And then I hit my head (again) – now I can’t sleep

Man, this is so messed up. When I think about it, I start to get pissed off. And then I remember what getting really pissed off does to me, and I back it down a bit. I get my mind off it. I think about other things. I redirect the energy towards something constructive – like working out.

Or thinking things through and coming up with a workable solution to problems in front of me.

Last week, when I was getting ready to come home from vacation, I was loading my car, and somebody pulled up right behind me, almost blocking me in. I could swear they were looking for a fight, because when I asked them to just pull back six inches, they got all defensive and “explained” to me that they were trying to leave room in the back for someone else to park. Looking behind there car, there wasn’t even enough room for one of those little Fiats. Maybe a scooter. But no, they were adamant that they needed to park that way. And when I asked again, they said some sh*t that questioned my ability to drive, if I couldn’t pull out of that spot.

I was tired and hurried, because I had all of 10 minutes left before we had to be out of the condo unit, so I just told them to forget about it. They wanted to keep talking it through, but I didn’t have the time, so I dismissed them and just decided to take care of my own stuff, rather than waste precious time on an prolonged discussion with this lonely-hearts type person.

I f*cking hate people who start arguments just to get attention. I really do.

I could just barely open the back of my van for that last load, and then I was done. I grabbed the gate and pulled down hard…

You know those moments when you have a fleeting sense that something is amiss, but you can’t think what it is? For a split second, I had a feeling that something wasn’t right…

And then >clunk< – the corner of the descending gate caught me on the top front of my head.


It wasn’t so hard that it dazed me. I didn’t see stars. It didn’t feel like I got my bell rung. It just hurt like a motherf*cker, and it was at the worst possible time for something like this to happen. It’s also one in a series of bumps to my head that I’ve experienced over the past few months. I keep hitting my head on car doors… while getting in… while getting out… while packing for the trip home…

I stopped for a moment to feel my head to see if I’d drawn blood, but there was none. Not even a bump or a knot. It felt like I’d dented my skull, but my pate is pretty bumpy and knotty to begin with, so I couldn’t tell if this was a new or existing dent. The whole area around where I hit my head hurt, so I had a hard time telling where exactly I’d gotten clunked. (Interestingly, almost a week later, I can tell more clearly where I got hit. It still hurts. And it seems like there is a definite dent there.)

The thing that really got me was the cascade of muscle tightness in my head, jaw, neck, and shoulders. Everything started to tighten up and cramp. My jaw got really tight, and ever since then, I’ve found my jaw clenching more than usual. I need to do something about that. It’s not good for my teeth. Or my relaxation. I’ve noticed it’s really hard to relax, when my jaw is tight.

We got out of the condo unit in time, and then we headed for the beach. I couldn’t tell that anything was different with me. I did feel a bit more antsy than usual, but I chalked that up to leaving a beautiful vacation spot for my usual home…as well as the company of a friend who joined us for one last afternoon on the beach. We drove home late, got in late, and that was that.

Back to regular life.

Things have been going pretty well, overall, and aside from some residual tightness around my skull, I haven’t noticed many pronounced differences in how I feel on a regular basis.

One thing that does stand out, however, is that I’m having a harder time getting to sleep at night, and I don’t feel as rested when I wake up. I can’t seem to sleep like I had been before. I’ve been antsy and agitated, and I haven’t A) been able to really relax, or B) felt like relaxing. The thing that gets me is that it has a cumulative effect, so I need to not let it get ahead of me.

On the bright side, I’ve been very motivated to get things done. On the downside, I’ve been feeling really scattered and despite going-going-going, I feel like I’m getting less done, which is tiring on top of everything else. I can’t let myself get as tired as I used to. It’s no good for me. And I can get hurt again, if I’m not careful.

So, what to do? The main thing is to really get how this is affecting me, and do something about it.  I can’t leave myself in ragged shape. Gotta get moving and do something about it.

That includes making a point of getting good rest. Not staying up late and getting up early.

It includes eating right (which I have been) and getting good exercise (which I have been) and making sure I rest well and don’t just push myself like a crazy person, 24 hours a day.

It also includes finding a new doctor. I’m going to find an osteopath, rather than an M.D., who works with the whole body to adjust and align things. I’ve had it with M.D.s and the whole mainstream AMA medical establishment. They’re way too dysfunctional, and I need to find a provider who makes a point of understanding how the body is put together — not just what medicines will do what for which condition.

So, I’ve got steps.

The day is waiting. Onward.

Back to work

Today was my first day back at work in a week, and boy, am I rusty. It’s like I left my brain on the beach.

Fortunately, the whole deal is a marathon, not a sprint — or rather, a series of intervals, where we all race like mad to a certain point, then slow to a walk, then start to jog, then break into a sprint again. It’s a little tiring, I have to say.

Which is why I have been working out like crazy, for the past three days, and I can tell you, it feels amazing. I have a pact with myself to burn minimum 1000 calories a day, riding the exercise bike, for the next 30 days. I usually burn 300 per ride, and that’s intermittent. But for the next month, I am exercising every damn’ day and burning 3x as many calories as usual

It’s the only thing I can do. I am such a lump of lard at this point, it’s dismaying. Yes, I’m getting older. But that doesn’t mean I have to turn into a turnip. Which is what I looked like last week on the beach — pale and round. So, I’m doing something about it, and already, it feels great.

I had so much energy this morning, it was crazy. It’s not just the vacation – that was very tiring. It’s the exercise that’s doing it. The bit of a tan I got doesn’t hurt, either.

So, this feels good. And weighing myself, I’ve lost at least 2 pounds in the past couple of weeks. Over vacation, I ate a lot more bread than usual, but also ate less, overall. My spouse’s stomach was upset, so we ate light, which was helpful. We generally eat too much, as it stands.

Anyway, it’s back to work on my exercise. Lifting weights, spinning away, stretching, push-ups, planks, sit-ups. Ouch. But it hurts so good..


Getting it back together

Let's find out what's inside

Let’s find out what’s inside

I lay down at 1:30 p.m. thinking I’d get a 2-hour nap.

I woke up at 5:00, having slept through my alarm.  3-1/2 hours is just about right for a Saturday afternoon nap after a week’s vacation that took it out of me.

Good thing. Very good.

I needed the rest, because in addition to having had a very active vacation, I worked out especially hard this morning, and that wiped me out, too. There’s nothing like exposing your body on the beach, to bring home just how out of shape you are.

Now I’m back into the swing of things, here at home, looking around and seeing what needs to be fixed.

I have a lot of organizing to do. It’s fall, after all, and the house needs some serious airing out. The heat kept things closed up, to conserve coolness, and now there’s a strong musty smell in the basement that’s coming up through the rest of the house.

In another 2 weeks, I will deal with this in detail. My spouse has a long weekend business trip coming up for the first weekend in October, and I’ll have the place to myself for 3 or 4 days. Then I can go wild with clearing everything out and making space for our life. We have boxes we have not opened in 20 years – moving around to different parts of the country, we’ve lived in places of various sizes. So, when we moved to the small places, we boxed things up and stored them. And when we moved to the larger places, we didn’t unpack those boxes right away.

We’ve been in this house for 12 years, and there are still things packed up downstairs.

I got hurt in 2004, right when I was getting to the “unpack all those boxes” item on my to-do list… and the to-do list went out the window.

So, it’ll be a little like Christmas in October. And for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be studying the jumble of stuff downstairs, planning my route of attack. I also need to clean out the garage and get rid of a bunch of junk I’ve been hanging onto for no good reason. Winter is coming. I need to clear the way.

And simplify.

I found some more boxes that will fit under my bed, so I can clean up my bedroom bureau. It’s covered with items that I haven’t touched or moved for years. This is my chance to clear the way, so I can create a bedroom that is restful and promotes good sleep hygiene.

Vacation won’t go wasted. Oh, no. I’ve got my inspiration back, so… onward!

96% Of Deceased NFL Players Test Positive For Chronic Brain Condition

In case you hadn’t heard…

New studies show 87 out of 91 deceased NFL players have tested positive for brain disease due to concussions and head trauma

Source: 96% Of Deceased NFL Players Test Positive For Chronic Brain Condition

Annnnnddd… we’re back

Stay alert...

Stay alert…

I got home from my week of vacation at 1:00 this morning. I brought in a few essentials, took a long, hot shower, then crashed. The drive home was trippy – I was tired, my spouse was in the mood to dish the dirt on their business partners, and we kept hitting banks of low-lying fog that clouded the windshield all of a sudden.

The weather is getting so that parts of a landscape will be hot from the day, while along rivers and lakes, the temperature will be much lower, so you can be driving along with everything clear, then all of a sudden your windshield fogs up and you can’t tell if it’s from the outside or the inside. My spouse worked with the temperature controls and how far the window needed to be open to offset the temperature changes, while I kept my eyes on the road and sipped my cup of black coffee.

We made it home in pretty good time, and I got to sleep in my own bed. Heaven.

The place we stayed this past week had narrow beds, unusable pillows, thin curtains, and a noisy exhaust fan in the bathroom. None of this contributed to be getting good sleep, but I made do. I spent a lot of time staying up much too late — the stars were phenomenal — and getting up too early, because my body is used to a certain schedule.

So, I spent a lot of time feeling crappy, like I do now, but focusing my attention on the good around me, which helped. It would be nice to have a vacation where I can really, truly relax and feel good, but my spouse’s medical and neurological issues kept me on my toes.

Such is the life of a single caregiver with a “ward” who isn’t fully aware of just how disabled they are. That’s part of the neurology of stroke – and brain injury in general – not really being aware of just how impaired you are, or how you’re not functioning as well as you could be. Since their strokes, almost 8 years ago, they have gone steadily downhill, getting slower and slower, adjusting their expectations ever downward, with what they think they can do, and how they think they should do it. They’re practically disabled, by now — unable to walk for extended distances, but not willing to use a wheelchair, because it makes them look disabled.

I’ve got news for them — hobbling along and having to stop every 10 yards makes you look very disabled. But they don’t see it that way. They see it as working their way along as best they can. And they’re happy to be able to do anything… versus being motivated to do more, because their current state is not satisfactory.

Well, I can’t make myself crazy over it. People have different levels of tolerance, and different skills for things. Some things that I put up with, my spouse would never tolerate. Like being alone so much of the time. Or not running my own business. Those things are non-negotiable for them, and having that type of connection with the world is something they could never go without.

I, on the other hand, am happier by myself.

Anyway, it was a good vacation, and now I have two days to recuperate and take care of my sunburn. I fell asleep in the car when the sun was shining through the driver-side window, and now I’ve got a bright red shoulder and arm and neck on my left side.

So it goes.

Good to be back.





And now my doctor has died…

This is terrible. And strange. My PCP, who has been on medical leave since the beginning of the year, died two weeks ago. I just got the notification from their office – I was supposed to see them for my annual physical. It’s really a shame. They were a great doctor, with great rapport and a keen sense of what was going on with you. They knew their stuff, and even when they were out of their depth – like with me and my TBI issues – they reached out to their peers for more information.

They really were a rare sort of doctor, and they will be sorely missed. Their remembrance book at the funeral home website is full of entries from patients who were absolutely devastated by this loss.

Such a shame.

A damned shame.

My first reaction was intense anger, because they had so much life and loved to live. They were genuinely caring and went out of their way to make you comfortable and know that you we re being cared for. In all my years of dealing with really awful doctors, they were the one bright light in a sea of darkness.

Then the sadness.

Then the regret that I never sent a card or reached out while they were sick. But I did not know the proper protocol, so in that case, I usually do nothing. Well, I was just one of many, many patients, so …

A lot of times, a loss like this makes you more keenly aware of how precious life is. And how short it can be. I am staying in a beautiful place, with the ocean and beaches a short drive away. I’m working in the mornings, and vacationing in the afternoons. And it looks like weather is going to hold.

I have plenty of time to think. And be grateful for what I have, what I’ve had, and what is yet to come.