when things don’t go as expected?  I’d imagine that’s exactly where all of our resilient hearts get their training and are strengthened…

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tools: Where In The !@#$ Did I Park?

After countless episodes of anxiety and panic forgetting where I parked, I picked up a few helpful hints to pass along.

First rule: ALWAYS park in the same general area or direction.  Some examples: at WalMart, I parked in an isolated parking strip by the garden center.  At Costco, I parked near the tire center.  At support group, the doctor’s office, the chiropractor, I was almost always able to park in the same spot.

Second, whenever possible, do not cross traffic.  I know of too many head injured folks who have been hit by cars, I offer this as a huge safety precaution because we may not have the same awareness as pre-TBI.  Ever see someone blatantly walk in front of a moving car totally oblivious?  I rest my case.  In the event you forget where you parked, you won’t be in that potentially panicked, unaware state crossing traffic and risking yet again another injury.

In the event I could not park in my normal areas, as happened at the grocery store, I would find a spot close so when I walked out the door I would see my vehicle.  This one is a little trickier because everyone parks close to the store, office, etc.

Third, on our cars we have the same stickers in the same color, ‘wag more bark less’ which helps identify it as ours.  In fact, while at a café one time Richard and I saw a man almost get into our car, we think he saw the sticker first.  He had parked his matching vehicle around the corner.  Forgetting where we parked happens to just about everyone, for TBIers it’s pretty much a daily thing that costs us precious brain bucks.

Some folks have things on their antenna to help them find their vehicle.

And as much as it’d be a very helpful tool for a TBIer, I don’t know of many who have a nice enough car to have the beeper on their keychain they push that tells them where there vehicle is.

There is nothing more bewildering after the stimuli and stress of shopping than to come out into the parking lot and not be able to find your vehicle!

Do you have similar strategies you’d like to share that have helped you?