Friendships

Hey folks,

For me when the weather is shit outside like it is today. I feel trapped. It’s pissing it down (it’s raining), so unless I have somewhere I have to be, I’ll be staying at home. When you can’t really walk fast and it’s raining lots it’s only mean one thing………you’re going to get very wet!

So I stay home which then means I stat over thinking and worrying about situations that haven’t happened yet. Or in fact aren’t ever going to happen, but my brain says the old faithful questions……….”what if…….”, “why………”….”what did you say…….”. It’s a vicious circle and when your short term memory isn’t ever working 100% then you really start eating yourself up. “I must’ve said something……”, “are they ignoring me……”, “why don’t they like me anymore……..”, “I don’t fit in……….”, “they don’t want to be my friend anymore…….” I could go on for ages with.

It’s true friendships do change when something like this happens, but it probably isn’t 100% your fault. In fact it might not be anyone’s fault. Everyone’s life changes. It just might be that………

  • You never were as close as you thought you were. The seriousness of the situation confirmed that.
  • They don’t know how to act around you.
  • You’re trying to still be pre brain injury you and it takes you a while the realise you’ve changed.
  • You can’t handle what’s happened.
  • They can’t handle what’s happened.
  • You don’t fit their lifestyle anymore.
  • They don’t fit yours.
  • The friendship has run its course.

And many, many other reasons.

The other side of that is that other friends who you weren’t as close to step up and give you the support you need. You also make new friends through support groups, charities & even social media of people who have been through a similar experience to you. I say similar as no two brain injuries are the same.

But I think the biggest thing is to be your own friend. If you don’t manage all of your tasks/challenges/rehab for that day, your very tired, your brain is fatigued. Don’t beat yourself up, or think you have failed because you haven’t. Love and appreciate this new you. This might not be how you are forever, our bodies change and adapt everyday. But if this is how your body will be then love it nonetheless.

You are amazing and you’ve already shown that by surviving. Remember you are a SURVIVOR!!

Laters 💋

It’s been busy

Hey folks

Apologies that I haven’t got up to date sooner but it’s been a bit of a tough couple of weeks.

So let’s pick up where we left off last time…………so James had put me through my paces in physio on the Friday.

Right on the sat I was in the gym when my mum called to say that my grandad was in hospital very sick and that they think that it was going to be it this time that he wouldn’t be coming home again. So mum came to mine and Diane was flying back from Scotland and meeting mum at the hospital. I went with mum to keep her company and be her sat nav. We were only 10mins from the hospital and someone sped through some lights and went into the back of mums car!

Grandad was sick. The worst part of it all was that his brain was still 100% working it was just his body was giving up. He sadly passed away on 24th July at 2:15am. He had got to say goodbye to nearly everyone so I was finally at rest.

After the accident on the sat I went to pop down the shops on the Sunday and as I was driving I was getting pain in my shoulder and down my arm. When home I was moving my arm around and couldn’t move it past 90 degrees. So off to the docs I go and you guessed it I’ve got whiplash in my left shoulder. Great! The pain killers the doc gave me to take I can’t as they interfere with my happy pills and so I could be off the planet. So once I’ve spoken to the insurance company I get hold of James for physio.

I went back to Suffolk for a week to give Debbie a break. Her job is stressful and now that I’m a bit buggered in both arms I can’t do as much around the house. I’m getting grumpy and snappy as it hurts then she is getting grumpy and snappy as her days never stop. We end up arguing and that’s not good.

Had l lovely week away a good time to reflect and put things in perspective. Spending valuable time with my niece Maddie age 9 and nephew Nathan age 17. I caught up with one friend while right at the end of the week I was back but no one else. The reason I went back was to figure things out in my life and I know if I’d have caught up with more friends I would’ve avoided it. Apologies people I love you all.

So last week. Back here I started physio for the whiplash on the tues with Helen. Helen is the wife of my Neurophysio James. Helen is lovely and put me at ease straight away. I’m so lucky that I have James & Helen dealing with me as no notes can get lost, they have my full history and they are such lovely lovely human beings who are bloody brilliant at their job. Don’t get me wrong my arm was aching after the session but in a your gonna get fixed kinda way. I can’t leave you to fix in your own time as I need you to function. The only down side is that I’m not allowed to do any upper body work in the gym until Helen tells me I can.

We said our final goodbyes to grandad on weds. A beautiful service and getting to meet family for the first time. It was a very hard day seeing my mum and Diane so upset. It was a time for reflection too. He was such an amazing, kind, strong and gentle man I just wish I’d spent more time with him.

Thursday was therapy day. Again with everything that had happened over the last couple of weeks that was a mentally hard session. It was hard for me to get to sleep Thursday night. Friday again I was physically and mentally drains from the past few days so I wasn’t very functional. Again I struggled to sleep Friday night. That’s one of the issues with brain injury it’s harder to process what has been happening and so the brain will decide to process,dissect and understand what been happening when it want to not when you want it to.

Helen told me to rest my arm and I didn’t think that hanging out some washing and carrying some laundry in a basket would be and issue…………how wrong was I!! I struggled to sleep Saturday night. I couldn’t lie on my left or my right. Needless to say trying to get up on Sunday was a bit of an issue and Debbie had to help me. So Sunday was a major rest day for me. Helen’s going to kick my arse on Tuesday when I go back for more physio.

And so here we are back up to date. Now I’ve got up to date I’m now going to have so breakfast and coffee before heading over to Hertford for the Headway coffee morning.

Laters 💋

It’s been a while

Hello folks,

First of all big apologies. I just looked back at my last post and its been a couple of weeks………my bad!

I just looked again for reminders of what I’ve been up to and it’s 3 weeks!! Shit!!

Well I 9th-15th I managed to go to the gym 3 times. I was feeling really motivated and I was in control of my energy levels. Which will probably seem strange to some of you reading this but sometimes the fatigue draws me into a false sense of energy. Like I’ve said before it’s so difficult to explain if you haven’t experienced it. Below is Headway’s analogy:-

Fatigue is experienced by everyone at some point after a period of physical or mental activity and is a signal telling us to take a break. ‘Normal’ fatigue is time-limited and alleviated by rest, whereas ‘pathological’ fatigue, such as that experienced following brain injury, may be present most of the time. It may not improve with rest and is likely to significantly impact on people being able to do the activities they want to do.

If you would like to read more here is the link https://www.headway.org.uk/media/3995/managing-fatigue-e-booklet.pdf

I also stuck post it notes all over the cupboard doors and light switches saying Right hand only. To remind myself obviously that and cupboard that was opened or any light switch had to be operated with my right hand. This is because my brain wants to automatically use my left coz it’s quicker, takes less time, concentration & effort. That is a battle I constantly have. The funniest thing about sticking up the post it notes was literally 5 mins later I was making a cup of tea and opened the fridge door with my left. Even though there is a post it not right above the handle!!

Putting post it notes up has made me a lot more aware of my right hand. In the shower now I try to was as much of my body as I can with my right hand now. When reading I try to turn pages using my right hand. That is a lot harder as I end up getting several pages at a time………I suppose it’s a quicker way to read a book?

16th-22nd this was another busy week. Not really dissimilar to the previous week really. Going to the gym and hand therapy getting my hand more involved in day to day things as much as possible.

I had my first counselling session with my new therapist who Headway Herts got me in contact with. Chris is fantastic. She comes to my flat. She has worked with many people with brain injuries so she has a good understanding unlike that wellbeing woman. The session was a highly emotional rollercoaster for me. Plenty of tears. I was exhausted after she left. Fatigue was at an all time high, I just laid on the sofa after she left. In fact I was in bed early that night. I couldn’t string sentences together and couldn’t find words I wanted so I took myself to bed to rest.

The Friday I had Physio with James. It was has work……….in fact a classed it as one of my gym sessions for the week. James had me standing in front of a wall with a small crate with foam balls in. To start he told me to reach down pick up one of the balls in my right hand then reach up and touch the ball on the wall as high as I could. Once I had he made a paper target that he stuck the wall and every ball I picked up had to hit that target before putting in the other basket. 10 balls each time with a minute break in between. Soooooo I got to the end in round 2 and this time instead of a 1 minute break I had to go straight over to bench and pick up marbles with my finger and thumb the finger tips. There were 9 marbles that I had to get from one side of the board to the other. 1st attempt took ages……..I’d say 3+ minutes. As soon as I had finished it was straight back to the balls. Then back to the marbles which I was getting quicker at. Again back to the balls. This was becoming more difficult as my arm was tiring and I was struggling to get the ball to the target. Again back to the marbles and this time it was even quicker and my grip of the marbles was really good. The session finished with one more round with the foam balls. By this point it was very difficult. My arm was knackered. So now that is the way we are working. Because the flexors (I think I’ve got this the right way round) in my forearm are tight it makes it harder for me to to finer movements with my hands, but…………by tiring my arm and the flexors there is less resistance so the finer movements are easier to do. So that’s the route we are taking now.

Right this is quite a big post so I’ll leave it there for today and I’ll finish it and get up to date tomorrow.

Laters people 💋

Feeling Hot! Hot! Hot!

Wow!! It’s been one hell of a hot week!!

I love to weather……………..but my head doesn’t.

After my aneurysm I struggle in hot weather. I become dehydrated quicker. Which is when the headaches start and my patience…………..well it ****s off!! But on the up side it’s also a good fluid indication for me. I think I’m drinking enough water through the day. A headache starts……..you know that little twinge you get, like as your hangover starts to rear it’s ugly head. So I know I clearly haven’t drank enough fluids so I best get some. I’ve had days where I’ve had 5ltrs of water………crazy.

Tuesday was an interesting day for me………..my memory had decided to have a day off that day……..well let’s just say it didn’t get up with me. There were some spuds in a saucepan on the cooker that I need to boil for Luna’s dinner later. So in my had I was like “right I’ll do them in a min then they will be done before I go to the gym.

Fast forward to me at the gym. I’ve only been the 20mins at the most. Sitting on the recumbent bike about 8mins in and then horror hits my face! Did I turn the spuds off? Do I even boil them? No I didn’t……….did I? Oh no Luna what if I haven’t? Luna could get hurt! No no no I didn’t cook them. Or did I? I’ve got to get home and fast. Now getting home fast is a slight issue when you don’t have the car, haven’t brought any money with you and have to wait for a train…………d’oh!

Needless to say once I got home I hadn’t even attempted to cook the spuds and Luna was sprawled out on the bed trying to keep cool.

The spud saga doesn’t end there no no no………….I was in my fitness class in the afternoon and again…….30mins in……….the spud dilemma starts again……..did I, didn’t I blah blah blah. If I hadn’t have managed to dig into my memory and figure remember that all I done was put the water in the pan I would’ve been on another race home. Which this time would’ve been worse as I would’ve been waiting for the bus!

So with all that happening and then the England match plus a couple of shandies. Needless to say I was shattered Wednesday.

Thursday was a gym day………a very good gym day actually. Well impressed with myself. Also things were starting to stick in my hand therapy. That has been hard this week. I haven’t challenged myself hard enough I know. I need to get tougher on myself and not loose my cool and get so frustrated when it doesn’t click. I also stuck little post it notes on every light switch, plug socket and door to remind me that I was to use my right hand to use any of them. Proper fail! No sooner had I stuck them up that I was making myself a coffee and went to the fridge and opened the door with my left hand! This is going to take a while to retrain. I spent a few mins that night fighting with light switches. By the time I got into bed my right arm was aching from trying to turn off the lights. I achieved it and was well chuffed but again I’ve got to retrain that impatient part of my brain that wants to do it all with my left.

Friday I went to a new class at Shawe Physio here in Hoddesdon. One of the men Mark, that goes to a Headway Herts group that I volunteer at as been saying for ages about a balance and mobility group he goes to. Mark keeps asking me to go and so I went this Friday. I have to say it was a good class, with balance tasks, stretches, games . I really enjoyed it. I definitely be going again. Plus I get to catch up with Mark. He is such a card.

Saturday we went to a festival called Back of Beyond. That was amazing. 7 stages, of house, soulful house, classic house, tech, rave and jungle. A great set up and it wasn’t that big only 2500 tickets. I loved it. We both loved it and will definitely be going next year. Hopefully there will be a group of us. They were showing the match too but the tent for that wasn’t very big and it was rammed. So we headed back to the pub. That was crazy. A great day had.

So we get to Today Sunday. A day of rest for me. A busy week has been and another busy week ahead.

Happy Sunday folks. Catch you next week.

Laters 💋

It’s July

Hey folks,

It’s been an interesting week. The week started pretty productively,

Gym✔️ Hand Therapy✔️ Blog back up and running✔️ Blogs Instagram Acc✔️

Then it all came to a abrupt stop on Weds when I had my CBT phone appointment. I had ask the have someone who had knowledge of brain injury. In our first couple of appointments she seemed as if she did but……….clearly it was false sense of security I was being lured into. We were talking about following the plan not the mood to make sure I get things done. Ok I can do that. So we are planning activities for the week. For this the Therapist will be T (saves typing 🙂) So the conversation goes like this………

T: so what the first tasks you are going do this week and on what day?

Me: hand therapy everyday

T: ok. Everyday though really? What time of day?

Me: yes everyday I need do do 400 reps everyday. It has to be in the morning as it’s when I function best.

T: ok. What are we going to add next?

Me: the gym.

T: ok when are you going to do that?

Me: again in the morning.

T: ok so what about in the afternoon?

Me: a nap.

T: ok is that a good idea? Is there anything else you could be doing? Remembering to follow the plan not the mood.

Me: yes I’ll need to have some rest as the concentration it takes tires my brain.

T: remember we are following the plan not the mood. It’s easy to give in to our brain not wanting to do something.

(Thinking in my head………Do you think I don’t know this! I’m a ***ing expert in it! For the last 3years have had constant arguments with my brain over doing tasks using my right hand instead my left. With my brain being like……..”this is too hard, why are we doing this? Just do it with your left it will be easier and quicker! I’m bored! I’m not playing!)

Me: yes I know but since my brain injury I get tired very easily especially when doing the hand therapy. (staring to get upset) It’s takes a lot of concentration as I’m trying to get my brain and my hand to communicate again.

T: I understand

Me: no! I don’t think you do! I don’t think you understand the battle………Ive got to go. I’m hanging up now

Click! End of conversation.

That killed my mood for the rest of the week really if I’m honest. I’m now trying to get back in touch with my neuropsychologist at Danesbury and also other privately. I’m going to be more through in my search. There are changes in my brain again and I need help understanding them.

Like every human out there my brain is constantly changing, adapting, fixing, growing and deleting (although it does this a lot as the keys to the short term memory department keep getting lost. Or the staff are sleeping on the job)

There is no definite answer to what you can achieve after brain injury. The only definite thing is how far you want to push yourself. In my opinion yes the experts can say this will/won’t/could/should happen but no one in the world knows what your brain can do……………even you.

For me I need the neuropsychologist to help me guide my body and my brain down the same path. Yeah there are going to be times that they don’t want to but instead of getting frustrated and angry I need help in managing it all and recognising triggers.

Well time to sleep. A new month of challenges and results and targets.

Laters💋