Today I did something that was probably a bad idea.
Before I tell you what it is, the context should be explained because it's important and this would be a really short post if I didn't.
As many know, I got hurt bad a while back and am currently in the process of being retired because of it. What most don't know are the specifics. I fractured my skull badly in two spots, the back base and the part your brain actually sits on. I may have also had other small fractures in other places, but they aren't important. The ones that mattered were the ones that involved my brain.
I had heard the term Traumatic Brain Injury before, but I never really knew what it entailed. It is a pretty encompassing term, leaving a wide range of injuries it could include. For me it meant multiple subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhages. In layman’s terms, my brain was bleeding so bad, the blood began to seep through all the cracks and crevices and infiltrate the inner part of my brain. In really layman terms, my brain got fucked up.
Prognosis for this kind of injury is generally not great, but as should be apparent by my writing this post, I kicked TBI’s ass. It got its fair share of licks in, got a headache for the rest of my life, but whatevs. I won and I walked away from it in okay shape. And by walked away, I mean literally walked away. Like on my feet – something doctors said wasn't likely. Sure I used a cane for a year, but I only used it that long cause it had a freaking sword inside. Yeah, you'd use a cane if it had a sword inside, too. Admit it.
So I thought I was all good, I mean, I survived. The end. Right? Apparently Will Smith thinks differently. And apparently my employer thinks Will Smith is an actual doctor and does not just play one on TV. Shortly after the movie Concussion came out, my employer decided having someone with my history of concussions on the payroll was too much of a liability. So retirement papers submitted and doctors were visited.
Let's get a few things straight before I go on: First, yes I do have brain damage, and you know what? So do you. Ever get a headache ‘cause you were too dehydrated? Needed yourself some Gatorade? Well that headache was caused by your brain screaming in agony as it was damaged. What about alcohol? You enjoy a couple pops after a long day at work, maybe a few more on the weekends, maybe a few more than that? Brain damage. Oh and wait, did you ever wake up from a night when you had imbibed perhaps a little too much and felt super dehydrated? Double brain damage.
The point is that no one has an undamaged brain. No one. As such, to call someone brain damaged is unintelligent. So if you partake in that type of stupidity, it leads me to believe your level of brain damage might be so bad that it has affected your IQ. Go eat some goji berries, drink some fish oil, read a book, and fix that shit.
Second, books, movies, comics – they all suck. Okay, that’s obviously not true. I love all of those things and they’ve made my life better – measurably better. So it’s not fiction that sucks, it's people. People suck. Well, no, not all of them. The only thing I love more than fiction is my family. And I assume there are other people like my family so that can't be it either. Okay, I think I know what it is. People who intake fiction and take it as fact – those people suck.
If you read a book or watch a movie and it has a character that is “brain damaged” or has “PTSD” or is “something you are not” and you believe that character represents all, or really any, people with the characteristic the author intended to emphasize, then you not only suck, but you are also an idiot. I know no one reading this blog is one of those sucky idiots, but just incase you are, but don't know it, do me a favor and next time you are reading something that negatively describes any class of people, after, try to find something to read that shows that class in a positive light. Preferably written by someone from that class, because they are the only people who can get it right.
Third… is… Hmmmm. I don't remember. Oh yeah that’s it, I have some memory issues because of my injuries. So am I going to walk into a grocery store in my underwear looking for all the Snickers ice cream bars while making rude comments to children in strollers? Maybe. But not because of my injuries. My injuries mean that if my brain was capable of doing 200mph before the injuries, it now can only do 198mph. Not as great, but I'm still quicker than any of the sucky idiots who call people brain damaged.
So what’s the point and what was my probably bad choice? Well one of the doctors I saw when my work decided to retire me was a neurologist who gave me some advice that I initially brushed off as impossible. She said that the best way for me to prevent the cognitive problems that are sometimes associated with my injuries is to keep my brain active. And since my brain is already at 198mph, simply doing puzzles and whatnot wasn't going to do the trick. Yeah, blogging and writing novels might help, but still not enough. School was her answer.
I brushed this off as impossible because I already have a degree. Three in fact and I didn't think I would be able to financially swing another round of education. But then I realized that this is my best bet at warding off future problems that could alter the way I interact with my children.
So I did it.
I signed back up for school.
I'm nervous. Because of the retirement process, I won't be able to start until Spring, so now I am just planning. This is a big gamble. I am spending a lot of money in hopes that it betters my situation, not just in terms of employment as everyone who goes to college hopes, but in terms of health. And whether that will work is completely unknown. I'm my own Guinea pig here and I'm hoping it works out well.
And it might not. I might just be wasting a lot of money and time, both of which I could be spending on/with my family. But I can't just sit back and do nothing. I can't. It's not who I am. So I'm trying and that's all there is to it. Feel free to tell me I'm a sucky, stupid idiot, but I still have to do something.