Life In The Slow Lane...
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San Diego, CA, United States
This is a commentary about the slow lane, about the slowing of time since I suffered a severe brain injury while skateboarding with my dog. This is a blog about recovery; about our '82 VW Westfalia. It's about writing, surfing, camping, married life, bleeding ulcers that make you feel old at 32; about family, friends, and my dog Artie; it's about cruising in fourth gear, getting passed by every car and learning to appreciate every second of it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It was great knowing me...

Twenty days from now marks my third wedding anniversary and my first anniversary of living with a damaged brain.It's pretty obvious that this year, this date, will represent so much not only for me but for Aimee, and my family, even those that no longer speak to me.

The year was filled with confusion, fatigue, fits of rage, apathy, and tears. A year after the fall, I now realize that I am a new person, that the damage inflicted has changed the person I am and will be. It sounds dramatic though it's true.

Every once in a while I visit brain injury websites to help me understand. For the most part, I have spent this year trying to convince myself and others that nothing major has happened. Reading the data, things become clear, the haze, the wonder whether the drugs are to blame, or the injury, or my own internal weaknesses all fade and things suddenly make sense.

One example at a time, the first that pops into my head is apathy.

"Patients who have suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) often develop apathy. In TBI, the apathy syndrome is characterized by disinterest in day-to-day activities, lack of future goals, poor participation in rehabilitation activities, and limited ability to appreciate recovery made after TBI," reads one psych study.

I never really knew what apathy was until now. And while no one can notice it, and while I am able to put a happy face on when I need to, it's there. I go through the day on an even keel. The joy that I used to have surfing, playing music, listening to music, going to shows, writing, has vanished. The laughs, the jokes that I used to find funny I no longer can laugh at.

I don't write this in search of symptoms. I write it because I hope that it will force me to accept the person that this has turned me into. That way, when September 22 comes, I might be one step closer to knowing the new me, even if that is a somber soul, who spends his days unfulfilled though not unhappy, not by choice but because of injury.


  1. Thank you so much for finding the courage to write your story. I'll never skate without a helmet anymore!

  2. settling in to a "new reality" has got to be a trip. i've experienced this on a much more minor level and i know how difficult it can be. my dad (stroke) has not grasped his new reality very well and keeps trying to live in his past despite his deficits. he's creating a LOT of trouble for himself and missing out on so many good opportunities around him that are different but graspable. i'm sure i'd be in the same boat knowing my personality. stay strong will come.