Sunday, February 12, 2006

Still haven't worked on this for a while. Tried the other day but couldn't deal with it.

2/12/06 Sunday
It’s 10:30. I woke up at about seven this morning. Had dreams about heroin with me trying to score. Not at all pleasant especially considering I had been an addict during my slide to madness five years ago. I took my seizure pill about an hour ago and am now getting tired. Was researching what is available out in the West Texas desert where we will be moving. When it comes to high speed internet access there’s not much. Many of the cell phone companies don’t have much coverage. Gee! What happened to “Can you hear me now” Verizon? It looks like we may have to go satellite for that.
I’ve got lots to learn and learning is tough with this brain injury. It’s not impossible, just takes twice as much work. I learn then forget so learn it again and repeat the process till it stays. Then I have to refresh it later. Now when I talk to others about these difficulties they say “What’s the big deal? That’s true for us also. We all have the same problem”. I have sensed that some think that I am just using this as an excuse or a tool to gain sympathy. I know we have all gone into a room and forget why we went there.
I know that as we age these mental problems get worse. This judgment by others is one of the reasons I stay out of society. It is safer at home. Rejection and this disdain hurt. My house has several books I bought with great interest in reading. I would start them and mark my place so I could continue where I left off. But when I did I would be lost. I couldn’t remember what I had read before. The characters were strangers to me so I would have to start from the beginning again. After doing this several times I would give up and park the book on a shelf, where it remains to this day. I quit buying books. This is frustrating because I was an avid reader who would consume several books a week and retain what I read.
I’m not dumb as I hope my writing shows, I just forget and go through daily periods of confusion, what I call slow downs. My joke is that I am either the dumbest smart person or the smartest dumb person you will ever meet. It just depends on when you meet me. Humor is something I cling to for it reduces the sting and helps fight the depression that clamors at the door. No matter what I am blessed and my life is a gift. I have met many others with traumatic brain injuries who are in far worse shape than I. This helps keep things in perspective.
It also helps to find the bright side of every problem. There are advantages of having this severe short term memory loss
It’s 11:00 now. The headache is growing. I am grumpy and slowing down so I will lay down now.
1:33 – Now I am running at about an 8 of even 9 on the Bob scale. That’s the way it is. Like being a Yo Yo. (Alright, quit laughing. I’m not the yo yo, my brain just acts like one) Like I was saying a couple of hours ago, it helps to find the bright side of every problem. There are blessings that come with having this severe short term memory loss.
Here’s one of those blessings. We were just watching the movie “Die Hard, With A Vengeance” starring Bruce Willis. Now I know I have seen this movie several times in my life but I don’t remember most of it. Because I want to help people understand TBI (traumatic brain injury) better I will go into a little detail on this.
For me memory loss is not like the amnesia portrayed in movies or on TV. It is not like the slate has been wiped clean. When I woke up from the coma I could remember my home phone number but not my address. The description that seems to best describe that is this. Imagine your memory as being a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle. Someone comes along and snatches up handfuls of the pieces. They throw some of them back on the board so they are scattered haphazardly around. Then they throw the rest out. I have many bits and pieces of memories and have been spending the last four years finding the right places to put them. Done a good job of that. Many of the holes have been filled in. Now that is the long term memories.
Medical science recognizes several areas of memory. There is long term, short term, and immediate memory. That is a very simplified version. Different parts of the brain handle these different areas of memory. Hell, while I’m giving lessons I will touch on some more of it. Memory is not just recalling events, places, and details like names. This complex computer we call our brain records every little thing and stores it in many compartments. It coordinates the retrieval of this information to assist us with every decision and judgment we make. These memories include the emotions tagged with events, the smells, the tastes, the sounds, the joy, the pain, and things we don’t even realize when they are happening.
I digress again, as I am prone to do. Short term memory loss means I get to watch the same movie over and over again as if it is for the first time. With the movie “Die Hard” I recognized things like the dump trucks but didn’t know what they were used for. I still was surprised at every turn despite detecting a dim familiarity about it. When I saw the Wizard of Oz I knew most of it but was surprised when they sang. Cherie and I have seen many movies together and when they come on a year later I would be telling her how I liked this movie. “Honey, we saw this last year” she would say. Eventually the movies stay.
Our Sunni Moslem neighbor, Ahmed, just knocked on our door and gave us another gift of sweets from his native land, Lebanon. Cherie had an observation that really resounded. She said that his kindness far exceeds that of the Christians we have known. In fact he puts most of them to shame. Now I have some serious misgivings about his beliefs regarding Jews and the world but I have to say this. At least he practices what he believes. For that matter so do Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and many other religious types. I know there are many Christians who also do so but haven’t seen too many of them. We have been judged and rejected by those we turned to for fellowship and help. They talk of love but practice it only when it’s convenient or it fits their social group. You know, when it makes them look good.
Enough on that. I need to get my other blog up and running. I will call it Balaam’s Ass, based on the biblical story of the donkey that spoke to the prophet Balaam. I figure if God could use a donkey to talk to his people he could use me. I have some serious questions about God, serious doubts, and real problems with what I see in the church today, for that matter with the whole history of Christianity. I met Cherie in Bible College as I studied for the ministry and know the Bible better than most so the blog should be interesting.
Something else I wanted to cover today. This Map Stats program I have on the blog is really cool. The farthest away I have attracted readership is in the Netherlands. Wow! There is someone in Castalia Ohio who seems to be a daily reader and I am most curious about them. Feel free to E mail me if you’d like. (That goes for anyone out there) The E mail address is listed on the description at the top of the blog. It is I don’t go out much socially, sticking to a few friends I feel safe with. This is for two basic reasons. It is embarrassing for me to go through a slow down in public where others can see me. The other reason is the deep pain my wife and I have experienced. This was mostly at the hands of those who professed to have the “love of Christ”. You know, it has been said that Christians are the only ones who shoot their wounded. Now a cowboy will shoot his horse if it breaks a leg but this is an act of mercy to prevent the horse from enduring a life of pain. He will feel real bad and even cry when he does so but Christians will gossip and justify their actions, proud to point out the failings of the victim.
I E mailed Bruce and he replied. This always makes me feel good. I also E mailed Adam but I’ve never gotten a reply from him. Now that I realize there are others around the world reading this I need to explain things. Bruce and Adam are the two boys who came with the second wife. I raised them from the time they were four and five years old. Bruce is the oldest and is in Iraq right now. He is a MP in the guard and a deputy sheriff working at the county jail here in Toledo. I am proud of both of them and love them much. Unfortunately the bitter divorce and my slide into madness has caused problems with our relationship. Bruce seems less affected but Adam is quite distant.

6:14 – It’s another partial seizure. A slow down. I have different kinds. This one is the ears ringing head spinning one that comes on fast. It comes with a headache. I took my second pill. Will probably fall asleep or something. Hard to write.

8:01 – That was a quick one. Two hours later and I am sharp again. I really wish they could get me medication that would stabilize this. That is doubtful. All of my medical comes from the VA. I am grateful as a veteran for the help the Veterans Administration gives me. Without them things would have been allot worse. Unfortunately our government has been cutting the VA’s funds for years. Now that we are at war in Iraq and our soldiers are coming home with serious injuries (with brain injuries the most prevalent) Bush just cut more funding. I just watched 60 Minutes where they exposed billions of dollars of fraud and waste in Iraq. No money for our kids who are dying but plenty for Bush and Cheney’s cronies and republican suck ups. War is good business for those who are in the right place.

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