Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday November 4 - Singing Away Your Fears

Tara woke up with a bad dream – Goblins in the hospital room and bed. Scary stuff mixed up with you. She was scared and ran to my bed first thing in the morning. After a little cuddle, she decided that a shower would help her shake the worry. As she had a shower, she sang at the top of her lungs a song that she had learned at the Truro Youth Singers. “We are children, we are the light…”. After a few repeats of the words – I hear percussion in the shower – stomping her feet and clapping.- a full performance! After the shower she seemed much better. “Mummy, I know how to get rid of goblins now – you just sing them away – it works well.”

If only singing away your fears could be that easy.

Last night Marianne asked me if I have seen a counselor yet – “No, I don’t know when I’d find time” But she has a point and I’ve been thinking about it. I am definitely living on the edge. It takes very little to tip me over and everything seems to crash down until I have a good cry then I get my next wind and I pick up where I left off and keep going. I tip from control to chaos and back to control – at least I think I can fake the control appearance for a while.

Quinn is learning this from me – small things are setting him off – the gym bag caught in the car door, confusion about a homework assignment - little things that would not have bothered him before – bother him now. Unless he is held by the hand – he can’t cope with the little things that go wrong.

When you have a good day – I have a good day. The children are witnessing my coping strategy and are learning from it – It’s up to me to make it a good learning experience.
At the present, I feel I’m learning more good stuff from them and they are from me.
Tara seems to be handling this whole journey the best – I need to learn from her … maybe I should sing in the shower too.

I think I need some outside thinking to get me on the right track.

The challenge for you in the months (and years) to come will be for you to redefine yourself. Until now you defined your self as a runner – but you are so much more then that – you are a father, husband, friend, runner, soccer coach, baseball fan, wood worker, comedian and many more things to different people. All these roles enabled you to created a large group of friends and they are supporting you.

Running was one part of you - it was not all of you. You will just need to find another outlet of this energy – it still be running or it might be something else. I wonder if part of the rehab for you is to put some thought into this process of redefining yourself.

Part of your brain that gives you an identity may be damaged – so the real challenge will be finding your new identity. Your friends and family will be here for you to help hold the ‘mirror’ up for you so you can see yourself for who you are. Our love and support will be key in helping you through this important part of recovery.

Your role will evolve over time – for now - your role is the ‘recovering brain injured man’. Later, that will evolve to a new role – possibly related or maybe not related. That remains to be seen.

I visit you after work, you are in a new chair with less head support – it’s designed to make you work your core body strength. The wheel chair allows you to move under your own steam – although it’s a little difficult – it was very good to see you move about without help..

You passed your swallow test! You have graduated to soft foods. But – generally the worry of aspiration has passed. That means pizza is a go for tomorrow! We will have a pizza and movie night to celebrate.

You wondered aloud while in the chair about your left hand – ‘the entity’ you called it – “I feel sorry for this guy.” You say. “I think I’ll sell him. How much do you want for him? Make me an offer.” You say to the physio staff. Is this a dry humor approach to the whole organ donation thing?

I read your Truro Daily story again – You cried again – “Don’t make me cry anymore.” You say. Instead, I read a poem written by a young lady we know. Singing away your fears Rhiannan’s poem to you – we both cried.

Quinn got a special ‘Gotcha’ card (= a special card handed out to the children when they behave well in school) from his guidance teacher today. On the back was a plan to help him feel better when he felt sad. It said:1) Change the Channel, 2) Write on the Worry wall and 3) Play with Luke. He seems so much better – having his own plan for coping enables him. It allows him to feel bad because now he has a recipe to help himself feel better. It’s wonderful advice.

Early in your recovery – I was desperate – I looked for signs everywhere. I found many – they gave me an odd sense of comfort that my logical left brain didn’t understand – now I just look at you for signs of hope – this is far more logical – it sits easier in my mind.

Like last night, I returned to your side after the children were in bed. Terry came over to be with the children. We spent a lot of time talking with Vickie, your nurse. She is very sweet and cute. You asked her about three times if she was married. She’s not … she has a boyfriend. “You are a great catch … I hope he appreciates you.” you said.

We watch a little of the ball game on TV, but the TV doesn’t really hold your interest. Maybe your TV watching streak is like your running streak. Once you have broken the streak – it’s harder to get back into it.

You seem a little confused about whether the current series is the best of seven or the best of five games. I think you are probably just tired.
Vickie asked of some advise for a first time runner, “Well, it’s like Nike said you “Just do it” one step then another, one day and then another, one goal and then another. You just keep it up and keep going.”

Vickie wisely volleyed the ball back into your court. “If you want to get better, then you must “Just do it” and do it every day and the goals will be easier.” You explain. Each day is a challenge – each day you have little goals and each little goal will lead to a bigger goal – and that will lead to the best recovery you can make.

While you do that – I will start singing away the goblins. (Tara says my voice can scare a lot of things away – so why would fear be any different.)


  1. Love Quinn's perception on dealing with things. I think thats a great try for anyone. And Gwen I too have a voice that would scare more than goblins but love to sing. OH well we can't all be great at everything, you are doing great at a lot. JUST SING!

  2. I am so glad to hear that Chris is back in Truro! Although I have never met Chris I know he's someone special to have you, Gwen in his life! You are a very strong person taking care of our pets needs while your family needs you! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! God Bless you and your family! We continue to keep your in our thoughts and prayers.