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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Out with the old, in with the new

This past Sunday,  I had plans to reconect with a friend I had not seen since spring.  A good 4 months went by.  She got a new job, and found herself working 2 jobs for a short time, and I went to Colorado for a writers workshop with a fantastic new friend, Sandy, and to do some adaptive horseback riding with Mike Farlander at the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte, again.  I need to write about that trip, too.  After, I got back, I was back, and forth to Maine 3 times, and generally, felt lost no matter where I was.  I did a lot of soul searching, and am still torn between pursuing school, in the field of public health. and trying to become an inspirational figure, through writing, and outdoor recreation.   I thought about going to med school to become an osteopath,but as soon as I started getting into studying the MCAT material, it made me remember why I'd changed out of the pre med track. 

 At 17, I went to UVM on they're veterinary track.  I loved horses.  Giving my bratty Morgan horse up, to come to UVM, had been extremely emotional for me.  Then, just as I began my junior year at UVM, I got  lost in my decisions, and abandoned school, for a job as a stable hand, in southwest England.  I just needed to get away from my crazy, scattered lifestyle in college, and find out if I belonged on the farm instead.  I loved spending everyday on the farm, feeding, cleaning, riding, and running errands.  I was mostly there because   I often  got to ride 3 times a day. The most hilarious event I participated in was the British Eventing Ball.  It was literally a ball, where the woman wore gowns, and the men wore tuxedos. I remember finding it hilarious knowing that hours before, many of us had been up to our knees in soggy manure.  I also felt like my attire declared my nationality, in an absurd fashion.  I brought one dress, to England, and, it was a little black one.  All the other women wore gorgeous gown, think prom dress, and the multiply how fabulous those are by 4.  Nonetheless, I still had a wonderful time, despite the constant declararation of, 'oh, you must be the American.'  Assumably, because I was 20, and legally intoxicated.  And that wasn't even the most amusing part of my year.  I had 3 close friends studying abroad that year, and was able to travel, and see each of them.  I also got to validate my decision of taking a year off, in that I couldn't afford to pay for school, if I did not know what I wanted from it.  I went home in May, and worked 2 serving jobs (waitress) to save money to live on, back at school.  Wheni went back, I stuck with college of agriculture, and life sciences, but I switched my focus to public communications, and enabled myself to broaden my view of the world. I got a job at a local barn to help myself remember to stay grounded.  My focus was better, and my GPA nearly doubled, after swiching my studies.  In my final semester, I got the opportunity to study abroad too.  I went to Belize, to a small private college, with 15 other UVM kids.  When classes ended, I traveled with a friend for 2 weeks, returning days before graduation.  The day I returned, I met Sean, who I was dating when my heart stopped.  Irony is incredible sometimes.  I'd returned to my per diem job as a secretary at the hospital, while I looked for a more life sustaining career.  Just when I found it, I acquired this injury.

In June, I saw a doctor recommend by at friend, to get back on a prescription contraceptive.  I didn't know a lot about it, but I asked for prescription for Orthtrycyclin, as it had helped tremendously, the year before iwith unpleasant woman issues.  This doctor said that she could only offer me Yaz, I remember asking if it was similar to Yasmin, which I'd seen lawsuit commercials for.  She said, yes, but that they had changed the formula, and the name since.  In what I now recognize as terrible judgement, I allowed myself to be satisfied with that answer.  I say that because after 4 months of absurd nausea, when I took it, I suffered a random cardiac arrest, my heart just stopped, from an extreme potassium deficiency.  It was later determined, that those effects were cased by that same contraceptive, Yaz.  Looking back, I think I'd rather have had a kid, than have become one again, myself.

This is my history, I acquired an anoxic brai injury because my heart stopped, and failed to get oxygenated blood to my brain.  I owe the life I have now to countless people- Sean, my mom, my dad, my aunt, and  my incredible friends from all facets of my life, my doctors, nurses,therapists, and adaptive recreation professionals.  I am so thankful for them all, as each one has had a hand in helping me become who I am today.  Thank you all, it's been a long trying road, and may always be, but still worth it, everyday I can help someone else see that no matter how bad it gets, there's always something to keep pushing for.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What's next!?

I genuinely assumed that turning 30 woud not be any different from any other age.  However, for me, it has been very different.  It's as if something wiped away a lot of my childish insecurities, and my self confidence is replacing them.  I realize that's a relatively odd thing to observe in ones own self, however, my 'restart' line is also quite unique.  I've decided to accept my injury, my rehabilitation, and my life for what they are.  Mine.  This is the ground I have to stand on, and there's no time like the present.

 30, was my original time limit to get back on my feet, and sad but true, I'm not there yet.  This road is hardly sparkles and sunshine, though, nonetheless I am still working at it. I'm incredibly grateful, that the harder I work, the easier things become.  Trutuhfully, my world feels stale and boring the majority of the time.  I've ecome rather antisocial, and often feel I've grown more upset over interacting with new people, as well as the, though not in the depressing way, that sounds.  I mean it's not so thrilling to spend 6 years relearning how to be a functioning adult, in modern society (whatever that is).

I had the excitement of beginning a new decade last month.   30 was my original time limit to get back on my feet,and sad but true, I'm not there yet.  This road is hardly sparkles and sunshine, though, nonetheless I still have to work at it.  Truthfully, my world feels stale and boring the majority of the time.  I've become wickedly antisocial, and have grown more upset, when over interacting with new people, and the failures in my publically funded world.  At some point I stopped trying.  Truthfully, I'm unbelievably fortunate to have the resources I do, and a father who has been willing to learn to use them, and get me on the necessary programs, of which there are a ridiculous  amount.  I have 6 primary funding resources through the government.  2 for healthcare, one for housing, one for groceries, and 2 to cover day to day expenses.  Maintaining these programs is a job in itself.   People from the housing authority check my apartment once or twice a year, for 'illegal activity' and to verify that I still have a live in aid, and am not sheltering any others.  When I was first subjected to these programs, I was offended by the crass attitudes, and seeming discord we all face, from these programs.  However, these are incredible safeguards in place, are there for a reason.  It just so happens they are not always administered properly, or the information doesn't get out.  Our federal aid programs are intended to help, however the whole process has grown so complex, I can easily see how so many people end up in perpetual poverty.

I had a truly beautiful summer, met, and reconnected with amazing people, played outside, and learned a lot about myself.  The most difficult piece of my brain injury, for me, was feeling like I'd lost my identity. This injury affected my brain globally, as in, I have damaged cells, in every part of my brain.  Anoxia doesn't appear on brain scans,for this reason.  I sustained som damage to every lobe, randomly, in bits and pieces.  Initially, l lost everything, I often think of it as, it was like waking up to an empty shell.  Here I am 7 years later, and I've worked extremely  hard to find any ground to stand on.  The only piece of me I didn't lose, was my intellect, I mean it took a hit, but I was attending my first class in 2008, with my dear friend Ann, helping me.  I don't think I stuck with it too long, that semester, being that I can't even recall the subject.  For some foolish reason I enrolled in a webpage design course the next year.  My visual processing was still nonexistent, so, I didn't take as much away, as I'd hoped.  However, I did learn what it meant to have special needs, and. How to ask for accommodations.  That was a huge lesson in itself.  The following year, I rediscovered my interest in public health, and took a healthcare policies course.  I took 3 courses in that track, and took a break, after a policy and theory course took me out.  Mathematically theorizing scenarios, and possibilities is not my interest or mental programming, for that matter.  That was the year, I aggressively threw myself back into running, and completed my first half-marathon.  I'm still running, and rediscovering outdoor recreation in every way.   That has been my key to keeping an even keel.  

This year I got back in the saddle, with schoolwork, and am taking Medical ethics.  I knew immediately, I'd likely find it difficult emotionally, and yes it is, testing.  However, it also makes me even more thankful that my family and friends stood their ground to fight for me.   The feeling of being grateful for ones own life really should have its own word.  I've come to realize how much I have to be grateful for. I literally lost the life I identified with for 23 years, but with the help, care, love, and inspiration of so many amazing souls, I've learned all about the phrase, 'it takes a village', because for me, it has taken probably, more than a village, and I've been so fortunate to find help around each turn.  So, to to the words of a counrty song I stumbled upon recently,'Here's to the next 30 years!)

Thank you all for helping me get this far!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Super Sunday

One of the traits I've missed most throughout my recovery is the ability to remain productive, and not fall into distraction traps.  I'd set my alarm for 6, to attempt to run downtown for a free yoga. Class on church st.  Sounded like a fun morning, though I woke up, made a smoothie, and put on my running gear.  Though once I'd eaten, I'd forgotten about my plan to be at church st. By nine.  While I ate, I revered upon the wall to wall carpeting in the apartment.  So, I vaccumed when I finished breakfast.  Then, I headed to my towns fabulous farmers market.  This market is hands down my favorite attraction,  it's grown massively in the past few years, and I got carried away today.  Corn on the cob, kale, blueberries, cucumbers, chaga chai tea, spanicopita, and samosas, and croissants largely covers  what I got.  The best part is that this was a week, they were matching every $10 you exchanged, so I got a great deal on lots of fresh food.  Later I made 2 salads with my goodies.  I was relieved to have enough time to go for a 3 mile run, and clean up, before heading to a potluck dinner, and meditation.

My friend Anna moved to an in residence meditation teacher training program, and her family kindly offers me a ride each week, for the community sit.  I hadn't been able to make in over a month, so it felt exciting to return.  It was wonderful meeting new people, reconnecting with some, and hopefully making a new running friend, fingers crossed.  In tonight's sit, we were invited to focus on our peripheral sense, see, hear, feel, and consider the feelings which arose as a result.  I heard someone outside, inflate what I assumed was a bike tire, and was derailed into a mountain biking fantasy.  Good stuff right there.  Soon, it was time for the active segment, where you're invited to stretch, move around the room, do yoga.  Tonight I really appreciated that segment, as it gave mevtheopportunity to positively reinforce the progress I've made physically this year.

I've been attending weekly meditationsat the Center for Mindful Learning pretty regularly since Anna introduced me to it.  It's an incredible community asset, I sincerely wish the western mindset was more accepting of this practice.  Although it's a majorly accepted here, at least.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Wedding Season!

So it begins...
Back in college,   I spent a lot of time doing Outing Club related activities, leading trips, fundraising, instructing new leaders.  Through this community I made some amazing friends.  I lived with some, learned a lot about the backcountry, and teaching.  College seems like an alternate universe these days.  I met Chris through mutual friends.  He's very candid, and seemed to so easily make friends wherever he went.  Senior year I sublet a room in the apartment he lived in.  A very foul apartment, in every sense, it was quite small,and had never been cleaned, it appeared, since it had been built.  We all made the best of it, and I could count on being heckled for getting food on myself while I sat on the couch at mealtime, and inevitably spilled all over myself.  The couch doubled as a dining area, as there was no table.  The Outing Club was more or less an unsanctoined fraternity for the guys and the ladies.  The parties were ridulous.  Many of my college memories have been swept away, but I will always remember how outgoing, and friendly he was/is, his originality in Halloween costumes, and an amazing ability to make everyone feel included.  In my world now, people with that quality are few, and far between.

I am moderately antisocial these days, as it takes an unreal amount of energy, cognition, and attention for me to be clearly understood, and even then I'm not too intelligible, unless I see you often.  I'd dropped the ball on planning to get there.  The wedding was at a ski resort, Jay Peak, 7 miles south of the Canadian border.  Pretty inaccessible for those who can't drive, and I had not thought ahead to line up a ride.  It felt like nothing had changed, in some respects, and like everything had changed in other respects.

The ceremony was beautiful.  Chris and Christine were married/ordained by two of their closest friends, all of their family members attested to their love, and commitment to one another. It seemed there wasn't a dry eye around, during the ceremony.  The testament to their love, and devotion, was powerfully lead by a great friends of theirs.  Family members offered intriguing testimonial also, however, John, and Karen ordaining the ceremony, was a beautiful touch, and the intermittent procession from the string quartet was beautiful. The weather was perfect, sunny, and mid 70's.  I can safely say I spent too much time outside, by the fire pit, during much of the dancing.  I smelled like wood smoke for the rest of the night.  When the band called it a night, for the fourth time, the wedding party proceeded to the bar.  My brain was at max capacity for the day, and I proceeded to pass out immediately, on a pull out couch, in a friends condo.  .  Being amongst this group, sometimes it feels exactly as I remember.  We can revert into our old roles, of our college selves so easily.  

The unruly drunks/ not so drunks paraded in,throughout the next 2 hours I wasn't sleeping anyways.  Some kindly meant comments, however, poorly worded, had sent me Into my head during the receptiion.  I was sitting near the dance floor, observing the ridiculousness when an older woman approached me, put her hand under my chin, and said,'at least you're still so pretty.'  I rarely feel provoked to smack people, but it took every moral fiber I have to ignore that shit, and remain seated.  I shut down after that.  Although thinking back on it now, I wish I'd thought to pull her down to my eye level, and said, 'Yes that is such a comfort, when I sound like this, and move like a troll.  Maybe it's just me, but looks aren't everything.  As for you, at least your sagging face makes it much easier to identify you in this crowd.'  I knew she hadn't meant to insult me, but it left like she had poured salt in an open wound.

In the morning I awoke to familiar voices upstairs, and went to see who was up already.  There wasn't much time before the mad dash to checkout, and make brunch began.  Lauren and Jesse kindly helped me with a plate of goodies at brunch.  I enjoyed the endless antics over the meal.  The goodbyes were aplenty.  The opportunity to reunite was an incredible gift.  It's often bittersweet, as I'll never be the girl I was when we were all closer, but the time spent making new memories, and continuing  on with a renewed ifaith in the power of love was the blessing I received from this event.  To Chris and Christine, on your wedding weekend.  May you both be blessed in your union, and throughout your lives together.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Good Morning Burlington PD

This morning, I'm standing in the kitchen, still in my pajama pants, when I hear someone at the door.  I put down my coffee to answe the hall-way door, assuming it's probably maintenance.  He asks for my housemate/aide.  Only then, does my brain process his uniform, as a police officer.  Marc is the kindest aide I've had in years, with an intact moral compass, and decent values.  It's why I hired him.  Apparantly openness and honesty are difficult to find in the 'real' world.  I've put up with some very questionable souls, but this is the first time I've gotten a visit from the police department.

I invited him in, while I tried to see if Marc was in.  He works nights, so it usually takes a moment to get an answer.  I finally realize this is not a social visit, and ask if everything is alright, wondering briefly if I live with a very unique criminal, although I find it totally unimaginable he would intentionally cause any trouble for anyone, ever.  He tells the corniest jokes I've ever heard, and never has a bad word to say about anyone, or anything.  Even when someone cuts him off in traffic.  I had foolishly assumed Marc had probably befriended a local police officer, so it took me a moment to realize he was here on official business.   Apparantly, Marcs employer did not receive the message he had called out of work the night before, and asked the police department to check on him.

This idea seems absolutely senseless to me.  if you work nights, you sleep in the daytime.  He puts his phone on silent when he sleeps.  I have to give him my schedule in advance, so he can sleep outside of the time I heed asisstance.  If I called the cops whenever I could not get ahold of him, I think there would be warrant out for a civil violation on my part.  I thought you had to wait 24 hours before the police could intervene.  The officer said it was  an unusual call.  As soon as Marc came out, he seemed thoroughly confused, and realized his employer must not have gotten the message he had called out, and the officer left.  What a bizarre start to the day.  I've  already decided when the nosy neighbors ask about why the saw they police at my door, I'll tell them I was arrested for running a drug cartel, but there was no evidence in my apartment, so they had to release me.  Often, I find myself annoyed with obtrusive questions from my building neighbors.  They usually misunderstand my responses anyways.  May as well make it more interesting...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Food for thought

lesson-1
Expect the unexpected.

A little story about myself.  6.5 years ago, I'd landed my first 'real adult' job.  I was very nervous to leave everything I knew behind, and start over again, although my career goals aligned with non profit management, and public relations.  I tentatively accepted this position, in Texas, as a personal assistant, to a woman who'd founded her own non-profit, primarily aimed at assisting children, and education in various ways.  I left, the day after my 23rd birthday, or I was supposed to.  The nihht before I left, my heart stopped, dead.  At least, I was, for an estimated 12-15 minutes.  My then boyfriend, fortunately realized, and did CPR, while getting my roommates to call an ambulance.  I am still here, because of his quick action, and later, my families unwillingness to give up on me, and faith in the bodies ability to heal itself, even in the face of the unknown.  We pushed through inpatient care, in 6 months, and then  I settled into my Medicaid/care funded rehab program here in Vermont.  Did you know that Vermont is #3 in the whole country, for brain injury rehabilitation ,and has the#1 most compressive/best outcome mental health programming in the country?There are plenty more external factors to wrestle with, but I stayed in Vermont to relearn life with an unknown kind of brain injury (anoxic).  I also had fantastic friends, and contacts from college.  Though, I didn't foresee losing. My relationship, and most of my college friends over the next 2 years.

Today, I am hopeful that you all, as well as others, can be persuaded to be more vigilant, and consider the ramifications of possible side effects, listed on your prescription bottles.  I know many of us believe that anything prescribed by a doctor, will help us, or remedy a problem.  To clarify, the reason, I briefly died, and was revived, and concurrentlydetermined to have sustained severe brain damage, is linked to my then, contraceptive, Yaz.  The company that produces it, BayerLLC, has had to change the name from Yazmin, to Yaz, to Ocella.  Reportedly, it's name is getting changed yet again.  Here's a novel idea, Bayer:  instead of changing the name of your drug to avoid lawsuits, how about changing the components of the drug, to make it less harmful, to less women.  Yes, I'm sure it's more expensive to do that, but think about the money you could save in your legal department.  I'm one of over 200,000 plaintiffs seeking an apology, at the very least, though preferably compensation for the damages, and experiences endured.

 How do you put a dollar sign on a life?  In my opinion, you can't, no one can.  We all have different values, and hold them in different places.  To clarify, I mean that characteristically, and not monetarily.  Same word, entirely different meaning.  Life can be fuzzy, as in, when the line is grey.  Defining right, and wrong  is different for each of us.

Today,  I'm asking you to look at yourselves, think about your own healthcare experiences.  How was the outcome?  Good?  Bad?  Indifferent?

Today, our country is on the crux of major health care reform, where all American citizens could gain access to the healthcare they deserve, and need.  Public healthcare is not the  psychotic, dying, bloody, disease ridden, festering mess it appears to be made out to be.  It's just (gasp) CHANGE!  and, a big one, at that.  What are we, as Americans, deathly allergic to?  Exactly, that.  Change.  I know, it might as well be a curse word, right?  You can faint now, or proceed with any overly dramatic reaction of your choosing, now, should you feel the need...

Alright, now that we've all recovered, let's get back to it.  Our country is touted for its freedoms,  however where money is involved, freedom seems irrelevant.  I live on government funds, my apartment is through section 8 (a government subsidy for people with little income, or a disability).  I use food stamps to buy my groceries, and receive a small monthly allotment to cover my bills.  What cracks me up, is that the fiscal resources I currently receive, is more than what I worked 3 jobs to make per month, while I was in school. The government system is created on formity, which I'd like to point out is the opposite of independence, and freedoms.  Needing government aid is all too common these days, but it all depends on your education, and willingness to look for the resources you need.  I now firmly believe that the media is our largest social enemy, by propagating false impressions regarding the validity and success of these programs.  In my nonprofessional opinion, we invest far too much money in defense, and international relations, where the valuable investment is domestically, within our own borders.the number of Americans seeking financial assistance goes up every year, as wages fail to rise, despite monetary inflation.

There are a million and 1 problems with the difficulties and rigours of public funding.  However, bottom line, they were created to provide asisstance for people in need.  The rules are quite strict, and there are seemingly endless threats of possible ways to *poof* lose your funding.  However, I've come to realize much of these difficulties have come about through poor implementation, or grievances caused individuals not understanding the system.

I think back to US history and social studies courses in high school, and while I agree there is a certain need to understand our heritage, I cannot get over the fact, that we are not required to learn more about the use and implementation of govrtnment programming.  If we have federal aid programs available, for nearly every purpose, why isn't there better dissemination of these programs?  we are always going to have our own misgivings, dependent on our own situations.  That will always be true,but clearly we have gone awry somewhere in the succession of arriving to the social plague American society currently suffers from.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Story of a lifetime

Today I went in for my annual Physiatry appointment.  I see my physiatrist, and neurologist annually at this point.  It's a question and answer session basically?  How's your mood?  Are you experiencing difficulty focusing?  Any changes since last year?

Without fail, I have always been against the use of a neuro stimulant.  Throughout my progression, and rehabilitation, I've been fortunate to gain a perspective of watching myself grow, relearn, and adapt to my surroundings as if I'm growing up again.  Somedays it's an infuriating perspective, as I'm nearly 30, and I'm relearning social norms, traing myself to walk, run, react in a timely fashion, and speak clearly.  Of course there are days I don't even want to face the world, yet I get up, and go out, and often meet amazing people on those days.  It's been a difficult spring, as I'm more aware of who I am now, yet I still don't have a handle on what to do with the rest of my life.  It's like when I graduated from college, and didn't have any idea what to do next.  Things fell into place for me, just in time to acquire the most unique,brain injury out there.  I mean really, who takes Yaz (a contraceptive), and expects their heart to stop?  Certainly, not me, or anyone else out there.  I recently learned I am not the only woman to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest as a result of this drug.  Sadly, it seems I might be the only survivor, though.  Apparantly, there is little to no research regarding cell death from lack of Oxygen (Anoxia).  That caused my brain damage.  Frankly, I'd prefer to be single parent, over the single survivor of severe cerebral anoxia.  The hardest part of this injury for me, is it's inconsistency.  The random tremors that toss me on the ground, without warning, the way my visual accuracy can differ with each day, how much my vocal clarity can differ from one moment to the next.  

With most other injuries, if you break, or tear something, your body can attempt to heal itself, in time.  That's my perspective on this injury too.  It took me 3 years to sell my car, because I believed my vision would recover. (I was initially blind from this injury).  Clearly, much of my vision has pieced back in, and for that, I am so thankful, however, I don't see myself safely behind the wheel of a car anytime soon, because I cannot react to anything, in time, to save myself.  I fall too often to keep track of.  My approach is, if no one saw, it didn't happen.  Although, my consistent bruses, and road rash indicate otherwise.  Physically, I can say that I have a definitive faith in my ability to improve.  I would rather afford myself the opportunity to push, and test my abilities, and likely get hurt in that process, than sit, and wallow in a pit of despair.  We all have good days, and bad days.  It just so happens that ny bad days are profoundly more so, because I can't trust my body to do what I ask it, in a timely, or effective manner.  My mental hang-ups increase ten-fold, as I've learned from experience, that I cannot trust myself.  Although, through all of the pain, tears, and frustration, I have seen myself improve.  I've learned to walk, and run again, without help (sometimes).  It may not be consistent, but it keeps me going.  Life is about testing yourself, accomplishing new things, and taking pride in where you're at, and how far you've come, even if there's still a long road ahead, we have to appreciate the journey.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Total Recall

Wednesday morning, I was up early, walking in town.  Ihad plans to meet a friend for breakfast.  We had agreed on a place called Misery Loves Company.  I'd only heard great things about them, and was excited to try them.  Mind you, I am not in any way, shape, or form, a morning person. 7'is my normal rising time, not my be dressed, and walking out the door time.  I said I'd walk because I know I need that time to assess myself, and my surroundings.  I am rather unpleasant as a conversationalist, if I just roll out of bed, and meet you.  I figured it would be nice to walk a short distance that early.  However, I was apparantely incorrect. On auto pilot, as I crossed 4 lanes of early morning traffic.  Somebody, is apparantely less of a cheery morning person than I, and proceeded tocurse at me, as I trundled by.  I stopped to smile, and wave, and the car beside him waved back.  I decided to walk, and take my chances with early morning road rage. If you're going to be rude, I'm going to focus on finding everything I can do, to walk as slowly,  and carefully as possible.  It's a gamble, I realize, but if you hit me, your life will be a lot worse too.  I think the traffic pattern in this town is idiotic and senseless.  I also still have not come to an understanding with my brain, and how it flakes out on me, at seriously inconvenient times.  Although, I'd appreciate it, if my first communication of the day, was not being cursed at, because you can't wait 30-60 seconds for me to pick a route I feel safe walking.  Whatever, you've probably forgotten this particular interaction, as you've likely repeated it multiple times since then.

Moving on, I walked into a restaurant that clearly wasn't open yet.  Their doors were open, but everything was neatly stacked, so I asked when they opened, and immediately realized my mistake.  The bake shop part of this merchant was back on my street.  I'd braved rush hour traffic for nothing, and now had to do it again.  As I walked back down the hill, a man passed me, stopped, turned back, and said my name.  I wasn't interested in trying to figure out how I knew him,  in that moment.  though, I did feel guilty, because he knew me from my old life, and I wasn't willing to take the time then, to put the pieces together.  I continued on, and had a great breakfast with Zetty.  A lot can happen, in a quick walk to meet a friend.
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I awoke the next morning, Thursday, to, eat, wripte a couple emails, and set off for PT.  I worked on some rigorous (to me) balance exercises, and then headed off to do the rest of my routine independently.  As I was doing one of the exercises, it occurred to me, exactly who the man on the street the day before was.  He'd said, his name,and that I knew him from Fletcher Allen, and my brain said, I think they called him 'mcdreamy.'  (As in Patrick Dempsey  charachter from Greys Anatomy.)  Though, I looked at him, and thought, 'that's odd, he doesn't look like Patrick Dempsy, I must be confused, AHH, big, loud truck in traffic circle!  Don't freeze/fall!'  I recovered from my fear freeze, and we said goodbye, and I concentrated on crossing the street again. 

 I see people from my old life, intermittently, and can rarely place them in the moment.  A couple years ago, a teenager, came up to me, and said, 'hi Courtney, it's Katie'.  I had no recollection of who she was.  About a week later, I realized I had been her babysitter.  Their mom had to be into work by 7, so I went over, woke them up, got the cereal, reminded them to get their things, and brought them to school.  In that moment, I realized how far I still have to go, to get back to being that responsible.  

When this man told me who he was, I knew I would put the pieces together, and I did.  Now, I'm very moved, that he recognized me on the street, nearly 8 years after his group of interns rounded, on the general surgery unit, where I was the secretary.  He was the only one patient enough to answer my coding questions, or who didn't mind translating handwriting.  I just wish I had put it all together,yesterday, on the street.  I always feel horribly rude admitting I have no recollection of people, I used to see often. All in due time, I suppose.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Super scary soul vibration

The above is a random line, or title of a Lenny Kravitz song.



Welcome to my strange, and twisted mind...
This morning I was out meandering the streets of my tiny  city, at the unacceptable time of 6:45.  I had made plans to catch up with my friend Zetty over breakfast.  Breakfast is hands down, my favorite meal out, always has been.  The plan was to check out Misery loves company's bake shop.  Unfortunately for me, I'd forgotten the bake shop was specified.  I raved traffic hell (welcome to Winnooski) for nothing.  I shuffled through 4 lanes at a cross walk, and continued up the hill.  Upon walking in, I immediately realized they weren't open for the day yet, and was sent back to the street I'd walked over from.   I walked outside, and called my friend to let her know I'd be late. Good thing though, as the call, woke her up. It made me feel better about my tardiness, as I knew it'd take 15 minutes to get through the circle again.  Winnooski has this asinine traffic circle that no one actually seems to comprehend how to drive in. In Maine we refer to a traffic circle, as a rotary.  I'm fairly certain the rest of the country follows suit in saying rotary.  In a Vermont, it's a traffic circle, and no one seems to understand the traffic patterns or rules to abide by, for making it a useful traffic pattern.m my next letter should be to the DOT, regarding the thoughtlessness behind the circle.

I finally hot to the correct location, ordered good, and just after I'd taken my first bite, my friend walks in, says hi, and asks 3 questions in succession.  I'm awkwardly trying to nod my head yes or no, to wussy ions that can't be answered that way.  Once I can speak without fear of spewing croissant everywhere, we decide to sit outside in the morning sun, and delightful sounds of road rage, a few hundred feet away.

I'm at the age where it seems 95% of people in my age group, are either getting married! having kids! and/or buying homes.  I got to hear all about the antics surrounding a mutual college friends wedding.  Then it's my turn to share what I've been up to, and howi answer this question, is completely dependent on my mood, and emotions of the moment. I say usually say, 'okay', or 'good', and change the subject.  Trust me, it's easier than hashing out the widely flawed governs programs I currently participate in, or have.  However, over coffee, I'm feeling pretty open about it, and try yo explain the various prgrams, and departments I'm affiliated with, through the state.  This now seems like I may have dropped a truckload of information on her, about every program,  the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Sometimes I'm listening to what I'm trying to say, while simultaneously wondering how I know about it.  This conversation was one of those moments, how bizarre.

As I'm blundering through my soliloquy of program difficulties, a woman nearby calls out to me, and I look over to see my neighbor, and former writing coach.  She's a wonderful, inventive, and talented woman, however,has also had the unfortunate opportunity to venture into neurological difficulties by way of  negative side effects from  a medication. I felt a pinge of guilt, over having said some negative things about the department I'd originally met her through.  Such is life.

After breakfast,  my aide Marc helped me get to my psychology appointment.  In my usual fashion, I mixed up the time, and left right before my appointment began.  I'm heading into the library,  when she calls, and arks where I went.  Gold stars for me...

My final event of the day, was PT.  I realized I felt a bit slow today, but am starting to get a bit more control in some of my new exercises, despite my slothfulness.  However slow and inconsistent my progress is, each time I have this realization, my spirits profoundly improve.

And now I'm writing it all down, hoping to one day find my purpose in this path.  My days are full, and generally happy enough, I've just lost sight of what exactly I'm currently working towards.  And that,my friends, plain,old sucks.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Marathon madness

Vermont City Marathon, what can I say?

The organizers an volunteers put so much into pulling off this fantastic event.  I'd signed up to do the final leg again this year. My dad came out to participate, and be my safety net, if need be.  On Saturday, we attended the race expo.  The highlight for me was attending a talk by Colleen Kelly Alexaner.  She was hit by an 18 wheeler, while cycling, and is still out there pushing her limits.  Se also survived cardiac arrest, though hers were due to dramatic blood loss, whereas mine was due to enzyme imbalance.  By no means do I envy her story of survival, though I'd love to be able to say I got a brain injury from being hit by a Mack truck, no, 't I have a brain injury because I didn't put enough consideration into the contraceptive l took (Yaz), and it caused my heart to stop, and deprived my brain of oxygen.  People stare blanly for a reson, it doesn't make sense.   I have the least cool or badass sounding reason for a brain injury. 

 The next morning, my dad and I convened at the gym where I do PT, to get our bibs, and make a plan with the other teammates.  After almost an hour passed, we bailed to grab a 'super healthy' pre-race breakfast at the Skinny Pancake.  If I ever get to the point where I'm able to push myself aerobicaly while running, I could never go out for breakfast pre-race, though a 4.5 mile jog, I could handle my egg and cheese crepe, and feel alright.  However, there was a door handle incident, I did not handle well.  I was returning from the bathroom, and as I opened the back door to go  into the restaurant, the guy behind me rips the door out of my hand, I assume in an effort to helpful.  However the way my wrist was aligned with the door, it became jammed in the handle, and was dragged forward unexpectedly.  Serious pain.  I instantly had to resist the urge to start blindly cursing, as the pain hit, accompanied by a bizarre tingling.  The guy apoligized but I was already crying, and hoping I could still push the jogger with it.  Thankfully, the initial pain dissipated as we got ice on it.  As we left, my dad wrapped the wrist in a towel.  As I'd forgotten sunscreen, I received a pretty special tan, resembling a gauntlett.  Good stuff, I'd forgotten how much sunburns suck, I can't remember having a burn that aggressive.  Oh well, lesson learned, always have sunscreen on hand.

We waited at the hand-off area for nearly an hour.  Just as I decided to visit the bathroom again, they came in.  I was pretty mad at myself for not going earlier, not a great mindset to start off in.  Most of the runners who passed were toast, and unable to respond to encouragement, or questions.  Though a fair number encouraged me, in passing.  Much of the final leg is on the bike path, next to Lake Champlain, which offers a slightly cooler breeze.  I imagine we finished earlier than last year, as there was still pizza, loads of food, as well as free massages.  I felt sheepish approaching the massage tent for running 5 miles, but they weren't busy, and willingly accepted us.

The glory of doing the last leg, was realized by me for the first time this year.  I'm not great at dealing with crowds, though I did see several local college friends, which made it super exciting to catch up with them.

As things started to look like they were wrapping up, we took my friend Ann's offer, to come over, and visit.  I had to resist the urge to mock the 19th century hand powered mower she was using.  It's actually brilliant as there are no emissions, and you, the user, is the only power it requires.  I love that it's her choice of mowers, but I still want to mock it.  So badly.

In my true form, I neglected to lift my foot high enough to compsate for the door jam, and fell down.  Thankfully, Ann has known me a long time, and is used to my clumsiness.  She and my dad pulled me back up, and we continued inside.  I listened to shop talk about home renovations.  It was somewhat amusing, as they are each so humble about their accomplishments.  I suppose we were all well matched in the clumsiness department.  I often forget how easy it is to hurt yourself, for anyone.  Probably because I happen to do it so requently.  I generally wear clothes that cover my arrays of scrapes and contusions, so people don't have the opportunity to realize how often I fall, or walk into things, or anything else. My least favorite part of summer, is the number of concerned comments, or questions I get, regarding my minor injuries.  Although I appreciate that people are concerned, because it reminds me of my own idiocy. I don't generally respond to the concern, as well as I should.  I'm relearning or attempting to receive these questions more gracefully.  In 2011 I managed to acquire 11 black eyes, many fom falling, and not having the reaction to put out my hands.  That's a learned physical reaction we acquire to protect our faces/heads.  Trust me, that was not a fun reaction to learn to reacquire.  Although, everytime I fall now, and my hands go out, I'm beyond thankful for the brains plasticity.  

In conclusion, it was a fantastic race weekend, I got to see my family, and old friend.  I got to be part of  a great race, and meet some incredible people along the way.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Freaky Friday

What a crazy, random day.  I puttered around all morning, retrieving items my mom left behind, cleaning the cat box, finding inventive ways to use my busted blender, until my friend, and meditation guide, arrived to lead us in an hour long practice.  She also confirmed the possibility of center for mindful learnings potential move.  Could be as close as Hardwick VT, or as far as California.  Neither  of which I can access easily, so we discussed our concerns, surrounding the issue.  I couldn't help feeling-like the world to which I'm currently accustomed, is falling apart around me.  I've already beenthrough looking for a new psychologist, now I'm facing a transition of physical therapists, and losing mindfulness practice. I know I'll survive, it's just upsetting yo loseactivities, and people who've improved my lifestyle profoundly, at the same time.  I have to think, if Anna can approach her unknown transition positively, so can I.  We parted ways, and Marc brought me to the  brain injury support group I facilitate downtown.  I was ill prepared, not having thought of any potential topics,mand was so relieved only 1 person attended.  An hour or so passed vrybquickly, and as I returned to the tiny city I live in, I went into a hysterical fit of excitement, as I received a message from one of my favorite people.  I gave him my address, and happened to catch sight of him outside.  I hadn't seen Ian since 2006.  Way too long!  Time flies, because despite our ridiculous tales, of life's bizarreness, and being relatively out of touch for nearly 8 years, our friendship hasn't changed.  It's really hard to make that statement about anyone, especially when you've acquired my ridiculous brain injury.  I got to live vicariously, in hearing all of Ian's ridiculous, testing, yet exciting adventures serving peace corps, and working for the forestry service.  I talked  about some successes, and pitfalls of my recovery.  Mostly my adaptive trips, absurd caregiver dramas, and tried to update him on the history of mutual friends.  He'd been trying to catch up with other local friends, so we soon headed downtown, on the city bus.  He admitted to never riding then in college, although, I never did either, and immediately felt a pinge of frustration, and resentment of my injury.  My visual processing still prevents me from even thinking about driving, an ability I once took for granted.

We got off, and walked the block over to The Farmhouse, to meet Meredith,, and her adorable 18 month old, who was unbelievably well behaved.  I asked the server to put a rush on the fastest burger they could push out.  I got a quinoa burger, and classily munched away, while shaking my head to answer certain questions.  I ventured out of my realm of comfortable beer choices, to try my standard half pint, of chocolate coconut stout.  Didn't know if I could handle the harshness of a stout, but apparently chocolate and coconut flavoring, make it tolerable.  I felt like a jerk leaving early, but I'd committed a small gathering, where I do PT, for a going away party for the therapist I've worked with for the last year and a half.  I went to be supportive, even though I expect this to be a difficult transition.  I can't be upset, I'm used to finding people that I make incredible strides with, until they leave.  I've lost 3 in the last year, although, the first was the most difficult, as she, my occupational therapist, passed away from complications of cancer.  The next was my last psychologist.he transitioned to a different job.  It's easy to get attached to the consistency, of people you have a good connection with.  Everybody makes their own progress in life, so while it's a bummer for me, I'm surprisingly happy for him.  I had totally forgotten how awkward I used to feel walking a party alone, even though I knew most everyone there.  I think going helped me gain closure, or made it seem more real.  It seemed odd to see everyone I normally see in gym clothes, all in normal street clothes.  Out of normal context...

 I was really surprised to feel so bitter, as it's not usually my MO.  Then again, it had been a lot of things for me to proces in one day.  My mind was still in shock from the day before, where I'd learned what happened, when my parents were divorced  25 years ago.  I guess it's mind blowing information, to revisit events from 24 years ago (damn I feel old writing that sentence).My mind was more than I could handle, so when one woman was slightly rude, and I started to feel uncomfortable, I decided to rejoin my friends from dinner.  We all sat around their place, and listened to Ian and Phillip swap personal slaughter stories.  Phillip is a local chef, and restaurant entrepreneur, and Ian served in the peace corps, so they each had valid interests, and needs for the experience, however disturbing it was to hear about.  Time passed without notice until my phone rang.  I answered, and my dad says, 'uhh, where Are you?'  I totally felt like a senseless kid, in that moment.  He was brilliantly understanding, and came over to collect me.  What a full, crazy day, complete with old friends, and family.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The rule of 3's

Each day always holds some awkward seeming situation for.  Arrarantly that's how I roll, and I can't even blame that on my TBI.  Wif Theresa way to appear more foolish, I can always count on my ability to do exactly that.  May as well find humor in it, as there's no better alternative.
Firstly, I'm at voice appointment, working with a voice coach, to help me focus on forming each syllable as I speak.  It's as if I'm learning to speak, physically.  I have all the words in my head, but my physical ability to spit them out clearly, in a way that others understand, was extremely compromised.  It's like any other motor skill I have to rewire.  It's frustrating, forcing my body remaster the simplest of tasks, like speaking clearly, walking, running, tying shoes (I still avoid that), even cutting, and preparing food.  I have always been a klutz, so it's no so different in that respect, it's just worse, and now I have to train my brain to control my motor skills in ways I learned to at 4 or 5, when I had much less to worry about, or even realize I had to control.

Bill Reed, the voice coach I work with, has helped me tremendously in the last 2 years.  His background is training actors and singers to use their voices more effectively.  It seemed like an expensive reach, when  first I heard about him.  Though, after meeting him, and beginning to work with him, I even noticed myself focusing on clarity, and volume more consistently.  He often provokes his students in a good natured manner, which makes it a bit more fun.  So he gives me a voice excercise today, where he says 'poopoopoopoopoopoopo', and I'm supposed to repeat the excercise.  Instead, I collapsed in a fit of hysterics.  Apparantely I couldn't handle the 5 year old potty humor, and was unable to control my laughter.  He's a good sport, but in a professional setting, I felt like such an oaf for losing my cool, because somebody said poopoo.  Off to a great start...

In my next appointment, PT, I had a sleeveless shirt on, and had already completed a couple exercises, when my therapist walks over, and says, 'uh, what's going on with your shirt?'  Automatic response is to look down, and verify nothing is exposed, even though the mirror had done that for me, not 20 minutes before.  Plus, a sleeveless T, seems difficult to put on incorrectly without noticing.  Although, if anyone can do it, and not realize, apparantely, I can. Seems pretty straight forward too.  Oh well.  Not even noon, and I'd managed to  embarrass myself twice.  Excellent, however, par for the course.

The last shaming moment of the day was primarily self inflicted.  I was out for a jaunt on the bike path, which was unpleasantly busy that day, as it was about 75 and sunny for the first time in months.  I'm trying to make myself jog on the causeway, which is  a 2 bar fence between a ledge, and water (the lake).  I'm always more nervous on this part of the bike path, as it's rather narrow, and I don't move fast enough to avoid cyclists.  Also, I lost the coordination to swim, so being a foot from a ledge, and water, isn't all that relaxing.  I'm picking my legs up as if I'm jogging, though my speed seems to be around -2.5 mph.  I reach halfway, when a cyclist flys by, inches from me, and yells, 'HI COURTNEY!' While passing.  I have the worst fear response, I freeze, and become totally stoic.  I often fall over because I freeze in some totally awkward position, though, I DID NOT this time!!:). I tried to commend myself for not falling, but the flash freeze response to fright, just pisses me off.  I don't understand why my body has evolved to basically do nothing, in the face of danger.  Ridiculous, and trust me, a great way to get road rash.  However, not today!

Yet another ridulous day in my bizarre world...

Friday, May 16, 2014

What is mindfulness?

This morning I met with a long time friend, and fellow brain injury survivor.  She went into a residential mindfulness and meditation program, about a year ago. I still see her often, when I go to meditation practices.  Her parents are incredibly committed, and attend nearly all of the community sits (guided meditations) offered.  Whenever they go, I usually have an opportunity to go with them.  The practice of personal meditation does not come so easily for me.  Though, I've found the guided practices extremely beneficial.

  Anna has offered to meet with me once a week, so we can do a more individualized practice.  Today, we were outside, by the river, and two commonly used meditation phrases came, 'hear in,' and 'feel in.'  I've always appreciated hear in, because it requires me to take notice of my physical surroundings.  I appreciate the reminder that we are of animal ancestry, and have keen senses, that are so often diminished by the technology we are using all the time.  For me personally, I also appreciate it, as it gives me time to reflect on any changes in my body.  Feel in, I'm not a fan of because I'm supposed to process my feelings, of the moment, of the past, whatever arises.  Personally, I don't like dealing with my feelings, I don't know if I ever have.  I'd rather pretend they are not there.  Good, or bad, it doesn't matter.  Being so active has always helped me with that.  

After our first session we were reflecting on things that came up.  I said I felt frustrated with where I wa/am in life, and not knowing how to move on.  But, eventually I said I was angry at myself for allowing the gynocologist to coerce me into not only taking Yaz, but to continue using it, after I was unhappy with the side effect of nausea.  I didn't want to feel in, because I feel like crap on the inside.  I try not to reflect that, but I want my independence back, at least financially, and physically. I hate not having an 'intellectual'purpose'.  I need tangible goals, I'm so tbored with only focusing on my rehabilitation, at this point.  See, feel in brings out the demons, but at least I was talking about them.  Word is, admitting your troubles is first step to quelling them.  We shall see.  Meditation can be so difficult sometimes, but it has helped me pick myself back up, and keep going, time, and time again.  

As we shared our experiences, Anna's  response to my feelings, put me on edge.  She said, 'I'm sensing a lot of rage in you.'  I had to brush it off then, but that was like a trigger word for me.  I just shut down until we were done.  We all view thing differently, but I personally view rage as a physical manifestation of anger, like violence, hitting, or breaking things.  I know it's more common than anyone realizes, because we don't talk about it.  I should look up the definition of rage, maybe I'll have a better perspective of what she meant.  Obviously, I have some pretty intense feelings regarding the how, and why I acquired this injury. and some of the experiences I've had as a result.  Anoxia is not typically an event, people survive.  The cell damage is random, so it doesn't appear on scans.  Initially, I may as well have been dead, the machines ran my body for me.  Ironically, the defribilator shocked my heart back into rhythm, but all else was lost, and I will always have a myriad of scars to remind me of my vitality, as well as 7 years of a rehab. program.  No one signs up to have their life altered forever, by losing once trusted, and dependable, actions, physical, and/or mental.  Initially, I had severe memory difficulties, the first couple months I couldn't remember from one day to the next.  Everyday, I woke up confused, and afraid because I didn't remember where I was, or what had pappened.  The kicker was that my tracheotomy kept me from being able to speak, until it was removed, and I couldn't see, so I was unable to react to anything visual.  One of my first, (and favorite memories,is of my mom remarking on my feelings, and folding my fingers, until only the middle one was extended.  It worked, she got me to laugh.  Nothing like a little juvenile humor to appeal to an otherwise unresponsive human.  It's been a long road, and likely always will be.  The key is who you have around you, and to help you keep moving along, towards whatever your chosen path.

 One of the most difficult aspects of this injury, is being alone in it.  There's no yardstick by which to measure myself with others, there's no one who understands how to deal with it, however, there are tons of people who are encouraging,  and others who just want to tell me their opinion of how I can move forward. (Most annoying personality type out there), but my favorite are the people who put the extra time, and put energy into hearing me, and are okay with my will to do things for myself.   Yes, there's a lot of things that  are awful in life, for me, for you, for I everybody.  But it it's not about who got me where, or how somebody else made me feel.  At the end of the day, this life is what I have, and I'm grateful for it, despite all of the absolute rubbish I've endured as a result.  I don't actually feel enraged, not now anyway.  It's been 7 years, I've had plenty of time to realize some peace, and I will always be grateful that I still have the opportunities to rebuild, and rewire.  The ability to acquire new skills, and knowledge is gift to each of us, and not having lost that, I'm contended enough.  With all other injuries, if you lose motor function because of a severed nerve,  tendon, anything, the impairment can be lifelong.  The only beauty of a brain injury is that neurons, and synapses can regenerate.  It's difficult, and pure hell some/most days, because the act of trusting myself, and my abilities is lost.  However, there will always be magic in my, well, 2nd firsts.  And, the continued growth from there.  For example, as my vision has ever so slowly pieced back in, or running again, albeit with a baby jogger, and certainly horseback riding again.  There will always be more to push through, work on, and overcome, whomever you are.  This world is only lonely, if I put that label on it, so I'm not going to.  There will always be positives, and negatives in life.  It's all in how we decide approach our challenges. Mine is a totally unique brain injury, where I have to continue to push on, test everything, and stand up for myself, and the unique injury I acquired.  As they say, 'You don't know what you can do, until you try.'


 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The road less traveled

I lost an intangible amout when I acquired my brain injury.  At this point I feel like an imposter in the brain injury world, simply because I am the exception.  My heart stopped, and somehow that translates to 'severe cerebral anoxia'.  Basically synapses (connections), and neurrons cells) died from the lack of oxygen.  The damage is not quantifiable, as it doesn't appear on scans.  My records indicate a lack of oxygen for over 10 minutes.  I love that it has taken me, oh, seven years of unimaginable triumph, and conversely devastation to get to where I am today.  Ironically, I don't even know where I'm left standing. All I know is that the physical independence vision, and speech, I've fought so hard to regain, is an blessing, however many bumps in the road.

  Lately, I've been going through old memories trying to piece together who I was, and what lessons got me there.  I did my fair share of  stupid stuff, that I was constantly bailing myself out of.  Though, because I learned what not to do, and could reflect on other choices, I learned to get  to get to where I wanted.

7 years ago my heart stopped dead.  I was a healthy, fit, active young woman with boundless energy.  I had lititle free time, and where I found it, I was outside.  This is me, obviously, not everyone appreciates  this lifestyle, but for me, this is how I go.  Were all different.  In 2011-12, I had my plan laid out for my recovery, and for going back to work/reclaiming financial independence.  Yep, the moment I was released from the hospital, I've been surviving on public funds.  The regiments, practices, and design of the system is archaic.  The people who oversee these programs have either worked their way through the programs, and gotten educated, or not, and there are others who are just so used to being treated like a mildly tolerable fool, that they turn around, and do ithe same tonwhomever comes to see them, or apply for assistance.   I think the world of a lot of people who've helped me on this path.  Others I wish the undue injustice of an anoxic brain injury on, but that's just me.

In my junior and senior years at UVM, I worked 3 different jobs, and attended classes, taught a wilderness instructor course, edited a 'safe at college' hand out with the Red Cross, was on the student council, led alternative spring break trips, outing club trips, and helped with fundraising.  I made all my classes, despite  overcommitting myself.  I wish I'd had a more structured system for over committing myself.  My friends never understood how I did it all.  The ONLY reason I fit it all in, was because of my job.  I had to sit for 8 hours, and intermittently enter data, order things, and do busy work.  Although, I soon found a way to manage the work in bundles.  The doctors rounded at certain times.  I'd have a pile of orders to fo input, and fill, and then, nothing to do.  I learned to be prepared, and always have my school work on hand.  I did all of my reading, and worksheets for school, at work.  I could never write papers because writing has always required my undivided attention.  That is why I adored that job, because I could easily multitask, and get my school work done, as well as my actual work duties done.  My other jobs were child are, and horse care.  I fed these kids breakfast, walked their dog, brought them to school, and went to the barn, to help with turnout, and stall cleaning.  Not glamorous, but the routine, and the horses saved me from getting too self involved.  I have always needed to be occupied at all times.  Actually, I think most of us need that, it's just so easy these days, to stare blankly at a screen, we've lost a lot of the once normal face to face interaction.  Sad, but true.

The life I lead now is the exact opposite.  I live in my head.  I lost all of the hard-won lessons I'd spent 23 years accruing, with regard to physical, and social skills.  My book skills, that stuck, but I walk, and fall like I did at the age of 4.  It's too bad I'm so tall, because falling at 5'8", hurts a lot more than it did when I was 3 feet tall.  Additionally, as we age our bones get harder, and we get heavier, so it hurts a lot more to fall.  I fall around once per week, presently.  I fell today, on my run, actually.  But no one saw:). It was like a very fast, uncoordinated, and awkward stop, drop, and roll.  No harm done, this time!  The way I 'run' now is so absurd, the word run, barely seems barely applicable.  I'm either pushing a 30lb old school baby(less) jogger, or out jautntily running at a pace walkers eclipse.  Right now, the fact that I can do it at all,, is all I can enable myself to care about.  It's funny to be out, and have random people tell me what a great job I'm doing, or how amazing I am.  Of course the kind encouraging words are a blessing, but my first thought is always,'oh please, I'm barely moving, and I must look like lsome dying animal, the way my legs move, how can you be serious?'  Somehow, I can bite my tongue to say thank you, and wish them a good day,, even though my mind is like, 'AHH devil!' 

I've seen so much, dealt with everyone, and everything that has been in the way, yet, now I feel as if I've been left in the lurch.  My degree is irrelevant, and I'm no longer eligible for federal aid, because my debt was forgiven.  Unless I'm able to assume $90,000 in debt, plus interest, on top of new education costs, I can't manage the cost of school.  Guess I should get into tech companies, or oil.  This countries revenue infrastructure is miserable.  It enables the people with the most money to keep all of it, and creates a system of indentured servitude for individuals without  the necessary means to live.  I fell in this hole, now, I have to climb out.  Easier said than done, apparently.  This is probably the most difficult situation, I've personally found myself in. There must be other people who have gotten above it, without setting their pride, beliefs' and values aside.   Clearly dying, in 2007 was pretty crappy, but the incredible support system I've amassed along the way, has carried me through.  There's incredible beauty in the worst of tragedies, that interpersonal support is crucial.  It is the reason I haveve made it this far, and one of many reasons why I keep fighting for the life I want back.  It's truely bizarre to feel so aimless, and not be able to realize a new path.  I have no idea what is next, but I'm determined to stop wallowing in my personal pit of despair.  Just because I can't find my way out now, doesn't mean I won't.  That is key.





Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Who's scared now?

I am!  I currently survive on public funding.  Yes, it's problems are rampant, and the rules binding me are ridiculous.  Much of the time, I wonder if our public funding system creates much of the oppression in our country.  There's a certain stigma attached.  I'm ashamed to say that admitting my funding resources, and how I get by in my day to day life, is through funding provided by section 8 (housing), social security, disability, and food stamps.  I wish I had gotten my degree in social work, at this point.  I have a major problem with how these funds are allocated among recipients.  Freedom is nonexistent within these boundaries.  Public programs were created as a foundation to ensure the well-being of its constituents.  Somehow, our foundation has become cracked, and now these programs serve the financially desperate, and/or the morally corrupt.

As we consistently  fight to maintain my programming and benefits, there are many days, I consider leaving.  Getting on the next outbound flight, and leaving this oppression behind.  I admire the structure of public programming, however the actual implementation, and individuals running the show, are a different story.  Corruption, embezzlement, lies, mostly over money it seems.  I never imagined I might feel sad about proclaiming my nationality, though, today, if feel deflated, empty, and beaten.  Here, no one cares about your work ethic, your honesty stabsvyou in the back, or denies you claims, and finally, your money just appears like magic every month, for NOT contributing to the greater good.  God Bless America....  Somebody has to...

This article originally inspired me to write about the benefits of public programs, in their defense.  Clearly I view them as flawed, however anarchy seems imminent, if we agree to allow money and ignorance to govern our great nation...