Salvation: Fear Turns to Remarkable Hope

Precise diagnostic tests of brain injury are the first step to good treatment.

Posted Jul 13, 2018

This is part four of a weekly serialization of chapters from Salvation, a section of my book describing the hope that effective treatment brings. Part one is here; part two is here; part three here. For the first time in over five and a half years and after standard rehab had made little change to my injury, I received a "yes" to my goal of healing my brain. Concussion Is Brain Injury: Treating the Neurons and Me begins at the start of my brain injury journey; the Salvation section begins the journey of restoring my neurons. This week, I find remarkable hope in my test results.

Salvation

Chapter 8: Brainwave

Shireen Jeejeebhoy
Source: Shireen Jeejeebhoy

Lynda picked up some white sheets, turned them around, and showed me the results of the boring test. She explained that the bars representing auditory and visual response times were scattered like a wide city of low-rise and mid-rise buildings. I was at the extreme end of hyperactivity. I looked at the line with the square on it representing me. You couldn’t get more hyperactive. And I was slow, real slow. I couldn’t understand the rest of the results, other than…

I was not normal.

She told me I was articulate.

My heart dropped. Did that mean I was fine? That really despite all these tests I was OK?  Imeda’s long-ago words yelled into my head. “How can anything be wrong with you when there’s nothing wrong with the way you speak?”

Lynda spelled out the problems uncovered by the objective tests, the ones that peeked inside my brain. Not like the neuropsychological tests I could ace because of the ceiling effect or endless questionnaires that didn’t actually see what my physiology was doing.

She was telling me my injury was real.

She wasn’t telling me to get over it.

She wasn’t saying, “Get on with your life.”

She wasn’t saying, “You’re depressed.”

She was itemizing my physiological problems.

And she was telling me they could repair my attention.

Was this for real? Was this true? Was hope being stretched toward me, healing what mattered?  I kept my eyes on her face, trying to absorb words I had longed for. They could fix the damage to my concentration.

The rest they didn’t know. The research was new with closed head injuries. I hardly cared. Restoring my concentration alone seemed like a miracle, a miracle so commonplace in this Victorian-like office and absent in the modern hallways of hospitals. The reading would come, too. I believed it had to.

Salvation sprouted from a concrete plan and evidence!

Somehow, I was on the subway train. Through the exhausted folds of my cortex began to seep the ADD Centre saying that my problems were not psychiatric malingering or illness or simple depression. Injured neurons had caused these problems.

Why didn’t any of the people I’d seen, all kind, nice people, ever order these kinds of objective tests?

Why had they and their tests been all about my subjective answers, coping, and being at peace?

Peace!

Peace with a person not myself!

Peace with no more talents!

Peace with skills that had vanished like smoke and defied resurrection!

Peace with no affect alternating with rocketing emotions!

Peace with a beast of brain injury anger that defied management!

Peace with feeling like nails on chalkboard scratching around me almost all the time, driving me into irritability!

Peace with being abandoned!

How could anyone have peace with all that? And why didn’t they give me real peace, the peace of regeneration? The peace from healing the damage, not inflicting more damage on me?

Why had no one considered me worth saving before? Only my psychologist had given me direct treatment. No wonder I thirsted for his light and sound show. It was the only regenerating energy my neurons had received for five years.

Five years lost.

I wept in bed that night.

Heaving sobs of loss and grief and abandonment.

I could never get those five-and-a-half years back.

I shed tears that maybe at last salvation had come.

- To be continued next week.

Copyright ©2017-2018 Shireen Anne Jeejeebhoy. May not be reprinted or reposted without permission.

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