I hate feeling stupid. What an ugly word. I am slow now. I think slow and people I work with even say I move slow. Time slowed down during the assault… is this why? Neurology says I have brain damage caused by the oxygen deprivation and occipital lobe damage from the punch to my head, together, double whammy. I wasn’t always stupid. I excelled in high school, I loved to read and write, I was on the poetry magazine for two years as an editor, I had very high SAT scores, I had a 128 GT score on the ASVAB test, I was top honor graduate of my military AIT class. But you take an afternoon sexual assault interlude where a 135 lb young female is pitted against a 205 lb experienced male soldier, let him make her a punching bag, let him choke her out repeatedly, and, the honor student becomes the dizzy blonde, literally.
I thought about the rape a week or so ago, and realized, if I had only just gone along with my rapist’s plans, then I likely would not have suffered the horrific physical injuries and lasting TBI injuries from the punching, restraining, and strangulation. So, rewind to that day, a female soldier hard at work and minding her own business, see the E-7 enter the barracks, and the correct response to his advances was to just drop my pants and let him have what he wanted? Would that have spared me this lifetime of lasting injury?
It is hard to say what is the “worst” of the brain injury issues.
Seizures at the time are the worst. I have had seizures where I drop to the floor and am out like a light, waking up later weak and confused and blood in my mouth from biting the inside of my cheek. I have had seizures that I feel coming on, getting very dizzy and headache and then my legs stiffen and both my arms twitch like someone is touching me with an electric probe. I usually stay awake during those. I have mini seizures where I just zone out. Sometimes the seizures combine or I have “after-shocks”. I’ve been in the hospital twice in the past 3 months with seizures. Each time I am given a barrage of drug and alcohol tests. I am given anti-seizure meds, I recouperate, and then I limp home. It seems the hospital staff does not have much experience with seizure patients because I am usually treated like a drug addict 😦 And I will say, I have NEVER used drugs of any kind or been drunk or otherwise abused alcohol or substances. Although, I guess I understand if folks need to self-medicate however they see fit, to try to escape mental pain and anguish
I’m slow and stupid now 😦 oftentimes I have a helluva time with my attention span, reading, or studying. I used to love to research and study things like mysteries, paranormal, religion. Sometimes I have trouble saying what I am trying to say, slur my speech, and sometimes I have actually drooled 😦 when I try too hard to concentrate. I make bad decisions, rash, outrageous thoughts. I have trouble getting cues from people, especially I dont get sarcasm. I have horrendous short-term memory. All day long this short term memory issue affects what I do, such as, did I put sugar in my coffee? did I take my bath yet? did I turn the tv off? did I call mom? Worst is when I forget I turned the stove on, the oil pan or boil water and almost start a fire. I totally blank out until I smell the pan burning. And yet I can remember past memories in great detail, childhood etc. I also lose chunks of time, even large chunks of time. When I am writing bills or filling out a date on a paper, I have to check the calendar, even the year….
I am dizzy and this can also be a “worst”. Because it really sucks to try and drive when you are dizzy. I feel like I am spinning, I am wobbly on my feet. I am clumsy, sometimes walking is hard because I feel like I am putting my feet down too far or not far enough, and when I reach for an object or a doorknob I might miss it, I drop things. Neurology says this is a spatial disorientation from my occipital lobe damage. Dizziness is worst when there are two objects moving at different speeds, such as a car passing me while driving. I’ve been in the ER many times for severe dizziness.
I am extremely fatigued to the point I am exhausted most of the time, especially in the afternoons. I get headaches, and I cant be out in the bright sunlight. A skylight flashing in my eye is likely what brought on my grand-mal seizure in March. I am chronically tired because I have so much trouble sleeping, usually I only sleep 3 or 4 hours a night. I wish I could sleep. Sometimes I am scared. I have a full lamp on near my bed. I have waking-nightmares / night terrors that mix a dream with reality.
There is nothing that I can do about all these problems, except keep on my anti-seizure med and try try try to be careful while driving, and make an extra effort to keep track of what I do during the day…