Shopping, Talking, Laughing ~ What Could Be Better?

30 05 2011

This week, I moved forward, literally, in a car on the freeway.   Riding in a car is stressful not only due to the car’s electrical issues, but also because of visual impairments from the brain injury such as, the speed at which visual images ~ vehicles, buildings, people, anything ~ fly past my eyes.  I’ve been physically unable to ride on a freeway for months.  We visited a favorite health food store, one where we shop periodically.  It stimulated me and nourished my sense of “I’m coming back.  I’m healing.  I’ll get back to where I was before my January setback.”

The video below demonstrates some of how shopping is a unique experience for me, but made physically easier with Windsor’s extraordinary help.  Each video I make is a brain project, a brain therapy for me, releasing my abilities to teach, to use my music, to connect with people, to see the partnership Windsor and I have as a service dog team, to see how I’m growing and healing.  In this video, I see my growth, amazing growth in so many areas of my difficulties.

I speak in this video ~ alot.  For those who knew me pre-brain injury, you may watch this with sadness in your heart, remembering my voice – whether through singing or speaking – sounding differently.  For some, you may

  • watch and hear my high pitched voice typical of brain injuries as the brain heals,
  • observe my facial muscles working past paralysis to shape the word production,
  • realize and see the effort it takes to get past certain words. 

For me, I see SUCCESS and so much PROGRESS!  I remember the Tuesday morning I awakened, almost 2 years to the day after the car accident, to the loss of my fluid speech.   EVERY single word or other word was stuttered, exhaustingly stuttered.  It was impossible for me to speak, to carry on any sense of conversation.  Within a few short months, I lost the ability completely.  I was digressing in so many ways and speech was one of the ways my brain declared it could do no more.

Years later, after about 7 months on the Brain Protocol, I began to make extended amounts of sounds, horrid sounds I must say, but sounds nonetheless.  After 9-10 months, I spoke words repetitiously, practicing and practicing without always stuttering. I still often repeat the same word, phrase, or sentence sounding as if I’m a broken record.   You will hear repetition issues in this video.  I know the work it’s taken to breakthrough the facial and tongue paralysis issues.  I know the stuttering struggle where the word won’t sound, but we laugh at “MY THESAURUS.”  “MY THESAURUS” appears when I stutter a word.  My mind is searching for a way out, finding a word or words that have the same meaning, but that is a doable, speakable word for me. When it happens, those around me can’t help but giggle at the surprise word(s) change(s).

So travel with Windsor and me as we shop, talk, and laugh!  Yes, Windsor shops!  Yes, Windsor talks quite strongly sometimes!  And yes, Windsor has a most definite sense of humor!

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First You Learn to Walk, Then You Have to Jog!

9 05 2011

The past few days have been FULL OF PROGRESS!  Many know I’ve been working to walk again since my January setback.  On Friday, the video below was taken.  A section shows Windsor and me at the club where WE were able to remain on a treadmill (yes, that’s electrical) for 11 minutes.  The day after, on Saturday, I awakened RARING to go for a LONG walk!  Yet shortly into my walk, Windsor stopped me from crossing a busy intersection, alerting me to an oncoming episode.   I collapsed on the curb for quite some time as the episode lasted around 10 minutes.  Many people and dogs passed by as I sat with my head/body shaking, breathing awkwardly, and more.  Thank you to the kind couple who stopped and waited to see if they could help me.  I always appreciate those who are willing to try and help a disabled person.  (I carry an emergency medical card explaining what to do.) 

Once the episode passed and Windsor gave me approval to get up and move, we continued our walk.  As I began to undaze after the episode, my legs suddenly began to pick up speed.  I HAD TO jog, and jog, and JOG!  That’s how I respond to the Brain Protocol.  A body/brain signal connects and you HAVE to go with it…follow what the body is craving or needing.  I couldn’t stop!  The wind was beneath my wings.  Oh, the feeling was incredible!

At one point during this jog, I heard my name being called and saw a woman crossing the street to approach me.  She was unrecognizable to me, but I saw tears streaming from her eyes as she told me she subscribed to this, my blog.  (Hi Monica!)  Somehow, because this is difficult for brain injuries, I was able to stop my task of jogging and communicate with her for a few short minutes.  It was a very precious moment for us to meet and hug.  She’s been praying for me and saw a significant moment of my progress in the last few months.  She’d just witnessed first hand watching Windsor and me jog up a hill!

I was a bit disoriented after meeting her because of the change in my “rehearsed” course.  I struggle a great deal with this right now, but it’s not uncommon for brain injuries to disorient when an unexpected change occurs in an activity.  I was lost trying to recall where I was and how to get home, but I felt peace as I asked Windsor to “Find Home.”  Off we went as I followed his lead on the leash and we continued to jog on! 

Jogging is something I love.  I treasure every time it happens and it signals I’m continuing to respond to the Brain Protocol.  Having the ability to jog is not something I can expect daily, weekly, or even monthly, but when it happens as I continue to heal – OH, IT’S FANTASTIC!