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Bad Day Turned Good

August 30th, 2007 by Joyce

We all woke up too early, and smiles came only reluctantly. By mid-morning C&D complained and whined upstairs while I worried about an odor that burned the insides of my nostrils as I rushed back and forth through the hallway. I held my nose over the diaper pail, the bathroom rug, the shoe rack, the bathroom vents, and couldn’t identify the source of the odor, or even its kind. I just knew it smelled bad.

I imagined a dead rodent in the wall, cat pee in my sheets, a new type of black mold around my pipes, or a dead cat outside my bedroom window.

In the middle of the whining, the crying, and the sniffing, the doorbell rang. My spirits lifted. If I would get a package, then I would feel cheerful at least for a little while.

I opened the door. It wasn’t the UPS man. It wasn’t Hector, the USPS man. It was better . . . it was Madison. And she was carrying food and a smile.

She fed us bagels and lox and pastries, and we ate as if we hadn’t eaten breakfast. After all, with all the whining, had we actually enjoyed it? Then she decided she wanted to teach C&D to dance. While the threesome played music from my CD collection and danced, David so ecstatic that he actually let himself fall to the floor like an overcome brother at a revivial, I decided to take an escape and find the source of the smell. Armed with a blacklight, I sniffed my way into the bedroom and began shining the light on the walls, the sheets, and the floors.

Nothing. Matt came home early. He knew he needed to rescue me to go to Dr. Lopez’ office, but after I left a desperate message on his machine at work that morning, he came home even earlier. He began creeping around the bedroom with me. At my request he lifted a mattress, half-expecting to see a fossilizing cat-turd on our baby-blue carpet. Instead we smelled–and saw–a stack of warped, wet cardboard.

Several days before he had spilled water in bed. Since I had the mattress covered with a fleece blanket, most of the water rolled down the mattress . . . and onto a cardboard box protecting another bed for C&D. Matt yanked out the cardboard and I ran upstairs to find C&D still dancing with Madison.

We ordered out lunch.  Madison went home after eating lunch and teaching C&D that soba noodles were called “worms.” I left for the doctor’s office, which wasn’t running late, and came home in time for a quick rest before the evening began.

Bad day turned good, don’t you think?

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Success is at the Galleria

August 29th, 2007 by Joyce

Went to the Galleria this evening and didn’t get dizzy; nor did I get frustrated from its loudness.

Granted, school had just started and no one was there, but I’ll take success where I can find it.

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August 28th, 2007 by Joyce

It’s good to try. Sometimes it’s good to try hard. Sometimes, though, I try too hard, and for no good reason.

I remember lying in my hospital bed in the ICU, struggling hard to explain MLK Day to Dr. Chen three nights after my surgery (after asking me for the day, he asked me who MLK was). “Marching,” I kept saying, “Movement. Black. Rights. You know, marching.” I visualized black-and-white images of crowds at the Mall in Washington D.C.; I imagined segregated restaurants and a man pounding on a podium. But I couldn’t describe what I knew and saw in my mind’s eye. I aimed and aimed, but couldn’t hit my target. Dr. Chen put his hand up and smiled, then left. I looked at the blurry clock and blinked. I felt embarrassed that I couldn’t answer his question properly. Only until last week did I realize he really wasn’t quizzing about MLK. Really, asking me to tell him about this famous man was really a “is she lucid?” kind of question. Of course.

I still remember his sweater. And feeling stupid.

Anyway, the rest of the time it’s good to try, even hard.

I’ve been trying hard at TIRR-Challenge, but because of my limited schedule (and theirs), it’s been difficult to really immerse myself in the program. I feel like I’m missing out. My case manager suggested that by missing afternoon sessions, I’m going to miss everything vocational (I’d like to work on my speaking and writing) or good OT-oriented (which, incidentally, is only once/week, twice if I’m lucky).

I didn’t know this.  First, I walked in thinking I would be all fixed up in two weeks. (Two weeks is actually the amount of time they spend evaluating each patient.) When I finally registered, I was told I may be there four months. I hadn’t planned on being there that long. Am I really going to be that hard to fix? What about childcare? I hadn’t hired anyone for that period of that time (after all, I was going to be cured in weeks!).  Then, two weeks later, my case manager explained they have no idea how long I’ll be there, but to received the best and most thorough treatment I should be able to attend TIRR those days I’m assigned, and not the days I’m available (which are contingent on finding a babysitter, which I didn’t find on a semi-permanent basis because I thought I was going to be cured in two weeks!). C&D miss me and start clinging and whining as soon as I get home. The house feels zooey because under the babysitter they generate more miss than can be ever picked up. A broken head, and then the attempt to fix a broken head isn’t all that much easier.  I feel like this is going to drive us all crazy.

Edited and completed Dec 2007; feeling not quite as crazy.

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Flood Waters

August 28th, 2007 by Joyce

Soggy today. I’m a little nervous every time it rains here. It’s not always clear when the rain is going to be a heavy drizzle, and when we need to start working on an ark. Getting caught in the rain without an umbrella isn’t as a hassle as watching your car part the seas as you roll down the street in an effort to get home (when the streets are passable at all). Some neighborhoods flood routinely, and I guess mine is one of them.

The question is, how badly? And how much more will it rain?

Everything is up off the floor, for the most part. The stuff that’s on the floor is replaceable. What makes me nervous is the cleanup, although the floor is hard concrete or tile except the little bedroom floor, which is covered in FLOR.

Still, I don’t want to mop up mucky water this week, or ever.

And I don’t want to deal with the roaches.

While it was raining on Thursday I saw them, crawling up onto elevated bricks and landscaping, or heaving themselves slowly and clumsily toward and into my garage. I could almost see them gasping. Once finding dry land, they walked in circles, where do I go, where do I go?

The cupcake store (Sugarbaby’s) said that water came into the store, and that a telephone pole float down the street.

Pictures from latest big rain, Thursday.

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“Mommy! No write on the mirror!”

August 25th, 2007 by Joyce

If they can’t write on the wall, why can I write on the mirror, they reason?


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Two Years

August 25th, 2007 by Joyce

In the notebook today:

  • Realized it’s been a while since I’ve gone to sleep dizzy.  That’s good.
  • Appointment with Dr. Chen, my neurosurgeon this week. He suggested “fine-tuning” back to 100% will probably take about two years, given my recovery trajectory.

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Movie Friday

August 17th, 2007 by Joyce · 1 Comment

“It’s Movie Friday!” the therapist told us during one of my sessions at TIRR. It was a good movie (after we figured out how to work the television).

You can watch it, too: Living With Traumatic Brain Injury.

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