This is what I drank in training, and the Ironman. Now it's the Goofy Challenge

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Day in the Life of a Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor!!

Alarm goes off at 8:30a.m. I hear the alarm, I don't know if it's built into me, or what part of the brain it's in, but there is a primordial response in the brain that knows exactly where the snooze button is. Brain Injury or not. I look at the time. It's 8:30 a.m. I know it's a.m. because it's light outside, and I would never be asleep at 8:30 p.m. I snooze, I don't really sleep, I lye in bed, and try to figure out where I am.

I am aware I am in my apartment, I do know this. I am thirsty, I need water. It seems there is a glass of water next to the bed, exactly where I would look for it.
Even upon waking, I am aware that I have a brain injury, that I have a disability. I don't know if its because I have spent over a year with this injured brain, or if it is just embedded in me. I just know I am not 100 percent. There is something off. Like a clouding in your sight.

I also know that I have something to do. Why else would I be up at 8:30a.m. My brain goes through all the possibilities of what I have to do. Mandy, Wedding, Parents, School, work, run with my clinic, am I meeting someone, do I have an appointment. I don't know. I wonder if I left myself a note. I look around to where I think a note would be. I find one, it's my palm pilot.

I do know that I use that to tell me what to do for the day. I turn it on, and look at the day. What day is it? I know what time it is, but what day is it. I turn on my TV to the channel guide, channel #2 where I live. It says it's Tuesday March 20Th. OK I look at that date on my palm pilot. It says I have to see Jackie at 10:00, she is my Disability worker at Douglas. It says, Biology at 12:30, then Math at 2:30, I have a 3kl run with my clinic at the running room at 6:30.

I put down the palm pilot and head to the bathroom, as I walk to the shower, I see my coffee maker. I think I would like some coffee, so I open it up to add some new coffee to it. There is new coffee in it, it looks like there is water to. I look at my mug, and see some sugar in it. No milk though, but that makes sense, it would go bad, if it was in there last night. When I obviously got this ready. I will remember to put milk in it, when it's ready.

As I look around the kitchen I see a juice maker (see prev entry's about my Juicer). I think it would be good to make a juice, I like juice. I think I have had this before. I wonder if I have fruit to put into it. I open the fridge. It seems there is a bowl in the fridge with a bunch of fruit, all ready to be put in to the juicer. Awesome.

I put in the juice, and start the juicer. I see a small bowl, with some vitamins and other pills in it. I figure there for me. There is no one else here. I pop my pills, my juice is done. I drink the juice. I figure that I should probably clean it now as I will forget to do it later. When I finish my cleaning the juice, my coffee is done. I have a sip, tastes weird. I forgot to add milk. I do that now. I sip my coffee, I see I have cleaned my juicer, so I must have used it.

What am I doing? I have something to do, why else would I would be up. I look at my palm. I have to see Jackie at Douglas at 10:00. What time is it now? I look at the clock, it's 8:49. I wonder how long it takes to get to Douglas. I do know I am busing, as I don't have a car.

I go to my computer to look up the bus schedule online. There is a note, that says "Douglas by 10:00 am" and says which bus # to catch at which time, it tells me "the bus stop up from your apartment" that makes sense. It must bus just outside my apartment. I wonder what time it comes. Again I look at the note. It is stated that the bus comes at 9:29. I wonder what time it is now. It's 8:51. I should shower.

I head into the shower, and look at the mirror. Looks like I shaved the night before. I see a toothbrush, it reminds me to brush my teeth. I get into the shower, I need to read the shampoo labels, is it shampoo first, and conditioner second? or conditioner first, and shampoo later. No; shampoo cleans, conditioner conditions.

I get out of the shower, I brush my teeth. It's weird I think I already did this. I feel like some coffee, and notice a coffee mug, I pick it up and it's warm. I have some coffee. What am I doing?

I look at my palm. Jackie 10:00am right, I got it. I wonder what time the bus comes, I notice a post it note at the computer, and see that I have already planned this. I should get dressed. I notice some close laid out by the closet. Pants, shirt, undies, socks,shoes. OK what am I doing? I look at my palm. Jackie 10:00 am. right.

I have class after that I notice, biology, and math. I think I need books for those. I can't find them. I see a backpack, I look into it, and see a math book, and a biology book. Plus a laptop, and some pencils and pens, paper etc. OK I am good.

Where am I going? I am going somewhere, I have my backpack on, and clothes on. I look at my palm pilot. Jackie 10:00 am. Right. OK. Did I eat? I must have, I see my juicer. I wonder what I will eat later. Should I make a lunch, it looks like I will be in school for a while, lunch seems like a good idea. I head to the kitchen. I open the fridge to see what I have. I see a Zip lock container, it has Yogurt, Granola, and it looks like some fruit in it. I think I have had this before. I think I like it. It looks like a good lunch. Plus there is a spoon, and hand wipes with it. I see some more vitamins. I look at them, these must be taken with food. OK I will take them with me and take them at lunch. What am I doing again? I look at my palm pilot. Right, Jackie at 10:00 am.

OK I have close on, I have a backpack with school stuff in it, I have lunch, I have a post it note with my bus schedule in it. I have my cell phone, I check to make sure I am wearing shoes. I unpack my backpack to make sure I have everything again. OK I do. I head outside. I stand outside my door. Do I have keys? crap, I head back in. OK keys are there, next to the keys is a bus pass. OK lets go. Where am I going? Right Jackie at 10:00. What time is it now? 9:19 I have a bus to catch. What time does it come? 9:29 right. OK lets go.

I stand outside my door. Holding my door before it closes completely. Do I have keys. I feel my pocket, OK I have keys, I close the door.

I head outside, I know I am going to catch a bus, but which bus? which way am I going? What time is it? I look at my post it note. I see it's the bus by my apartment. I know where that is. I head to it. I feel like some coffee. I will buy some at school. I stand at the bus stop.

I think of Mandy, I can't remember her phone number so I look in my contact list, and see Mandy, with three phone numbers. Home, Work, Cell. I call the cell. No answer. I don't leave a message, I think she is at home. I call her at home. Her grandma answers. "Mandy not home" I say thank you and hang up. I call her at work. "Mandy speaking" I say hello, and tell her about my day. I tell her I have school. She is aware of this. She asks me if I found out about my student loans. I don't think I have, what did I need to know.
"you need to find out when to apply, last semester you left it to long"
I don't remember this. I tell her
"I should ask the lady at school, the disability lady" I say.
she says "Jackie".
"yeah! that's her" I reply

I should make an appointment to see her. I should put that in my palm pilot before I forget. As I am entering in the data into my palm I see the name of my worker. I see her at 10:00 am. Good, I need to talk to her. I go to add a note to my palm about what questions I have for her. I see I have already done this. OK that's good.

Mandy is talking to me about a concert she went to with her sister. A school one, it must be her sisters school. Mandy isn't in school anymore. I tell her I love her, and I see my bus coming. Do I have money for the bus. I look into my pocket, I find a bus pass. I get on the bus.

I look at the palm again to tell me where I am going. Right school. Ok. It's a short bus ride, I recognize where I am, I have been here before. There is the school. I can see it from here. I hike up the hill, and up the stairs. I am at the school. I need coffee.

I go and get a coffee, I fill up the To Go cup, and head to the cashier to buy a coffee, when I go to grab my wallet that is in my backpack, I see I have a travel mug with coffee already in it, in the water holder part of the backpack. It's full of warm coffee. I am standing at the till, the lady at the till is looking at me expecting money. I feel stupid. I realize I forgot I had a coffee. I don't know why this bugs my, but I am embarrassed, so I pay for the coffee. What am I going to do with two cups of coffee. I fill it up with my cream and sugar, and head out.

I know I am going somewhere but I can't remember where. I put down my two coffee's and look at my palm. Jackie, 10:00am. OK it's 9:55.I start walking. Wait where am I going? Where is Jackie? I put my coffee's down again, and look at the note part of the Jackie task. It tells me her room #, I head there.

Someone says hello to me as I am walking up the steps to the next floor. I say hello, they ask me how I did on my Biology test. I had a Biology test? I say I don't know, I haven't checked it yet. This gets an odd look from this person. They ask how Mandy is. I say she is good. I have no Idea who this person is, but I am used to that. I say "I have to head to ...uhm...." I can't remember where. Something to do at the school. Class? It must be I am at school. I say I am heading to class. I get to the top of the stairs, and I have no Idea where I am going. I put my coffee's down. Why do I have two coffee's. I look at my palm. Jackie, 10:00 am. It's 9:59. I see where to go. I pick up the coffee's, and head to her office, and say hello to the receptionist.

The receptionist seems to know me. I say hello, make small talk. I sit down. She asks who I am there to see. I forgot. I look at my palm. I say "Jackie" a little louder than I wanted to. It came out a little funky, Like a kid who is proud to have remembered a word.

I see a someone walking toward me, they smile, I smile back. "Hi David". I say "hello" they invite me to there office. This must be Jackie. She asks me how I am. I make small talk. I know I am there for a reason, but I can't remember why. I look at palm pilot. I see I need to find out about my student loans. We talk for awhile, and decide I need to talk to Financial aid. I log all the information into the palm the time's, the name of the person I need to see, question's I need to ask them. I set a time for the reminder to go off.

I say goodbye to Jackie, I had looked up what I have to do before I left her office, and head to Biology. I set up my laptop, voice recorder, and take in as much I can.

Once class is done, I head to math (I looked at my palm before the end of class) I pack up my gear, and know what floor I am going to. I notice I am hungry, and I have to pee after all that coffee, I have no Idea why I had two cups of coffee. I drank them anyway. I head to the bathroom. I don't like putting things down because I am afraid I will forget them. So I pack everything into my backpack, and pockets. I leave the bathroom. I have not Idea where I am, or where I need to go. OK I am in school. I have classes. I should look at my palm. I pull it out my pocket, and see the time, it says I have math. I note the room that it's in, and look at the numbers in the hallway. I am on the wrong floor. I can tell because my class is in a 400 #, the rooms around me are all labeled 300. I see the stairs, and walk to them. Am I going up or down? I look at my palm, I am going to 400, I am on 300, I need to go up. OK. I find my math class.

Math is good, I am doing OK for a brain injured guy. Funny thing about math, before my injury I sucked at math. I don't know why the brain injury made math easier and open ended and creative things harder, but it did make things like math easier for me. The brain is weird, especially mine.

Math finishes, and I pack up my stuff. I look at my palm and see I have to do some shopping for dinner, and for my juicer tomorrow. I head to the grocery store after school. This I can see from Douglas College.

I get to the grocery store, I have no idea why I am there, let alone what to buy. I open up my palm hoping that there is something on it. I see "grocery list" and look at it. A list of ingredients, milk, eggs, etc. I buy everything on the list, and head home. I get out of the grocery store, and head to a bus stop near buy. I don't know if this is my bus or not. I call transit. I am asked where I am, I can read the street signs from where I am, and I tell them my address (I had to look at it on my drivers license)

I get home and check my mail. There is a bill that says late. I am used to this, I often forget to make the payment if I don't do it as soon as I get the bill. So I boot the computer and go online. I pay the bill. I have to right on the bill that I paid it, or else sometimes I see it again, and pay it twice. I am pissed off at late payment charges. I check my emails, and see some of my clinic runners have some questions. I do my best to give them good information, and eat a sandwich. It's off to the run.

Which bus do I catch. Ah I see I have a post it note, with "running room on Tuesday by 6:30" on it. Awesome. I head out. I pass a neighbor on my way out. He has an African Rasta hat on. He looks at me funny. I say hello, he grunts and almost walks into me. I think I know him, but I am not sure. I don't think I like him. I can't remember why. I head to my bus. I go to the wrong bus stop. I am heading back to Douglas. I don't have school. I have to go to work. I have a clinic. I get off the bus, I look at my palm. I see a note on the palm. "bus info for clinic runs on Tuesday @ 6:30" it notes the bus to catch. I cross the street and wait for it. I have a lot of time. I always leave early, just in case.

I jump on my bus, I show my bus pass, and I sit down. My phone goes off, I answer.
"yeah that's me"
"can you work on Thursday?"
"who is this?"
"it's Daniel"
"um I don't know I have to look at my schedule",
"well let me know as soon as possible".

I say OK. I look at my palm pilot and see I have school, and then tutoring. I can't work. I call work back
"I can't work, I have school and tutoring".
"can you miss tutoring?",
" I really need it, I don't think I am doing well in school",
"well we could really use you, and we are short people",
"I am really sorry, but school has to come first" She sounded disappointed.

I get to work, I am a little early. I reckognize my that my co-worker jen is there she says "hello" we gossip about work. I mention that I got a call from our manager (couldn't remember her name) about working. This starts a 10 minute conversation about our manager. I am glad I said no to working.

My clinic people are filling the store. People saying hello to me, asking me how school is going, how Mandy is doing. They seem to know that I have bad neighbors. I must have told them. I try as hard as I can to remember people, but it just doesn't work. So I let them all know I have a memory problem. With the way they respond, it looks like I have already told them this.

Some people act a little funny. It's like they don't know what to say. I make jokes about it. I say the benifit of a memory problem is I get to watch my favorite TV shows all over again. There is no such thing as a repeat. This usually reduces the tension. People feel like they can talk about it. Some people avoid me, and others still think that I will remember things. I try to explain that there is no rime or reason to my injury. I remember some things one day, but not the next, or at odd times a memory pops up. Other times when I need it most, it is just not accesable. I have good memory days, and bad memory days.

Today is a 3kl run, I had emailed my group the night before to let them know where we are going, I like the route because it's easy for me to remember, its a straight 3kl there and back kind of thing. We have a talk at the beginning of the clinic. I try my best to answer any questions, using what little I do have in my memory.

Running is a pretty easy thing to remember. One foot in front of the other. Shoes are important, socks. Eat the right foods. Don't eat a big meal before running. Stretch. If we are running only 3kl, it must be either fartleks, hill training, or a recovery run. So I think of the route, it's flat. So it can't be hills, It's also Tuesday, yesterday we didn't run, so it must be a recovery run. I do know our Sundays are always our long runs. So that firms it down. I go into a description of why we run the different distances, and how important they are....

We head out for our run, I start off with my fast group, and talk to them for a bit, I slow down and talk the next person, and I do this all the way down to the last person. I know that when I was training for the marathon with a clinic, I liked it when the instructor said hello, asked how your week is going, and just sort of touched base. I had seen a "bad" instructor at the Richmond running who was more interested in training himself, than being a leader. He was so fast that at the end of the run, he was the first one back, and the first one to leave. So I make an effort to say hello to everyone. I mean you paid for the clinic, you should get more than a shirt!!

The run finishes, I hang out at work for a bit, and check my palm for my bus route home. I walk to the bus stop, and call Mandy on the way. She has finished tutoring. I always forget she is tutoring and so it's nice when I get to talk to her. I bus home, and I want to relax, but I have a class tomorrow, and I haven't studied yet. While walking from the bus stop I see the same dude with the Rasta hat on his head. He is coming into the apartment with 4 other people, they are a half block in front of me. They look drunk or stoned, or both. Very loud, The girl's (I should call them children because of there age) are screaming. This I remember. I hate these guys, looks like another night, of bad music pounding, and screaming girls on the deck. I need to study.

I get home, and take off my close, and shower. I start to make dinner, doesn't take to long, but while I am boiling my pasta, I get my juice ready for the next day, I get my coffee ready, and get my lunch ready. I plan my route to school and leave it in post it notes around the house. My pasta is ready.

I eat, and study in bed. Try my best to understand what I am reading. It's going on 10:00 p.m. I know when I start re-reading the same sentence over and over again, it's time to turn off my brain.

I lock the laundry room door at 10:11p.m. I have had people walk down to the laundry room (its right next to my room) and start laundry at 10-11 at night. So the door opens, and closes, the dryer thumps, I had one guy sitting in there one day in his underwear, smoking a cigarette. So I now lock the entry to the laundry room at 10:00 and will open it tomorrow morning.

I get back inside, and pack all my stuff for tomorrow. I look up what class I have, and pack the appropriate books in my bag, I lay out my close so I won't have to it tomorrow. I map out my bus route, and right on a note pad what time I need to leave my apartment, and what bus I need to catch. I check my emails, and my fridge, making sure I don't need anything.

I call Mandy to say goodnight. We talk for a while. I am sure I whine about something. We talk about wedding stuff. I miss her. I just want to be in the same place as her, so we can actually talk in person, do some hard core snuggling. She mentions some important dates about her trip to china. I have my palm ready, and make sure I impute it. We say good night, and I watch my favorite show. "The Daily Show" and it is followed by "The Colbert Report" Midnight rolls around, and I turn off my TV I feel like I am ready for tomorrow.

The noise upstairs drives me bonkers. Constant people coming in and out of the building. I hear a big smash, outside the building. Sounds like someone throwing a bottle at the building. I am concerned that they damaged a window, mine are ok. I jump out of bed.

I sleep with a video camera near my bed to be able to capture some of the shit that goes on. (see prev posts) I see a car screeching away. It's red, but I can't remember what to call the car. I think about calling the police, but I have done this before, they ask me questions I can't answer. "what kind of car",
"I don't remember",
"what colour was it "
"It wasn't black, it wasn't wight and it wasn't green, I can see the colour in my head but I can't remember what you call it",
"was it going north or south"
" I have no Idea, it was going that way" I point my hand
"what is your address sir?"
" I don't know. I can look at my drivers license and see"
"you don't know your address sir?"

This is why I don't call the police. I would be a bad witness, that's what the camera is for. I try to go back to sleep, but the noise upstairs is driving me nuts. It is not a consistent loud noise, its more sporadic, a huge bang.....then nothing...a scream....then nothing.....a few thumps in a row......nothing...." The last time I look at the clock its about 4:00 am.

I wake up in the morning, I have no Idea where I am. I hit the snooze button, it starts all over again.

Mandy makes a good replacement Temporal Lobe. If your in the market for one. I highly recomend a Mandy.

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