It’s time to take my daughter to school. I check myself in the mirror one last time, just to make sure that everything’s in place. The image I see of the seemingly well-put together woman belies the internal storm that rages inside my injured brain.
My daughter is still half-asleep and wants to stay home from school today. The temptation to let her teases me with the thought of falling back into my still-warm bed, but I don’t dare. I’m not going to be much fun today, and I know she needs to go to school. The mere thought of getting her dressed and driving her to school overwhelms me, but the thought of having her home and having to entertain her all day terrifies me, and so I seek comfort in the quiet support of my service dog and push forward.
By some miracle, we are finally dressed and headed out the door, service dog by my side, keys in hand, and child clean and dressed appropriately. We’re late (again), but we’re on our way. Just as we step outside, my observant five-year-old points out that I’m still wearing my bedroom slippers. They feel just like shoes, so my brain couldn’t tell the difference. I run back inside the house, trying to calm down so that I can create the picture in my mind of what my shoes look like, find them, and put them on. I remember when processing was automatic, and oh, so much easier. My brain is on manual operation status these synapse xt days, and sometimes the engineer isn’t able to operate it very well…like today.
Last week, I was the picture of health. My daughter got to school on time everyday, all her projects were completed and turned in, and I was productive and able to cross things off my to-do list.
This week is different. My life’s on hold until my injured brain rests and readjusts to whatever it is that got it overwhelmed this time. It doesn’t matter that I have a list of things that must get done, appointments to schedule, or mountains of laundry to do. It doesn’t matter that I have a child to raise, and that she requires the time and attention of a fully functioning brain.
It doesn’t matter. No matter what priorities I have, no matter what responsibilities I have, my brain is in shut down mode, and no amount of coaxing, prodding, or willing it to do what I want it to do is going to work. I’m at its mercy; but hey, at least I look fine. At least that’s what the image in the mirror tells me. I may look fine, but I’m anything but fine.
Cognitive dysfunction stepped in and took over my life yet again. It’s like an unwelcome guest that shows up without warning, takes over your home and life, creates havoc and refuses to leave until it’s ready. I know my life is not my own until my functioning returns to an acceptable level, and that the ride ahead is going to be a bumpy one.
It all started yesterday–without warning, without a telltale sign that it was coming, BAM! My life had been taken hostage by brain injury once again.
I had plans to have my taxes done after I dropped my daughter off for school. I realized that I’d forgotten her social security card, and swung by the house to grab it. While in the filing cabinet, I saw a book that I was supposed to send out last week. I’d forgotten all about it. I reached for an envelope to put it in, but couldn’t find one. I then remembered that I was out of stamps, and went to search my purse to see if there were any left in there. While on my way to my purse, I saw the prescription for an ultrasound that I was supposed to get laying next to my laptop. I had put it there to remind me that I needed to make the appointment. It took me a year and a half to finally get the help that I needed; and only after an exhaustive search turned up a social worker who fixed my insurance issues and arranged the initial appointment was I able to finally see a doctor.