Monday, January 26, 2015

Err on the Side of Caution

There are risks that we all encounter every day. Depending on where you live; the weather can pose hazardous conditions. Driving a car in general is a risk. It is also a phenomenal achievement for an individual hoping to gain independence. Following a brain injury, this privilege is often suspended. Fortunately I was able to regain my reaction time which allowed me to regain this mode of transportation. This week there is an impending snow storm which may make the driving conditions hazardous.

 That being said, I may cut my day short to be sure that I will not be on the roads during the coming climax of this weather. There are varying degrees of risk that must be negotiated. Charles Lindbergh is quoted as saying, “I don’t believe in taking unnecessary risks, but a life without risk isn’t worth living.” This quote allows an individual to realize that there will always be risky situations that we come upon in life. Perhaps the difficulty comes from deciphering which risks are warranted and which risks are not worth the attempt. Perhaps it takes a lifetime to fully master how one is going to conduct his/her self. There are methods that an individual needs to practice when deciding to attempt a hazardous situation.

I would love to here who has decided to abstain from a certain activity or activities as a result of his/her disability. The elderly, the very young and the disabled need to heed mostly every caution. It is important not to put the emergency medical staff at unnecessary risk. I always think of individuals that “brave” extremely hazardous avalanche conditions to seek a thrill by skiing in life threatening conditions. The emergency medical staff has families also and I hate to hear of the risks that they endure to rescue a person who never should have attempted the feat in which they got hurt. I would love to hear any reflections or experiences that you may have had. It is scary to consider what now I consider as warranted risk in comparison to what I would have considered as a thrill before I sustained my injury. As always, I thank you very much for reading.

 ~Noelle

Friday, January 23, 2015

Inspiration From Unlikely Avenues....

Recognizing who your population is can lead to inspiration from many unlikely avenues. By owning who you are and how you easily could have ended up allows you to recognize the benevolence of those around you. I was positively shocked at the impact that interacting with a former patient had on me. An individual who underwent very similar rehab and hospitalization is now living semi independently. There was an overwhelming sense of pride that I felt come over as I recognized the improvement and the sense of independence that had been assumed. I have a renewed sense of who I am and where I am going. I feel that I can get many people to attend a support group that my company is planning to begin at one of our hospitals. Surprisingly I felt entirely at home being surrounded by several former patients.

This represented tangible growth. No longer did I feel uncomfortable. My position and also my attendance to support groups have allowed me to grow into a well adjusted brain injury survivor. I used to compare myself to every survivor who I came in contact with; no longer do I feel the need to compare. I was able to gain inspiration from the individuals that I was able to meet. A female who is very close in age to me showed me her apartment where she lives herself. I was incredibly proud of her.

Witnessing her has given me a renewed since of ambition to be less dependent on other people to assist me in the daily activities of life. I would love to hear who has returned to living independently following a brain injury. I definitely have some anxiety in regards to living on my own. I just genuinely enjoy companionship. I am not sure that living on my own should ever be a goal of mine; seeing a comrade who is successfully living on her own has allowed my eyes to be open to the possibility. I did not expect for the meeting to have such a profound impact. Clearly, one never knows how certain situations can serve as a positive impetus towards living more independently. Thank you so much for reading! ~Noelle

Monday, January 12, 2015

No Victory too Small

There are small miracles and victories every day. An individual needs to make an attempt to take notice of every small victory that they observe. I accomplished a flight home from Florida myself. Newark International Airport is not entirely user friendly; it is extremely intimidating. Thankfully the employees were fantastic and were very willing to answer any question that I had. Now my first flight alone is behind me. It is now just a memory. Now that the accomplishment is behind me, I am relatively positive that I will not choose to travel alone when I am given the option. The choice will not be made out of fear. I enjoy making connections with the people who work in the airport as well as the people who are traveling themselves. I now join the population in accomplishing a mode of travel (as an individual) that many people use. I only travel for vacation. My position thankfully does not require that I travel beyond my state. I would love to hear who has returned to traveling by his/herself following a brain injury.

I am friendly with many survivors and they helped to put my mind at ease. It is bizarre to look consciously throughout your contacts to find people who have faced the same dilemma as you yourself are facing. It is beautiful to no longer classify something as a dilemma. Flying alone has now been accomplished. My situation puts me in a bit of a funny spot; my issue was not the actual flight itself. I have never really had a phobia of flying at all. My issue came from knowing which lines to go through to proceed through security. The people working in security were very nice. I felt as though they were prepared to work with somebody who may have a disability. My mother was able to get a gate pass so she was able to accompany me to the area before I had to get on the plain. I am very happy to be able to have a   flight under my belt that I did myself. I would love to hear who else has traveled themselves after a brain injury. I am pleased that I have never had an issue with my headaches on a plane. Many people who suffer from headaches have extreme problems with the altitude changes and thus pressure changes. I thank you very much for reading and as always I welcome any responses that you may have.


~Noelle





Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Take the Challenge


The aftermath of any sort of a disability creates new and challenging obstacles. I am preparing to fly for the first time myself when I return from Florida. I am almost thirty and I have much insecurity regarding the fact that I have never flown myself. I am positive that there are many individuals who are far younger than I am who have routinely have flown by themselves. A part of me feels as though I have fallen back into
I was actually very hesitant to put this in writing as I am embarrassed to admit my anxiety regarding a typical method of travel. I have flown many a time; this will be the first time that I will take the journey myself. People at work have told me of relatives who have dementia or Alzheimer’s who the airlines have made special arrangements for to insure that those passengers are able to fly regardless of their anxiety or mental status. My mental status is excellent; my nerves cause me to not function at my full potential. I would love to hear who else shares this anxiety post brain injury.  I was pleased to hear that I am not alone. There are many people who do not enjoy traveling themselves. It is bizarre to have achieved much independence yet always have a bit of insecurity regarding my dependence on my parents. I would greatly enjoy reading which individuals have been injured and have conquered traveling by his/her self.

I recall the same sort of feeling the first time I drove down the parkway to a facility that I was not familiar with. Now I am able to drive pretty routinely on the parkway to the various facilities. I am positive that once I get one flight myself under my belt I will be okay. I am not sure that I will choose to fly myself often even after I have mastered the task. It will be good for my confidence to achieve this seemingly routine mode of transportation. The airports I know will be fully prepared to help me. I understand that there are many times that people are willing to assist those in need; the individual has to be willing to accept the assistance. It is always a challenge to swallow your pride and acknowledge that indeed (even though I am just shy of 30) this will be the first time that I am attempting to fly myself. I am sure that once I return from my first flight by myself I will feel so much better to have my initial voyage under my belt. Most people that I know do not typically choose to fly by themselves unless it is for business travel. Thankfully I do not travel for work, so I am hoping that I will not have to travel singularly very often. I hope you all have an excellent New Year. I will write more in 2015!

~Noelle

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Another Year Ending

Another year is about to come to a close. The New Year will be quickly among us. The holidays are a time of togetherness. Another year is approaching and thus a renewal of our wants and desires. It is very important to have a desire for the focus of the New Year. As this year comes to a close it is important to take notice of all that you have accomplished. Have you stepped outside of yourself and taken on a responsibility greater than yourself? If working is not an option, one can always volunteer. Develop your network and always seek to belong to a cause greater than yourself. I would love to hear who has taken advantage of volunteer opportunities.

Despite the chill in the air, warmth can be felt within. I would love to hear who has taken advantage of any volunteer opportunities. Every one of us belongs to a network. The network among survivors is extremely deep rooted. I have attempted to make myself available to many of the survivors that I know. This has allowed me to feel a worth that I would have otherwise missed out on. Every one of us needs to know that there is a network of individuals. The purpose of this blog is to create a forum of ideas. Once a survivor is given several ideas there are always methods to aid and lend a helping hand. The inner warmth can counteract the chill in the air.

The hustle and the bustle that is the holidays is a cyclical reminder to us that the life that we are living goes through differing seasons. We as survivors have to hold ourselves in form of Thanksgiving all year long. We will be challenged as we are every year when the snow starts falling. The ice creates potentially hazardous conditions for those of us with balance issues. I certainly have balance issues, yet I now know what risks I have to avoid making to progress through the winter with minimal risk. The December holidays are a jubilation of sorts of all that we have managed throughout the year to progress seamlessly forward in another year. As always thank you for reading.

~Noelle

Monday, December 22, 2014

Peace and Appreciation


Recently I was invited to a lovely interaction by a former patient to her house. I have become very familiar with her family as I met them while the patient was still only semiconscious. The welcoming warmth that I felt upon entrance to their house was fantastic. If ever I wonder if I am doing a meaningful job, interactions such as the one I had are certainly reassuring. The family says that they consider me part of the family and they can’t thank me enough. It was great for me to be able to go somewhere very meaningful. At times, when there are not many commitments it is easy to feel yourself slipping away from the enthusiasm which is the hallmark that you bring to your position.

As I am getting older, it is enlightening to witness your values and desires change form. No longer do I feel a desire to go out on the town with people. At times certainly there is a time and a place to do just that but I am at true peace by entering a families’ circle and sharing a meal and conversation. I can only desire that such opportunities will continue to show themselves. Social media has allowed me to stay in touch with many of the former patients who I have served as an ambassador to. I follow the patients and stay in contact as I desire to always be a helpful resource. I am still the same person as I always have been, yet I am maturing. The former patients and their families enjoy greatly that I am a resource who always wants to be available to comfort and aid as a brain injury is a fully encompassing injury for the entire family. As an individual improves and adjusts to the “new normal” there is always a bit of discomfort with the inevitable changes that have taken place.

Resiliency and adaptation are key components to a peaceful and sound recovery. One needs to take ownership over his/her changes to function and learn to truly appreciate those who have stood by. I have thankfully witnessed many incredibly supportive families. To witness how entire families flock to embrace a member who has been injured makes me realize how my family must have been viewed by the rehab staff. I am forever thankful to them for how they have supported me as I have ventured through on this recovery. I would love to hear any comments that you may have in regards to family involvement.
I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle


Monday, December 1, 2014

Give Thanks and Get Thanks

This previous weekend was a beautiful experience. It was further driven home by the incredible message that a former patient had left. It is important to never lose sight of the positive things that you encounter throughout your occupation. Sometimes we are not aware of the impact that we have in regards to other people. I was pleasantly surprised by a former pant’s message. It is wonderful to know that during somebody’s holiday, they were very thankful for the inspiration that they had received from my visits during the exceedingly difficult time that they had in the rehabilitation center. A simple thank you is may not truly appreciated.

I was able to enjoy a spectacular Disney production over the weekend with my Goddaughter. Her eyes lit up as she watched the magical story unfolding before her eyes. The joy could be seen in her eyes clear as day. Individuals who are in medical facilities have a much harder demeanor to interpret. Many times one is unable to decipher if their efforts are having a beneficial effect on the patient. The phone call that was received was certainly a treat. Whenever in doubt, always thank those who have made an effort on your behalf. Truthfully, I was unsure of the impact that I had in regards to the individual who has made it his prerogative to be sure to call and be sure that I am recognized for the efforts that I have put forth on behalf of the patients who I visit. The fact that I was recognized for my efforts made the true meaning of Thanksgiving incredibly valuable. When in doubt; always give thanks. I would always much rather give thanks when it is not necessary, than risk appearing as ungrateful.

I am sure that there are always people who I have missed (such is life) but I am sure to always try and make a contrived effort to make sure that I always give appropriate thanks and recognitions to those that have impacted my life positively. I see how positively a thank you can impact a person’s ambition to continually act in a similar manner. Now that the Christmas season has officially arrived it is important to instill gratitude to the children and those around you. My niece and nephew are adorable and special. It is important to try and contribute beneficially to their development of social etiquette and manners.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope that everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving!

~Noelle