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Friday, May 20, 2011

Survival Guide

I had the privilege of attending a seminar for brain injuries. The lady that spoke has a mild brain injury and has written a book and now her passion is to educate about brain injury. Her story is very different than ours, but her information still applies. Her injury happened with a bad fall while skiing and she had even driven home that same day. She didn’t realize anything was wrong at first. She used to be a doctor and not even the residents that worked with her noticed a difference. As things started to show up, she was then put in rehab to learn how to live with the changes that her brain was making.

Once again, a lot of it didn’t apply just for the fact it was geared towards mild TBI. Right now because there are so many people that have a TBI and don’t even know it, they’re really focusing on getting the awareness out. The majority is also mild TBI, unlike Cale who has severe, so, I think we’ll run into that a lot, but any info is going to help I feel like!

I did end up taking a lot of notes and made a list of quite a few ideas for Cale even if they may not be for right now.

One thing she talked about was how you can’t tell a blind person to work hard to see again or a person who is deaf to work hard to hear again. She said it’s the same way with TBI. Physically he can work hard, and he has which is why he can now walk with a cane, but no matter how hard he works, his cognitive abilities have been changed…and there’s not much he can do to fix them. His brain needs time to heal as much as its going to (and the Lords touch!), but a lot of life with TBI is learning a new life with it and using as much as you can to help with that. Now, I’m still totally praying for God to bless Cale with a full recovery, but it was really good for her to go over this specific topic because it’s something that I honestly struggle with. I’m always thinking that I’m not doing enough to help Cale’s short term and long term memory to come back. I’m always thinking that I’m not making him do enough or that I’m doing things all wrong and don’t have it perfectly together like it seems that others do that are in my same situation.

I also have to remind myself CONSTANTLY that God is in control…not Kathleen!

I’ve written before about one of the many things that Cale is going through in this healing process because of his injury is perseveration. Because of this, he gets very stuck on something and it’s so incredibly hard to get him off of that particular idea or action. It’s kind of like a stubborn child, but 75 times worse. This also makes it very hard for him to transfer from one task to another.

In so many areas we are dealing with this. It’s one of the things that make it a battle to get him to do so many things through the day. The other part is getting him to stop doing something. Cheryle (the speaker), mention several times about how it’s so important not to keep playing the same game every day…sound familiar?! Cale plays Crazy 8’s constantly and it’s so hard to get him off! I’ve been trying to mix it up a little with our morning Skip-Bo games, but it really is hard. That’s his happy place and what he actually enjoys right now. Her saying that was because it’s not causing his brain to continue working. She gave the example of driving to work every day. People get set on auto pilot because it’s something they do so frequently. With wanting to engage Cale’s brain as much as we can, it’s not a good idea. I wrote down a few things and ways to go about trying the new things, so we’ll see!

Overall, I’m so glad I went! If you hear about any conferences or seminars dealing with TBI, please let me know! It doesn’t even have to be in this area, it’s always just so good to know it’s happening and can open up lots of doors!

After the seminar, a few guys from church came over and had a guy’s night with Cale! I’m SO thankful that they were willing to do this!!!! He needs this “guy time” and I just can’t give it to him. It’s so important for him to interact with other men and to learn how to be manlike again. He also loves it! His night included pizza…which I know must have made him a happy camper!

Cale getting to have a guy’s night, allowed for me to have fun with some ladies!!! I was able to go to a wedding reception and have a whole bunch of laughs! I enjoyed it so much and really needed it. My night included cake! ;)

I must say, this week has been great! It started out a little rough Monday night, but since then, it’s been so good. Since we’ve been home, Mama and I have date time on Wednesday mornings. She doesn’t have to go to work, so while Cale sleeps, I get up early and we have coffee together. This last Wednesday, we watched a tear jerker. It was a movie that after the first time watching it last year, I had decided that never again would I watch it. I think last time I cried enough to flood a city. Well, I’m not sure what was going through my head, but we stuck that one in to watch. At one point Mama asked why we were watching that movie as both of us have tears about to free fall down our cheeks. I paused and then started blubbering like a big baby venting about how hard Monday night was for me. She does what she always does when I need someone to talk to and get stuff off my chest; she listened. Once I was good to go, we finished the movie and then I felt depressed because of if for about an hour after it was over! Darn Hollywood. It felt so good to get it all out and have a good cry. I love those times!

Then, yesterday I had an amazing girl’s day with Rachel. I really needed her and the light fun that we have when we’re together. She is always very good about pointing out reality and not letting me wallow for too long.

Then tonight with getting to have some good ol’ wedding fun! I laughed so hard tonight and loved getting to see the faces of all the ladies that have blessed me like crazy!

Tomorrow is even more fun that I’m really excited about!

God knew what this Girl needed!

I was really excited to get home to Cale tonight. I couldn’t wait to hug on him and ask about how it was with all the guys over. He had forgotten about them being over until Mama gave some details, but when I asked him if he had so much fun, he said, “a little.” Hmm…“What?! Only a little?” Then he looked at me so sweetly and said, “you weren’t here!” Awwww! That man melts me!

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us. -Helen Keller


  1. Kathleen, You are learning so much !!! You are not afraid to find truth, to face a challenge, and to move ahead into the unknown. I am so proud of you ! I believe God is doing something in this that is for more than JUST Caleb and you. So glad you are able to get out and do things with other women and that Caleb has the opportunity to do things with the guys- and I just want to say PTL for those MEN!!! Prayers continue here for Caleb's complete recovery and for your arms to continue to be lifted while you press on. Another game that we play is 10,000 with dice - it is a lot of fun, you add up points - I don't know where he is cognitivly with the adding - but We love it and it is an easy game to keep on hand, because you only need 6 dice! (Trace has been playing it since he was about 8/9 ) Just a thought..... So glad you have your Momma!!!! Love to you as you continue on your way through this expedition to the Man and Woman God is calling you to be! PS If I find a TBI Seminar here will you come back to NY ;) lol Love Ya!!!!

  2. Kathleen!! I am so glad you had a girls night out. Maybe when you get to Seattle, we can make that happen again. Maybe Ben and I could come and play some bingo with you guys as well. I am so proud of you. You are doing just what Father has for you to do...even the feelings part. He knows YOU have to go through these feelings too, to heal Kathleen. It will be wonderous to see the crown you lay at Jesus feet because of all He's given you to do with th TBI. I love you and am soooo glad for you in my life. Marion


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