Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

It's All About Me!

TidBits About Donna #49 Energizer-Ostrich

What do you get when you cross a hyperactive rabbit with a pink-feathered bird on a beach? That would be ME – or in other words an Energizer-Ostrich.

I guess that warrants an explanation of sorts. But I will have to retrace my steps a bit – about seven years worth – to the source of what has changed me into a replica of an energizer bunny with her head in the sand.

Today, January 13th, seven years ago, David, my husband, suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). If you have been following my blog, you already know this. If this is your first visit, you can learn the sordid details and do a cram course by reading the following posts. Or … you can just read on to get the Cliff Notes version.

TidBits About Donna #41 Living Nightmare — TBI
Musings by Donna #39 TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury – One Size Does Not Fit All
Musings by Donna #28 Bittersweet is Today!
Musings by Donna #38 A Day at the … Hospital
Musings #23 A Fork in the Road to Recovery

This morning I woke with a start – at precisely 7:05 – the exact time, seven years ago that David and I began the journey of our new and unexpected life. Seven years ago we did not know what was in store for us. We didn’t even know if there was going to be an “us”. This morning, as I do each year on this day, I relived the moments of David’s TBI. From excruciating pain to a wild ambulance ride, to signing on the dotted line to taking a saw to my husband’s brain (I didn’t do that – the surgeon did.) to talking incessantly on the cell phone – arranging, arranging, arranging – flights, accommodations, squeezing David’s hand and promising him he would get better – when I wasn’t sure that he would, threatening that I would never forgive him if he didn’t fight to stay with me, telling the story over and over and over … of how he stumbled into our bedroom, his hand clutching his eye – then falling into a coma as the paramedics strapped an oxygen mask over his face.

After seven years I would have expected the intense memories to fade, but they remain vivid – with maybe just a few blurred edges. I remember many of the names of the nurses and caretakers. I remember the unwanted words of the doctor. I remember how family and friends converged on the hospital at all hours both day and … well into the night from all corners of the United States. I remember the day was one of intense fog both outdoors (and inside my brain). The outdoor fog caused airline flights to be delayed. The fog inside my brain insulated me from the tragic reality around me.

That same fog has dulled the pain over the years of watching David struggle to dress himself, to learn to feed himself again, to walk and talk. That fog blurs the hurt of seeing him hunched over his keyboard painstakingly tapping each key as he prepares another paper for publication or works on a book he’s editing for an international scientific journal or sends detailed instructions to his technicians in his lab about the next experiment to do. I welcomed the fog as I not-so-patiently waited for David to recover from a recent eye surgery.

I marvel at this man I call my husband. I’m proud of his accomplishments both before and after his trauma. I admire his patience, his persistence, his positive attitude as I watch him tackle life in the “hard” lane. He does it with grace, with no complaint, and with gentle optimism.

So, there is an “us” after TBI, though it’s a different “us.” We are not the same people we were before David’s trauma. I miss the before TBI “us.” Traumatic Brain Injury seriously changes the victim, but it also alters the spouse. TBI can rend marriages. It can tear families apart. Or it can make you stronger. See the New York Times article from January 9th 2012, When Injuries to the Brain Tear at Hearts.

David’s TBI tears my heart everyday, but each day, too, it gets glued back together with a kiss, with a smile, with a hug, with a laugh – but no tears. No, NO tears.

I still have not had a good cry. Life is too busy for tears. Besides, “Tears would make this too real – and it’s not … is it?” asked the Energizer-Ostrich.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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January 14, 2012 - Posted by | TidBits About Donna, Traumatic Brain Injury - TBI | , , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. Thank you for staying at my side, for watching over me and helping me, for your exceptional optimism, for your strength, and for your love. I hope you realize how much I love you.

    Comment by David | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  2. Ahhhhhhhhhh …!

    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  3. Donna, I think I finally signed up for your blogs. I love everything about you….your words, your family, your sense of love, but mostly for teaching my children and your caring about EVERYONE! You have made me a better, richer person!

    Comment by Val | January 14, 2012 | Reply

    • Val,

      You did it! You are finally connected to my blog. But you have been connected to my life through your friendship and through your lovely sons, for so many, many years. Thank you for your kind words. They really touched me.

      I have taught more than 400 children in my nearly thirty-year-long career. That means I have interacted with just as many sets of parents. As the children leave my classroom door, cut the first grade ties in mid June, so do their parents. It is a very special few who have remained in contact, forging a special bond. You are one of those special few and I am thankful you are in my life.

      Hugs,
      Donna

      Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  4. Donna, You and David are so very special. Your love is amazing. I am thanking God today for both David’s life and for his wonderful you!!!!!!! I wish we lived closer but I feel we are close at heart. Love, Patti

    Comment by Patti J | January 14, 2012 | Reply

    • Patti, dear, sweet Patti,

      I am so glad we have reconnected. High school throws us together and then tears us apart as we joyously grasp our diplomas and set off to tackle our lives on different paths and in distant parts of the world. Years pass with no contact, with no thoughts … and then suddenly, for no apparent reason, we find each other. Your posts on FaceBook, on my blog, and even the occasional snail mail are sure to bring a smile to my face.

      I wish we had more contact in high school. I feel I know you better now – but NOT enough. Fortunately for the cyber-world we are able to keep in touch, share our thoughts and feel closer. I agree! Something is drawing us together now and though we can’t physically share a cup of coffee/tea, a walk in the woods, or a quick run to the library, the mall, the grocery store – anywhere – I do feel that closeness to you. You are never far from my mind.

      I am sure you recognize David’s and my relationship as special because you also share a amazing relationship with your husband, John.

      We are two lucky “Villa girls.”

      With love,
      Donna

      Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  5. Donna, you and David are an inspirtation to so many people. We can all learn so much about how to deal with the “little” things in life by watching how you both handle the really “big” things in life. Thank you for sharing your love for David with all of us. God Bless.
    Love you,
    Eileen

    Comment by E | January 16, 2012 | Reply

  6. Eileen,

    That was so nice of you to say. I write these little things with the hope that they may help someone else with all the trials life throws at us.

    Thanks for reading my blog and being a good friend.

    Many hugs,
    Donna

    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | January 16, 2012 | Reply


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