via Daily Prompt: Gratitude
When you have health problems, you realize you need help. It comes from doctors, nurses, hospital staff, family and friends. Some problems are easily taken care of, but there are others that never go a way. This is when gratitude comes along.
I had open heart surgery in 2001 along with an angiogram to put in a stent and then I had brain surgery in 2016, so I have seen doctors for years. It’s never fun, it doesn’t always feel good, but I wouldn’t be here if they didn’t take care of me. I can’t count the number of doctors, nurses, EMT’s and hospital staff I have seen over the years. They often don’t know me, but they do their best to make sure I am well and I will always be thankful to each and every one of them.
My friends and family have kept my spirits up, given me rides when I can’t drive, sent me gifts and cards, and have just kept me sane through things I would rather not always deal with. Some of them put up with my crappy attitude when I have a bad day and never give me a hard time about it. They will always have my gratitude.
I’ve learned that life is short and everyone deserves your attention if they are willing to give you a hand. Many people don’t show gratitude when they should. They just want things and expect them with no thanks given. I sometimes wonder if they have ever seen the side of life that isn’t easy.
Gratitude – I will always show it to others.
I just keep thinking about what I want to say and make this to be about. My AVM was discovered a year ago and my craniotomy was done in November 2016. So, I have been through so many different things over that time. I jump between starting at day one and giving all of the good, bad, and ugly things up until now. At the same time, I want to start with where I am now because now is when I seem to be struggling the most. My brain is part of that problem. I have trouble focusing sometimes and if I don’t write down the thoughts I have on my mind I tend to forget them when I do decide to write a post.
So, maybe I will start with today and go back as I feel like it. A craniotomy isn’t a fun thing especially when it involves the speech area. I still have problems every day. I’m working, but I’m not happy working. I do it because I have to pay my bills and keep my health insurance. It’s hard when I look exactly how like looked a year ago, but my mind doesn’t function the way it did then. People that don’t know me and even those that do know me don’t really understand the difficulty I have. I’m an accountant, I prepare the financial reports for the company that I work for. It was tough when I first went back to work two and a half months after my surgery because I actually had to re-remember things that I could do in my sleep before. It was overwhelming and it still is today. I find little things that I still forget how to do and try to avoid questions from co-workers because it is just too much sometimes. I tell people to email rather than call so I can make sure I understand what they are asking me and I can put together a full response that makes sense. I’m in a tough position because some jobs may be eliminated where I work and I can’t help but worry that mine will be one of them. I can’t blame my employer if they go that way because I’m not the person that can just jump in and cover all the bases. On the other side I need them to keep me because I feel that I won’t be able to find another job. My mind is in there, it is just not as sharp and quick as it used to be. Who will want to hire a person that takes too long to learn things, can’t make sense in conversations or answer phone calls. I stress over this every day.
I guess in writing this it makes me really want to make others understand what a brain injury is like. Like I said before, I look like me. People that meet me for the first time would not know that I had brain surgery. They probably just think I’m a little weird if I simply smile or defer to someone else to do the talking or say “what” multiple times because I couldn’t follow the whole conversation. I feel like I need to tell every person I talk to that I had brain surgery, and I won’t always say the right thing or that I can’t always remember the word in that sentence. I don’t want to have to tell everyone, but I want them to understand why I am the way I am. On many days I want that shaved head back so I don’t have to tell people why I have to leave a room if there is too much noise going on.
My life today is not different from it was last year, but it is more difficult. I have to pay attention to my body, turn down the noise around me, avoid all the stress going on(so far the hardest thing of all) and get help when I need it. I’ve been considering making this a private journal for myself, but I guess if anyone reads this and understands or finds some help I would consider it a success. We’ll see how it goes anyway. Feel free to ask or comment on anything. Thanks.
Hello to anyone out there that gives this a read. If you have ever had a “rare disease” you might find yourself in the same position I am in. Everyone understands what cancer is, what a heart attack or stroke means, it’s easy to know that someone has broken a leg when they have a cast on. I tell people I had brain surgery because I had an AVM in my left temporal lobe and I get a lot of blank stares and comments about how good I look now. I do look good, you would never know there was anything wrong with me and that’s because my damage is literally all in my head.
My surgery was nearly a year ago now, but I still have some lingering affects and I really don’t know if they will ever go away. The brain is an amazing thing, but when it doesn’t work the way it used to, life becomes a struggle. I have issues at times with my short-term memory, problems with noise, having conversations with people, both in person and especially on the phone, can be a challenge. Seizures are still happening. Anxiety was a bit of a problem for me prior to my surgery, but now it has really kicked in and I believe there is a some depression as well.
So, I started this blog to share what an AVM(Arteriovenous Malformation) is and what I have been through since it was found and removed. I jumped in full force a few weeks ago with posts and after reading them, they didn’t make enough sense to me, so they were removed and I am starting over new. I hope to give you some information on AVM’s, who has them, where they come from, how people live with them. I also want to share my story, what it’s like to have brain surgery, any brain injury really, and how life can change.
I am open to comments and questions along the way, so feel free. Thanks for your time.