Life with TBI : Lost and Confused

In the days Before Injury (BI), my life was different.  I completed a Masters in Social Work and and a full time career.  I served both active duty and reserve in the military.  I was medically retired after 17 years because of the injury.  I organized complicated trainings and retreats.  I ran marathons.  I traveled alone and in groups.  I was part of the Criticsl Incident Response Team to the 2009 shootings at Ft. Hood.  In short, I managed stress, frustration, and change well.  

This is life after injury.  It is a direct quote from my Face Book status.  

“I am totally losing it. 

This is brain injury:

I had to go to my neurologist today in Kennewick.  Normally, a friend drives me to and from.  Today, she could get me to the appointment but not back.  She had another requirement she needed to attend.

So, I’m alone in Kennewick, waiting for the Grapeline shuttle to get me home. I don’t know kennewick.  I had looked up the bus routes to get me to the transit center to get the shuttle.  It’s one transfer.. But it gets me there 5 minutes before the bus and I have to figure out the right transfer at the first transfer point.  And deal with all the sensory stimulation.  I opted to call a cab for a pick up.  I could barely manage to communicate when I needed the ride, where Imwas, and where I was going.  The dispatcher had to tale me through it, several times. I promptly forgot what time the cab is picking me up and had to call her again.

It’s lunch time.  My friend suggested a Mexican place.  I went in… A few people.  But no sign telling me if I had to sit, wait to be seated, or order at the front.  I got so anxious, I left and went to a small bagel place down the street.  It’s quiet.  And the counter person is really nice.

I’ve taken lorazepam because I’m coming totally unhooked. 

Tell you what, if I didn’t have Riley, I’d be curled in the fetal position in an ER telling them I can’t get home.  Probably get a psych eval.  

And I still have to tolerate the hour shuttle ride home and still get to where it leaves.  

I function much better in familiar settings or with someone else.  Typical of some forms of brain damage.

There’s no one here and I’m scared out of my wits.”

The cab got me to the Grape Line and I made it home safely.  But, I just can’t function outside of routine and familiarity.  This should not have been hard.



3 responses to “Life with TBI : Lost and Confused

  1. I don’t have a TBI, and I could not have done as well as you did.
    I could not use any type of public transportation. I’ve tried, and I completely freak out. What if I had a vertigo attack when I’m on there? What if I need to hear something? (I’m deaf, have cochlear implants but can’t hear with them very well…and it scares the mess out of me, I haven’t been deaf long) I have balance issues. What if they think I’m drunk? I’d rather just not go. I’d rather stay at home if my husband can’t take me. No. really, I’ll be fine, right here.
    It’s just too hard out there on my own.
    (if you saw me with my husband you would think I’m pretty independent. oh how appearances can fool you.)
    You did great!


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