Archives for posts with tag: healing takes time

Time to get back to the office. I’m okay with that. My Traveling Partner is pre-occupied with work right now, and when I am at home working, focused on work, the day-to-day communication challenges associated with my brain injury can be a little more obvious, and, I guess, a little more frustrating. Neither of us need that headache right now.

…Having a TBI that affects how I communicate is more than annoying, sometimes, for everyone dealing with it (not just me). It’s doubly hard when so much about “me” makes it super easy to forget, most of the time, that I have some of these issues…then… fuck. There they are. “Issues”. Damn it. I’m not sure which thing is more frustrating… is it that I often ask for clarification because context is not enough to narrow down the meanings of words to just the one thing intended? (So many words have multiple, or nuanced, meanings, and I “hear them all” when people are talking.) Maybe it is that I sometimes “answer the wrong question” (Okay, I do this a lot, and it is super comical until it becomes super aggravating.) – meaning, that, if you ask me a “when” question, I may give you the “why” – and yes, if you humorously reply by asking me the “why” question, indeed, without skipping a beat, you’re likely to get the “when” of it, without me immediately noticing what I’ve done. :-\ I wish it always just stayed funny, though. It’s not like I’m “doing it on purpose”.

…Then there is the seeming “evasion” when asked a question, and I literally just… go blank. Overloaded trying to both understand and answer, usually in circumstances where there is a clear expectation that I will “get it right” because it is “easy” and “should be right there”. I catch up, sure, but by then I’ve somehow communicated a lack of trustworthiness that can seep into even those interactions with people familiar with me for a long time, and aware of my injury. Aggravating for all concerned. Super painful for me to deal with. Way too many opportunities for hurt feelings, all around.

…And how about those opposites? Omg, yeah. I work with numbers – and this particular challenge is painful, and common; I sometimes say the literal opposite of what I am actually thinking (positive vs. negative, yes vs no, even “opposite colors”, and concepts). Like a cruel prank on myself. Fuck that shit. At least this is one I commonly catch, in the moment, myself. It’s just so hard, sometimes. I want to be heard, valued, and accepted, and I want my words to do credit to my thinking. Realistically, I’m not going to get that any more often, or any more easily, than anyone else. Sometimes, it’s just not there for me. Real talk. Sometimes I sound like a complete dumb ass.

My head aches with trying to manage my headaches, on top of staying on top of all the cognitive disarray, get complicated, and although I do okay sitting here at a keyboard… if you’ve been paying close attention, you’ve probably seen it, too. :-\ It’s not getting better as I age, I assure you. In fact, in spite of continued rehabilitative work, specific to improving these sorts of things, I recognize that there are some indications some of this is getting worse, very slowly, over time. Certainly, that last transient ischemic attack (July? 2013? 2014?) was notable, and obvious, in my writing, and I still see it in “wrong endings” of words – a type of “spelling mistake” that isn’t about spelling at all, and cropped up immediately after that TIA, and persists, to a lesser degree, even now. Brain damage? Yeah. Brain damage. It is what it is.

…How long before the frustration of friends and loved ones isolates me completely, relegated to fond memories, and deliberately patient, tolerant, excuses for putting up with me… or… just… not. Just quiet sorrow, and regrets…

I sigh heavily in the quite room, listening to David Bowie, “I’m Afraid of Americans” (but only because it was next on this playlist, although… yeah). Glum thoughts over good coffee. Feeling a bit anxious about life, generally, and about aging, specifically, and what it may mean for my relationships. My brain attacks me immediately, and with real force, “he’s not going to love you forever, not like this, not if you can’t communicate; you’ve already lost your looks, what’s even left now…?” My brain whispers my worst fears and insecurities to me.

“Fuck. For real? Right now? I’ve got work you know.” I silently chastise my personal demons, and have another sip of coffee as the tears slide down my face. “I’m not having it, you vile bitch, just go ahead and head on back to The Nightmare City, I just don’t have time this morning.” I frown into my coffee, annoyed with myself, my insecurities, my vulnerabilities… my humanity.

I switch up my playlist to something lighter, and hope for the best as my tears dry. It’s a place to start…and it’s time to begin again. This morning, that’s got real meaning; it’s an opportunity to acknowledge my fears and insecurities, accept that these are experiences and feelings I need to address in an authentic, honest, and gentle way with myself. I take a couple of deep cleansing breaths, exhaling slowly and evenly after each, until it feels comfortable. I feel myself relax a bit. I make a point to fill my thoughts with recent positive interactions with my Traveling Partner, and the delight of a recent long email from a dear friend, and the recent triumphs and achievements at work… there’s a lot to be grateful for, to be satisfied with, and to enjoy.

I finish my coffee. I start my day.

It’s a lovely morning, so far. Well… I mean… Okay, it’s drizzling – I can hear the rain against the front walkway, and the “shhhhh-shhhhh” of the tires of passing cars on wet pavement. The skies are gray, and the sun seems slow to rise. My coffee doesn’t taste particularly good…just… adequately “coffee” to get the job done. I slept poorly, restlessly, and woke often. My face hurts – and it’s too soon for more Ibuprofen, because I took it during the night, on one of the several occasions I was briefly awake. So… “lovely”? May not seem the obvious descriptor. Hell, I’m even a tad cross. lol

I’m okay right now.

Here’s the thing; my heart is free. I’m a friend to myself. I build healthy relationships. I’m generally contented. Life is, more often than not, very much pretty okay, most of the time. That’s something. It’s even, comparatively speaking, quite a lot. I’ve come a long way from the precipice on which I stood (metaphorically), as recently as 6 years ago. Only 6 years? Holy shit – and dragging very little drama behind me. ๐Ÿ™‚

…I walked away from a lot of bullshit and some bad poorly chosen relationships to get here. The decision-making did not often feel “easy”, but looking back on it, a lot of it seems quite obviously necessary now. So, I smile and sip my fairly unpleasant tasting, and refreshingly cold, coffee, listen to the rain, and note the loveliness of the morning; it’s an experience generated from within.

I allow myself the moment to reflect and appreciate the journey, thus far; soon enough, it’ll be time to begin again, with a fresh new day, and a long list of shit to get done; it’s a good day for it. ๐Ÿ˜€

My face is not hurting as much (after my recent tooth extraction). It’s day 7. The stitches will begin to dissolve and healing continues. I can mostly drink normally, but I’m not quite to “hot coffee”, yet. There are still so many foods that are a poor choice, and I am quite careful about what I eat or drink, and how I care for the empty tooth socket while it heals. Weirdly, I think the tiny wisdom tooth left behind, rather stoically, all alone in the corner, seems to be… bigger? Am I… teething? The weird ache in my jaw seems to suggest so – or at least that other teeth are “settling in”, having more room, now. My tongue tells me that the gap left behind when the molar came out is notably smaller than it was the day of the extraction. Strange. I mean… I’m not objecting. I’m just observing.

…The cold of my coffee feels good in my mouth. My thoughts move on to other things.

Meditation is a favorite practice; it’s like opening a box.

I find myself in a strange place during meditation, letting things go. Practicing gratitude – and forgiveness. Seems a good morning for it. I finish my coffee and look at the time. This moment here is as good as any for new beginnings. ๐Ÿ™‚

A deep breath, a smile, and a quick check that I’ve got what I need to begin the day, and I set off to build a good experience on this lovely morning. There is no map, and that’s okay, too.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

A seed, planted in soil, isn’t much to look at. It takes a while to show itself as a seedling, longer still to amount to more. That’s the nature of growth, generally.

Given adequate growth, eventually, a flower.

I have my first sip of coffee. Still can’t drink it hot, but now that’s largely a matter of how cups work, because I’d prefer not to risk slopping hot coffee down the front of my shirt, and I’m still drinking with care, mouth partially open, avoiding the still-painful sensation any sort of suction causes. No longer forced to drink everything room temperature, I am enjoying it quite cold, and the coolness of the cold coffee feels nice against my wounded gum, at the edge of the hole where that molar used to be. I let my tongue very gently touch the edge of my gum… it’s not swollen, now, and doesn’t feel “hot” to the touch. Progress. Still quite tender, and I’m so over the constant eye on the clock, alert to the next interval at which to take still more Ibuprofen, to avoid more throbbing pain in my jaw. Any small miss on the self-care, and I pay for it in momentary misery. I’m grateful that I’ve already healed this much, so quickly, and so far it seems as if the perforation is going to heal, at least as far as I can tell, right now.

Healing processes take time. I have another soothing sip of ice cold coffee, grateful for the reminder that healing processes are also… not comfortable. Even painful. A timely reminder, coming so soon after my mother’s death. There, too, I have… “moments”. It comes and goes. I forget all about it, then, unexpectedly, I remember – and like this hole in my jaw that is not yet healed, I feel a vacancy that is tender, even painful, when I poke at it with my thoughts. Healing takes time, and it is not likely that I can “force the process”. It’s not even necessary. I smile at some fond recollection, taking comfort in that – like a sip of ice cold coffee coursing over my aching empty tooth socket.

“Why is it always about coffee with you? Damn.” I grin at myself. It isn’t, you know… sometimes I drink tea. Water. Occasionally some juice. More rare to have a small glass of something carbonated. Every now and then, a small glass of sherry or port. Mostly water. Mostly coffee. lol It’s not “about” any of that. Just a reliably handy metaphor suitable for this or that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I was pretty cross by the end of the day, yesterday. I’m feeling better this morning. Each morning, this painful bit of dental work seems to feel some better. ๐Ÿ™‚ Reliably, at the end of the days, I am no longer at my best. It would be so easy to lose sight of real progress, just due to the experience of being fatigued at the end of the day, spoons all used up. So far, I’ve avoided any sort of major displays of ire. Having a supportive partnership, and a fairly satisfying life, generally, these days, helps a lot. I only mention that because there, too, there are choices involved. Choosing to remain in a shitty “partnership” with someone who is not in any authentic way a partner, would put me in a very different place in life. Struggling day-to-day just to meet basic survival and quality of life needs would likely jeopardize any sort of good recovery from illness or injury – if I could still afford to have such things taken care of at all. I sip my coffee and explore some moments of gratitude and appreciation for the life I have now. (There were choices, and good fortune and happenstance surely played a huge part in getting from “over there”, to “here, now”, too; it’s all worth appreciating.) So, I let being cross about discomfort fade, and sip my cold coffee, watching the sky lighten through the window of my recently-tidied-up studio, feeling grateful instead.

I notice the time, and stretch, and have another deep, long, drink of icy cold black coffee. Another day. More beginnings. A life to live. These small encouraging moments aren’t “world changing” in any notable way, I know. They have, however, changed my own experience of the world – and of life. That’s been worth it to me, and likely worth it to friends and loved ones who interact with me regularly (my deep enduring misery, bitterness, cynicism, anger, and pain, could be a massive buzzkill). Every time we lift ourselves out of our private hell, we make the whole world just that tiniest bit less mired in misery, overall. One less wounded soul, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I finish my coffee, and get ready to begin again.

No point. Just flowers. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tooth extraction. I guess I’m more than a little grateful how far dentistry has come. It was, as suggested, not all that painful. Even getting the shots to numb the area was insignificant, pain-wise. The extraction, itself, was peculiarly… forceful. I mean, seriously? My dentist basically pulled a living tooth with no interest in being removed right on out of my jaw, where it was pretty permanently lodged, right? The amount of force required was… impressive. I couldn’t really feel anything but the pulling, and even now, I am ever-so-grateful for the advances modern dentistry has made. It got a tad grim when I could literally hear bone snapping, breaking free, and the taste of blood isn’t particularly pleasant. Still… no pain.

“…Oh, just one thing to cover before you leave… after we get an x-ray…” Yeah, well… okay. A “complication”. A small perforation of my lower sinus, which is, I guess, not an especially uncommon complication of an extraction of one of those back molars. I walked away, face beginning to ache, equipped with care instructions, and feeling very grown-up; I got through it, and it’s done, and I’m fine.

I arrived home. Relaxed for a few minutes with my Traveling Partner. Reviewed those care instructions… carefully. Wondered about what I’d be able to eat for the next few days. Frowned at the likelihood that it may be 2-3 weeks before I could vape again, or drink through a straw, or do literally anything that results in any notable amount of suction (trust me, this affects my quality of life! lol). I was pretty quickly overcome with a serious case of “I don’t actually care about any of this, actually”, and crashed out for a “nap”, that turned into about 18 hours of solid sleep, interrupted only long enough for interludes to sip water, sit up for a handful of minutes, go to the bathroom, and have a few very finely minced calories with great care. lol I still feel like I’ve been hit hard in the face, several times. I still taste blood, faintly. I’m still incredibly careful about every swallow of liquid, every bite of food.

…2-3 weeks??

Fourth of July. Well… no BBQ for me. I’m still “injured” enough that I don’t actually much care about that. I’m grateful for Ibuprofen; it’s getting me by nicely for pain management. My mouth “feels weird”. Talking, too, seems affected by the change in the shape of my mouth, the swollenness of my gum, and the pain in my jaw. I know it will pass.

…I think I’ll have another nap. LOL

It feels like ages and ages since I’ve written a word. It’s a sensation more than it is fact; I wrote yesterday, in the morning, and of course professional discourse via email, and correspondence with people dear to me, and messages exchanged with my traveling partner – there’s been no shortage of words. I also feel very tired, waking to the alarm clock and struggling with the idea of wakefulness each morning for a couple of days, and falling asleep sooner and faster than is typical. I’ve been pushing myself through the week with coffee and insistence, but I am so tired… I’ve no idea why. There’s been quite a lot of illness in the office this past week; I suspect that I have been fighting it off, just with few obvious symptoms. Maybe the fatigue does not need an explanation?

What to do about tired? I’m home. The work week is behind me. I’ve no plans tonight. It’s tempting to just crash now, not quite 5 pm, and sleep until whenever I wake… breaking good self-care habits like regular sleep habits isn’t generally the best choice for me. (But I’m so tired…)

I realize at some point that I am ‘filling the space’ with stimuli, possiblyย a background effort to keep myself awake and alert. I turn off the music. I turn off extra household lights. I close my email. I set it all aside for a time. I breathe. Sure, I’m tired. I just breathe. It wouldn’t be odd to be a bit under the weather, it’s the time of year for it in the office. Another deep calming breath. I sit awhile, still, calm. Comfortable. Being. After a while, the stillness spreads through my awareness, a sort of ‘space between’ the sounds of distant traffic and nearby aquarium. I’m still tired, and I’m okay with that. It’ll be a gentle evening, spent quietlyย reading; the sooner I finish this book, the sooner I will read Soil-Man – a rare fiction treat I am eager to enjoy (again).

Sitting quietly becomes meditation. Meditation becomes yoga. I’m more comfortable now, and in less pain. I’m still tired. A cup of tea sounds nice, and maybe the warm of a fire in the fireplace…

It's a very nice evening to treat myself well.

It’s a very nice evening to treat myself well.

There is a weekend of verbs ahead of me. Tonight I’ll take care of me quite simply, enjoy a nice cup of chamomile tea and a good book. That’s enough. ๐Ÿ™‚