if you are interested. . .

. . .in what recovering from a brain injury is really like for someone of working age like me, go and read this excellent article by Tim Lusher in today’s Guardian. It provides a very telling account of the effects of vertigo and fatigue, attitudes toward visible and invisible disabilities in the workplace, and the particular challenges of recovery when no-one can ever really tell you how much better you are going to get. It spoke very powerfully to me. Thanks, Tilly and Julia, for the link.

18 responses

  1. Beautifully written. I was particularly struck by the tango story, since I’m a tango dancer myself. And the metaphors people use to describe their experiences, it would be interesting to put a collection of those together from a larger number of people – I feel like it would help the rest of us not only understand life with brain injury a little better, but also understand our own “healthy” experiences better…

  2. Thank you for posting this link. As someone who works with brain injury survivors, I’m always pleased to see brain injury getting some headlines when it comes to sharing information about the issues faced in recovery. Kate, I wonder if you have heard of an organisation called Different Strokes? I don’t know whether they are active in Scotland, but they do great work in England working with young stroke survivors…

  3. Thanks for posting that. Some things reminded me of my husband’s cancer treatment and hospital stays last year. It is good to be reminded not to take things for granted, both in what we expect of others, and in our lives.

  4. Kate,
    Thanks for passing along that article! My mom recently went on a trip to Costa Rica and while there managed to slip on a wet floor and give herself a fairly nasty concussion on the back of her head. While she is not “brain injured” in the same sense that someone who has had a stroke or a tumour or the like is, she has since been dealing with major vertigo. When she fell she knocked the calcium crystals in her inner ear loose and now they are floating freely and causing her to feel dizzy and nauseous a great deal of the time. She is unable to work (she is a dialysis nurse) and she isn’t allowed to drive until she is symptom-free for at least 48 hours. She also suffers from debilitating migraines (they were present before the fall!) which have been affecting her ability to function on a daily basis.
    It is scary to see her go through this. The medical professionals can’t give her an answer about when or if the vertigo will go away because they simply don’t know. It has been frustrating to me to watch as she struggles with her migraines and this new challenge because she feels like her boss/coworkers/friends/family/etc. will soon tire of her constant headaches or calling in sick to work.
    I applaud any organization that brings attention to invisible injuries. It is so difficult to understand certain injuries because you just can’t imagine what it would be like to constantly struggle with fatigue, dizzyness, nausea, or difficulty making your limbs do things that were once natural!
    My mom amazes me with her ability to just get on with things despite her challenges and I continue to be floored by your journey through stroke recovery. I’m thankful that people like yourself are out there to point out to those of us that haven’t been thrown a challenge like this (at least not yet!) that things aren’t always what they seem. I’m thankful that you chose to share your story with us because I think it’s important to try to understand and learn to be compassionate to those around us, no matter what their own particular struggles or differences may be. Even though we’ve never met, I think about you daily and I continue to send happy thoughts out into the air with the hopes that at some point soon you’ll be able to take on the walking challenges you so dearly love.

  5. Incredible article. It’s something you can’t even begin to understand unless you’ve been through it, but reading an article like this is a start. I really appreciate you keeping us up to date on your recovery, I have learnt so much from your writing.

  6. Thanks so much for drawing attention to this article. Brain injuries are often ‘invisible’ and sharing this sort of testimony is important. I’ve been struggling with the after-effects of a head injury for the past two months. While on a completely different scale from stroke, it has still had a major effect on my life and my family’s (far more than I mention in my own writing). This article and the comments rang many bells and made me feel both less isolated and very grateful.

    Wonderful to read about your own ongoing recovery. Wishing you well.

  7. Thanks for the article. My partner had a stroke when he was 42 and went through so many of the things you are experienced. Hang in there.

    Also, maybe I’m just strange, but I think I like the back side of tortoise and hare just as much as the front!

  8. A wonderful article. My husband has gone through three cerebral vein thromboses and I have MS- this speaks so strongly to our experiences. I’ll be passing it along. Thank you for sharing it.

    Have you read Christine Miserandino’sSpoon Theory? I use it a lot to explain chronic illness to the non- disabled. It helps.

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