Saturday, May 21, 2011

Trauma Brain

So after my accident and once I was stable, I was moved from Sharp Hospital to Tri-City because that was back in my network for insurance and well, of course I wanted them to pay for everything, so I had to follow their rules. Once I arrived at Tri-City, I had a very difficult transition. Most of the time I was at Sharp, I was on morphine, and believe me, I needed it! But once I moved it was time to down-grade the pain meds. So when I arrived at Tri-City, I wasn't in the clouds anymore. Unfortunately, then came depression and it hit me hard. I think that was a part of me that was disappointed that I wasn't able to go home, but I knew on the other hand that I wasn't independent enough to be going home either. I knew that if I came home, I would be a huge burden on my family, and for that reason I needed to stay in the Rehab Facility. In my heart I wanted to be at home, but in my mind I knew that I needed to be in the hospital longer.

My first night there, while eating my dinner, I turned on the tv and was trying to eat. I seriously thought that I was going crazy! I was getting so confused. I couldn't concentrate on anything, the tv was too loud and noisy... I felt like everything was spinning around and I couldn't focus on anything. I turned off the tv, and got rid of the food. Then I laid in my bed having a panic attack and trying to relax. I called the nurse and talked to her about what was going on. It was very hard for me because I felt like I was going crazy and I didn't know how to explain it to someone. I was scared that they would think I was crazy... and maybe I was. Luckily, she was an AWESOME nurse! She sat with me until I felt better, she also put in a request for me to speak with the psychologist/psychiatrists (WHOEVER!). Throughout that night and the next day, I did very little. I tried to read a magazine, I would get so confused. I tried to watch tv, confused again. Play on my phone, nope. It seemed that I couldn't do anything, other than lay in bed... and even then I would have panic attacks in the middle of the nigtht... I'd just try to relax and thank goodness for my friend, Jeannie, who helped me A LOT!!! Even when I was texting her at 3am. Thank you, Jeannie!

Those few days felt like a lifetime... and then FINALLY came my insurance approval... and I could talk to someone. The moment she walked in the door, I started crying. I just spilled it all... every emotion of the accident, every feeling I was having, the guilt, the fear, the anger, the disappointment, the frustration, and all of the confusion and feels of losing my mind. She spent probably over an hour with me, and then she told me about what she called "Trauma Brain". She explained it best to me as to say that it's like someone has gone into your head and shaken it all up. It's all still there, it just needs time to settle back down, and accept what has happened. I came to realize, I wasn't losing my mind, I didn't need medication, I just needed time. If you know me well, you know how hard that was going to be for me, but if time is what I needed, then that was what I was just going to have to do!

I was in that hospital for about a week. By the time I was ready to go home, my brain was not back to normal yet, but I was able to do a word search book that someone brought me (I don't know who, sorry! But thanks whoever it was!) At the time of going home, I was doing A LOT of word searches because it seemed to be the only thing that I could focus on. Still no reading, still no tv. Once I was home, the transition wasn't easy. I was so nervous about everything, the change, the burden on my family, the wheelchair fitting in the house, my girls understanding how little I was going to be able to do for them, my Mom being able to change EVERYTHING to spend everyday with me, having to ask her to do that... it was a lot!

Lucky for me, I have an amazing family, and an even more amazing Mom! I owe her big time! Once I was home, I decided I wanted to try doing a puzzle, thinking THAT was something that maybe I would be able to handle. It was!!! My mom and I worked on a puzzle and sometimes we would spend most of the day at her card table she brought over working on the puzzle... and another puzzle... and another puzzle. She bought more puzzles (we didn't really own any and my Mom had just recently gotten rid of all of hers!) and we did those too! My aunt brought us more puzzles! Kathy brought more puzzles! My first few days home were spent between puzzles and word searches. Everyone kept trying to be so positive about my extra time at home and how I could scrapbook... I tried! I sat at my table, and started to panic about all the things I have and became very overwhelmed... even cried, because I just wanted to be normal again. Usually I would LOVE this chance to spend days at this table, but instead it was making me have a panic attack.

There is a saying that I heard once at work that said something about "a sorrow takes a 1,000 tellings." Basically it means that you have to tell your story, cry about it, relive it, share it, dream it, exc. 1,000 times before you are able to move past it and allow it to no longer cause you so much pain. I cried, a lot, and sometimes I still do. I relive the accident over and over, probably on a daily basis. I dream about it every single night. Last night's dream I had a new car, but same accident. I woke up to pain in my ankle because I was trying to push the break. I figure that rather than worry about these re-occurring, I'm counting them up on my 1,000 tellings, which is also what the dr told me. She said the more and more I experience it, the easier it will be come for me to accept it.

I think that I can officially say that my trauma brain is now GONE! I have started scrapping again and I will even have my music going while I am doing it. I will be back soon with some scrapping things to share with you. I have completed 6 weeks, and I have 6 more weeks to go without walking. I truly believe that if I can pass this time scrapping, which is something that I LOVE to do, it will greatly help me. I still struggle EVERY SINGLE DAY with the need and want to just get out of bed pain-free and WALK! I cannot wait to WALK again! I didn't realize what a gift it is to get out of bed each morning, and I hope that I remember to treasure it when the gift is returned to me. Depression still lingers in those moments, and when I'm in pain, it is even harder to fight, but honestly paper is therapeutic for me. I'm so happy that the trauma brain is gone and I can now pass the time working on some paper products, cards, layouts, and whatever! I believe that scrapping will help me heal and I'm looking forward to it! How fun!

1 comment:

  1. I am sooooooooo sorry you have gone through this... my heart aches for you and your girls... I really love that photo of you and the girls :):):):):):):):):):):):):)