And then there’s the body … While the focus of ‘Getting Directions’ is the brain, emotions, feelings and what-have-you, of course there’s the question of how your body is too. And, in particular, how your body is after your brain’s been damaged or is for any other reason not what it used to be.
This is my summary of how my body is treating me these days.
So, while that’s a summary of how my body is, overall, I can’t be bothered to think much about the physical consequences of my brain being injured. I’ve just lumped it all under the ‘it’s just the way it is’ heading. And the ‘if this is as bad as it gets, I’ve nothing much to complain about’ heading, too. (Which is a relief that’s worth keeping in mind.)
My partner found not being forewarned of the likely consequences of brain injury frustrating. That’s understandable but I don’t know if it is realistic to expect that from the medics. I don’t know whether all the likely consequences are pretty common, or whether they vary hugely from individual to individual. If the former, they could be the sort of things that the professionals just take for granted because they’ve seen it all before and thus never think to mention. And if they vary hugely then, obviously, no useful forewarning is feasible.
And the other variable is how common the injury is that’s led to the changed behaviour. In my case, we learned later that, right up until very recently, people died from damage such as I’d sustained. Thus, there was no case history. (Indeed, I can remember the last specialist consultant I saw, in the months after I’d been allowed home, being very surprised at how well I was in the flesh, as it were, in comparison to what he’d expected from reading my case history.)
But, whatever, I think the best approach has to be to ask about and talk about what’s going on with your body as well as your brain. That’s the lesson from my experience: talk about it all. For the brain-injured and those with otherwise failing brains, and for anyone caring for them, it’s all going to be new. For the professionals, it helps keep the reality being experienced by the patient in focus.