Friday, September 12, 2014

Support

It seems as though I need to credit my injury for enabling me to have the credibility that I do to have my position. I know that it was my recovery that has allowed me to represent hope to families of patients and patients themselves. My position has allowed me to become rather specialized in regards to this injury. I can’t believe that something that I wished and prayed had not occurred has opened up so many doors for me. I am going to attend a support group for survivors and family members. I am hoping that maybe I will meet some friends who are like minded to me. I know that although I get down on myself, in the arena of brain injury I am looked up to by survivors and families. It is good for me to look to my population and know that I am not alone. I think that the best description of this injury is the “hidden injury”. It is absolutely an injury that nobody besides maybe a plastic surgeon would immediately pick up on.

I say that because a plastic surgeon told me that half of my face was paralyzed. I was furious at his comment because nobody had ever said that to me. I invite any survivor to comment on any facial paralysis that they might have experienced along his/her journey. Often I meet with patients, recently I met with a group of stroke survivors who compared stories regarding the frustration of not being able to be understood. As with most things the speech can greatly be improved with time and therapy. Even though the population of brain injury survivors is a small one, there are a great many similarities amongst us. I have grown so much emotionally, yet I still do care a great deal about how I look. It feels strange to have many parts of me be so different. My injury was so long ago, but I will never forget about it. I am convinced that my mission now is to affect those who are venturing through the recovery. I think it will be good for my position if I get exposed to as many brain injury survivors and stroke survivors as possible. I would love to hear who has attended a support group and what the experience was like. As always I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Another Labor Day Has Gone By......

As another Labor day has come upon us; it is a sign of things progressing as they always do. The children will begin to go back to school and get ready for their walks to school. Several of my friends are teachers; and they have all been working on their lesson plans. The Halloween candy is out; and it will be cold before we know it. I am not excited for the cold weather. It is strange to realize that now my friends are Mom’s as they are beginning to do back to school shopping for their children. It seems like yesterday when we were doing back to school shopping for ourselves. I am getting far more comfortable with my brother’s children as they begin to get older. My goddaughter is very much how I am in relation to animals. It is awesome to see how my brother’s kids are each developing their own personalities. I greatly enjoy children to a certain point. I also enjoy the freedom to give them back to their parents. I just love the summer. I will always love it. The fall will without fail have awesome weather. Then the winter will have the holidays and the excitement of the children. Maybe I will ask my brother if I can go pumpkin picking with his family. These Botox injections have allowed me to function. I don’t need perfect; I am so thankful to be able to be functional. As the cold weather approaches; I have to understand that as every other year; the time of warmth will return again. I thank you for reading and would love to read any comments you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, August 25, 2014

Refreshed and Renewed After My Vacation

I am refreshed and renewed after my vacation. There were a ton of second cousins at the cottage that we stayed at in Cape Cod. We all know; that with little kids comes crying. My Botox (for my Migraines) was actually scheduled for during the week that I was away. Thankfully my father is similar to me and doesn’t enjoy basking on the beach. Bright sunlight can certainly bring a migraine on. I was able to hop in my Dad’s car and he took me on day trips. I went to the beach with my Dog to catch the sunset. It is kind of unbelievable that all of the cousins were there with their own children. It was very nice to see it. One night in particular the older cousins were sitting around the kitchen table and playing a card game. They all probably hung out every night; I fall asleep early and wake up early. Only one morning I was wide eyed awake at 3:30 AM. I had Andrew so we waited until just before sunrise when I wasn’t at risk for falling; we walked down to the private beach. It was simply my dog and I and nature. Deep sand is tough for me to walk in. Tough I can handle; not when it would burn me if I cannot move fast enough. I would love to know who has shared that experience. The Halloween candy is already on display in the grocery stores. Yikes, sometimes I can’t believe how fast things progress. I guess the old saying, “The only constant is change” is very true. I really needed my vacation. I feel as though it was just what the Dr. ordered. ~Noelle

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Vacation....



This upcoming week, my extended family on my father’s side as well as myself and my cocker spaniel will be venturing to Cape Cod for a week. My Botox injections that I get to dull the nerve pain in my scalp and head from my migraines have completely worn off at this point. I am a tad nervous that my cousins are going to think be a bit surprised just how bad my migraines get. I am hoping that they will be peaceful the majority of the time. I don’t see these relatives that often and I know there will be a great many toddlers and at least one infant. As long as I have my dog with me I can escape out of the mayhem of little kids to the peace of the private beach. I am so happy that my father gave in to allowing me to bringing my Andrew. He originally wanted no dogs; but as it has become clear how unbearable my head becomes right as the Botox injections wear off, he now sees that Andrew is comforting to me and will be my escape. I am convinced that Andrew knows when I am in pain. He has not left my side within the last ten days as these headaches have been ramping up. In fact my vision is already beginning to double up again (I am counting down the days until I get my injections, supposed to get them on a date that I will be away). I hope everybody enjoys this next week and I will return in a week and as always I thank you for reading!


~Noelle

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Nine Year Anniversary....



Wow this previous Saturday marked my nine year anniversary of sustaining my brain injury. I am often asked how I had the drive to push forward to the extent that I did; my response is faith. That may not be entirely accurate; originally I was ignorant to the likely prognosis of what had happened to me. As I regained much of my cognitive ability; I made a conscious decision to keep pressing on. Once I was told that I was not paralyzed and thus I could theoretically no longer use assistive devices if I improved my balance my family and I began to do our own methods of therapy after hours. What is difficult is that I am forever different emotionally. The physical stuff I feel as though I can handle. If people would like to accuse me of being a boisterous drunk, I am fine with that. I absolutely do have some frontal disinhibition. I love my job because everybody here understands what it is to go through medical trauma. Mondays are actually my favorite day of the week because my boss on Mondays has had first hand experience with brain injuries. He understands that many of my personality quirks that are a direct result of this injury. I would love to hear has shared this incredible feeling of not feeling like an outsider. I would love to read any comments you might have. As always thank you so much for reading.


~Noelle

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Appreciating Gifts

I have learned that much of maintaining happiness and forward progression is as a direct result of our state of mind. Post injury before I began my position; many people who care for me wondered how I would handle revisiting my injury on a daily basis. I did not have a daily position prior to obtaining my current, and I am proud to say that I have pleasantly surprised those who were concerned as to how I would adjust to my newly founded daily obligations. I have flourished and allowed myself to develop into an integral part of the healthcare team.

I am committed to expressing the need and desire for an injured individual to become a part of anything greater than his/herself. I believe that utilizing my experiences for the benefit of others has perfectly played into my absolution to the occurrence of August 2, 2005. I still have my moments, and am by no means completely distant from having emotional moments of frustration.

My positions as both an employee of Meridian Health and as a member of the State Advisory Council to Traumatic Brain Injury have permitted me to put my best foot forward while being truthful in regards to what to expect in relation to the life altering event of brain injury. I have benevolently corrected well intentioned family members and even fellow employees as they have expressed the visible improvement that they believe a patient will notice daily. I chime in to remark that having been a patient, one does not see or feel the improvement from day to day. I will never forget the response of my physiatrist as I walked unaided to her office several months after I was discharged from the hospital. While I felt as though things were progressing, they were not going nearly as quickly as I had hoped. My physiatrist was astounded that I had walked unaided into her office. I knew that I walked far differently than I had prior and was not nearly as enthusiastic in regards to my coordination. I try and convey to both the families and the patients that there will certainly be trying times in the future of the recovery.

Recovery is different for every individual, yet as a former patient I remember all too well the trials and tribulations that I encountered along the journey. This role is one that I have come to appreciate as a gift. It is certainly an unorthodox gift and not one that I would ever hope that an individual receives but it is my gift. I would love to read any comments you may have and I appreciate you reading.

~ Noelle

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mindfullness


Over this past weekend, I was exposed to an incredible, engaging and extremely therapeutic practice. Meditation and the cognition of Mindfulness was introduced to me as a way that everyone can separate from his/her anxieties and self- induced pressures to focus on the present moment. The commonality amongst the peaceful and emotionally healthy individuals is the acceptance and appreciation of where they are at the present moment. The awareness of where one is in space and time through a practice called meditation can assist as one continues on in his/her life. The acceptance and appreciation of where one is in space and time can help as an individual strives for self empowerment. There has to be a necessary element of peace as one decides to venture forth. The individual always has the element of free will; if he/she decides that status quo is satisfactory then the utilization of true acceptance can help an individual to be aware of each peaceful moment in time. It seems as though the vast majority of people who we come across trek through the motions of life mindlessly. Post injury I try and be far more aware of the directions of my thoughts. Watching this introductory video to meditation allowed me to hear about the directions of my thoughts in a tangible sense. As with all newly learned practices there has to be an individual’s decisions to put forth effort to focus his/her mind away from the tangent distractions the constantly creep into each our minds. I try and focus upon the importance of my companionship at the retirement homes and the ability that I have to ease the minds of the families or the cognoscente patients in the hospitals. I am fortunate in that relating to patients and people keeps my mind from going astray for the most part into mindless and pointless thought. After work however, I am plagued by the draw of slipping into tangent and unfocused, mindless thought as everybody else. I am aware that the ability to comprehend these two differing aspects  of thought are in fact a level of thinking that it took me years to regain. I thank you very much for reading and I would love to hear any comments you may have.


~Noelle