Saturday, January 27, 2007

A contemplative start

1/27/07 Saturday
Starting this day out right. Just got a “first cup” out of the pot. That’s where I put my coffee mug under the coffee maker to catch the first drips of coffee. Now that’s a “wake me up” cup of coffee. Talk about legal drugs this is a caffeine shot that definitely gets the heart pumping.

So what are we going to do today? Going to Ace Hardware is on top of the list. That is where the new woodstove Amy bought us will be sent to. Then we will find a place called Bill’s Chimney to get the stove pipe we need to install it as well as get some advice from a professional. That’s always a good idea, especially for me because, despite having bought, installed, owned an airtight stove before those types of memories were lost with the coma. I have to relearn most things as if for the first time. When I first got back to Toledo a year after waking up the good people at the main library downtown had to teach me how to use the computers as I researched who I was. When you understand that I had built and owned two companies, one a marketing company that had twenty four computer stations networked and a website I managed you can see how much I lost.

When I woke up in that hospital room just before Christmas 2001 I woke up to a whole world that was new to me. Once they taught me how to use the remote I would watch hours of TV in amazement. I remember watching Oprah and thinking “Wow, this lady’s nice. She helps people”. It was the start of a long process of my brain rewiring and repairing connections to the memories locked up inside. Here’s something I wrote July 2003 in that library.

I wonder. As the brain tries to compensate for the damage done in a TBI it probably uses several methods. In a brain that has been, to use the words of Elvis, “All shook up” the range of damage will go from almost not there to nothing left at all. Sorry about the technical terms. So the brain is an extremely complex organism that relies on both neural pathways for a form of electronic communication and chemical communication. Chemical communication depends on the ability of the adjoining brain cells to detect the chemical releases aimed its direction.
I believe that the brain can repair the damage that is minute and that other sections of the brain can take on the duties of a nonfunctional area. However this is a process that requires time and conditions to proceed successfully. Any physical repair possible will begin immediately. There is still debate on the brains ability to regenerate its tissue.
As the brain rewires itself it is focusing on the areas that are being asked to perform. As I was taught how to walk it took some weeks for another area of my brain to learn how to tell my right leg to move. This was because the therapist worked daily exercising that part of my brain. Then as I continued to try to walk, some times without assistance (to the consternation of the hospital staff) my brains ability to control my leg increased rapidly.
Now here’s the point. Our brains are incredible organisms that in their complexity employ uncountable delicate balances to operate properly. So if during the long rewiring process the survivor experiences mental stimulation in specific areas, will those areas, by being used more, become dominate thus causing imbalances in ones mental processes?
I suspect that some of the issues I have now are because, as I faced a world that was in many ways new to me, I was literally painting on a new canvas. The experiences I have endured are those that have helped to remodel my brain. There is no doubt that I am a very different person from who I was before. I don’t like all of who I am right now. It is my hope that as I continue to paint on this canvas of my life I will be able to more carefully choose the paint of my experiences, thus helping create a better me and balancing out the bad I’ve gone through.

Your going to see this plaque allot. It relays my appreciation for the life I've been blessed with. I guess it's my way of preaching also, of conveying to all of you how precious life is and how vain so many pursuits we endeavor can be

One of the things I am grateful for is the innate intelligence I was born with and the fact that I didn’t lose it all. Despite getting lost and confused easily I was still a thinker. When they were testing me at the Brain Injury Institute in St. Louis they would look up from the results and ask “Were you real smart before your accident?”. Yes I was. My IQ tested at 136. Bit despite that I have a lifetime of consistently doing incredibly stupid things. That should be incredibly stupid with a capital “I” and “S”.

As far as now goes my humorous spin on this is that I am either the smartest stupid person or the stupidest smart person you will ever meet. It just depends on the moment you meet me. That really is true as my brain function see saws all the time. Right now I am sharp and running an 8 on the bob scale, above average.

It’s 8:30 now so I think I’ll go online and post this, then see what’s going on in the cyber world.

Well I just got added to the blog roll of the Fireant Gazette, a West Texas blog. My readership is steadily growing but this is the first time I’ve gone out and promoted this blog. Sent Eric an E mail asking him to see if Walked with angels would fit in. Guess he thinks so.

It is a beautiful sunny day out. Unfortunately I feel a headache rearing it’s ugly head in my not so pretty head. At least my cognizance is still high but the ringing in my ears aren’t a good sign but you never know, there is nothing reliable or predictable with this brain. Time to take aspirin and my seizure meds.

Looks like it might not be a bad headache. I am actually running shaper than when I wrote the previous paragraph fifteen minutes ago. Like I said, there is nothing predictable with this brain.

Cherie is dying her hair, which event always comes with an odor that assails the nostrils. A good time for me to get out of the house. The wind is whipping out there so I’ll make sure things are battened down. I’m also preparing wood for Cherie’s sewing table. That involves carefully going through each piece of scavenged wood to check for nails, staples, or anything else that will damage the blades on my planer.

Before we go to Midland I want to call the pawnshops to see if any of them have a chainsaw. We will definitely need one with the wood burner. It will be so nice to have a warm house, at least the back half. The living room is on the far side so getting warm air to it will be a bit harder.

It’s been a wonderful day. Unfortunately I’m doing the migraine thing right now so I won’t get too eloquent about it. It’s a bad one where I can’t handle light and am keeping the TV down to a minimum. Even have to turn the brightness on this screen to it’s lowest setting.

After calling Ace Hardware to see if it was in we went and picked up the wood stove. When I looked at the E mail Amy sent that had the order number on it I saw a link to check the status of it. It showed a picture of the stove so I showed it to Cherie. We were both enthralled at how the style of the stove has that antique kind of look that we both like. It’s almost like we picked it out. Absolutely amazing. We also bought the stove pipe we will need to hook it up. That cost $93.00. We went to Home Depot and got a ladder that is tall enough for me to install the pipe, another $100. Then we went to a pawn shop that I had found by calling through the phone book listings that had some chain saws. I’ll need one to cut wood for this stove. Found a nearly new Homelite saw that they wanted $150 for. Talked them down to $110. The reason I am listing all this is to show how things seem to just come together for us. Last week we didn’t have a spare dime but this week we have what we needed.

Cherie and I talked about this and are both…well I can’t find a word to describe it right now but we feel like we are where we are supposed to be, that even though it’s sometimes hard we will be OK. I just had Cherie call Amy to thank her. I would have but don’t feel up to it with this migraine. She was glad to hear from us as she was wondering if we’d picked it up.

What else? We went to a Mexican restaurant we have seen before near Walmart to grab a bite to eat. We found a gem of a place with wonderful food at great prices. Definitely will go there again. Cherie had called Nate earlier today and we had a nice long conversation. He was on the road driving to visit his dad in Wisconsin. There is lots going on in his world and lots of transitions he will be going through. Gee, he just happened to have picked up a breaker box that is new and a few other things that we have a need for. Again things seem to come together. We let Nate know we will be coming up probably at the end of February and what do you know, that almost perfectly coincides with some of his plans. He is going to drive to Las Vegas and possibly to see his friend in Arizona so he can follow us as we return to Texas. We’d love to have him visit of course.

I’m going to call it a night. Right now Cherie is talking to her sister Cathy. I’m under the covers with the lights and TV turned off. The migraine will be gone by morning. At least I’m still sharp. Night all.


Eric said...

Bob, you're definitely a worthy blogroll addition, although I'm not sure how great an honor that is. ;-)

Anyway, I'm glad you let us know about the existence of your blog, and I hope you'll get a few visitors from the Gazette. I know I'll be dropping by.

Bob said...

Thanks Eric. Our story and lives are so amazing it would be selfish to keep to ourselves. We are glad to be in West Texas and love the feel of this country. Much better than the city life and attitude we left up north. For me it's coming home in a way though it's been twenty five years.

Janie said...

Welcome to West Texas, Bob and Cherie! Your stories are amazing!
I'm blogrolling you as well. God bless!

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