A dozen years ago a depressed middle-aged man hurting from the absence and estranged relationship with his now 32-year-old daughter. The pain was great and he could not cope knowing she didn’t want anything to do with him It had been 15 years since he lost saw her. Since the day she left his life, life would never be the same. It opened a void that opened a gaping hole in his heart, that could never be healed and the pain was insufferable. Nevertheless he persevered, immersing himself in his career primarily to drown out any thoughts of her. This was the best coping mechanism he could come up with. For a while it seemed to work.
Some two springs later, It was a sunny, bright but windy day and the birds were chirping as mother nature was doing her thing breathing new life into the foliage, trees, grass and the like. As they started afresh, without warning a new day was dawning for him as well. The new day however was not breathing new life into him as darkness unbeknownst to him was moments away. Driving to a client as a free-lance Computer engineer under contract with a Fortune Five hundred company he heard a loud bang and simultaneously passed into unconsciousness, clinging to life after being broad sided by a semi traveling at 70 mph. The car was unrecognizable, crumpled like an accordion there was no way “anyone survived” said one approaching paramedic.
The physician said after a week in a level one trauma center, “do you want your Leg”. Stunned at the Doctors question he quickly and resoundingly replied “of course I do”. Fourteen surgery’s, and a kidney failure later he got to keep his leg and more miraculously his life. Albeit the pain endured was excruciating and cause angst being bound to a wheel chair for the next year indescribable. Yet he persevered. Another long six months later he finally stood and quickly there after commenced to walk again. It was finally done! Or not!
Two years later and after enduring being fired from job after job, contrary to any earlier experience in his life and the 30 years earlier when promotions and advancement were the norm. Being fired was never in the equation. It had never happened before. He knew something was wrong, very wrong. Accordingly proceeded hastily to the Doctor. During the visit something bothered the doctor so he ordered further testing and referrals to other medical professionals.
Half a dozen months after that he began collecting social security disability. The medical diagnosis was Traumatic brain injury apparently suffered during the accident. Cognitive and memory variations was how the Doctor put it in layman’s terms. Goodbye, career. He would never work again to any significance.
Up to this point this was only the beginning of the suffering he would sustain. It actually developed some 10 years prior. Depression is a powerful thing. Drug addiction is a potent thing. These were the root issues.
I’m not going into chondritic detail, illustrating the progressive and steady descent of the quality of life. What puzzles me, is not that I didn’t see it, although it did take a prolonged time to admit to myself, that I was not the same person and probably never would be. What puzzells me, is how little I’ve done about it.
What is demoralizing is that quality of life has not improved one bit. It seems I always have the answer, regardless of how many times, I convinced myself of that before and had been wrong, this time I would be right. Of course I wasn’t, but that never stopped me before and it wouldn’t prevent me now.
There is an answer, but I don’t want to hear it. Many years ago, my Dad told me “the right thing to do, is always the hard thing to do”. That could possibly not be more true.
I truly don’t know what the right thing to do is. I do know what I’ve been doing isn’t it.
On a recent Doctor visit, I showed a Doctor, Neurology reports, including Lab and Brain imaging.
He asked me have I ever been clinically diagnosed with Dementia. I said “no”. He reiterated the concern and I once more answered “no”. I informed him I’ve been diagnosed with “cognitive deficits”, Traumatic Brain Injury, and memory changes.
I asked why he was so as part of this line of questioning, and he replied without hesitantancy, and very self-confident, that if I didn’t have dementia, I am at a high risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
While that was sobering information to learn, it was not overly surprising.
I am not a Doctor, however had this intuitive feeling, that my cognitive functioning had been poor for a while, but never did it actually hit home actually strike a nerve as it does now. Never did I feel assuredly that I’m operating on a fraction of my brain power Never had I felt so helpless and a deeper feeling of inferiority than I do now. I cannot blame all my difficulties on this as the entire reason but a significant one in my inability to stabilize my life. To me if I had to quantify it, I have lost no less than 30% in brain power, making my decision making poor and moreover entirely real, entirely scary, entirely powerless. It had brought to light that things would never get better only more serious and there was not a damn thing I could do about.
Complicating my emotions even further are other obstacles, which in by themselves are mind-boggling.
I feel tired, I feel like I need support, but I don’t exactly where to start!