Sunday, June 5, 2016


I am a brain injury survivor. Traumatic Brain Injury, in fact. Which means one day, several years ago, I drove down to Boston for the Boston Hub on Wheels charity fund raiser. I paid to ride 20 miles through that gorgeous town on a 10-spd bicycle. At 15 miles something happened which ended up with me doing a 30 mph face plant on the asphalt.

Forearms mangle, face and skull broken, medically comatosed until the bleeding & swelling reduced. I am annoyed that the face fractures were not compound as my disability/damage might be more obvious to people I interact with but it is not.

The lingering Mal-adjustments for me is Aphasia and pain all day long in my arms. Pain is easy to explain but why it lingers not so easy. Nerve damage inside my forearms and my brain takes forever to heal, if it ever will. Aphasia is a cognitive damage that lessens over time due to practice and experience but will never ever go away.

What is Aphasia?

For me, it is the occasional loss of language. At times, I may say words that are totally out of linguistic context of the dialogue I am engaged in. Sometimes, annoying times, I completely lose the ability to speak. My mouth works, my jaws move, but I can't find words with which to speak.

It also has robbed me of being able to dice words to keep anything private. Things that should not ever be said, I will say. Answers that should not be given, I will when asked. It is not that I don't lie - I can't as I do not have the mental capacity to NOT answer in detail to any question presented to me.

Imagine that? Any question posed to you, you answer in annoying level of detail. Not by any choice either mind you.

So here I sit, having to deal with some accusations most dealt to me on the sly. Not upfront where my disability would answer them straight on. No, from side angles where my loss of emotional response sets me off like a time bomb. Where my aggravation levels go to extremes and I respond accordingly thus proving that I am now something of a social embarrassment.

A group of old friends saw me that way, so I resigned from my Lodge. I am publicly banned from some parts of Portsmouth, N.H. simply because in the misbegotten opinion of a few people brain injury makes me "unsafe" for "safe" locations. I am "possibly" mental undesirable to serve the Officer Position I hold with my VFW. But no one has been bold enough to present these questions to me for me to answer.

When I find out about such things I respond strongly due to several reasons: I don't quite have the social know-how to respond well; Emotionally I have been reduced to a teenager; I am by nature an upfront person who strives to address things upfront then and there.

As an example: For a time I worked at Home Depot. A co-worker complained that I made her feel sexual. I made HER feel sexual. I always greet a woman with respect, apparently doing so can cause some people to feel something that they are not used to feeling. My response to this accusation: I quit Home Depot.


Because such an accusation has no viable response from the accused. Especially given my brain injury. It is so easy these days to paint me with any kind of brush that my accusers wish to paint me with.

So I recently faced several situations where I was accused of not being capable or of engaging in erroneous behavior. In one case, my response shut things down with a speed and firmness that encourages me to trust responding vigorously without hesitation. I realize that may not always be ideal as my response to the other accusation was firm, vigorous, and may fuel continuance of the accusation as "Why such a firm response unless you are guilty?"

Therein lies my disability. At face value, I am undamaged but act odd. And given the speculative natures of other human beings, odd is not always good or welcome. Irony being ironic, I am kind of grateful for this unpleasant situation. Experience sucks especially when you don't have any. This situation is yet another learning experience for me... ... just painful to endure but endure and strive for better I will.

No comments:

Post a Comment