Would you $upport this blog?

coins in a canOver the past years, some of my readers have asked if there is a way to support this blog and the work I do here.

I’m committed to sharing the details of my recovery after multiple mild TBIs with those who need hope, inspiration, and basic information about what it’s like to be concussed — and recover successfully afterwords.

It’s something I’m committed to. Is this something you’d be willing to support? I’m looking for ways to do that, but before I start, I want to see if there’s any interest among my 900+ followers.

Would you be willing to contribute something one-time? Monthly? Yearly? How much would you be willing to contribute? This is important work, and support from readers can help me do even more. I’m just not sure what a reasonable amount might be. I’m hoping you can help me out with this.

Whaddaya think? Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks.

Saved from conference call hell… at the very last minute

red vintage phone with rotary dialI just got a notification that my conference call in 15 minutes is cancelled. Glory Be! I really hate conference calls. Especially at 8:00 on a Friday morning. It’s hard for me to hear, sometimes, and I hate having to pay such close attention at the end of the week. I’m wiped out, just running on fumes… and trying to be functional on a phone, this early in the morning is a real task.

But now I don’t have to do it, because the person I’m supposed to talk to has a conflict and can’t find another time till Monday.

Fine with me. Now I can relax and just settle into my work for the day. I have a couple other unavoidable conference calls later today I need to prepare for, and I also have some critical stuff I need to get done by the end of the day today.

I’m so glad it’s Friday. I’ve had a very long week, and I need a break big-time. Last weekend was chock-full of socializing and interacting, and I didn’t have a chance to catch up with myself — or my sleep. I’ve been struggling to keep up with my sleep, getting less than I need. I’ve really been feeling it, so I need to catch up this weekend. Cancel my plans. Just settle in to doing the basics. And give myself some breathing room.

It’s a simple plan with a simple mission. And it works for me.

… onward …

Breakfast with my old friend went well, but now we’ve “gone dark” again

So, breakfast last Friday was good. I enjoyed the talk I had with my old friend, and it didn’t last forever — just an hour. That was enough.

We traded a couple of emails, since then, but they’re definitely off in their own world, again. And I’m in mine.

I suppose that’s fine. The two of us tend to grate on each other’s nerves, if we’re around each other too much. Plus, I like my alone-time.

I haven’t had much of that, lately, though. I’ve been unusually social, with a lot of people checking in with me, and people at work really warming up to me. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I kind of like being by myself, alone with my own thoughts. Being around other people can be very demanding, especially when they’re very different from me, and I have to work hard to keep myself from saying critical things about things that are important to them.

I really have to watch myself, at times.

But it’s worth it in the end, because I don’t alienate everyone in a 10-mile radius. That’s a plus.

I’m really sore this morning, and I didn’t work out. I had an especially vigorous workout yesterday morning, then I changed up my afternoon workout to focus on my core. Now my back and hips and stomach and sides are all crazy-sore, and making any movement reminds me that — hey, there are actual muscles there.

And that’s cool. It’s just not very comfortable, right now.

Work is strange. Everything is heating up with the impending merger, and we’re all scrambling to explain what we do. I think a re-org is imminent. Maybe? Who knows? They keep moving the date for when the thing’s going to be a done deal, so I’ve given up guessing when that will be. It seems like every time I mark it on my calendar, they move it. So, maybe if I don’t mark it on my calendar, the date will stick? Who knows? It’s all such a mystery to me, it might as well be guided by magic and superstition. I’m too far down in the food chain to know much of anything, anyway.

So, whatever. Whenever. However… Onward.

Catching up with an old friend.

picture of neurons with flashes of synapses connectingI’m having breakfast with a friend in a little bit. We’ve been on-and-off friends for close to 20 years, and we come from similar backgrounds. Our families are very similar, and we might even be remotely related, because parts of our families come from the same area. We also have histories of TBI, which makes things interesting.

We first met at a job where we were both contracting. Actually, I was contracting – doing technical work that was on par with my skill level – and they were temping – doing clerical work, which was several grades beneath their ability and education level. They just needed a job to pay the bills. I was the job – it was my life.

There’s always been a disconnect between the two of us. In many ways, we get along, but in other ways, we conflict and grate against each other. Or rather, they grate against me. They strike me at times as being incredibly arrogant and self-satisfied, because of their multiple degrees and their “station” in life as an intellectual and an educator. They have said a number of things to me that I found dismissive of me and my abilities — as though they could see my TBI issues as clear as day, and they judged me for it… while they were blind to their own issues, and they never thought for a moment that they were “off” in some way.

But they clearly are “off” — to an extent that puts off people around them. Like the time when they were recovering from surgery and they needed some help taking their dog to the vet to get checked out. I gave them and their dog a ride, and when I showed up at their condo, they were a disheveled mess. They looked more than a little unwell, but I wasn’t sure what to say to them about it. At times, I’m not great about coming up with commentary, especially when I’m “locked on target” to get a job done. In my mind, I was there to give them a ride and get them to the vet safely, not figure out how they should make themself more presentable. So, off we went, with my friend looking like they were living out of a cardboard box under an overpass.

We went to the vet, and everybody in the waiting room was pretty uncomfortable. It occurred to me that it might be a good idea for them to comb their hair, but then the vet called us in. We got in, got out, and I dropped them back at their place, safe and sound.

The whole time, they seemed to have no idea of anyone else around them having a problem with them.

I learned a while later that they’d sustained a brain injury during their surgery, which would explain a lot. And if I’d been more aware and more on the ball, I might have helped. But I didn’t. They weren’t. And that was that.

I’ve tried to connect with this individual a number of times, but they’re extremely self-absorbed. And I found out a number of years ago, that they sustained a moderate/severe TBI when they were in high school. They got hit by a car while riding their bike, and they ended up in the hospital with a pretty intense brain situation and a part of their life missing.

In many ways, they are a classic brain injury survivor. Rigid, self-absorbed, unaware of themself in how they relate to others, clueless about dressing properly (even when they’re dressed up, they still look a bit bedraggled, as though they don’t know how their body is shaped, so they choose clothes that don’t fit them at all), and they definitely have a slower (sometimes plodding) processing speed.

It can be very uncomfortable for me to interact with them, at times. I think it’s a combination of both of our difficulties intersecting and heightening each others’ shortcomings, as well as them mirroring my own tendencies to be rigid and self-absorbed. It’s hard dealing with someone who’s caught up in themself, when you really want them to pay attention to you😉 And the slower processing speed can be challenging, because I’m slow enough, as it is, so interacting with someone who’s also slow, sometimes drags our conversations to a near-halt.

But I really do appreciate what friendship they do have to offer. And to be quite honest, they’re so clueless about how grating they are, they’re happy and chipper, even when they’re insulting and annoying the crap out of me, so I know it doesn’t happen because they’re mean-spirited or intending to be hurtful. They’re just a little blind to things, that’s all.

And I’m no picnic, myself, to be quite honest. I’m sure they feel the same ways about me at times. So, turnabout is fair play, I suppose.

Anyway, we’re meeting for breakfast in a couple of hours, before I go in to the office. I’m looking forward to it, I have to say. I don’t have a lot of friends whom I’ve known for more than a few years. Not many people know my history – especially about the mild TBIs. And they haven’t seen me go through all the problems with my spouse. This is one person I’ve known since the very beginning of 1997, who I actually have wanted to keep in touch with. We’ve dropped out of each other’s lives for months, even years at a time, and we always come back.

I guess that’s how it is with real friends. I sometimes drift away out of frustration… or they get too busy to bother with me… but then I get over myself… and they remember I’m still around.

And we have breakfast. Talk about this and that. And we take it from there.

The Busy-Not-Busy Balancing Act

hand holding pen, checking off lists on a checklist
Getting stuff done… one thing at a time.

It’s been a little while since I last blogged here. I’ve actually been increasingly busy at work. No sooner do I start to think, “I’m out of here…” than I get a handful of projects handed to me that are actually really good for my resume. So, I’ll be around long enough to finish them up. Possibly longer. As long as the job is serving my purposes with keeping my skills sharp and my record clean, I’ll keep it.

No need to bolt. Not just yet. Of course, with the merger happening before year-end, anything could happen, but I’m not racing off… not quite yet.

It’s eerie, though, how the more I intended to leave, the more my boss started to “loop me in” to more projects with high visibility. Some days it seems like they’re reading my mind. How do they do that, anyway?

Well, whatever. I’ve been more busy at work, and I’ve been organizing at home. So, I’ve had less time to blog here.

The whole pace of my past six months has been a little strange. It’s either feast or famine. I’m either slammed with a million different things to do, or I’m in a lull, feeling like I’m twiddling my thumbs (sometimes I literally am). Of course, then I feel the need to jump into action and come up with more things to do, so I get myself busy again… and then when the normal incoming tide of to-do items starts to rise again, I have twice as much to handle.

Funny, how that goes.

Well, it’s better than not having anything going on, I suppose. I’m not sure I could have nothing going on, anyway.

It’s really about balance. And also doing a better job of tracking what I’m really working on. Sometimes, when I am “not busy”, I really should be — I’m just forgetting that I’ve got stuff simmering on the back-burner. Or I’ve flat-out forgotten that I’m supposed to be doing something important. Then I scramble to get it together, and I don’t always do a great job of it.

I can’t beat myself up over it, though. I just have to keep steady, and also do a better job of tracking my activities. I’ve started keeping weekly logs of what needs to be done, what I did in the past week, what I need to do next week. I’ve tried a bunch of different systems, but for some reason, they have all bugged the crap out of me. I think this one is good, though. So far, so good.

And I’m reviewing my lists with my neuropsych, which is helpful. I haven’t done this before, because I was embarrassed that I was really struggling. I didn’t feel like I should be, and my old neuropsych was very intent on making sure I didn’t get bogged down in a lot of negative self-talk. So, rather than admit when I was having trouble, I just didn’t talk about it. And I let a lot of stuff slip through the cracks.

No more, though. No more of that. I want to do well. I want to do my best. Even if that means getting over my self-consciousness and sense of impending failure.

It’s all a balancing act — an act of balance. A deliberate choice to balance things out, and a conscious act to do just that.

Yep. For me, it’s a choice.

Onward… together with the help I can find.

Positive Thought Processes (Pt.1) – Self Affirmation

Nice post – great food for thought.

Life After A Brain Injury

Throughout this brief section I have been focusing on the idea of Holism or Holistic Health and Medicine as it is more commonly known – the treating of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease – in essence Brain Injury in the context of mind, body and soul. I have focused on body over the last few weeks (Holistic HealthDiet & Nutrition, Exercise: Body vs. The Mind) , taking a look at both exercise and diet and how these two important factors can have a very positive impact on our state of mind.

This week however I will be starting my focus on mental disciplines and thought process that can help us feel more positive in the way we think; basically moving from the healthy body to the healthy mind. I will show you…

View original post 2,297 more words

Five hours of sleep. Oh, well. I’ll try something new today.

Fatigue Range with "Not Sleeping" red zones at the top and bottom and an "Energy Level" line curving up into the top "Not Sleeping" zone
Fatigue Range – I’m just within the top red line, in the gray zone.

I can really tell the difference when I don’t tire myself out with afternoon exercise. I had a very lazy day, yesterday, catching up on some reading and organizing myself a bit better. On Friday night, I cleared out a bunch of boxes I’d kept in the corner of the dining room. I have an old habit of saving boxes for later use, because I grew up in a time and place where such things were scarce, and you had to save stuff for later — especially good packing boxes.

Now, though, the world is full of packing boxes. All you have to do is order some dental floss from Amazon.com to get a big-ass box in the mail. The floss will be packed at the very center of the box, surrounded by packing paper or those bubble packs. It’s very wasteful, but it’s one way to get a box.

Anyway, I got that done on Friday night, and that got me in the mood to do more organizing on Saturday (yesterday). I needed to go through a bunch of notes I’d written down, so I spent most of the day dictating my notes into my smartphone and emailing them to myself. I ended up with something like 20 pages of notes – and I could put away my handwritten notes. It was very productive, but also very sedentary. I did get out for a quick walk in the afternoon, but it wasn’t intensely strenuous, and I had just a quick one-hour nap afterwards.

Last night, I got in bed by 10:25, but I tossed and turned for a good 20-30 minutes before I got to sleep. And then I woke up at 4:00 and couldn’t get back to sleep. Not great for my brain function, to tell the truth. I’m foggy and fuzzy, this morning, and I’m worried. My spouse has been having some more noticeable cognitive and behavioral issues, and that’s heavy on my mind. I really worry about them and if I’ll be able to take care of them the way they need. I feel like I’ve failed in many ways, and may have contributed to some of their issues with my own temper and being hard to live with at the end of long days. I worry that I’ve actually made things worse for both of us. But I’m doing the best I can, I suppose.

Anyway, about this sleep business… During the work week, I usually get in a half hour of strenuous exercise. It tires me out, but I regroup and finish out my workday. And then I go home, have my supper, and go to bed. That works best for me, because it really wears me out, and I can’t help but crash at the end of the day. Yesterday, though, I wasn’t wiped out at the end of the day, so I didn’t just fall into bed per usual.

Today, I’ll try something new — I’ll try getting back on the exercise bike and going for an intense 20-minute ride. I’ll put on some music and crank up the resistance, and really push myself. It’s something to get my blood pumping and wear me out. Then I can regroup and take care of the rest of the day in what I hope will be better form. And then with any luck, I’ll be so tired, I won’t be able to keep my eyes open past 10:30. And I’ll sleep through to the morning.

I hope, anyway.

Onward.

And the cat didn’t die

cat crouching in the shadows, looking out from the dark
Here, kitty, kitty………….. Oh, forget it.

The cat wouldn’t come in the last night I was watching it. I texted the owner and said so.

But the owner (my neighbor) was fine with it – the cat does that, now and then.

Totally not my fault.

And it seemed like they meant it, too.

So, now I can relax.

And get back to my regularly scheduled program.

No animals were harmed in the making of this movie.

The cat is exhausted and glad the owner is home, but he’s healthy and still alive.

That’s what matters most.

So, the cat actually showed up last night

cat eyes on black background

I went out a couple of times last night, to get the neighbor’s cat in.

The first time, I went out around 7:00, called and shook his food container, called some more. No cat.

I went out again later, after 10:00, just to see if he’d show. I called him, turned on the front porch light, shook his food container, and there he was, peeking his head around the corner of the house.

That was a relief. He didn’t show on Saturday night, and although my neighbor told me he does that, sometimes, I felt a heck of a lot more comfortable, when I saw him looking at me.

Fortunately, he didn’t dawdle too much before coming in. And he was pretty ravenous, so I guess the idea of food was a motivator.

This morning, first thing, he didn’t want to come out. He wanted more food. I didn’t give him any more, but let him nose at his empty food bowl. I went for a quick walk down the road and back, then tried again, and this time, he did want to go out.

So, my work for the day is (probably) done. My neighbor might be back later today, or they may stay over another day and return tomorrow. I’ll hear from them later, what they decide to do.

I did sleep better last night – got 7-1/2 hours, instead of 4-1/2 hours. That’s an improvement.

And I’m glad I don’t have to take care of animals, anymore. My spouse and I had cats for many, many years. They were expensive, time-consuming, and a source of constant work. We didn’t mind it at the time, because we loved our cats. But now that we don’t have to do all the maintenance, care, vet trips (and vet bills), I’m not complaining. And neither is my spouse.

Every now and then, we think about getting another cat… maybe even a dog. Then we think about it some more.

Nah.

Migraine sneaking up on me?

lightning striking inside a head

I have been SO HUNGRY for the past 36 hours. I am craving carbs like I haven’t been in a long, long time. I also have been craving chocolate, which hasn’t been a problem for me, for months and months.

But all of a sudden…

Fortunately, I don’t have a lot of junk food in the house. Fruit, mostly. And cereal. So, I eat a non-junky cookie (or two) and bowls of raisin bran, drink water, and eat bananas, apples, and the fresh ripe cherries that are in season now.

I got all of 5-1/2 hours of sleep last night. I was exhausted last evening at 9:00, but instead of going to bed, I ate two oatmeal raisin cookies and drank some peppermint tea. I got in bed around 11:00 and slept till 4:30, when I just woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. My neck is hurting me because I haven’t been lifting as regularly as I should, and when I don’t work out the muscles of my neck and back, my neck starts to ache.

Another thing that’s tweaking me is my pet-sitting duties. I’m watching the neighbor’s cat, and I’m supposed to let him in at night and out in the morning, while his owner is out of town. But last night, the cat wouldn’t come when I called. I tried three different times. No luck. So, the animal spent the night outside. He’s done that before. I’m sure he’ll be fine. But it still irritates me that I can’t do this job properly. It’s the first time my neighbor has ever asked me to help, despite my offering many times. Now that they’re finally trusting me, I can’t do the job?

That’s not good.

Or maybe I’m getting too up in my head about it. He’s an outdoor cat, mostly. He’ll be fine. I just don’t want the owner coming back to a missing cat, you know?

Maybe that’s another reason why I woke up early.

But truth to tell, my sleep hygiene has been in the crapper for the past several weeks. I keep taking my tablet into my bedroom and reading in bed, checking email and social media when I wake up. Spending way too much time looking at my tablet in the bed I should only be resting in.

That’s gotta change.

Changing it now. As best I can – because my tablet has the only reliable alarm I can depend on.

Oh, well. I guess I’ll just have to exercise restraint. It’s always helpful to acquire new good qualities🙂

Anyway, I’m tired. I need to head this migraine off at the pass, if that’s in fact what it is. I suspect it is, because I never, ever crave certain foods this much, unless a migraine is around the corner. So, I’m taking a page from my playbook and doing the right thing by myself. For myself.

It’s time to go back to bed… And not set an alarm. I have nothing at all I need to do, until I run out to pick up steaks and fresh corn on the cob for supper. And that’s not a hardship at all.

Onward…