Will the water ever be safe?

English: This CT scan is an example of Subdura...

English: This CT scan is an example of Subdural hemorrhage caused by trauma. Single arrow marked the spread of the subdural hematoma Double arrow marked the midline shift  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After a traumatic brain injury  when you hit a down spiral it seems that things are brought to light quicker and the reaction that you have can be a little more painful. I use the word painful because the other word I want to use has slipped my mind temporarily. Tonight I was at work for our yearly CPR training and I heard a minimum of three comments about things taking longer to sink in for me. I know that they were done in with the guys not knowing that I have been in a spiral. It really makes you feel like an outcast when injury to the degree that I had becomes the joke of the day. I can definitely handle a smart remark or two but it was beyond that in my mind. Then came a couple of hearing jokes. I had to ask for something to be repeated once or twice because I could hear someone talking and with the instructor talking I could not focus on the topic. I did not take kindly to that and I almost let the filter slip which would have certainly been bad.  Finally one of my co workers asked “do you need counseling?”

He is a very good friend of mine but that statement in conjunction with the others was pushing me over the edge. I had to get up and leave the room for a minute. A couple of minutes by myself and I was able to continue on. I have been trying to put myself out there when it comes to trusting people better. Don’t get me wrong, I would trust these guys with my life, and I do in our profession, but when do you pull yourself back and how do you make your mind quit wondering what they say when you are not around? In every day life I don’t much worry about what people think of me. I am who I am and if you don’t like it then you are missing out on a great person. With that being said when it comes to work, I have to know that they trust me and I definitely care what they think. Being in a leadership role I am a firm believer that trust and respect is earned and I don’t think there is an issue with trust and the guys do work well with me. After tonight I am second guessing myself which should never happen. I have worked hard to get where I am and this injury has been a set back but I don’t think it was a deal breaker. I have a little soul searching to do there.

Away from work I have noticed a few things that I need to or want to change. Change is not always easy, especially when you are having doubts with yourself. I do not doubt myself hardly ever, before or after the accident. Well now I am doubting myself more frequently but I can explain why. This is not a good time to question me about how I fee,l I know that for sure.

Don’t ask me if I need counseling, don’t say “are you sure this from the injury?” Don’t say “well that comes with age.” I am not stupid and I know what my own body and mind are going through. Someone who has never been there will never understand and should not pretend that they do. I just want people to understand that even after two years, there are still things that this injury control about me. It controls my taste, my smell, a part of my hearing, and a part of my mind. Either help me deal with these things or keep your mouth shut while I deal with them. I hate to be so blunt, but I have to draw a line in the sand somewhere and I have now taken my stand. I don’t know where “My Fall to Life ” is going.

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Traumatic Brain Injuries Suck Part II

It has just come to my attention that everyone has weird thoughts so I guess writing a part II and all of the notes that I have taken to write it were a waste of my time and time of the reader. So. I have changed my mind there will be no part II. It was worth the thought I guess. Part I is still the next post so go ahead and read it. You should get the drift. Everything is normal, I guess.

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Traumatic Brain Injuries Suck

I have thought about how I could write this post to afford people the best opportunity to see what goes on with a person’s mind that has had a TBI. This is my experience only, so please know that I am sure this is different from others. What I am going to attempt to do is keep this post open all day long and I am going to type into it at different times during the day whenever I feel like it. My post I make the rules.

I am going to begin this post at 0530 this morning while I was still at work. I got up and made coffee. Looked at the temperature because I know it s cold outside. It  is -6.3. Whew


Coffee (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

that is cold. Why do we have to have a digital thermometer to tell the temperature to the decimal point when we round down or up when we report to the National Weather Service anyway. OK now what. Lets do the morning chores. I could take out the trash right now but not put the dishes away yet because my co worker is still asleep like I should be. I don’t want to wake him. As I am making it to the back door with the trash I look at the steam coming out of the buildings. “There must not be any wind because it is all going straight up.” Dang it is cold out here. Time for a smoke. I am glad we turned the outside floor heaters on because there would be a lot of ice there if we didn’t. I wonder how thick it would be right now. I have to make sure we don’t wash the fire engine this morning or the roll up doors will freeze and we will be in trouble if we get a  fire. If we do get a fire, how am I going to keep the guys warm when they taking their break to have their vital signs checked. I wonder if my wife made it to work yet. She always leaves a little too early. I should call her to say hi. I don’t want to her to go 360 by looking for her phone. I wont call. I wasn’t very nice to her the day before I came to work. Actually I have been a little snappy to a lot of people lately. Actually the last month or two. I should work on that. Its too cold out there let’s go see if the coffee is done.

Coffee is done. I don’t know why I always fill my mug the whole way in the morning I always end up dumping some out. Oh well I paid for this pot I can dump the whole ting if I want but that would be dumb because then I would have to by another. (in our firehouse whoever empties the pot, buys the next one) I hope my Jeep doesn’t get cold feet and will start this morning. Wonder how cold it is now. -6.5. That is 2/10 of a degree colder. It doesn’t much matter now t’s cold. Maybe I will watch the news and take a 20 minute nap since i didn’t sleep tonight. Why are there so many useless random things in my mind right now? What’s the temperature in San Diego. I am going there in two weeks. I work during the Super Bowl, I should have wings for dinner that day. I think Denver will win, but Seattle has a pretty good defense. I hope Peyton Manning doesn’t get hurt too badly. He is a great quarterback and deserves this ring. I bet the ice in the river is thick right now. That is all for now. I am going home to take a nap after I go see the ice on the river on the way home. That would suck falling in there right now. I am home. Should I put the Jeep in the garage. Nope I don’t think it’s going to snow anymore. Recycling goes out tonight. Don’t forget to take your meds before you go into the living room or you will forget.  Good Night for awhile. How come I don’t ever remember my dreams. No seriously get some sleep. My ear is really ringing today. I will lay on that ear so the strong one is up. That would be dumb you are trying to go to sleep. Just lay down and get comfortable. Seriously this time. Good night. They put 80,000 people in there for the Super Bowl. It’s a good thing we have awesome security in this country. Sometimes too awesome, I won’t say any names but their initial are NSA. Good night.

Holy cow I actually got some sleep. I think I woke up when I heard the door, but not too sure. If it was the door they probably thought “great he’s sleeping again. Little known to them there has not been any sleep at all when we are supposed to be sleeping as humans. I wanna see the aurora borealis,, better known as the Northern Lights  sometime. We had all those little wind driven snow balls yesterday. They were pretty cool but put on Facebook way too much. My ear is really ringing a lot.  What makes your eyes feel like they are bouncing around in your head before you fall asleep. Is it all these random thoughts. I should go shovel the walk.

I am really sick of looking at these spots on my legs that my medication causes, and why do I shake every time I yawn. Is it too much to ask to have my hand stay still if I am showing someone something on my phone. Apparently it is because it never happens. I am getting a little tired of this stuff. Maybe it is all in my head and there is a  honeymoon phase that I have gone through just by surviving this injury and that phase is now over so I get frustrated now. Maybe it is just cabin fever but I doubt it because I wasn’t like this last Winter.

I am going to stop now because I don’t want this to be too long that people won’t read. I am going to keep notes for the next post. I only have 40 or so followers which is ok with me.By the way I am writing a book about this injury. It will not be set up like this obviously. I am not crazy, I have had a life changing really crazy injury. Part II to come. It is 4 pm right now.

English: A CT of the head years after a trauma...

English: A CT of the head years after a traumatic brain injury showing an empty space marked by the arrow were the damage occurred. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Chutes and Ladders

I may be telling my age here a little bit, but I really don’t care or waste my time with things that I cannot change. When I was little kid one of my favorite games used to be Chutes

Milton Bradley Chutes and Ladders game board c...

Milton Bradley Chutes and Ladders game board c. 1952 showing good deeds and their rewards, and bad deeds and their consequences (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and Ladders. This game may even be on the market still today, I really don’t know. My point is that the last month or so my life seems like I am in the game.

The basis of this game, if you are not familiar is to roll the dice and work your way up the board eventually to the finish. If you land on a ladder you get to move up quickly. If you land on a chute, you slide back down and then have to start over. Well I am on a chute and ladder torrent. One day I feel like things are going great and then the next I feel like I am on a super slippery chute.

I fall into nights of no sleep which then turns into sleeping more during the day. This makes me feel useless and like a slug. My wife says I am keeping to myself and not talking to her much. I think this is because I am tired, but if she says it is more than that, then it probably is. The Problem is I can’t fix a problem that I cant recognize. The last thing I wanna do is make my wife feel like I am withdrawn from her because  nothing could be farther from the truth. She wants me to happy and wants me to tell her what she can do to help me feel happier. The answer to that question is “nothing,” She does nothing wrong and is an amazing woman who has been by my side as I went through war, Hurricane Katrina response, firefighting and a TBI. That would drive most women to the brink of insanity. I think she was put on this Earth to watch over me.

I like to think that it is this time of year that gets the chutes and ladders mentality going. Cabin fever for lack of better words. Living in NW PA and having a very cold Winter we all want Spring to get here and be able to get outside and enjoy nature and this earth. Until then I will keep pushing forward and not allow my moods and future to be decided by anyone but me.

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Pussification of America

I think that this post will be short and sweet but sometimes when I get on this topic I tend to let all of my feelings air out at once.

Although the title may not be “Politically Correct” I really don’t care. That is pretty much my point. Since when should we have to worry about being politically correct when it

Political Correctness Sucks

Political Correctness Sucks (Photo credit: KAZVorpal)

comes to our everyday lives. That term has become one that is used way too often and it is leading into the pussification of America.

I strongly believe that there is a major difference between being rude or ignorant , and politically correct. When you are asked a question or to give your opinion you should be able to give it from your heart without being rude but by being specific and to the point.

All we ever see the newer generation do, mine included is spend all of their time with their head buried in a computer or a tablet, or a smart phone. I used to think that it was hilarious to watch a video of somebody walking into a parking meter or a parked car because they had their head in their phone until I saw it in person. It actually made me feel bad for the person. Guys ask girls out on the internet, people argue on the internet, phone calls have turned in to text messages. Person to person conversations have turned into face chatting or whatever you want to call it.

This country still teaches all of our main subjects in school but as soon as we graduate all we need is a smart phone or an internet connection and all that education can just go out the window. I am willing to bet that probably 70 to 80 percent of people between the age of 18-23 probably cannot read a map because of TomTom and smart phones. Probably 95 percent could not find their way home on a map if you took all of the street names and route numbers off of it. If it was handed to them upside down they may not be able to find North.

I am by no means talking down on younger people, it is the older generations fault for allowing the technology to take over common sense. If you are 40 or older you should still be teaching the younger crowd basic survival skills in case some day the power goes down and the technology takes a little nap on us.

These days when a child acts up they are automatically medicated. If the people in this country could still give their child a disciplinary whoopin in public without worrying about the police and child services knocking on the door some of this could be avoided. Some of these children are not able to control their tantrums reasons that we do not know of, I understand this, but every now and then a child just needs to be told no and that needs to be stuck with.

A kid playing little league cant throw more than 85 pitches, no double sessions in high school football, a student cant compete in two sports. We are holding them back people, open your eyes.

In our military we hand out stress cards to the cadets. The old way to build a soldier was working great, why would we change it. Two grown men having just an old fashioned slug fest then going out for a beer afterwards is now a crime. What are we thinking ?  If two kids duke it out in school, send them to the principals office and give them detention like we used to. A couple times of sitting in school after class will teach them. That is the worst punishment ever.

The bottom line in my opinion is that we need to toughen up this country and our kids or the grand kids and their kids don’t stand a damn chance in this country. It may not even be called America by then.

We should have listened to George Carlin years ago

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Another new hobby

Since my TBI which has been 2 years now I have started many new hobbies to help my road to recovery which is still a never ending journey. I have started hunting and fishing again with my brother after nearly 10 years off. I have started to take photos with an awesome camera that my wife had bought me. I even started to pan for gold just to get me out into the woods. (I live in NW PA so that did not pan out too well….pun intended). This year I am going to begin another new hobby and this is what has kept me awake thinking about tonight.

Mojave Nugget, a gold nugget weighing 156 ounc...

Mojave Nugget, a gold nugget weighing 156 ounces. From the Stringer district, Kern County, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)tonight.

I am now a proud owner of a metal detector. I want to use this to help me stay out in nature as well exercise and maybe find some neat stuff in the process. I live in a very historic part of Pennsylvania, so there are lots of options on where and how I could start this new found hobby. 8 miles up the road is the birthplace of the oil industry. We have historic pig iron furnaces scattered throughout the region. We have gigantic Victorian era houses through out the town. Some of these houses date back to the late 1800’s. There are man made stone walls that go on for miles and countless old farm foundations in the woods near where I hunt. there were four forts built on the creek and river who’s confluence is less than a half of mile from my house. The list goes on and on.

So I was attempting to sleep and started to wonder “Where do I start?” This is not something that I feel should take a whole lot of thought. there are so may places to go and so many possibilities out there that I should just pick one and go.  First I have to wait for the ground to get a little softer.It would be useless to go out there right now and try to dig up a hit on the detector. At 1:46 am tonight I need to be asleep, not on my laptop blogging.

The next three days of work a classroom setting course in Task Force Leadership. I can’t afford to be half asleep or unable to pay attention. I am hoping that by getting these thoughts out of my head that I will be able to get a couple of hours of sleep before I get up with my wife in the early hours to see her off to work.

I just looked over at the cat and he is literally laying upside down in my recliner enjoying one of his many naps of the day. Oh what a good life that must be. With that being said and straying off topic hopefully that means that I will be able to go to sleep now.

P.S. To my lovely wife. Thanks for the newest tool to the hobby box. I love you so very much for everything that you have done for me over the years and especially the last 2 years through this very difficult time.

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Held in long enough

I want to begin this post by  saying thank you to those of you that have chosen to take the time out of your day to read my posts. I really do appreciate it, and helps me to stay motivated to keep on writing. With that being said I have updates from the previous post that I would like to share as well as some  news that I have been holding in long enough. It is time to share.

The update that I have is that I have sent in my submission to be a speaker at the BIAPA. Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania. Now it is a waiting game to see if it will be accepted and I will be a speaker at the state conference in June. I have to admit that it  was a little bit scary with my finger hovering over the send button before I sent the email out. I paused on it for about 10 seconds before I actually let it fly. My goal to reach people and share my story to hopefully help others cannot be reached by blogging alone. It is time to come out of my comfort zone a little bit more in order to reach these goals.

There are three people that I thank mainly for giving me the strength and confidence to get me to take the next step. First is my wife Ann of course. She would always support me no matter what I want to try or do. If I told her that I wanted to fly to the moon she would volunteer to go get the materials to start building the spaceship. Next is Miss P. She is a medical professional that helped care for me when I was injured as well as a personal friend. When I told her that I wanted to take this adventure she thought that it was a very good idea, and is going to help me put my presentation together if it is accepted for the conference. Finally, a woman that can see the good in what I am doing and the one who talked me into sharing this blog with people closer to me instead of just strangers on the internet. She is no stranger to a challenging time in life, and if you have followed the last couple of posts you have read about her as well. So even though you three wonderful people are  a part in of my life in very different ways,  I want to thank you for giving me the boost, or kick in the butt, whichever is necessary to help me see my goals. It is because of the respect that I have that I am not going to fail.

With that being said I am about to drop the new news. I have been doing some research for a couple of months now that has taken a toll on me because the amount of time that I have spent on it. I have kept it only in my mind and have not shared it with anyone. This is like a double edged sword. In one way it is very hard to not share something that is so important to yourself. with your wife and family. On the other hand, it actually kind of surreal to have something in your mind that is not known by another human being. It is not a major deal to anyone that is going to hear this I am sure, but it is to me and that is what is important in life. I decided that in order for me to reach the number of people that I want to reach and be able to fully tell my story, I am going to attempt to have a book published. I have been writing manuscript for some time now. As far as dealing with the injury alot of it will be similar to what i have written in this blog, but I will go into greater detail. There is also alot that I am adding that I have not discussed in this forum. There are so many people that can benefit from just a little bit of hope or a good story of success. I have been blessed by god to have been given a very positive outcome after the injury that I sustained. Others can recover too if they just allow themselves to be positive and when they end up in the weeds come out with more speed and motivation.

I am going to leave this post right here because I do not want to make it so long that people shy away. More updates to follow. 

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