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Testing My Limitations | TBI , CTE , Post Concussion Fear Anger Impatience

The day before yesterday I thought I was in this boat by myself. 

But, yesterday… 

in the pulmonary (stress) testing waiting room at UT Southwestern, they called my mother’s name. I stood up as well. She’d asked me to come with her. 

A crashing sound startled us all.. My laptop! hit the floor, glass and something wet splattered around my feet. 

Where am I?  I was thinking? Why are these lights so hot?

My mom left the room telling me to just stay put.  I remember saying to her attendant, “ Can someone clean this 
up?” She wants me to  go with her. I was trying to move in her direction, but she was gone before I knew it, so I sat back down. 

A half second of sitting, I remembered .. that wasn’t my laptop but a bottle of Sicilian lemonade leftover from my birthday the day before. 

Thankful that’s all it was.

The attendant returned with a garbage bin and towels and to my surprise the others in the small waiting room joined in to pick up the huge chunks of glass and examine my toes and ankles.  I was wearing sandals.

Waiting room patrons were now talking louder than before and to each other... 

My spilt lemonade had broken a sortof desperate silence that needed an out.

I could feel the need of it by looking in the eyes of my strange new roommates.

One woman assured me my mother would be alright without me. “They’ll take good care of her.” I knew this. 

 
I repeatedly apologized for creating such a stir. There was no need. These were servant people. They weren’t bothered at all.

Sitting quietly, solemnly again, feeling horrible that I’d missed being with my mom like she wanted me to.  I’d been scared my mother would be carted off to heart surgery straight from the treadmill.

Damnit! -All because of this short term memory loss due to concussion, this breakage situation happened.

Mad at myself and sulking about the second they’d called my mother’s name, and the moment I stood up… CRASH!!  -I’d 
forgotten where I was and what was in my hands?

Scared to death for my future if this post concussion syndrome shit doesn’t get better. 

Nauseated as well as embarrassed, my eyes tearing as I fought the urge to vomit. How will I manage this? God don’t let me throw up.

I’m at a hospital.. duh.

So I approached the counter and asked for anti nausea pills. Saying .. “I’m post concussion and I don’t feel good.” 

My face was melting beneath my sunglasses and that hot ass cloth mask I had on. The sunglasses slid off my face and sitting was my immediate recourse.

They (the hospital) couldn’t offer me anything but water and love, and paramedics- that I refused.  I sat down again, being watched over with concern, meditating and just breathing to control the nausea. I wanted to lie down and go to sleep.

By the time my mother returned, I’d gotten acquainted with four masked strangers, two of whom battling stage 4 cancer waiting their turn to be stress tested? I’m not sure why they were there..

In a matter of minutes I was being encouraged by a retired 
professional footballer who -along with his wife, shared resources on concussion recovery, including adding me to a concussion recovery FB group for athletes. 

And another retired gentleman whose grace was beautifully paternal, told of his stage 4 diagnosis and expressed gratitude that his late wife wasn’t around to see him so sick. 

I regret I didn’t get their names and numbers to keep in touch. I found our bond  was sudden but uniquely sincere.

I know this level of sharing had to be pandemic related as I sensed how lonely we all myst have been to see and talk to others besides out immediate housemates. If any.

We vibed freely and it was nice. Seeing their eyes in masked intimacy was strange though. But I was no longer embarrassed or felt isolated in my own recovery circumstances.  

There’d also been quaint references to Jesus and blessings were invoked. Not at all imposing. I’m not agnostic, but most often irk at random or disingenuous praise talk. But I felt in the presence of God then, and in my thoughts of them, now.

My mother did well with her stress test, the nurse told me.  Then we went straight home. 

The adventure of driving and tender chatter with beautiful souls had been quite overwhelming to my senses, though.

I’d love to do it again, but I don’t think my mother’s going to let me after she reads this.



 Anyone can teach you about love. I can make you good at it.

| Prose & photo by Jackie D. Rockwell |All Rights Reserved © 2008-2021|


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