Having lived 17 years before my brain injury, I’d say I was fairly well adapted to that life….here I am, near 16 years later, and I am fairly well adapted to a disabled life.
I love my family very dearly and my old friends, but there are many times, when with them, it is as if they are seeing me through a foggy window….still remembering the old me as I was, but seeing and experiencing the new me as I am.
Being a keen observer of the human condition, I pick up on nonverbal signals, these tiny cues. They don’t yet know how to act around me and keep waiting for me to transform back into what I was before I was changed by pain.
I understand the dilemma and the yearning…they miss their son, their brother, their friend. I miss him less and less everyday. The naive, though brilliant, little punk I was… Ha!
I realize that the main reason I even go out is to distract from the physical pain. Even now, 4:10am, my hand is a throbbing mass of unbridled tension. It keeps a guy up at night.
I write this for understanding, so others can see behind the scenes, can gain a glimpse of what I live through everyday. So they can realize that I am happy to be alive, even if in pain. Every day is a gift, every moment, every now.
The struggles we face in life come down to a few choices. Yeah, I could easily have become an addict. After my accident I was on massive amounts of opioids (Vicodin, Percocet, Ocycontin, Morphine, etc etc). I made a choice, around 21 or 22, that I was not going to become dependent on these drugs. I weened myself off and only take pain medication, now, when I am in extreme pain. Yeah, my pain tolerance is much higher, but pain is pain. It sucks!
Bonjour et c’est la vie!