Salvation: Why Am I So Tired?
Neurons damaged in seconds through concussion and trauma heal over years.
Posted Aug 13, 2018
This is part eight of a weekly serialization of chapters from Salvation, a section of my book describing the hope that effective treatment brings. Part one is 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, fatigue drags me down as my fear and doubt soar that brain biofeedback will work.
Chapter 10: Biofeedback Begins and Lifeliner Ends
My brain screamed for food. My stomach ate me up. But fatigue dragged my cheeks, my shoulders, my arms down. Worse, something had pissed off my neck and jaw in the last couple of days. How was I to make anything for myself? I pulled on the fridge door with all my might and staggered back hanging on to its handle as it popped open. I leaned in and stared sightlessly at its contents. Was there anything I could eat as is? My brain refused to compute its contents. I shut the door and leaned my forehead on it.
I’d have to buy frozen meals. And ginger ale. I wondered if organic ginger ale existed. I staggered up to watch TV from first a chair then my bed and ate chocolate. Counting and recording the calories of every meal, every snack, which I had done to lose 5 kg in early 2005 was beyond my energy.
The next day, a new brain trainer took over. Perhaps she could answer my question, “Why when my SMR scores are so good am I falling asleep? Why am I so tired?”
She suggested I try the ADD session on my AVE device at home. It was the one they used with all the kids.
Blood beat in my right ear, like the drumbeat of doubt from my tribe, bothering me as I tried to sleep. I counted the sessions I had done so far: four down, thirty-six to go. I tried the ADD AVE session in the morning. But week after week, deathly fatigue nailed me in my chair for the rest of the day after biofeedback.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
My family’s patriarch, an enormous man with a powerful voice that brooked no dissension from anyone, phoned me from Ottawa on September 20.
“I talked to your parents last night,” he informed me. My heart quailed, wondering what was to come. “I informed them that you had had a coup-contrecoup injury and explained to your father how rotational forces can shear off neurons, resulting in your flat affect and wooden speech.” I blinked. “You have no prosody, Shireen.” Prosody? He talked about my lack of gestures. I wondered, do I gesture in my speech anymore? I looked down at my still hand lying on my lap, pain flooding down from my neck into my fingers, weakness travelling down for the ride.
“But you know, Shireen, I think I hear less flatness in your voice. What are you doing?” I explained. “Good,” he replied. He was the only one to say so.
I trudged to my fifth brain biofeedback, fighting back the doubts. I had seen no change, and all I was doing was fighting sleep by the end of each expensive session. Surely, I was supposed to be alert by the end of my appointment? Was I wrong? No, I shook my head. My psychologist had said my logic and my reasoning were intact. Slow but intact. This treatment made logical sense to me. Changing brainwaves in order to stimulate regrowth made sense to me. If you could change chemicals to effect change in the brain, why not electrical? They had said forty sessions. Besides, I was committed and nothing else worked. The price was worth it.
I wondered if Lily could pray for me. I phoned her and phoned her. She answered and began to pray, her voice growing powerful then disappearing as she prayed and praised the Lord.
Suddenly, she boldly stated, “You are in my care. Fear not.” My face froze, my heart leapt. I wanted to cry. Someone was caring for me. She added, “Write that down and put it where you can see it. And write down the date, too.”
I obeyed. I pinned it to my office bulletin board next to a picture of a clay sculpture—a hand cradling a girl child—my spiritual mentor had given me. Safety, love, caring. Words and photo together to remind me every day.
- To be continued next week.
Copyright ©2017-2018 Shireen Anne Jeejeebhoy. May not be reprinted or reposted without permission.