Anything which harms or penetrates the physical matter inside your head would constitute as a cause of brain injury. It can be caused by blunt force trauma to the head, something which doesn’t physically touch the brain itself but a blow to the head, hard enough to cause damage. Or, it can be an act which, despite in some instances being done with intent (through brain surgery), causes irreversible damage. Similarly, ignoring or taking a buildup of pressure inside the head “lightly“, is a sure fire way to guarantee brain injury beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The brain sits cocooned inside the skull, protected from outside force and interference. In some cases, accidents happen and cause damage to the sheltered life of our most very precious body part. The life force behind who and what we are. However, brain surgery (regardless of the reason why), invokes the same kind of damage and threatens the matter which it penetrates. I struggle to believe that anyone who undergoes brain surgery, would walk away from it unscathed…Besides, everyone knows that there are risks with any surgery.
I’ve had many debates with Neurosurgeons, Neurologists and even Neuropsychologists alike in saying that my memory should not have been affected in the way I describe. I “laugh” at this but only momentarily because the fight to be heard and understood seems just a tad cruel. I wish sometimes they could actually experience an invasion of their own brains and what it’s like for someone living with a condition like Hydrocephalus, as an example. (Almost like the contestants on Masterchef who eat a dish in order to help them replicate the taste, texture and flavour). To have someone drill a hole in their skulls and insert a shunt or gently navigate their way to the third or fourth ventricle, with an endoscope in the brain, to create a stoma (hole), for cerebrospinal fluid to flow through the newly created detour. Carefully navigating through their Frontal and Temporal lobes because there’s simply no other way…you can’t go around, you’ve got to go through it.
Sigh…but, I wouldn’t wish this condition or the effects of brain surgery on anyone, not unnecessarily.
There are many things I wish I could explain about the way I myself react in certain situations or things I’ve found myself struggling with (post all this Hydro-drama), for instance. Some things most people listen to and go “Oh, maybe you’re in the early stages of menopause” or “Maybe you’re just stressed” or “You need to stop taking life so seriously” or (One of my favourites) “Oh I forget things all the time”. Truth be told, it’s not as easy as you’d think, not when you’re smack bang in the centre of all the confusion.
The best thing I’ve stumbled across lately would be to try and make sense of it all…for myself. It’s bad enough that I get myself all confused and beat up when I do something out of the ordinary. But, looking at an image of the brain and the areas responsible for certain things, has been educational, to say the least. My burr hole is on the top right-hand side of my head, just above my right eye. I’ve had a shunt inserted, replaced, removed and an ETV done as well. The two areas affected by these surgeries are the Frontal and Temporal lobes.
Aside from my memory issues (short-term that is), I lose my s**t more often than I deem necessary or can justify and, noise bothers me to the point where I could literally scream. (My sense of sound seems heightened for some reason because hearing someone chew their food, as an example, irritates me to no end). I’ve become even more impulsive than normal and my moods are just crazily all over the place. Being presented with more than one choice at a time seems cruel most of the time because I simply can’t decide, no matter what I do! I suck at taking directions and trying to plan simple things will sometimes take me hours, days even weeks filled with procrastination, anxiety, self-doubt and constantly going back and forth to the drawing board. I make lists upon lists of everything and anything but just never seem to get anywhere. These are just a few things I’ve noticed since having had brain surgery, believe me, there’s even more. Admittedly, some of these things sound perfectly normal as one age but…
Describing the way my brain works to someone the other day, I said: “It feels like walking straight ahead into a brick wall, taking a step back and continuously moving toward the wall, hitting my head on the same spot and not understanding why I can’t move forward – it just doesn’t register. Or, better yet, trying to physically move a mountain” (something everyone knows is humanly impossible).
Grrr!!! What we can do?
Should you come across a person who has had these kinds of experiences or suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury, do yourself and them a favour – be understanding and accept that they’re doing the best they can – on any given day.