Walk A Mile In My Shoes
I saw a meme recently that said “ Never mind ‘walkin a mile in my shoes’…Try spending a day in my head.”. It made me think how would I describe what it’s like in mine with a traumatic brain injury.
Let’s see, you would wake up early around 5:30 to 6:00 AM every day.
You don’t connect with time like you used to, so your first thoughts are to try to figure out if today is a work day or a stay at home day.
Shortly you become aware of the ringing in your ears, one of the new symptoms you are still trying to get used to.
Your brain injury brings new symptoms as time goes by and nerves fail and deteriorate.
The pain in your hands and feet is a throbbing tingling sensation this morning , another new symptom that is annoying right now, which is better then the pain from last night.
When you get out of bed to start your day you find your balance is a little unstable, easily corrected with the support of the bed and the wall.
You brush your teeth with the lights out because it’s easier on your light sensitive eyes.
Brushing your teeth can be a challenge, sometimes you have trouble figuring out what items you need to accomplish this simple task.
Often you have trouble with your balance in the shower. Getting rescued from the shower because you fall is probably not on your bucket list.
Putting on your deodorant can be a challenge too, you may find yourself standing at the bathroom counter knowing there is something you should be doing next, but you can not find the memory anywhere.
Memory loss is a symptom you will have to deal with daily. Short term loss is the worst, most every thing from the last three years is gone. Anything you experienced recently won’t stay unless you find a way to repeat it some how. Anything you do retain, will feel like a distant disconnected memory.
Eating is like a new experience every time, because you don’t remember want anything tastes like. When you try to recall memories from the distant past, it brings on headaches. Several times today you will be asked “Do you miss?”, it is hard to connect to something that you don’t have memories of.
You will receive suggestions and comments today like “ have you tried?”, “if I was you.” , “you don’t look hurt!”.
There is a tingling sensation inside your head, it’s almost like you can feel every connection in your brain is activating.
You’ll try to avoid bright light and loud noises because they both make you uncomfortable.
Your vision is one of your oldest symptoms. You’ve lost some of your right peripheral vision and everything is generally blurred. As the day progresses, a tension headache will start from your temples, then across your eye brows and forehead.
Fatigue will start to hit by 10:30-11:00 AM. You’ll need a nap by early evening or maybe some time in a low light room to rest your eyes and head.
Your migraines are finally under control, now that you are on the right medication, as long as you remember to take it.
You’re going to experience a disconnection from your surroundings. It’s a feeling like you are watching what is going on around you but you are not really taking part in it.
Confusion and distraction come over you, you can’t understand why simple tasks are so challenging.
Repetitive tasks set well and allow you to be productive.
New tasks challenge you, strain your thought processes and generate headaches.
You spend a lot of time in your own head but find that you don’t really spend much time thinking about anything.
Today you have an appointment with a new doctor, you are hopeful for an open mind, you are hopeful you will be heard and you are hopeful their agenda today, includes you.
You’re ready for bed by 10:00 PM but you know you won’t sleep more then five hours so you have to stay up till midnight or 1:00 AM.
You realize you’ve made it to the end of another day.
TBI is the leading cause of death and disability in children and adults ages 1 to 44. Populations that are most affected are youth and elderly who have falls. Each year about 2.5 million individuals have TBIs of which approximately 50,000 result in death, and over 80,000 suffer permanent disability.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of TBI are:
• Falls (28%)
• Motor vehicle crashes (20%)
• Being hit by or colliding with an object (19%)
• Assaults (11%)
• Others (12%)