Frogs

The Frog Prince tells the tale of a prince cursed into frog form becoming human again after the kiss of a princess.  I  won’t write about the gender stereotypes and roles the fairy tale transmits.  That’s been done many times.  I want to explore what it may have been like for the prince instead.  So, imagine that you are a prince…

You wake up ready to start the day.  You hop into the sunshine and see a glorious mosquito- whap- breakfast is served.  It’s a simple life, being a frog.  Hunting, croaking, hopping,swimming, and sunbathing.  And there’s all the lady frogs vying for your affections.  You are one handsome and vital frog indeed.  Life is good.  

 One day, a pair of hands snatch you from the water and lifts you up.  You see a huge mouth and just know you’re about to die but something else happens. You feel searing pain as your body stretches and muscles extend and contorts back to human form.   The next thing you know you are standing calf deep in the pond, staring into the eyes of a lovely princess.  And all the memories of being a cursed prince flood back.   Your life underwent two major unexpected changes: prince, frog, prince.  From a simple life, you’re thruster into the world of humans and eventual responsibility of a kingdom.  You had no control over your destiny.

Or perhaps you knew that you were a cursed prince.   You remembered being a handsome, intelligent, important man.  A prince.  You wore the finest clothing, slept in satin sheets, had servants performing the menial tasks. You partied with other nobles and courtiers.  Much was made of you.   You drank the finest wine.  And the food!  Glorious food!  Delicious, fresh, and plentiful.   Then  you sleep in mud and muck. You eat bugs and drink pond water.  And all those damn female frogs chasing  you around.   You doubt you will ever be a prince again and are filled with bitterness, hopelessness, and depression. Still, you try.  You know the terms of the curse.  You need to be kissed by a princess to be restored but there aren’t any around here and it’s unlikely there will ever be.  Finally, you resign yourself to being a frog.  One day, your princess finds you.  And you stand calf deep in the pond looking into her glorious eyes.

Which frog would you rather be?  Both face the traumatic events of being a cursed prince.  One had the additional challenge of remembering what was before- with all the despondency the situation brings.  The other had to adjust from being a frog with no knowledge to being flooded with physical change and (re) discovering his true identity. Both faced life altering change over which they had no control.

Are we all naught but frogs?

The ending of both scenarios are the same.  You marry the princess that you only met once.  Of course, the story of your meeting is unforgettable, even if you want to.  You have to breed up an heir and a spare.  Then you settle down to rule.  Your “happily ever after?”  Not until after you’ve had therapy… lots and lots of therapy.

Why to Learn CPR

My dad choked at dinner tonight.  He is fine now.  There are no lasting effects.

All of you know I have some…issues…with anxiety. Yeah. “Issues” sort of like the ocean has water. lolMy parents are visiting this week. It’s been hectic so my anxiety level has been overall higher. My cherished routine is changed.  Tonight we went to dinner. I was my normal, jittery self. I don’t sit still much. Part anxiety, part brain injury sensory overload.  

Long story short: my dad started choking. It was surreal. “Are you choking? Talk to me. Get up”At this point, I was helping to pull him out of the booth and up on his feet from behind him. Cleared his airway. I was calm. Like nothing was going on that was alarming. Just after his airway cleared, I stood with him, assessing airway and pulse until his coughing stopped and he was taking normally.  Even with anxiety and brain injury, I was able to perform the technique.  The training works.

After that, I sat down and went right back to being my normal, jittery self. Surreal.
If I hadn’t been trained in CPR, which includes what to do when someone is choking, the outcome may have been much different.  Dad could have ended up in the ER.  Or possibly dead.  

This may be the only time I use it.  But it most likely saved the life of a family member.

Here is a link to American Red Cross.  They provided first aid and CPR training.  There are online and in person training options.

American Red Cross CPR Training
Do it.  It can save a life.

Three Goals

I went to the creative writing course at the VA today.  It’s not exactly a journaling. We have a topic we write about.  Some are more therapeutic topics than others.  Today’s topic was “three goals.”

Goals 

I have no goals; none at all

Look inside to find the call.

When there is no focused life

Heart and soul are filled with strife

Finding hope in darkness lost 

Breaking free from chains’ high cost;

Maybe I will a path find

From fear’s chasm to faith sublime.

To grow my goal is to try

To revive what inside died

To hold to the future fast

To leave behind what has passed.

———————————————————–

Goals come in all forms.  Mine are getting prepared to identity and strive after goals.  It’s funny: my goal is to have a goal.  

Brain Injury Awareness Month

On April 2, 2011, I completed a marathon, winning age group and placing 20 overall. On the 25th, my life changed forever in a roll over car accident resulting in a  TBI.  
It’s been a journey of recovery and challenge. I have reduced perioception in my feet, issues with visual depth perception and reduced peripheral vision. I had to relearn how to walk and balance. I had intense speech therapy to address aphasia and recover writing skills. The recovery therapists helped develop strategies to reduce problems with sensory overload.
Diagnosing brain injury and the residual issues was an exercise in frustration. I underwent countless tests: MRIs, CT scans, neuropsychological exam, EEG. I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder secondary to the TBI. The neurologists eventually diagnosed Diffuse Axonal Injury. 
Like many survivors, I suffer from anxiety, depression, and mood instability. My treatment team (clinical social worker, neurologist, psychatirst) and I have a solid regime to improve my life and function. Things are much better.  
Eight months after the accident, I ran again. Well, shuffled was more like it. Running became my release and hope. I constantly saw improvement in endurance and speed.  I celebrated milestones such as achieving my longest run and my first road races.  Running is now my stress relief and source of peace and mindfulness.
This is Brain Injury Awareness Month. I am a brain injury survivor. This month I celebrate being a survivor and what I have overcome. April 1, 2017, I meet a new milestone: my first marathon post brain injury.  

Brain Injury Awarness Month

I am a brain injury survivor.  It has changed my entire life.  

Many brain injuries are avoidable with precautions.  The severity of injury can also be reduced.

Every brain injury damages the brain.  Most people recover fully but many are left with long term, possibibly life long, disability,   ranging from mild to severe.  I experience speech aphasia, difficulties filtering sensory input, seizures, loss of endurance, depression, and anxiety.  They cost me my career and many of my hobbies. I still work on rehabilitation and hope to return to work in the future.

To learn more, visit Brain Injury Association of America

Happy Birthday Dr Suess

March 2, 1904

Dr. Suess reaches into the hearts and minds of generations of people with their honesty, insight and simply fun rhymes.  He shares wisdom expressed in a unique manner.  I’m going to share several of my favorite Dr. Suess quotes over the next few days.  

“If you never did you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.”

This quote has meaning to me because it encourages people to have fun and quit being so serious all the time.  It encourages stepping outside the comfort zone and society norms and expectations.  I always tended to be very serious in some ways.  Acting goofy or drawing attention to myself was (and still is) uncomfortable.  There were many things I wanted to do but chose not to because of how I thought I was supposed to act in my life roles.   Sure, I joked around and did fun things but I limited myself in several ways.  

In honor of Dr. Suess, I stepped out of my comfort zone today.  For years, I wanted to do something fun with my hair color and style.  While I was in the Army Reserve, I couldn’t have a “different” hairstyle due to regulations regarding personal appearance.  It seemed like too much change after I was retired.  It was an uncomfortable risk and a break from what was “correct.”  So, today, I stepped out and did something fun and different.  I’m glad I did.

I challenge you to do the same- do something fun and outside your normal routine.  

Intervals 

Run intervals on the track I was told.
I head out in the snowy, foggy cold.

I toe the line to start the workout 
Two hundred meters to crank out.

The first 100 meters went well
Then the workout went to hell.

Where is the track? Where did it go?
It’s buried under a foot of snow.

I follow what I thought was the turn
My thighs starting already to burn.

The footing is rough; obstacles hidden 
My common sense was overridden 

I kept stumbling over uneven terrain
Until I landed on my ass-again.

It will do no good if I break an ankle
The recovery time will surely rankle.

I needed to finish the workout still
To the gym, dear runner, and the dreadmill.

Buried track