How crazy can I be?

Dear Bloggers,

Last Friday I had a gentleman on the bus who had a difficulty with his speech, no problem in this case as I had a waiting time of more than twenty minutes. We talked about what had happened to him and how difficult this was feeling. He suffered from a brain trauma and lost a lot of his normal abilities and some people called him a nut as he rides on a special bike. He could not recall to his life that he had lived before and his memory gives only some flashbacks that he could put into place, he carries a picturebook with him to recognize his own kids and wife. And that must be terrible (unless you’re having a horrible wife and kids) After his story I drove back home and tears were running down my cheeks overthinking his emotional plea.

Once again I realized how lucky I have been when I tumbled down the stairs a few years ago and got my brain got fully shattered. We just bought this house and we had just moved in. That evening we just brought our daughter to bed and my wife was just pregnant from the second one. When I was on my way down I slipped on the top of the staircase. When I was picked up again by the ambulance personel and rushed of to the hospital I slowly came around again.I felt a sharp pain in my head. Before I knew what was happening I heard a loud high tone in my head and I had trouble with my balance and my hearing. I remember the moment that I was falling, but don’t recall hitting the ground or the wall whatever came first.

I lay unconscious on the floor until my wife called me. I woke to find people hovering around me, pinching me to get any reaction. They were asking me questions, and although I could hear them I was unable to respond normally. As talked with a double tongue. I was told that an ambulance was on the way, but I thought it was completely unnecessary and that I would be fine in a few minutes.The ambulance arrived and took me to hospital and all the initial tests were clear. My partner arrived and I said to her that I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Luckily a doctor ordered a brain scan, which is normal when they found trouble in my brain. The neck collar was bathering me the most as the expected that I had broken my neck.

From that moment on I felt like I was floating near the ceiling, looking down at myself, watching everyone rush around me. I was taken to another part of the hospital, where I had a neurologist waiting for me. Everything changed then and there.

My doctor informed my family that I had suffered from a cerebral contusion. Two days later I went downhill quickly. A neurologist advised my family and partner that the brain had been shattered that much and that my character might have changed and that I could be angry and frustrated. As I might suffer having trouble with finding words, mixed up thoughts and not being able expressing myself, memory loss could also give extra frustration.

I underwent multiple tests to monitor my progress, and I lived with a tremendous amount of pain. I pleaded with my partner to take the pain away, and told her that I would have rather died. She just kept telling me that each day would get better, and that I just had to keep fighting.

After the worst was over, my slow recovery began. I was in care for three days, and as my rehabilitation seemed to go well, I was send home to recover slowly to the normal me again as it was not that bad as they thought. But I did not feel at home at all as there was a strange driver at the wheel, so to say the captain of this ship went overboard and missing. I cried almost every day; the feeling of helplessness was awful. For the first three weeks I couldn’t stand for a long time and when I walked I was out of balance and I fell over my right side for a few times I lost some of my muscle definition. For the first few weeks after that it felt like my body had forgotten how to walk and I was dizzy all the time and very heavy headed.

But as the weeks passed, I realised I could only keep getting better. I still have down days, I still cry over nothing and I’ll forever be asking “Why?”, but then I remember that eight years ago I was almost dead, and today I’m almost back to normal. I still get tired easily and don’t sleep well, which are common symptoms of a brain trauma injury. I also get headaches every now and then. Unfortunately the brain injury has left me permanently missing parts of my character and calculating skills and my walking and balance still deteriorates when I get very tired.

I am one of the lucky ones. I survived. Three months later I was driving again. My brain is still recovering; I’ve been advised it could take many years to completely recover. But now I’ve quit smoking and I stress less. Life is too short and unpredictable.

I still find it strange that I am not suffering from more problems as the man that I talked to never got back to a normal speech again and he has to ride a tricycle as his balance is fully disrupted. I wish I could see inside his real thoughts if he felt lucky or would he have been rather dead? This question is until today still humming in my head :”Why me and for what purpose?”

The other day I saw a bumper sticker that said
“After head injury, life may never be the same.”
How can nine words have so much impact on one’s life. I find it
painful to look back at when life was “normal”. I feel scared when I imagine the future. So, I live one day at a time and sometimes even a minute at a time.

It started in April of 2003 when I had this cerebral contusion. The doctor said the recovery went well. What the doctor didn’t tell me was that I would probably end up with impaired judgment, emotional problems, and would not be the same person that I was before the crash.

The whole family rallied for my recovery. After months of physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and eventually work adjustment training, problems were still so intense it was overwhelming. I was improving physically, but my emotions were gone, my love for the two of us was gone and I did not understand what was happening.

I first of all retired on disability and our income dropped € 30.000,- per year and we got more and more trouble to pay the bills. I had to find a better way of making a living again. So I ended up going to work full-time on a ship again.

Besides the tremendous burden of dealing with a person that felt himself a husband and father before. But now I was physically and emotionally impaired, the family did not have enough income to live on. So, I ended up getting more and more physical problems at night.

I left the old me behind and tied to get in line with this new me. And it is tough to deal with a father and husband who is full of anger, has emotional outbursts, did not care about what ever happened to him. Thinking back, I know I did not do the right thing, and I worry about the impact that this had on my oldest child.
But at the time, I was just trying to survive – buy food and make the house payment.
Life suddenly became an endless struggle. There was not time to relax, just visit a friend or to enjoy life with the children. Our family life had turned into “daily survival.”
I have been told we are lucky – that I am better than some.
What lies ahead, I don’t know. But please I am not asking you to feel sorry for me.

I live at home but there is not much of love around. She doesn’t put her arms around me any more, I don’t ask her how she is feeling. I get scared thinking of my marriage as it has lost it’s bloom next thing that might happen might be being alone. The world considers me married – but am I? I don’t fit with the single men; I don’t fit with the divorced men. But no one seems to take care of me. Most of the time I am able to deal with this – but sometimes I feel lonely and scared.

The marriage as I had known it, ceased to exist. I had lost not only my best girlfriend and companion, but the best years of my life had been erased.

The Old Sailor,


  1. Pfff heftig, ik denk dat u vrouw nog heel veel om u geeft, mss met wat ups en downs, maar
    ze is er nog steeds na al die jaren, dat wil toch wel wat zeggen,

    heel veel sterkte,
    liefs que.


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