Tag Archives: coma

Independence versus Compliance

I have lived life both as an independent person and one who relied on others to make my decisions and create change in my life.  People like my Mother who forcefully made my decisions, paid money to eradicate my debts, and made it easy for me to not stand for myself and my children.  An ex- husband who controlled everything in my life.  For a long time I looked to others for solutions to my problems and I can now declare independence beats passivity every time. My experience is not reflective of others; I just know passivity kept me a prisoner and made me sicker, emotionally, mentally and physically.

Years ago I was severely depressed and went to Western Mental Health Authority in Torrington, CT.  I tried some classes, counseling on financial matters, and was a phone counselor on the Warm Line (a service for the mentally and emotionally ill).  The classes made me feel worse because I saw people who I knew were so much more problematic than I doing better than me because my depression overrode everything else in my mind.  I had trouble relating to others in the programs.

But the Warm Line made me feel better because I had a Psychology background.  The down side was the same people called again and again, sometimes several times a night. I felt I was holding their hands over the phone lines but that I wasn’t making any effective change in their lives.  I didn’t hear recovery.

Slowly I was learning and progressing.  It took time and an experimentation of different psych meds.  I moved across the country, driving on my own, thinking I would have the connections I so sought with my children.  But I landed in a place where I lacked support, my children were busy building their own lives, my daughter was in Africa and my son was engaged to be married and very connected to his fiancee’s family.  Given that I’m shy and an introvert, it was tough going for a year.  Then I found a housing community for those over 50 in another town and began rebuilding my life.

Unfortunately, I became very ill with a 5% chance of living only with major surgery.  My body went septic and most major organs shut down.  Most of my intestines and my gall bladder were necrotic, I was on life support, and was put into a medically induced coma which ended up causing some traumatic brain injuries.  After three weeks of coma and another couple weeks in the hospital, I was moved to a rehabilitation center as I had lost all muscle memory and had to relearn to move every muscle in my body – every finger, toe, arm, everything was still.  No independence at all.  Not able to make any decisions on my own.  People had to feed me, clothe, me, bathe me.  I had a colostomy bag for a year which was a whole trauma in itself.  I was a slug.  My son came every day during that time to make sure I was following the decisions of doctors, nurses, aides and physical therapists.  Being stubborn, I fought this waste land of a body.  I tried standing and walking too soon, joining the Frequent Fallers Club.  So I had to learn that stubbornly acting against the wisdom of others in this case was working against me.

The experience forged an independence of spirit in me.  Every day was a struggle  and even though I was still battling Major Depression/Bipolar, I couldn’t let it claim me.  I had to get better.  I had to believe that God had saved me for some purpose or I wouldn’t be there.  I learned to walk first on bars, than on walkers, then on my own.  No wheelchairs.  I was responsible for my own steam.  For a long time a walk of any length once I left the rehab, required a walker which was embarrassing but essential.  Sometimes my legs would just give out on me, especially embarrassing in church, although there were a lot of prayers sent my way from both coasts. But I got better and after a year I was rid of the colostomy bag – a miracle, there was only enough space left in my intestines for them to be connected.

Now I prefer the life of an independent person.  When I do turn to others’, it is for advice but the decisions are mine.  I am financially responsible for myself.  I work part-time in service as a caregiver to others even though I still have disabilities impeding me.  I don’t appreciate being told by others what to do but I will listen respectfully then make my own determinations.  As I stubbornly didn’t let others  control my life, my relationships  improved.  I work hard to keep a lid on the Depression even though I feel it within me at all times, it does not dictate its’ force upon me.  Activity helps. Working helps.  It is an esteem builder, even though my job can be very difficult.  I just need to be aware of my limits.

Independence has given me a life worth living, one with purpose and meaning.

Target . . . Me

I was reading a new blog, Awkword and what Michelle has asked us to do in choosing a target audience and I realized not only do I not have one I am aware of, but I don’t know who the target me is.  I have lived alone for 20 years. No dating, not a really active social life, and though there are some reasons why, I also find myself saying, once in a while, why not?

My writing can tend to be somewhat, or very, on the dark side.  I have a low to mid grade bipolar condition.  It keeps me more on the depressed or withdrawn section of life.  I also have a boat-load of physical issues and have for all those years and before. So I suppose I might draw people who have similar issues.  These can range from the conditions: once I was on O2 for 2 12 years and have had asthma, chronic eosinophilic pneumonia, and emphysema in greater or lesser strengths for all my adult life.  Fibromyalgia dogs me. I lost more than 3/4 of my intestines and gall bladder when I went septic and my systems shut down and was in a coma 3 weeks.  When I woke it was to complete loss of muscle memory.  This past year I had back surgery which didn’t help. I’ve had a migraine most of the last three months.  See what I mean?  There is more but that alone can make for a target audience.

I have Traumatic Brian Injury – caused during the coma, but which creates its own set of problems.  My memory is not always reliable. I suppose it is an understatement.  My sister calls it CRAFT – can’t remember a fucking thing.

Because of these factors, I am legally disabled. Work is hard. Complex assignments are too hard to process. Simple assignments bore the crap out of me.  I can’t work too much because Medicaid and my body won’t let me.  So I have been a caregiver for numerous years. I started off as a Business Management Consultant with clients all over the country.  Quite the let-down.

I am a mother of two twenty somethings 3,000 miles away from me and happy that way. They are living their lives well and that is the most any mother could ask.  But I live near my sisters and my 8 year old nieces are my delight.

Oh yes,  I am a recovering drug and alcohol addict – and food.  I have been sober from alcohol for more than 35 years with a 5 year break for a 5 year addiction to prescription pain killers which ended 11 years ago and had a horrible effect of my kids, especially my daughter. So there’s guilt and shame I can’t seem to let go of.

AND – I’ve wanted to be a writer  and missionary all my life.  I’ve been published a few times and I have an opportunity to go on a mission in 2017.  Until then I do what I can here.  I write a lot of poetry, some memoir pieces, and non-fiction articles  about women who have achieved greatness through tremendous adversity.  I write about what I know and want to know; what is inspirational to me and religion and spirituality.

So if you can find a target audience in all that, except that I probably sound very self-involved . . . playing with my navel and all that; let me know. And I still have to figure out pages, widgets, you name it.  Learning to be a good blogger is taking a long time . . . did I tell you about my TBI?

I welcome tips and comments.  I truly want to grow. So give me a hand why dontcha’.