I’m thankful for the physiotherapists: one who helped me with my walking while I was in hospital, and one who help me with coordination and with the pain caused by the lumbar puncture after I came out of hospital. They took time with me, and gave me exercises that made me feel I could actually do something about my situation. Most important: they treated me as a struggling human being rather than as a malingerer who had nothing really wrong and was wasting their time.
The third neuropsychologist helped me to manage my time and to work out how best to function in my impaired state. She used some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which helped ease some of my symptoms. She tried hard, maybe partly because she was still in training. But the NHS only offered a limited number of sessions because (yes, you’ve guessed it!) I was functioning at a relatively high level so didn’t merit any more.
All of the neuropsychologists thought that a large part of the problem was ‘post-concussion’, for which there is no treatment other than waiting for it to get better (people say that it continues to slowly for 10 years, after which no further improvement is very likely). They realized that the trauma was interacting with the ‘post concussion’, but they didn’t think there was anything much that the NHS could offer to help. It was not until I’d been working with my present, private, therapist for about 6 months that I began to hope that MOST of the problem had always been the trauma – and that can be treated!
After hitting my head, I was taken back into the shop and given a cup of tea, and then I went back to see if there was anyone in the church where I had my office (there wasn’t) and then found my way home.
I knew that I was very shaken, and felt kind-of-as-if I’d stepped into a different world. But I kept trying to do what I had to do. I went to bed, but got up for a very important meeting I was to lead that evening. Next morning, I went to the optician to get my spectacles mended. They were bent, and had a scratch on the lens that was somehow very familiar. I was feeling very strange, and the optician told me to go and see a doctor.
I went. Nothing wrong with me, said the doctor. ‘Go home and rest and you’ll be fine!’ So I went home to bed, and that’s where David found me when he got back from the USA that evening. When I got up the next day, I felt better and tried to get going, but was soon feeling strange again.
‘Take some time off to get better!’ said my line manager. So I tried to, but all the time I was obsessing about a paper I had to write, and wanting to keep on going, doing what I could do, treating this as a temporary ‘blip’ and ready to get back to full tilt work asap.
Maybe my tiredness this week is reflecting that pattern: I may be ‘walking out of that door towards the head injury’ in my trauma journey, but there’s a lot to do in my 2015 life. People have said, ‘Writing is therapeutic’ – in this case, it’s therapeutic because it reminds me that I’m dealing with more than my 2015 responsibilities. I wasn’t ‘normal’ after I hit my head, and I am still not at the stage where I can work at full tilt for a whole week. Better to take a break every day to recognize the trauma journey, to be still, to acknowledge the Loving Lord in control, to discern what not to do today!