Monday, August 6, 2012

Seven Years Post Injury...

As one gets further away from their injury, a deep rooted evaluation ensues. Progress to an outside individual is very different from what is perceived by the victim. I recently had my seven year anniversary of sustaining this injury. I spoke with several friends and family members regarding this momentous occasion. It was celebrated by many as to how far I have come and where I am today as opposed to laying comatose a “short” seven years ago.

In my opinion this has been one of the longest periods of seven years that anyone could ever go through. I went to dinner with a friend and as I went to grab the railing to go up the stairs, my arm tremor threw me of balance. I did not fall, yet I felt like all eyes were on me as I went up the stairs. I almost felt as though that experience happened last night to remind me that I will never be able to live my life with a full disregard for this injury. Many people express to me, “that with time you will barely be able to notice the injury”. I would love to hear some responses on who has heard and interpreted that statement. I have heard that statement a countless numbers of times and I just know what it feels like to live daily with this brain injury. Sometimes I feel as if I want to respond, “With all due respect I know better”. Obviously I never do, rather I reflect within myself and say nothing if it is not going to help me.

In my position I have to understand that people try to say what they think people want to hear. That is true in all of life I think. There are several different layers of emotions that must be peeled away as one proactively moves forward with this recovery. There is never an option to sit stagnantly I don’t think. Every day can be and has to be an opportunity. Even though I am seven years post accident and I still have some balance issues, I realize that my choice to wear high heels is likely not the most conducive to going up even a few stairs. That being said, I never want to lose the ability to challenge myself. Obviously any challenge that I take part in has to be with my safety in mind first. I can distinctly recall even a few weeks ago when I attempted to go up the stairs to a restaurant with my father. I ignorantly thought I could venture up the middle of the stairs with no railing. I almost lost my balance and thankfully my father was there to grab my arm. I recall being shocked at my loss of balance. Even though that was rather rare, I need to have that memory forefront so that I don’t get hurt. Daily activities can still be done, but safety always has to come first.

Seven years post injury, I am blessed and very thankful to be where I am yet I know that certain things are forever changed. I would love to hear from each of you as to what you have seen forever changed. Certain things have become more acute. Both my hearing and my sense of smell have become very much heightened. Once I regained the ability to verbalize my thoughts and emotions I felt very drawn to help those in need. Very often many people/patients need to be listened to. I can share many of my rehab experiences with those much earlier in the process. Hopefully I can be of some comfort as they battle back from their ailments.

~Noelle