Good boy!

Good boy!

Last night, Mr. Whiskey was grunting at me (to get my attention) as he was sitting by the screen door. I looked at him, and asked, “Do you have to go potty, baby?” He immediately began “dancing”-his ‘potty dance.’ Walking toward the door, I said; “Baby, it’s raining hard outside!” I thought he would recognize that, and decide to use the potty pad in the laundry room inside of the house.

He quickly ran outside onto the grass…and after doing what he needed to do, he ran inside and stood by the shelf where I keep the towel to dry the baby’s fur before going completely indoors. #GoodBoyūüź∂

Grunting means, “I AM TRYING TO TELL YOU…”

Grunting means, “I AM TRYING TO TELL YOU…”

I am paying for what I’ve always found to be dumb/ridiculously stupid; I have been awake for over an hour…because our DOG, Mr. Whiskey, refused to lie down and go to sleep after I put both pups in bed–the babies (main) [orthopedic] puppy bed that their Grammy (my Mom) purchased for them stays indoors, and in the corner of our dining area/kitchen. This is where they sleep at night.

While in our bedroom on the opposite side of our ūüŹ°, I continued to hear little nails hit the kitchen floor as I was trying to get to sleep. I listened for a while, and tried to convince myself that one of the pups was simply getting up to get water (several different times).

Then the sound was becoming increasingly close to our bedroom, and I heard groans directly outside our door. That was “not possible”, I thought. But, I begrudgingly got out of bed, and when I opened the bedroom door, there sat Mr. Whiskey! When I had put the pups to bed about 20-30 minutes prior, I placed the baby gate at the main entrance/exit of the kitchen, so they could not wander into the main areas of the house; the fact that he got out irritated me.

After opening our bedroom door, and seeing Whiskey sitting there, looking up at me; calmly, I said, “Whiskey, baby, what are you doing out of the puppy bed?” I then picked him up, nuzzled him, and walked to the entrance I mentioned.

Princess Coco was sitting there, investigating just how he got out…so that she, too, could escape; of that, I’m certain. As soon as the Princess spotted me; she began her descent back toward the puppy bed. With Whiskey in tow, I, too, started my trek to the puppy bed. Princess Coco was back in her spot on the bed, as I was putting Whiskey down onto it. 

Coco lay her sweet head on the raised edge, while Whiskey merely squat down, still looking at me with what I saw as pleading eyes. I said aloud, “Babies, you can’t sleep in the Mommy Bed tonight, Daddy has to wake early for work.” I comforted them for several minutes before returning to the bedroom.

I used the flashlight on my iPhone in order to find my way back to our bed. I had not been lying down for even an entire minute, before I heard the nails on the floor again. I knew he could not “escape” this time, so I was prepared to see Whiskey sitting at the gate when I made my way to the kitchen. 

When I walked closer to the gate, Mr. Whiskey had his ears laid back onto his head, and he was slowly trotting to the bed. It was as if he knew he was supposed to be in the puppy bed. I looked in and saw Coco with her head propped, and Whiskey was moving blankets where he could lie down with her. 

I said aloud, “Coco’s a good girl.” With more authority, I said to Whiskey, “Whiskey, baby, stay in the puppy bed…it’s okay.” I thought that perhaps he heard the cats outside the window, and he was frightened.

As I walked back toward our bedroom this time, I halted in the middle of the hallway for a few minutes. When I ascertained that Whiskey was not going to get out of bed this time, I trekked back to our bedroom. 

Right as I was about to lay down beside my love, I heard nails hit the floor…and several moments later, the sound became closer. I was already grabbing my pillow, and my phone, when James began stirring, and moaning…I told him that something was bothering Whiskey, and that I was going to sleep in Mom’s room (the extra bedroom) with the babies. I kissed James, and started BACK towards the kitchen; making this the third time in 20 minutes.

Not surprisingly, Whiskey was seated at the gate as I approached. Coco quickly joined him upon my entering the kitchen. I said, “Come on, babies, lets go sleep in the Grammy Bed.” With that, their tails began thumping against the floor, and I didn’t have time to push the gate all the way out of the way, before they were in the extra bedroom, and sitting on the “Grammy Bed.”

As I was going to turn off the kitchen lights…a foul odor reached my nostrils. As I walked to the laundry room, where the “potty pad” is; I saw it. My poor baby’s tummy was upset, and that is why he kept wanting attention! Closing the door to “Grammy’s room,” I cleaned up the mess my poor baby had not wanted to make indoors.

Now, we are all 3 in the extra bedroom, lying on the “Grammy Bed.” I feel horrible, because I didn’t think about his possibly trying to tell me that he needed to go outside (again). My Mom would have immediately asked him if he needed to go potty…I’m not sure why I failed to do that!

As I said at the start of this, I am paying for what I have always found to be dumb/stupid. I’m allowing DOGS to play a role in my life that a (human) child would. I feel so silly for always saying to folks who treat their dogs as family; “IT’S JUST A DOG!” 

These two 4-legged, furry, children of mine; haven’t ever been, nor will they ever be considered “JUST A DOG!” I don’t know what I would do without their pure love…and loyalty. I’m one of the people I once mocked. Whiskey nor Coco will ever be “just dog’s.” They truly are my children.

“I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost!”

I took the video showcased below; to display a wee bit of the odd behaviours that Mr. Whiskey and Princess Coco are showing. Now, everyone who knows me well, is aware of my being non-religious; that being said, I am spiritual.

So…I have explained this odd behaviour of Mr. Whiskey’s to James; he simply allows it to be heard, yet Jamie does not “get” what I am saying. Mr. Whiskey often behaves like this, but not too often for me to worry. He typically does it during the day; while James is at work, and I am doing my housework.

Most times, I am in the kitchen or laundry room when Mr. Whiskey acts like this. “This” refers to Whiskey following me around (more so than normally); it’s as if he is trying to make certain that I am safe. He stays RIGHT AGAINST ME (no exaggeration).

He will not let me stray from his field of vision; also, he is more vocal during these times. It is as if Whiskey is trying to tell me something. He looks at me, and he barks until I go see whatever / wherever something that isn’t “right” is. I comply with his wishes; but, never good enough for his satisfaction, for he refused to halt his erratic behaviour. ¬†Also, his barking is a little different in tone than it is other times.

I will follow him to the adjacent room, where Whiskey will look at me with a “MOM…do you not see that/hear that?” It is as if he¬†is trying to make me aware of something. I’ve come to the conclusion, that Mr. Whiskey is seeing/hearing something–more aptly, SOMEONE. So, I’ve talked to who I KNOW it to be for several months, now.

She has yet to respond to me in a way that I will recognize easily. I often say to her, “Hello, Dot (Jamie’s mother who passed away in 2003)….” as I explain what is that I am doing. I will explain that I love her home, and do not wish to make any differences that will cause her to feel as if I am “taking over” and “trying to make Jamie forget her.”

When I spoke to HUD about this several weeks ago; I also shared with him the occurrence that caused me to believe it is Dot. I was cleaning out the bottom of the pantry in our kitchen; of course, sitting on the kitchen tile as I was doing such. Mr. Whiskey, of course, was nearby. He began walking and sitting closer to me, as I was sitting in the floor.

Whiskey started quietly barking/growling in the direction of where the main entrance into the kitchen is. I did not think anything of it; assuming that he had heard something outdoors. The barking became more frequent and louder; along with the growling being more intense.¬†Of course, I was a little frightened…but, I continued to do what I had started, and try to get our pantry cleaned out.

Then, Whiskey started getting far more serious with his barking. He had his gaze LOCKED in the direction of the main entryway to the kitchen. He began sidling up against me (as if he were protecting me), and kept lowly growling and barking loudly. Having done this a few times prior; I quickly recognized that it was not anything negative at which Whiskey was barking, but he did not understand it.

I softly explained to Whiskey that it was “okay” and that who he was barking at is Jamie’s mom, Dot. I explained that she was probably wanting to make sure t I was not doing anything wrong or that she was not comfortable with; after all, we were in HER kitchen. I told Mr. Whiskey that she had every right to be here, and she was not going to hurt him. I even said a few things to her aloud. I thanked her for allowing me to use her kitchen and call it my own. I told her how grateful I was for all of her kitchen tools/gadgets.¬†This is when Whiskey started to accept the presence that he sensed–after I spoke, and wasn’t afraid of it.

When I told him; James¬†seemed to believe me; but I think it was more because he was afraid of being shamed into thinking I am silly. I asked James if he ever felt his Mom; and he strongly denied it. However,¬†I have felt her…and I had not ever met her before she passed. But, a woman can sense when another woman is in her home; making changes to it.

I’m not sure when that was whhen I felt her so strongly…but, I believe that she visited again, earlier today. It was brief…but, Whiskey is still refusing to leave my lap. It has been well over one hour…

I’ve taken video of how Mr. Whiskey behaved and in this clip The Princess is acting out of sorts, too…

Women are catty / I am enlightened

Which is why I have always gotten along so much better with males. When I shared my feelings with HUD about why I think the majority of the girl friends/wives of his guy friends hate me; HUD told me something akin to, “don’t worry about it, baby,”


…and then proceeded to explain why he did not want to hear it; continually saying, “don’t allow that negative energy to make you feel bad” (or something like that). ¬†It’s a refreshing thing sometimes when I am reminded of his beautiful outlook on life; albeit, many times, after I have expressed how I feel about something such as this, he reminds me that he does not care about the outside world.

you and me

When I gripe about how something (in this case, females, treat me as if I am a person with some sort of contagious disease) upsets me, something “trivial,” that is, HUD expresses that all that concerns him, is the world he shares with me and the pups. That makes me feel special. I am his number one priority…after the priority he has to himself, of course. My happiness is what he strives to obtain. Still, it unnerves me when he is so indifferent about the things that are causing me to feel negatively. I know he cares about me and how I feel; it is infuriating to me when he deems the feeling(s) I have as one(s) that are able to be forgotten.

As I was saying, when I shared my feelings with HUD about how the majority of the females in his guy friends life treated me when we were spending time with a group of them last night; HUD dismissed it and told me that I should not allow the negative energy that they let out to affect me.¬†Honestly, I am not at all interested in being accepted into their “club.” Meaning, I do not want to be a typical female (like the females of this group of whom I speak are your ‘TYPICAL’ females).

girl fight drama - Copy

I feel as if I am shunned…it has always been this way with me and women. I’ve always had male friends because of this. HUD told me that I have always had guy friends because I am hot and the females are just jealous. THAT did not help me. At all. True, the majority of males who I have befriended, begin the friendship with me and they have different motives. BUT NOT ME! My motives are of the most pure and innocent intent.

I have a select few male friends who I ever had any romantic interest in; and the ones I did have romantic interest in, are happily committed to another person. I am happily committed to sharing my life with HUD; therefore I have not any sort of romantic/flirting interest with any other!  

I lost a great deal of self-confidence when I was recovering from the TBI. It is pretty much returned…until I’m around catty females. I mean, before, I was able to just take the attitudes with a grain of salt, and not allow it to affect me in any way. I would actually go out of my way to be nice to the female(s)…but, now that I am back to being “me” and I don’t allow my lack of self-confidence to show too much; for the most part, I am finding that females simply dislike me.

girl fight meme

So, perhaps, it is due to how I like myself…and I don’t care if others like me (at least I make it appear that way). I used to believe that women did not like me, because I was flirty with their man. I would not aim to flirt, but I accepted that my natural charm seemed flirty to them. I’ve come to the conclusion, that women just don’t like me.

stupid girls
Last night, while hanging out with friends of HUD’s; three other women were present. About six males were there,¬†three of whom are in a relationship/marriage three other women who were also there, and one other male who is engaged to a female who was not present. We will call that guy, ‘Stallone.’

Stallone’s fianc√©e and I are cool. She is very accepting of me; always is the first to go for a hug when we see the other. She is very REAL; I met her in person almost one year ago, and she added me on ‘Facebook’ the day after .

Stallone seemed to not want to associate with me…I’m guessing because his best friend’s wife has expressed her negative feelings about me. The first time I met Stallone; he was super friendly with me, and he always is when his fianc√©e is present. Stallone’s best friend is ‘Damien.’ Even Damien did not want to talk to me; he was keeping his distance. Damien and Stallone, both were incredibly friendly and chatty with me the first night I met the two men.

I spent all of last night, sitting next to Faye, and chatting with her. The other two women who were present, sat in chairs across the porch from Faye and me. Those women did not talk to us…I’m not saying that they ignored us; we 4 just did not associate much. ¬†It wasn’t purposeful, we four women just didn’t have anything to talk about last night; so we each chatted exclusively with¬†the woman¬†who we were originally sitting.

girl fight not mulan

The person’s house we were at last night (‘Faye’), is always incredibly “real” with me…she is friendly, and always happy to see me. She told me that she loved me before HUD and I left to go home last night. Faye said that I should come visit her during the day (while our other half’s are at work) sometime.

HUD and I were the last to leave for the evening; neither of the women who left said ‘good bye’ to me, but HUD was given a good bye. Faye hugged both HUD and me, inviting the two of us to come back over to see her and her husband. I am guessing that the reason Damien’s wife, “Victoria,” does not talk to me and gives me the ‘woman’s cold shoulder’ is because “Sherri’s” daughter hates me. Therefore, Sherri, is not at all accepting of me any longer. Although, I am not at all worried about Sherri failing to say goodbye; she was consoling her husband…whose mother had just been buried.

HUD tells me that if Sherri’s daughter has a problem with you…you can understand why Sherri isn’t as nice to you.” No. No, I cannot…HUD makes excuses for Sherri because they have a long friendship, and she has been a good friend to him for years (I understand, and am not aiming to make HUD choose “sides”). ¬†I do not tell HUD how I feel in an attempt to make him mad at Sherri. If Sherri’s daughter has an immature problem with me, because she is a teenager, I do not excuse Sherri for behaving the way she does with me now. We are adults; if Sherri dislikes me, she needs to talk to me about it–not use her daughter’s teenage woes as a passive-aggressive way to make me feel like an outcast!

But, I suppose I should speak to Sherri as opposed to writing in my blog. I haven’t a problem with talking to Sherri about my feelings…but, I do not wish to anger HUD. I know how much she means to him, and I do not ever want to try to make him choose…so, I decide to type my feelings out, instead of talking about them.

I just need to vent. I will probably be asked not to blog about this IF HUD does, in fact, read my blog. I have to get my feelings out. Else, I will hold them in, and express them in other ways…NEGATIVE ways.

oh, I am enlightened because I find that no matter what I do…the majority of women hate me. I could care less, really. And HUD is wrong about the reason males like me; I am flippin’ cool…and REAL.


The following was shared via ‘Facebook’ (FB) by someone who belongs to a ‘sister group’ of one of the FB brain injury groups that I am a member.

“Brain Injury leaves our ‘battery’ damaged. Sometimes it takes a great charge and we have lots of energy for a while. Other times it takes no charge and we’re dragging, barely able to move.

Has (sic) nothing to do with motivation, (sic) has everything to do (with) mental & physical energy!”

Continue reading “Recharge!”

We thought you said “Eggs are sides” not EXERCISE; what a lousy trick, HuMommy.

As I had not been to our local park in 20+ years; I was expecting things to have changed for the better. Of course, nothing has changed much…there is not even a walking track (like I expected). So, we walked around the T-ball field (that is ‘new’), and in the stands of two of the baseball fields.

Continue reading “We thought you said “Eggs are sides” not EXERCISE; what a lousy trick, HuMommy.”

I am a wonderful Mommy to my ‘kids’…

I am a wonderful Mommy to my ‘kids’…

Yesterday, when I¬†finally decided to get my butt out of the bed to start my day; it was after 10:00 AM. ¬†Gratefully, HUD understands my need for sleep and he does not fault me for it. My brain becomes a lot more¬†TIRED, and less able to handle “simple” tasks in the same manner most other folks brains’ are. When I am¬†mentally tired; it causes¬†me to become physically tired…SLEEP is the only way for me to handle many everyday tasks.

So, after I got out of bed around 10AM; I went to the restroom,l. Afterwards, I immediately let the Princess and Mr. Whiskey outside of the back door, so that they could do their business first thing in the morning.

It was a little chilly outside, so I stood in the kitchen and watched the pups for a moment before going to get a ‘Greenie’ out of the container farthest from the door. ¬†The screen door had yet to firmly close, so when the pups were finished; they both trotted inside and looked at me with pleading eyes, as if to say, “We went to potty outside, Mommy; can we have our ‘Greenie,’ now?


Prepared for this moment, I had already taken two treats from the jar and hid them in my hands. Normally, I will pet the baby’s and commend them on a job well done before giving them their morning treat. This Tuesday morning, I failed to do that. Instead of patting¬†their little heads and rubbing their chests prior to giving them the thing they look forward to most every morning; I barely looked at either of them, and I quickly patted them on the head as I gave them a morning treat.

Mr. Whiskey¬†always takes his treats to the adjacent room and eats the treat on the rug in front of the door that leads to the basement; the Princess Coco goes the opposite direction, and enjoys her treat on their “puppy bed” in the family dining room. ¬†I continued doing whatever it was that I was doing (I really do not recall what that was…read on, and you will understand that my feelings do not allow me to be able to recall such trivial things); I heard the pups gnawing on their treats…then, I realized how distant I had been with my baby’s, and decided I should show the two of them love.

I proceeded to call for Princess Coco and Mr. Whiskey…Coco appeared from the puppy bed in the kitchen, with her tail wagging. ¬†I happily accepted her into my arms rubbed her precious little head, continuing to pet the rest of her body. I called for her brother; normally, I can hear when one of the dogs is moving because the tags attached to their collars jingle. ¬†HUD and I had taken off their collars, because Mr. Whiskey’s skin at the base of his neck is seemingly becoming agitated with the rubber (glow-in-the-dark) piece that I have covering his ID tag. So, we decided to take off both of the pups collar’s to test this theory.

That beautiful Tuesday morning, I was annoyed with myself for failing to “re-dress” Coco and Whiskey before releasing them from the inside of the house so they could go potty. I walked through our home and called for Whiskey; Coco would simply look at me with pure innocence in her eyes/on her face. I did not hear any thing that typically alerts me to Whiskey’s whereabouts…so, I re-traced my steps, and called for him again.

Still, nothing.
¬†The Princess was following me around, and I would show her by that I adore her by petting her head and vocalizing that I loved her. I continued to call for Mr. Whiskey, to no avail! This is when I started getting more serious with my tone of voice; he usually responds almost instantaneously if I make my tone sound more harsh than it already does due to my speech impediment. I even asked Coco where her brother was…

I then began to doubt myself…I wondered if I had let Whiskey back go outside, but completely forgot about doing so when I closed the doors. Coco kept looking up at me, because she was able to sense that something was wrong. I walked through our house, again…only this time, I left the doors open to all of the rooms where the doors were originally closed. I thought that maybe Mr. Whiskey had wandered into one of the rooms; but what was mind-boggling is that he did not exit a room when I called for him. He always does that or he is very good about at least making some sort of racket to let me know where he is.

By this time (approximately 7 minutes), I was beginning to worry…I quickly talked myself out of that worrisome thought process, and realized that Whiskey was just hiding somewhere, and that I would find him soon. Princess Coco was at my feet, looking at me, and wagging her tail happily. I thought, “Okay, if Coco isn’t worried…maybe I should not be either.” I thought that because dogs have special senses. If something were wrong with Whiskey, I had no doubt that Coco would sense it.

I walked outside onto our back deck, and called for Whiskey. He did not come, so as I went into the house; I left the screen door ajar so he would be able to come back inside when he was ready. From the back of the house, I continued to walk toward the front of our home, and onto our front porch where I continued calling for Whiskey. I still received absolutely no sign of his whereabouts…I began to worry again.

Walking back outside on the back deck, Princess Coco followed me…I stood outside on our deck and called for Whiskey. Coco was trying to leave the back deck and go out into the yard…I promptly told her to “get into the house” because I could not be sans TWO baby’s! My quest to locate Mr. Whiskey continued as I more thoroughly searched the nooks and crannies of the inside of our home.¬†I even started looking in closets and beneath beds.

As I was making my journey through the house, I kept beating myself up for losing him. I began thinking about how my Mom and Jeff were going to be disappointed that I lost my son by “misplacing” him. I was considering our friend, Monica’s take on the ordeal, and how she would be sympathetic, my thoughts roamed to my friends, Lori, Justin, Dustin, and Desi and how I was certain they would forgive my lack of brain, too.

Then the thought of my best friend in high school, Kristina, popped into my head because “Please forgive my lack of brain” is something that Winnie-The-Pooh says…I started thinking of the stupid doctors releasing me and how idiotic they would feel because I HAVE BRAIN DAMAGE; I should not be entrusted to the care of pets…OR humans, for that matter.

I thought of how HUD would not understand the magnitude of my being able to care for another living thing, but he would try his best to comfort me as opposed to getting angry with me. I then began to wish that he loved Whiskey the way he loves Coco; maybe then he would understand my probability of losing my mind if Mr. Whiskey were to disappear. I finally decided to let HUD know that I had lost our son, AGAIN.  I attempted to call him, but because he was at work, the line was busy.

All of these thoughts are racing through my (injured) brain, as I am systematically moving from the inside of our home, to the back porch, to the front porch…and I am PLEADING with Whiskey to “please come home now!” I kept picking up Princess Coco and loving her as she continually tried to go outside and to the right of the exit off of our back deck. I kept forcing her to go back indoors, and she would look at me with a “but…MOM” gaze.


I started thinking of how distraught Coco would be when she realized her brother was missing. Being the negative person I am, I began to prepare myself for dealing with losing her, too…because she would definitely die (it is common with animals as well as people) if Whiskey were ever gone.¬†This is when I text HUD that I had lost Whiskey…again.¬†I sent him a text at 10:16…”I lost Whiskey.” Five minutes later, HUD sent me a question mark.

Finally, I decided that Mr. Whiskey may hear me jingle the treats in their treat container, and perhaps THAT would cause his return. So, I picked up one of the containers that has treats in it, and walked out onto our back deck. I’m pretty sure I made Coco stay inside, and¬†as I retreated the dining room and began walking on the back deck; I was shaking the container of treats in hopes that Mr. Whiskey would hear it and come running.

No sooner than I had walked to the end of the deck, and about to step onto the stairs…I turned my head to the right, and I saw Whiskey running toward me with a “smile” on his face and his tongue hanging out as he was wagging his tail.

This is not a photo of either of my baby’s; I think this picture is cute.

My heart suddenly felt so much lighter and the knot in my stomach had that was clenched, finally unraveled.

What felt like 45 minutes, was probably 15 minutes…but, I responded to HUD’s text message, 3 minutes after he sent me a text with a “?;”saying that Whiskey FINALLY came home. HUD called me and I explained the whole ordeal…and how scared I was. I did not know what I expected him to do from an hour away when I sent him the initial text…but I said I felt that he deserved to know I had lost our son-AGAIN.

Princess Coco had been TRYING to tell me where her brother was when she was trying to walk off of the deck and to the right…but, I would not “listen;” instead I kept instructing Coco to get back indoors.¬†I am a wonderful Mommy to my ‘kids’… that is, when I do not lose them.

“Welcome to the World of Traumatic Brain Injury” by Jennifer White


Welcome to the World of Traumatic Brain Injury

By Jennifer White

As a little girl, I played with dolls and dressed them like a mother would. I would also carefully pick out a few other dolls and called them the mother‚Äôs children. I dressed the mother and¬†her children how I thought a mother and children should look and, oh yeah ‚ÄďI added a puppy in the mix that I named Hershey!

As long as I can remember, I always wanted children. I dreamed of how I would dress them, where I would take them, and¬†the hobbies I would encourage. Then, on July 28, 2000 the dream¬†of having a child changed for both my husband and I, after I had a massive stroke, brain surgery, and a comprehensive stay in rehabilitation where I had to relearn all the rudimentary skills I¬†learned as a child…how to walk, talk, swallow, eat, make a bed,¬†boil water, and push things forward. In rehab, I learned how to¬†push my own wheelchair forward, walk with the aid of a walker,¬†nourish my frail and stick-like body with food that I struggled to eat,and perform light housework. I went from being a VP for a top¬†nonprofit fundraising company to a permanently disabled person.

(WOMEN SHOULD NOT WORK OUTSIDE THE HOME) After the¬†stroke, I learned to live in the world of the disabled. While you are waking up,having your first cup of coffee and remembering the things you might have forgotten over your holiday break, there is a disabled person with a traumatic brain injury who is nursing a sleep hangover, putting on his/her adaptive equipment,¬†and trying to remember what goes first: breakfast or lunch, shoes¬†or socks, shampoo or conditioner. While you are driving to work, a¬†disabled person is struggling to hold his/her child without dropping the baby. Please don‚Äôt forget that there are people in the¬†world that are not like you (EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE “LIKE¬†YOU”): someone who might need a hand tying their shoes or just¬†hearing the word ‚Äúhello‚ÄĚ.

Before I had an acquired brain injury (ABI), I did not understand what brain damage was like. After the brain injury I was challenged with getting dressed¬†in the morning without falling, walking without veering to the right or left (MORE THAN 50 YEARS AFTER MY TBI, 40 DAY COMA, COMPLETE PARALYSIS…, I CANT WALK -WITH OR WITHOUT MY¬†BRACES ON- WITHOUT DOING SO. BUT I RIDE MY BICYCLE 25-30 MILES A DAY WITH NO PROBLEMS) when my¬†destination was straight ahead and learning that my future was in big part not completely up to me anymore. I had to let go of some of the control I so passionately struggled to get before my ABI.

Most importantly, I had to let people help me. Once thinking that asking for help was weakness, I now believe that there are people in my life that want to help me and now I let them. It feels much better to have allies  in life than going it alone. After the brain injury, I lost my mother to cancer after losing my father to the same disease only a few years prior. My world was rocked and I lost the last of two very important people in my life. I am thankful every day that I have my husband to help me through this very difficult time. I was recently diagnosed with asthma, a relatively minor lung condition that had gone undiagnosed (sic) for years. I was sad that I could not call my mother and tell her how bad I felt or how scared I was before it was diagnosed. But I did have my husband who I rely on to support me when I am sick and well. I learned after the brain injury that it is okay to rely on people and is actually pivotal to healing.

Whether it is a friend, a family member, a relative, the clergy, a physician, or someone else. Let them in, let them help you. Life is unpredictable. I never thought when I was young that I would be on Medicare at age 37 and on long term disability at 37 years old…never experience motherhood, never be a grandmother…never see my children graduate from college, get married, have their own children. It is now my reality and a reality that I have had to accept over the last 15 years. It stings! It burns! But, I am still thankful I did not ¬†die when I was given a 4% chance of living. I have gained new skills (IT IS A DAILY CHORE TO LEARN THE NEW ONES THAT COME TO US UNBIDDEN) and have learned to appreciate things I once never noticed, and I love people more than I ever showed before the acquired brain injury.

Jennifer White is a traumatic brain injury survivor from St. Louis,Missouri. When she’s not writing about her life as a survivor, she enjoys spending time with her family and of course, quilting.


My sense of confidence is completely back, I think.  While in Las Vegas this year; I went to eat lunch by myself while HUD was tending to his work responsibilities, and the entire reason for our trip. It was lunch time, and after walking around the mall/casino of the hotel looking for a restaurant where I was in the mood to have lunch; I walked into a busy restaurant/bar all alone, and instead of asking the hostess for a table, I asked where the bar was (I could not see it, due to the fact that I am very short). I have always preferred the bar seating anyway, but I thought maybe I could watch TV and not be bothered by anyone.

The hostess¬†informed me that the bar area was directly in front of me; I rolled my eyes, and gave a look of “DUH” and I thanked the girl. I then started walking toward the bar area. As I was looking around the bar for a place to sit, preferably one where no one would be prone to chit-chat with me (as with every thing else, I must have my full focus and concentration even when EATING, else I will just end up talking. I can not talk and eat…that is multi-tasking).

The bar area was full, too…I noticed three empty chairs. One of those seats was in between two men, and the other was beside a man. I chose the chair at the end of the bar, near the entrance to the kitchen. I decided on that seat because I would be less likely “hit on” or even chatted with.

Behind the bar, a 20-something guy came strolling out. I was immediately enamored with him, and could not get my manners to react to my brain telling my eyes to “look away.” He was short, he had dark hair, and his right arm was SLEEVED! That in itself was enough to make me stare at him.

He walked up to me sitting at the bar, handed me a menu, and asked if I wanted anything to drink. My insides fluttering, I was having a celebratory party in my head, because the extremely attractive man was my server.

Gaining control over myself; I ordered a Sprite (I could not fathom drinking alcohol before/at lunch–even in Vegas).¬† He got me a Sprite, and I looked over the lunch menu while he gave me time to decide what I wanted to order to eat.

When he returned, I told him what I wanted to order. I do not remember now (I chose to write this post one month after HUD’s and my trip to Vegas), but the two of us made small-talk. It was not even 2 minutes after we began talking that I mentioned HUD. I guess I just wanted to put up a “CAUTION” sign before he said/did anything. ¬†I felt the need to let him know up front that I had a boyfriend, so I asked if he would help me talk my boyfriend into getting a sleeve.

After all, I’ve worked in the restaurant/ bartending business…I understand how bartenders are. And he was paying attention to me in the way I remembered guys looking at me when they are attracted. I did not want him to flirt…that in itself would have made me feel guilty.¬† Guilty, because HUD was working…HUD flew me to Vegas; we were staying in a nice room overlooking the strip because of him, but if I allowed this bartender to flirt with me, I would be disrespecting HUD.

The bartender’s name is Chris (“I guess I can’t win for losing,” is what ran through my mind. My favorite male names, are; “James,” and “Christopher/CHRIS,” and I once loved the name, “Arthur.”). Chris was incredibly professional, I could sense that he was wanting to talk to me…but, thank God I mentioned HUD immediately. As I was waiting for my order to come out of the kitchen;¬†Chris was very professional and only talked to me occasionally…it was a good thing I mentioned HUD so quickly, I decided.

When I returned to the hotel room, and HUD came back in from working, he asked what I had done that day. I told him that I had ventured out of the hotel and went to eat…I also told HUD about the bartender with the sleeve…and as we were looking for somewhere to eat a couple of days later, HUD suggested we go to that restaurant.¬† I remember doing a remote for the restaurant when I worked in radio, and I thought, “GROSS!” I did not remember that I was not impressed with the food the day I went alone, but then it hit me, why HUD wanted to go to that restaurant (he will never admit it now).

Chris was working…he looked at me with HUD, and he did not act as if he remembered me. I thought it was because when he met me, I had styled my hair curly, yet this time it was styled straight. The more I tried to get eye contact when he neared us…the more I sensed that he was avoiding my eyes purposely.

HUD was also being¬†nonchalant about meeting my new “friend”/ acquaintance. It was actually a little annoying; and at the same time, it made me feel the way I once did when I was young girl ¬†and a cocky, erm, confident, version of the woman I am now. ¬†I could not get Chris to look in my direction; so I simply got off of my barstool, and “confronted” him as he walked by us.

I said, “Chris…do you remember me? I was in here alone the other day, and I sat at the end of the bar.” Chris smiled at me, and said that he did remember who I am. I said something akin to, “I was wondering, because you seem to be avoiding me! This man is my unofficial fiancee, and I want you to convince him to get a sleeve! Remember?” Chris said that he did remember.¬†I responded with something about me not bringing my boyfriend in so he could try to talk him into getting a sleeve, and that it was my man’s¬†idea to come grab something to eat here because everywhere in the mall was covered up!

I went and sat back next to HUD…Chris came over to where we were sitting at the bar a few minutes later. I forget what he said to HUD, but he did tell him that HUD should get a sleeve because his girlfriend (me) LOVES them. HUD said, “Okay”, then that was the end of it. ¬†Chris walked off, HUD changed the subject. I know it is silly, but I felt like the confident Brandy I was before the brain injury. It was nice…

HUD is not going to get a sleeve. *sigh* Even if his soon-to-be wife LOVES sleeves/tattoos on men. ¬†Well, HUD is perfect for me/to me in most everything…I’m not going to complain. But, I am not going to stop mentioning it to him either. *I jest…*