In the last two weeks two cell phones stopped working, stating needing a charge. Then when charged, they would not work repeating the “need to be charged.” Or a blank black screen (dead?), not one button pressed would reach out into the cellular ethers “Can you hear me now?”
This past month my medical insurance canceled me before the new rulings in legislature took effect. My medical expenses had exceeded $600,000.00 (not counting Colorado doctors and needless testing). We had a Government Shut down! Second shut down I have known in my life time; how does a countries’ Governing body shut down? Yes, I know the financial stated issues – my question is more bent towards – do our politicians not give a damn what happens to our country and humanity? Our country is truly an embarrassment! The Middle East is still at war, killing innocent people, this has been so for thousands of years. Greece collapsed with ensuing chaos in the streets; mayhem and bedlam throughout our world. Scotty can no longer beam us up aboard a safe air craft to travel where no man has gone before.
This past September I wished to cut costs by house sharing. There were red flags waving, however this man was to be gone for three weeks and I was left to attend his 17 year old blind dog, alone in the large house. Thinking this could give me time to search for another place, particularly given my desire to move to another state “before or after the holidays.” I was blindsided with the ensuing new rules (no hindsight three days later and I was stuck).
Dan, firmly announcing (Allie his blind failing sweet dog) “she is on a DNR if she convulses or anything nothing is to be done. And you are to tend to the garden, watering, harvesting and”... this is where I said Stop. Being more than uncomfortable with this new arrangement (and with each discussion changing from family responsibility and being placed on my shoulders). I said no to both DNR and gardening. “I am a red head I burn easily and do not spend time in gardens nor do I garden! And I do not feel comfortable with you dog on a DNR slowly dying or being in pain”. Dan Raker (the new house mate owner) said in grave agitation, he would get a friend or friends to come over; no friend was ever called.
Allie improved remarkably under my care; she put muscle weight on and began to spring around the house happily although being blind. Dan never said thank you, rather he was irritated she did not die. One never knows the outcome when dealing with deranged individuals.
Dan and I agreed to a one month lease; however he insisted I pay beyond a months’ rent, an additional $800.00 deposit, I had already moved some clothes in. Yes, this seemed funky; I was a bit trapped after reneging on other places.(Hindsight is never in the foresight!)
When Dan returned, I knew immediately he was more than a volatile man with serious problems. He became more manipulative and irate at small things (as I walked away dumping his responsibility back into his lap) – then violent about his garden and the drip hose.
Dan physically threatened and violent screamed at me about his garden. Immediately sending out urgent emails to everyone, to assure we might have a safe place to go to Monday morning with my Sadë. Later that week after retrieving a few left items with a witness, I file a police report against Dan for his violent actions and finding Dan had no intentions of giving me my deposit. Dan kept my deposit ($800.00) stating the tiny patch garden was dried out (while holding an arm full of harvested vegetables). I have filed a court suit. This is life, we never truly know about other people until the moment comes and we are in a “situation.” It is how we get out of these moments is most important.
There was this millisecond in my life; I fell on black ice and asphalt, emulating humpty dumpty, being broken from head to toe. After all the surgeries, both shoulders, my back, 1/3 of my right leg being replaced, my left hip was torn apart – tendons and t-ban muscle ripped; left knee was torn up and so was my left foot. Explaining when doctors asked, “where do you feel pain?” I said, “it is easier to say where I am not feeling pain, my lips and my nose.” This was the truth for eight years.
Worse I was misdiagnosis in Colorado; making a choice to move to Santa Fe NM where I heard practitioners cared. It took three years to qualify for insurance with pre-existing conditions. Those three years I dolled out of pocket, huge amounts of cash, liquidate all stocks, land/house, while continuing my physical therapy. This resembled writing checks as if I were dealing an 8 deck baccarat shoe of cards out of my bank account till there was nothing. At one point I said enough, our Americanized medical systems left me broke, more broken than my body was.
I was on the threshold of a new beginning. The beginning – of a profound time, to comprehend the severity of all my injuries when life takes a millisecond, changes every perspective I had about life, my body, pain and what it meant to have proper diagnosis from doctors, get second and third opinions! All this would be followed by years of treatments, surgeries, physical therapy in tandem with cognitive treatments for six more years; nine years of my life gone.
I learned to remap my own brain, often identifying while writing copious listing – pages of problems, researching what I could through my damaged brain (reading became impossible to comprehend what once was so easy). And my thought processes which no longer work, once having an erudite mentality; attempting to comprehend what was written by others regarding brain trauma, formulating my own cognitive therapy through my own research of damage. It worked in time, tediously, finding it is difficult to treat ones’ self through massive injuries.
In this 8 ½ year period of time, I saw over three dozen doctors. Most who truly wanted to help, but did not have enough knowledge – some therapists needed to be needed (these relationships ended rather quickly). Possibly ½ dozen did help me understand the monolithic injuries and possibly what to do about them; certainly the surgeons put my body back together again (Humpty Dumpty was not so lucky). The one physical therapist Heather understood my hyper mobile body and my firm desire to reclaim all my abilities of the past and move further along in strength as if I had never been injured (yes going beyond is possible if you have the grit to do so). A couple of cognitive therapists were exponentially helpful, understanding my degree of intellect (we were equally intelligent, with their insight lent volumes to my research and improvement). They acknowledged my firm desire to become better than before with all functioning faculties.
My body has bionic parts now, my brain which had over half a dozen traumatic head injuries had to be remapped to function (which I successfully did and still more to be done); even relearning my native language English, much more the three additional languages I had lost. My photographic brain abilities were lost and cognitively remapped through all the new emotional rawness I was now experiencing.
My verbal articulation had turned into stammers, at times complete memory loss in milliseconds. More difficult, all leading to extreme frustration during a stated sentence I would forget the topic of conversation. The conversation would waywardly trail off into three – five different subjects within a few minutes. Balance problems that caused me to trip or walk directly into door jams, along with the plethora of other problems that come with TBI’s, too long to mention here. Living was more than overwhelming, daunting, confusion, frustration all with the feeling of loss or will I ever be the same or as capable? My only hope of surviving was my Arabian and my sweet dog Sadë.
The internal fortitude that some mustard is liken to a tsunami in determination and drive. We do not relinquish to what the doctors say “you will never be the same, you will be disabled and dysfunctional for the rest of your life.” These are crushing words, not acknowledging the human spirit and our profound steadfastness. The indomitable resolve rises, the call goes out internally, “reinvent yourself” from a point only known as the Twilight zone.
I did send out an urgent message for Scotty to beam me up, but my Star Trek monitor button no longer worked, and then I heard Scotty had died. Worse realizing Star Trek and Star Wars were fictional. Does this mean life as we live it, is truly all fictional? Is life a myth and not the positive – negative, black or white – racial bias – contradiction to religious- spiritual beliefs that we humans are so adamant to live and make reality?
My beloved Arabian horse went blind in 2012, but I was able to save his eye from rupturing. Then my other Arabian went lame. He is still lame and getting around for the last four months; I won’t give up on either one of them (nor myself), they are my only family along with my service dog Sadë and Sammie Kewl Kat.
Proceeding forward, I wanted to rent a little casita here in Santa Fe. Those of us who live here have heard about the” Santa Fe Funk” rentals. The one I found was clean and plausible; it meant a roof over our heads and warmth through the winter. My dog has papers stating she is a service dog, but not my cat of 13 years. The property management said I had to get rid of my cat. I gave him to a friend (who incidentally gave me the 2nd cell phone that quit and now is working). My heart shredded – wrenched in anguish for an entire weekend; I could not stop crying my heart was fractured – lacerated with agonizing pangs. Monday I called Lisa and said I could not bare giving up Sammie, immediately drove to pick him up. We have no home at this time – staying at a friend’s guest house…
With all this and more (too long of a list to mention everything), most would go screaming to an astrologer or psychic, citing my life is in ruins and so negative. The very negative energy of doubt, oppression that we exclaim accolades to those who achieve from the brink of disaster when reaching beyond our comfort zones for a brave new world or self.
All too often, we banish ourselves from the presence of those who are delving too far from the norm of comfortable – (some truly do not have a choice), as life hangs in the balance. Some people project life’s hardships as a contagious plague, losing our humanity to judgement.
I sat down – became very quiet to observe all of life in comparative analysis and scrutiny. My conclusion was these moments are neither positive nor negative. As I looked out over the horizon of great people, the cost of achievement, the price they paid to bring good to this world. Great people such as Steve Jobs; he was fired from the very company he created. Then rehired, later to die of pancreatic cancer at an early age – Nelson Mandela, only wish for peace for southern Africa and freedom from the oppressive opprobrious British Apartheid with hundred of thousand have the ability in 1994 to cast a vote, voting Mandela in as President. He won the Nobel Peace Prize. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years; released from prison, only to deal with a looming divorce from his high school sweetheart, never seeing his two children grow up. He continued to march forward in life, speaking and writing inspirational at great lengths how he endured these trials of life, passing away in December 2013.
Thankfully no one from Santa Fe contacted him, to say how they found his life to be negative and to get positive through cleansings etc….. Martin Luther King had a dream for all mankind. He was shot – killed, so was Gandhi whose wish was for peace, the emancipation of India from British rule of oppression.
Bill Gates has come under the scrutiny for his founding of Microsoft – many sued him including our government. He moved on, founding the Melinda Gates Foundation and through donors such as Warren Buffet has transformed third world countries, irradiating diseases. Elon Musk founder of Pay Pal went on to create Space X, Solar City, Telsa Motor (Electric) Cars and more. This is life, the good – the bad the ugly and the remarkable.
It is life, it is not Santa Fe, it is not New Mexico – Colorado or NYC, and it is not the Americas or Europe – Asia – this is life. Sometimes life is ridiculous and I wish I had a Hogwarts wand to turn it all around and be happy, but I don’t. I have a great analytical mind and I perceive life differently – my lens perceives life as an experience, as we move through each moment without a judgement of positive or negative, good or bad, necessary or evil (I will admit there are some heinous individuals, thankfully not the majority). No one is lesser or more – we all have talents and differences that need to recognize.
My cell phone now works; it seems there was nothing wrong with it once I took it the hands of Adrian at A P Wireless. Fed my two Arabians (I starve myself to feed them; but this keeps me on the much thinner side). Fed my dog Sadë and Sammie Kewl Kat and reminded myself the sun comes up tomorrow, the dogs will bark in the night when hearing the coyotes howling. The stars and planets twinkle, other countries face wars over religious battle or a way of life or land. There are millions who are starving, homeless, worse some are tortured. This is our humanity at play on this planet, to see the good, at times we must look hard and carefully.
I no longer have the egregious balance problems; speak rather fluently after studying the thesaurus while writing the first rough draft of my book “Brilliance Disrupted.” Now relearning French that was once a second language (free online through the library) and progressing in my once fluent Portuguese. To my joy I am able to ride my Arabian, work out lifting weights – although not the same amount of pressure as I did before my fall on black ice and asphalt.
Yes, I still will deal with the transient amnesia as it comes and goes. The flip side of this is, I am my own lab rat and write about each episode and how long each episode last and what area of the brain and its function is being affected. Why, because it will help others to not fear such cognitive difficulties from TBIs’ and help many through the confounding maze that is caused by such injuries to a place of hope and wholeness.
When I tell my doctors how my eyes now function and how I see the world through the damage, they ask “how long have you been experiencing this disability?” I say, I do not see this as a disability, instead my brain now functions as a whole brain and my visuals are different from most other humans. I am left and right brained, dang I now have a “whole brain function. Wondrous!” They laugh and put down their pens and quit writing dysfunction and begin to see life from a different angle as I do, acceptance of what is.
I watched a bird hobbling in the snow on one leg; the other leg was a stump. It was winter time in Colorado with a great deal of snow on the ground. I put out seed in the pine trees or my porch to feed the birds. Each day the one legged bird came flying in and pecked at the seed. It seemed as if the loss of his leg was neither a hindrance or of emotional baggage. One more lesson from nature to be gleamed; let go and continue to live and thrive. We all need to stop blaming life – people – circumstances and continue to move forward.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Will I stay in Santa Fe? I truly cannot answer this question with all internal fortitude – my immediate answer is no. For I miss the vibrancy of the larger cities such as Denver and San Francisco, but for now I am here writing, working on my first book (the editing process and then publishing); writing about life on this blog and reinventing a new life for myself. The injuries left me with Me, but a different Me. Yes, these are photos of me after the fact, months after the last surgery after working out to get my body strength back.
Some of us become very successful in life, some of us live ordinary lives, but we all count in life. Each and every one of us count in life for how we live, what we say and how we do or do not love each other or care about each other – we all count.
A moment of peace
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About the Author: MicheleElys is a Neurobehaviorist ~ Writer ~ Educator ~ Keynote Speaker.
“Concussions are a huge drain in the workplace!” 4-6 week training program relieving the agony of TBIs and concussions.
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