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When Are You Going to Get Better & Other Burning Questions About #BrainInjury

13 Oct

For the past two months I have been on this crazy Virtual Book Tour to promote my new book Being Brain Healthy: What my recovery from brain injury taught me and how it can change your life.

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So, several times a week I hop on SKYPE with a podcast or talk show host and we talk and talk and talk. Each one is a bit different and all have distinct flavors and colors. In truth, I am having a blast.

Consistently though, each host wants to know one pretty specific thing – how long did it take to recover? Each time I laugh – not because the process of healing is a funny topic (although it has its moments) but because I am not sure that day, the one where I wake up and say “I’m better now”, will ever come.

Recovery does not have a finish line – few people wake up one day exactly as they were before the assault on their brain. The key to living successfully on the other side of a brain injury is finding, adjusting to, and living your new normal.

That is tougher than it sounds and not just for the one who had the injury but for everyone around them and everyone who interacts with them.

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I have been told that it is difficult to look into the eyes of someone you know so well, recognize them on the outside, and watch behavior changes – good, bad, or indifferent. We are not talking about horrific changes, just changes – ones that result in words and behaviors that don’t belong to the pre-injury person. These are things that make you not recognize this as the same person because their actions and reactions don’t match what you expect.

It really is all about finding that new normal and that hinges on perspective, attitude, patience, support, and time.

As my husband said to me recently, this journey does not have a recommended speed limit. He is right. There is no hurry.

I do know there is no tape to break at the finish line nor a ticker tape parade marking the end of beautifully fought battle. I just know that I am different and that my new normal is great place to live. That, for today, is quite enough.

Perspective.

Attitude

Patience

Support

Time

I would love to hear your stories about your new normal or the new normal you see in someone in your life! Please share in the comments or write me an email: ruth@craniumcrunches.com

 

Stop #2 on the #BeingBrainHealthy #VirtualBookTour: Conversations in Care

20 Aug

You are more likely to know someone walking through the fog of brain injury than you are to know someone with cancer.

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Really, you are.  Think about this:

  • 1.8 million people each year are diagnosed in the Emergency Room each and every year with brain injury from some kind of blow to the head
  • 700,000 people have strokes that have some thinking deficits as part of the package, each and every year

Add to that the fact that no one really keep stats on those brain injuries related to chemo-therapy, anesthesia, medications, and neurological diseases that pop up each and every year. Now consider unknown number of combat-related brain injuries and all those brain injuries that are still significant but not diagnosed in the ER (like mine).

Trust me. You know someone who has had a brain injury.

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In today’s featured broadcast on the Being Brain Healthy Virtual Book Tour I speak with an amazing woman, Tami Neuman from the Care Radio Network and host of Conversations in Care. Tami has  years of experience caring for dementia patients and she really gets it that “reality” (yes those are air quotes) is not the same for everyone and that support for those with brain challenges is best given with a healthy dose of compassion and joy.

In addition to everyday brain health and turning up the noise on life, Tami and I spoke about promoting dignity, self-respect, and understanding for those we are supporting by treating each as intelligent, vibrant adults. We talked about how I realized one day that we all (yes all of us) speak to people who are struggling to think or understand as if they were children – we speak slowly and clearly using simple, tiny words – and that is just not OK.

Listen in our conversation HERE.  Warning: Listening to Conversations in Care may be habit forming!

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What have you noticed about how people change when they care for others?

Here’s to remembering to put dignity, self-respect, and quality of life at the core of caring for others.

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