Yesterday I quietly celebrated the day I awoke from an induced coma, following my brain injury. I’ll likely forego active observation of anniversaries like this in the future, but this one bears some poignant memories for me. I remember turning to my left and seeing my father sitting nearby. I was still in an odd sort of dream state, but that part is clear. I also remember seeing Kris and the girls that day, including hearing the wonderful joke that made me smile (then and now).
I talked about this with my brother last night via IM. Every time I do this, I learn something new about what happened. He told me about how he’d picked the girls up from camp, telling them they’d get to see their dad awake for the first time in a week. He told me how it felt watching the exchange with the girls from the other side of the room. It made me cry thinking about that.
I also visited my neurologist this morning. Things are going well enough that he recommends calling him only if something comes up. He reached this conclusion after hearing that I didn’t have any notable aches or pains in my head, and that things were going pretty well with work. It helped when I dropped in that I’d been running about 38 miles per week and had done six marathons over the past three months.
My list of questions for him this time focused on long-term effects and risks. Some of them are sobering (higher risk of Alzheimers), and some are sort of funny (potentially lower tolerance for alcohol). He offered some advice on vitamin supplements (most of which I already take), and on maintaining cognitive fitness (keep my brain as active as possible, stress level low, exercise regularly, eat well). Fairly uneventful, but it felt very nice to wrap things up on a positive note.
There’s still some medical work to be done. I’m getting braces at the end of the month, and will likely have to wear them for about two years. There’s also some jaw surgery in there as well – essentially re-breaking my upper jaw to realign my top and bottom teeth. It’s possible that this treatment will also help to alleviate the constant Tinnitus I experience as a result of the accident. It’s pretty annoying and has notched my hearing down a bit too.
If you’ve been reading from here regularly, you’ve noticed many fewer missives tagged recovery. That’s a good measure of my gradual recovery and adjustment to being the post-accident Paul. By any reasonable measure, I’ve done very well. There are definitely differences, and still some things I’m working on. Over time, you’re likely to read less about the accident, and more about family, running, or pointless political discussions.
And that’s good in many ways.