TBI's — Traumatic Brain Injuries

Delving into the spirit with the lack of an established thought process, the good and bad. (NOTE to the editors, unsure if there is a word limit to articles? let me know)

Upon reflection I have decided to share something VERY personal about myself.  You must  realize I have never done that before the Royals and this is a first for me but perhaps it will give you some insight.  Insight into why I am the way I am (perhaps) or even insight into how incredible the spirit truly is.  For those who do not know what a TBI is---it is a traumatic brain injury.

Perhaps you have suffered a TBI (and having done so myself, I congratulate you for your victory of survival) and if you haven't then this may be difficult for you to relate to.  I am not talking about a concussion that gives you a headache or they want to make sure you stay awake to be sure you are okay.  No I am talking about the kind of head injury that leaves you with NO memory except for that you have a child to get home to, even if you cannot remember his name or yours for that matter and the fact that a dentist fixes teeth. 

The kind where you don't understand anything that is going on around you because you are only aware of the pain in your mouth where your teeth use to be and your lip is hanging, just dangling there as you beg for all the people around you to call your dentist.  You can't recall his name but you somehow believe he can make it all better.  And you REALLY can't understand why they don't listen to you as they shave your head to get the glass out and stitch the wound that wasn't there before your mouth busted the steering wheel of your car, making way for your head to go through the windshield.  But you don't feel the pain in your head (for the pain in your mouth) and tell them it is your mouth that is injured and dang it you want your dentist.

The kind of TBI that leaves you in an infant like state of having to learn (or re-learn) everything you ever knew and seemed second nature to you.  The kind of trauma that leaves you crying in bed because the nerves are exposed where your teeth once were (and so eating is out of the equation as well as drinking anything that is not room temperature) and even that cannot be repaired until the rest of the bones in your face heal.  And nearly afraid to leave the house and get in another car.  Yes, been there, done that, moved on.  And then taking nearly a year to get your memory back, that kind of TBI?

It explains a lot now doesn't it?  It accounts for my attitude of gratitude and being, choosing joy, in each moment.  Looking back at the many traumas I have survived gives me the lift I use to thrive.  It lets me know that the Universe conspires in my favor.  It shows me how beloved I am to my creator, as are we all.

Looking back I can recall how calm I was, not knowing who I was and yet when they got my husband on the phone I knew who he was and said as easily as could be "I totaled the bug,  I got hit head on".  I was more worried about the car and didn't comprehend what totaled was, but that was the terminology they used to explain to me why I was where I was, so I just passed the info along.  I said I was fine but my head and face really hurt.  Given that he was a thousand miles away at school and really couldn't do anything for me it seemed pointless to tell him to come home.

The odd thing about loosing 99% of your memory is that you have no clue how to operate in the world.  It isn't scary at first, just as an infant observes and learns because that is all they are capable of and are not afraid.  But (the next morning) you know you have a child to get home to.  So you find ways to adapt and "act" normal, or at least what you perceive normal to be.  The fact is that they left my personal belongings in the drawer next to the bed and so I went though the phone book in my purse.  I started calling people, asking if they knew who I was and being told of course, where are you?  Small problem.....I don't know that either.  So I asked a nurse where I was and was told I was in the hospital in Hayward.  Okay.

Better armed with info, I keep calling people, do you know me and can you come pick me up?  I finally find a neighbor who says he will.  So I get up, get dressed and go outside to wait.  When he arrived, of course I didn't recognize him, but I did recognize the voice from the phone.  And here I was, this little white woman, looking like I had the snot beat out of me, so in awe of this big black man who was so kind to come take me home.  Later I would think how brave he was to do that since it could have been assumed by anyone who saw us that he was the cause of my injuries.

I laid in bed for the better part of 5 months waiting for the bones in my face to heal so that I actually could see my dentist and make the teeth pain stop.  It took many trips to his office to complete but when he was finished with all the root canals and creating the beautiful caps that would go on all those little posts in my mouth and I could smile, without pain, again, it was a wondrous day.  I did recognize my dentist even though I could not put a name to his face and it would take many repetitions of saying it to remember it.  He called it my "Hollyrock" smile, since no wood was involved, which, to this day, I find amusing.

It would take nearly another 7 months before I would get the majority of my memory back, through grace, love and pure divine energy and in that time I was still afraid to venture out in the car.  Almost as if I was terrified some other driver would finish me off with their carelessness.  I did go the 12 or so blocks down the hill to the grocery store, however, and that in itself was a strange experience.  Given I did not know WHAT we liked to eat and I had not had the ability to have anything solid in so long without teeth, I would fill the cart with whatever looked nice to my eye at the time.  But I'll get back to that in a minute.

When I finally had teeth and could be up and around again, I did my best to cook and clean and care for my 7 year old son. He did not know I had no memory, no idea how the world or anything else worked so I did my best to hide that fact.  He would ask why I was doing things (pretty much everything) differently and I would just say I was experimenting because I didn't want to scare him with the truth. Mama just doesn't know. Anything. But you.

So when I did go to the store and brought back, apparently, the "wrong" things and he asked how I paid for it.  I said I wrote a check, which was true because he told me not to forget to take it before I left so I gathered that was how I would pay.  I didn't think about whether or not there was money in the account because I didn't know how it worked.  There was, fortunately.  Questioned, yet again, by a 7 year old about my choices, I talked to my oldest brother, Rich, about it and why I didn't want to tell my son the truth but I was running out of reasons of why and how I did everything now.  He suggested a retreat.  He said he would set it up and get me a ride.

I went and it was on the final day, during a group experience. that 5 other loving people, after rubbing their hands together to warm them, and went to lay hands on me, never made it to my body, because my body actually rose up to that energy to meet their hands, literally rose and in that moment everything flooded back in.  I was a little freaked by what I remembered, all the hurts, the traumas, all of it and went running from the lodge out to the woods.  I just really needed to be surrounded by nature to process it all. And I realized there was a LOT of baggage in those memories and decided to forgive them and let them go.  And I have been doing that ever since, instant forgiveness, let it go, never to carry it again.

Of course, the long term memory was restored but the short term would never be the same again.  Learning new things that I have no clue about are still very hard for me, to retain the info without repetition, is lost.  Where once I could serve a group of 40 people without writing anything down, serve them, ask their names and return 15 minutes later and call them by name, refer to their drink and never get it wrong, that is no more. It can be very frustrating because I can recall being so sharp before the TBI and it makes me feel ill equipped now.

But the one thing I have never lost is ME and my capacity to love, that I come from it and I am here to share it. Sure, I lose words, although if I describe what it means people can give me the word I am looking for, and learning is harder, I did manage to graduate from Business College with a certificate in Travel and tourism, I had an interest in that before I went to school so it wasn't  as difficult to accomplish as technology, for one, is hard for me now.  I can run a word processing program, even spreadsheets, but it took a while to relearn those kinds of things as well.  But I will dominate. Will it be easy or without tears of frustration? No, but I will dominate.  And that is the spirit, with the strength and wisdom to keep evolving itself.

Road to recovery

Road to recovery