My ABI and I: For better or worse till death do us part . I always start my story with I went to sleep as LeaAnn and woke up a total stranger.
On September 2014 Labor day I suffered a bleeding stroke and brain anyurism, followed by brain surgery to relieve the pressure I'm my brain, due to a blood disease I caught in my mechanical heart valves after some routine dental surgery.
The doctors told my family that if I survived I would never be the same. After 3 months of learning how to walk, talk, chew, swallow, read and write all over again, kidney failure Due to the antibiotics I was on for the blood disease, the doctors were right about on thing. I will never be the same.
My husband and I had been married 25 years when had my ABI. When you say those vows "Till death do us part", it never crosses your mind that trauma could strike anytime and turn your world upside down. Most survivors like myself have to start all over again. We learn how to walk, talk, months, maybe even years of therapy relearning it all over again, with no memory of your life before your TBI or stroke. Its kinda like waking from a very long sleep and finding that you are no longer the person you were before and will never be again.Surprise! You have a husband and kids! Surprise! Your a wife and mother to complete strangers.. Surprise!
My marriage wasnt perfect before my stroke, but after 25 years of marriage we had learned how to dysfunction perfectly together. Then one day everything was different. I was sleeping with a stranger in my bed. And so was he. You see, I had no memory of being married, or how to be married. And my poor husband lost the woman he married, my daughter's lost the mom at raised them, brain injuries destruction does not stop discriminate. Both of my daughter's had just left the nest, my hubby and I were getting to know each other again after raising two daughters. We had just started fishing together again, we started cooking together, and then all of a sudden pizza and a movie date nights all came to a halt.
Congratulations! Your married! Now what? The things you used to do together you can no longer do, or don't enjoy doing anymore, you don't remember the person you were before, but your partner does and mourns the person you were before. Marriage is hard enough without having to get to know yourself and your partner all over again. I'm here to tell you it can be done, it's not easy, just as the first time you met your partner and went through the dating stage, but it is possible with a whole lot of patience with yourself and your partner.
Many survivors become prisoners of their own home after a brain injury, the outside world being overwhelming, loud and to bright. Does not make it easy to go out on the town, or go get pizza and a beer together when your homebound does it? Depending on your disabilities making a pizza together is very sexy and possible in a wheelchair, cooking together or ordering take out and lighting some candles or have a pizza and movie night. This summer I wanted to go on a picnic but can't walk the trails here to get to a picnic spot, a carpet picnic or building a tent out of sheets and watching a movie together is not a bad compromise.
Get to yourself first. You can't very well please yourself or your partner if you don't know yourself. What do you enjoy doing? What do you dislike? Just sitting down and coloring together can be quite intimate. Do you like being touched? After brain injury many of us find being touched very uncomfortable, others intimacy is all they think about. Listen to your needs. Listen and talk to your partner about what they need from you, and vica versa. Someone once asked me if it made less of man because he could no longer take his kids to the ball games, go to their favorite restaurant together anymore or do the things him and his wife enjoyed doing. No. It Doesn't make you any less of a woman or a man, it's like learning how to dance with a partner after you have danced alone for years. You may have forgotten the steps, but your heart has not forgotten one step
Let your heart take the lead.
It's been three years since my stroke. We have a long way to go but have also come so far.dysfunction is common especially after a brain injury.. The trick is learning how to dysfunction perfectly together