Getting the right information about #concussion

Thank you for this. I relate to this so much. Of all the things, one of my biggest fears is telling people about my TBI due to what they will think. Matter of fact, I’m scared to write this and past the comment.
No one understands what it’s like to experience and there isn’t a good roadmap for explaining it that gives people hope (at least one that is practical for real world). If you have a great family and support system that is extremely tight it might be different but if your family is like mine (they loved me and tried to help but they didn’t know what to expect. They didn’t know what to do and they didn’t know how to do it. It was tough on them.).
Today, just like yesterday, I have a fear all of the time that I can’t explain or express. I pretend that I’m just a normal guy so no one will ask what happened or what’s wrong. Being “on stage” “acting the part of how you believe you should/need to/or are expected to” becomes the days work over and over again. At the end of the day, you realize you have done nothing but pretend and have lost yet another part of yourself. You lose the ability to see the here and now for the value they are of just being yourself today and realizing that your good enough for today and you are good enough to be yourself today. You lose the ability to be your current self in fear, not just of what you see in the mirror, not just what you fear is gone, but in the fear of How To Announce Who You Are to others. If only living out in the real world were as easy as it was to comment on your post. Thanks again for the attention to this matter. People like us and and people need to understand what we have and who we are.

Broken Brain - Brilliant Mind

train tracks rounding a bend and disappearing Who can say what lies ahead?

It never ceases to amaze me, how little is generally known about concussion / mild TBI. Either it’s dismissed, or it’s viewed with a combination of fear and horror. Just mentioning to someone that you’ve had one (or two, or — like me — 9) can seriously alter their perception of you.

I’ve had conversations with people who I thought would “get it”. But as soon as I mentioned my history of mild TBI, their manner changed from collegial to guarded. As though they were waiting for me to slip up or do something stupid.

Eh, well. Whatever. I can’t get too bent out of shape about it. After all, it’s largely not their fault. We just don’t have a lot of good information about concussion / mild TBI. Nor do we have stellar management practices. It’s either negligent, or it’s over-protective. And unless I’ve…

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Family, Mental illness, TBI

When the broken mindset is hard to let go


There will be time in your life when you realize that what you thought you were doing right was actually wrong.  It’s a moment when your stomach drops and you just plain feel awful.  These moments happen throughout our lives and the good news is that its okay to have these moments.  In fact, it means that you have just learned something.  Its going to hurt and it may bother you for some time depending on how deep the emotions are but remind yourself that you have just discovered something about yourself.

You will probably have a moment when you first discover that you were wrong when you realize that their were people that had been telling you about what you were wrong about and you refused to listen to them.  These could be family members or friends.  Its normal to be embarrassed that you were wrong and they were right and now you have to go and “face the music,” or admit to yourself that you really do have things wrong with you.  It’s okay to be embarrassed at first but you need to remind yourself again that you have just learned something about yourself and therefore that embarrassment should only be felt a short time.  Don’t let yourself be embarrassed for to long or it will begin to control you.  You will not grow from this learning experience when you let the embarrassment and the resentment or anger from those that “told you they were right.”  Let these feelings go after you feel them and process them.

Once you are ready, find out what is underneath what you learned.  Why did it take you so long to find this out?  Was there something or someone that was encouraging you to think that you were right when in fact you were wrong?  Put your curious hat on and take a step back from the situation to see if you can answer these questions fro yourself.  If not, consider confiding in someone you absolutly feel safe with.  Not someone that tends to tell you that they were right and you were wrong but someone who can really give you a objective look.  Psychologist can be helpful but they have limits just as all humans do.  It is key to find a good psychologist that is compassionate and thorough if you are going to take this route.

I suffer from many moments were I realize that I have been in the wrong.  Some of these are not a big deal and some of these are on a very crucial beleif that I hold.  The ones that have lots of importance to me really can crush me and it’s hard to be honest or talk about it.  Nonetheless, it is crucial to admit that we found an error in our thinking and learned something about ourselves.  Eventually we will see the positive and grow.

I’m realizing more and more about my faults about myself and it really hurts.  I know that I’m not mentally healthy and that I suffer from mental illness.  I’ve never admitted this out in the open.  I thought that this would mean that I was weak and that it would hurt a lot of parts in my life.  But not admitting it is a larger problem.  It’s just time.  Having a TBI has caused a lot of changes in my life and has made any of the problems that I had before the injury a hundred times worse.  I feel horrible that you two have me as a father.  I also feel awful that your Mom has the husband that she has.  My promise to you is that I will continue to work on being a better father, husband, and family man to you all.

Family, grief, TBI

Sometimes Darkness Enters but we still Feel the Light

DSC03112.JPGSometimes in life bad things happen.  Uncle Tom died a little over a week ago.  One day I hope to share with you the relationship that I had with him in person but just in case I better put some things down here now.

Uncle Tom was more than an Uncle.  Uncle Tom was more like a father figure in a large portion of my life.  Your Papa and I had some items that kept us away from each other.  Your Papa and I love each other very very much. This is not a knock on Papa but simply something that I need to get off of my chest so that you can know why and what happened between your Uncle Tom and I.

Uncle Tom focused on the other.  The first thing your Uncle Tom would do when he saw someone, no matter what was going on, was to ask a specific question about that person.  For example, Uncle Tom would be in the emergency room.  Someone would walk in and Uncle Tom would ask right away how they were and ask something about them in their life before they could ask about him.  Uncle Tom did this time and time again giving no regard for himself but being interested in the other.  This quality was something that I was drawn to when I was really young.

We would go to Uncle Tom and Aunt Sardy’s house each summer for the fourth of July and he would always be so interested in what was going on in everyones life.  “Hey Buddy” became two very welcoming words.

I could sit and listen to Uncle Tom tell story after story.  He always seemed to make us laugh and his laugh was so loud that everyone couldn’t resist but listen in.  You couldn’t help but be engaged by Uncle Tom.

Some of the earliest times I was able to be alone with Uncle Tom that I can remember was a summer that I was at Uncle Tom and Aunt Sardy’s house (for a reason that I don’t remember).  I was around six years old. I woke up and came down to the kitchen to find Uncle Tom reading the paper.  He was waiting to make breakfast.  He and I made a huge breakfast together and he made me laugh the entire time telling jokes and making fun of the silliest things.  We had hash browns, eggs, and toast and lots and lots of fun.

That next winter he went skiing with us.  I rode in his car from Colorado to Lincoln.  The two of us just talked and talked and from a seven year old perspective I really felt important.  We were able to go on a few trips together and he was just my favorite.

As the years continued through elementary and high school I always loved to go see Aunt Sardy, B and Uncle Tom.

More years passed and high school ended.  Off to college I went.  I was not in a good place. Luckily one summer I found the comfort of moving in with Aunt Sardy and Uncle Tom.

We had dinners together and I was able to listen and learn about myself from these two.  After a few changes, I pulled it together and graduated college.

I became very worried  the day  I heard that he wasn’t feeling good.  I knew that he was dealing with something for some time and I just did not like it.  I wanted to do everything I could to help one of my favorites.

Unfortunately, my memories aren’t the best. But here are things that I do remember.   I do remember jumping up and down after I received a call from a hospital that did some testing. I was in the Lincoln airport and someone from Omaha called to let me know that I could help out.  I was jumping up and down and people around me probably thought I was nuts.  I remember nervously calling my boss to ask him for some time off and the relief I felt when he said yes.

I remember oatmeal.  We would order the same breakfast of oatmeal.  I’m sure it wasn’t that great of oatmeal but when you eat with Uncle Tom it is great oatmeal.   Several mornings we shared a room having our oatmeal in the morning at the Hospital.

I know that there are so many many more memories.  Most are filled with large amounts of fun and laughter.  Others are full of despair.  The memories that weren’t the best all have a silver lining that Uncle Tom brought about.

After my brain injury my first memory that I have is of Uncle Tom.  I must have woken up at some point either in the night or early morning.  Uncle Tom was sleeping in a  recliner by my hospital bed.  This was my first documented memory.  I think thats when I knew I would be okay.

Many moons later, after I had come home and been going to several doctors, they decided that I should go and stay at Uncle Tom and Aunt Sardy’s house for a while.  (Let me preface this and say that I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to just stay there but I just can’t do that) . I convinced My Uncle Tom and Aunt Sardy that it was okay for me to go back home that night.  Uncle Tom agreed to drop me off at a neighbors house who worked in Lincoln.  This was probably around 10:00 at night. When I got home I fell asleep on our couch.  I remember waking up at some point in the middle of the night to see my Uncle Tom asleep on another couch in our house.  Uncle Tom had found out that I had tricked him and he drove all the way to Omaha in the middle of the night to stay with me.  To this day I want to bop myself on the head for doing that to them and having my Uncle drive all the way to Omaha in the middle of the night.  I just cant believe how lucky I am to have Uncle Tom in my corner.

We did a lot of things that normal Uncles and nephews don’t normally do.  He was my best friend, a confidant, a big brother, and a father all wrapped into one.  I was lucky enough to call him my Uncle and boy how lucky was I to have the relationship that we shared.

I don’t know what life is like yet without you Uncle Tom.   So far, I’m just mad.  I’m mad that you are not here.  I’m mad that I didn’t tell you enough or ask you enough or call you enough or see you enough.  I’m mad that life is like this right now.  You are suppose to be here.  You are the one that tells me when its a really good idea  or if I should just pass.  You are the one I need to brag to about when I did something great.  They say it will take time.  I don’t want it to take time because I don’t want you to be away from us.  I want you here.

I just need to keep reminding myself how lucky we all were to have you and to still have you.  But again, you are still suppose to be here.

The light is that we all had you on earth as you set a  life that we all need to try for.  I’m just not ready to let go.


X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan)

I found this from a fellow blogger and I had to share.  I’m not sure what my young children will be facing in 8-10 years but I hope they will have this ability to communicate with their Mom and hopefully me in such a manner.

Friends, as most of you know, I get to spend an hour each week with a group of young people going through addiction recovery.  Yes.  Young people.  I’m talking teenagers who are locked away for at …

Source: X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan)


Here We Go

As my memory and cognition seems to be changing, better and then worse, I figured I better take advantage of this time and write to you so you can know me if I ever go away in my mind for good.
I’m always thinking things in my head that I don’t believe I get out and tell you. This is for you three to at least read.img_0066

Missy, Thank you. I don’t know what else to say to someone who has stuck by and done what you have done for us. You have been wife, mother, caretaker, nurse, psychologist, counsel, shoulder, and family organizer.
Our married life has not been fair to you. Frankly, you deserve better and I wish you hadn’t have had to take on such an uneven load in our marriage.
I don’t think there has been a day that goes by where I haven’t had this guilt about the stress my deficits have put on you. You are an incredible woman.  I love you.

Ava and Eli,
I love you very much. I’m so proud of you. I’m so lucky to be your dad. Hey, I’m sorry that things get tough sometimes. I know that I’m not the perfect dad. But, there are some things that I just treasure. Like this morning Ava. I treasure the moment I walked you to school today. I don’t know if you know that I stop everyday after we say goodbye and watch you till you are out of sight. During that time I usually have a quick moment of anxiety about your day followed by my ritualistic style prayer for you to be protected and for you to have a great day. Sometimes I catch myself standing too long after you leave. (There is a moment of clarity where I realize that I’m just a grown man in front of an elementary school and that grown man doesn’t have a child with him!) So I walk back and head home. As I head home, I try to remember to remember.

Family, TBI

Get on with it

Have you ever been lost?  Maybe it was when you were little and you got separated from a parent.  Maybe it was during a hike or some other adventure that turned sour.  Perhaps it was on a trip out of town and you were in unfamiliar territory.

Do you remember the feeling you felt when you discovered that you were lost?, Can you remember the panic you felt of not knowing which way to go or who to ask or even how you were going to find your way?

Some days are just days and nothing spectacular happens.  The sun rises and sets and everything that suppose to have happened happens.  Everything goes on as expected.   These are the days that I think most of us really look forward to (even though we don’t like to admit it) because they are “safe.”  There is nothing special about them.  Nothing out of the ordinary means that everything we know how to do  and how to react to is occurring right in front of us.  They are just days.

Lets go on a quick journey.

What would happen if you had a chance to visit a different world?  This world would be in a different dimension where everything that you know is alive and well.  There is a family  in this world that matches the exact one on our planet, there are friends that are pretty much the same, and living conditions are almost the exact same as the world that you came from.  Again, this is a different dimension.  Its almost a mirror image of our world.  In this world the people have the same names, the cities are named the same, and they share the same culture as our world.

Now imagine that you are walking down the street that matches your street in this world.  It has the exact same layout and the houses look the same.  You see the neighbors next door are the same neighbors as the neighbors in your world.  Finally, you are standing in front of the house that matches yours.  You see that the garage door is open and you decide to take a look inside.  Everything is a perfect match to the home from your world.

All of a sudden your phone makes a sound.  It’s your wife asking you where you are.  You can’t wait to tell her the incredible news about the matching world.   You know what she is going to ask.  She is going to want to know if the people act the same as the people in our world?  Will the people have the same stories to tell and will they have the same experiences?  Now you start to wonder about this too.

You are curious to see how the humans in this world interact as opposed to the ones where you have come from.  You want to know the history both the long and the short past of this world that you stand in. You realize that you know nothing about the people currently around you.  You know their names or at least you believe you do if they match the names from your world.   You know who they are in relation to who you are, again, you at least believe you do.  You start to really dig down and become curious and want to know how this world compares to your world.

You can’t wait to share it with everyone you know until you start to realize something.  The more you dig into your world the more you realize that you are starting to forget things about your world.  You remember some of the names of the people in your world, or at least you believe you do.  You remember some of the relationships you have and what recent interactions you have had with people, or at least you believe you do.

What is happening

Is this new world your in messing up your memory?  You assure yourself that it will come back when you get back to your home world.  Wait, get back?  How did I get here?  What dimension is this?   Dimension?    What happened?

This is my world after all.

There are days where I just want to hide in my bed and never step outside.  I’m deeply afraid of what is out there because I don’t know what is out there.  In a way these are my “Lost Days.”  I spend the whole day worrying like a caveman that something is coming to get me.  I don’t know what that something is and I don’t know what that something looks or sounds like but I know that it’s scary.

Today was one of those days.  I luckily have come down off of my high stress (again nothing to be stressed about except my own fear of not knowing where I am) where I can share with you what its like on these “Lost Days”.

#1. I feel weak.  This is both during the day and of course now that it has occurred.

#2.  I feel ashamed.  I’ve let you three down.  I wasn’t productive in anyway and I didn’t help you three out.

#3.  I’m embarrassed.  Enough said.

#4.  I’m hopeful.  I have to believe that now that I’ve shared this with you (even though you won’t read it for years to come) it’s going to help me to prevent my fears from overwhelming my days and taking over.  I contacted the Nebraska Brain Injury Association today.  Even though I was so scared to do it, I called and emailed letting them know that I needed help.  This is something that normally  I just don’t do.  Maybe there is a cure or a physician they can send me to that can give me better results.  I hope.