Brain Damage

While I normally don’t look or sound like I have brain damage, there are moments when I’m talking and I say the wrong thing and don’t realize it. Sometimes it just means I’m providing misinformation. Sometimes it freaks people out and they look at me like I’m about to have a seizure or they’re certain I’m insane. I think that because I don’t look like I have brain damage, it surprises them.

These moments usually happen when more than one person is talking or when I’m distracted, like when I’m trying to say one thing, but my mind is drifting off somewhere else. I can’t concentrate on one conversation when another is going on across the table. I’ll interject a word or two from the other conversation I’m trying really hard to tune out into the one I’m trying to play a role in. If I’m distracted, I’ll use my ‘out loud’ voice for the thoughts going on in my brain. Either way, random words, completely out of context, get thrown willy nilly into my sentences.

Usually I notice when this happens and I’ll comment, ‘Did I just say tomato? I meant to say gin gimlet. Sorry.’ But other times, I don’t catch it. My husband will later point out that I sounded like a crazy person, but he was too kind to correct me in front of other people. Other times I just get a strange look, but I can see one of two internal conversations going on in their heads. 1. Is it polite to correct someone with brain damage or ask what the hell she’s talking about? OR 2. I don’t have the heart to ask her what she really meant with her random gibberish. That poor girl…

I say, it’s just a little brain damage! If I sound a little looney, for Pete’s sake, point it out so I have the chance to explain myself and convince you I haven’t completely lost my mind. It was only 4 cm that I lost. Those of us with a little brain damage aren’t so delicate that you can’t be honest with us. We can usually laugh about it and say, ‘Did I say gin gimlet? I meant vodka, neat. Sorry.’

11 thoughts on “Brain Damage

  1. Karyn, I love your sense of humor and your approach/handling your brain injury. You are amazing. Prayers/good thoughts/good wishes/whatever works are always headed your way.

  2. Karyn, maybe we should approach this from an alternative angle. Maybe what we offer is an alternative to the norm, where random words can be a creative injection that binds unrelated conversations together. It’s like entering the matrix!
    I feel that odd words or eccentricities should be appreciated and that those caring for us don’t have to wrap us in cotton wool. Humour can take the seriousness out of any uncomfortable situation. And make that a double for me please.

  3. Karyn, You are a gifted writer. You put words to your stories that paint vivid images. It’s a rare talent and shows your remarkable strength as you display this uncanny ability to find humor and irony in all of the crazy and often unpleasant moments in your journey. While you say you struggle with the words in live ad hoc conversation, this is not so with your talent in writing. You seem to hone in on a specific point that resonates so well with people, even those of us who are outside of your exact personal experience. You are a brave, courageous warrior. You are winning every day you defy the beast and carry on with with your wry wit, your grace and style. You have given me my lift for the day! Thank you.

  4. OMG, did I write this post? I could have. In fact, you’ve inspired me to write again just to very gently remind my friends and family that I’m okay, it just takes me a bit (a lot) longer to remember certain things and sometimes I ramble trying to find words, usually failing. Thank you for being such an inspiration, Karyn 🙂

  5. Dear, dear Karyn…Once again you have outdone yourself. Your writings are not coming from a “damaged” brain, but from a brilliant mind and big heart. Oh..by the way, I like my gimlets made with gin.

  6. You know, I’ve wondered if I didn’t have damage (I mean, come on. 13 hour surgery! Who wouldn’t?)…because I know I’m not the same person I was before surgery. And, I sure remember right AFTER – whooo boy. I had SUCH trouble with my words and formulating them….it was SO frustrating! It has leveled out…although I do know my brain doesn’t process things the same way. I wonder if that’s surgery itself or location or tumor?

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