Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm OK Mom!

          “Strength is made perfect in weakness.”

                      2 Corinthians 12:9

She was not OK.
 In early March a quick phone call changed our lives. It was M, she was speaking but the sentences were all jumbled and she was not making any sense. I hung up the phone and raced the hour drive to her apartment. That was the beginning of a path we would follow, and are still following.
 The Emergency Room visit, CT scan, and X-rays revealed a severe concussion.
M had fallen at work on the ice almost a week before. She had phoned me that night but said she just had a headache and she was OK, she sounded fine. It seems in that week her brain had been swelling she had been going to work but came home early, not feeling well. The guilt of not running up there and making sure for myself still haunts me. She said she was fine and I took her word for it. A head injury is/was a thing I was not too worried about, it sounded minor. She sounded fine. I will never make that mistake again.  “I’m OK Mom”, she was not OK.
 When we returned from the hospital I packed her and Miss Mollee up and took them back to the farm. It would be easier for both of us, and she could get the rest she needed. They told us it would only be a couple of weeks, and she would be fine.
 She would sleep for hours, and hours. She would awake and complain about headaches, we were reassured that this was normal. When she spoke to us she would struggle for the words, her sentences were never complete. She seemed to be staring into space, a foggy look in her eyes. There were tears in her eyes trying to get the sentence right, there were tears in mine watching her struggle.
 There were outbursts of anger, and frustration on both our parts as a couple of weeks turned into months. The doctors always reassuring us it would just take time. She could not drive, she could not tolerate loud noises, and she could not stand to be around a lot of people. The not driving thing was extremely hard on her; it took away her independence. It also took away my ability to juggle her needs, and my other obligations. I decided to back off on my other obligations; her needs would be my priority.
 K would often take time off work to come down and drive her sister around, while I tried to help My Hero with some of the farm work, especially during haying.
 We would spend almost every hour together, lots of doctors appointments, specialist appointments, and just trying to keep her apartment, and her other obligations going. There were trips to the Big City, and hours spent walking the farm (our healing place).
 Her stubborn nature making her push herself to do things, even if it knocked her out for days. An example of that was when a job promotion she had been waiting for two years to come up was posted. She applied for that job and waited to be called for the interview. She was called for the interview; she practiced, and practiced for weeks totally exhausting herself. We travelled to Ottawa, I was not going to let her go alone, and I knew it would completely drain her. She was going to do this with, or without me.
 After the two hour interview I asked her how it went; she replied, “I don’t remember”, you see it is her short-term memory that is still a problem, but she did it.
 We made it back to the farm and she had major headaches, and slept for three days.
 I admire the strength she has, she was an intelligent University grad, an independent woman living her own life, and she was going to be again, no matter what.
 After many, many appointments in the Big City she was given the OK to drive again. Today off she goes back to her own apartment and her own independent life. I watch her pull out of the driveway. I wait anxiously by the phone, just as I had her first day of kindergarten riding on that bus.
 The phone rings “Mom I’m OK, I only had to stop and rest once.” I smile. “I am going to take a nap now, I have a headache.”  Ok sweetie, I knew you could do it.
 “It only takes time”, it has been almost six months. Since this was a head injury there are no visible signs and no one realizes what she has been going through. She gave me permission to write this so that other people may benefit from hearing her story.
 I am positive she will be back to her old self in no time.  There are more specialist appointments, and therapy but it is working.

 As you read this she is travelling alone to the Big City for another appointment. “I’m OK Mom.” I know but I will be staying close to the phone.

 She is still waiting to hear from Ottawa.



  1. I read this and still just can't find the words. As a Mom, I'm with you and I know that feeling. Because of our horses, there have been several trips to the ER because of possible concussions, some true, some false. I have hated to pay the bill, but always so glad I went. When I hear those words..."Mom", I can tell, and I'm on my way. My thoughts are with you and your darling girl today.

  2. I can only imagine your worry and heart break at not knowing def. Will keep you both in my prayers and sending positive thoughts your way! Y ou have no doubt raised a fighter!

  3. Poor dear. Mom's never stop worrying, even when the children are grown up and on their own. Glad she realizes this. You are a blessing to her.

  4. What an incredible time you've all gone through these past months. M is made of sturdy stuff all right - just like her parents. She's an amazing young woman... best wishes for the job M and, most importantly, for her continued improvement.
    Buttons, even if you had gone to M straight away - the condition wouldn't have been obvious to you at that stage. Don't be haunted - be kind to yourself.
    Warmest good wishes to all of you.

  5. Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery for M! And don't forget to take care of yourself!

  6. So sorry, what a rough ordeal for your daughter to have to go through. I'm very glad to hear that her condition continues to improve.

  7. Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I'm sure that I would have responded the same way. We can't freak out over what seem to be minor injuries. Who could have known?

    I'm glad she is improving, and pray that she is back to normal and working in Ottawa soon. Relax mama. You made it through the nightmare. And you informed us of the danger of believing to easily, "I'm O.K. mom."

    Blessings, Debbie

  8. This is a Mother's Anthem. We worry, we fret, we have sleepless nights. It never ends. :)

  9. My goodness,
    M is getting there, good on you both.
    You are a great mum, and have 2 lovely daughters...we have lots of memories, you and I when our children were growing up :)
    Your friend M xxx

  10. I have not been reading your blog long enough to know about M and her sound like such a great Mom. Very happy to read that she is on her way home. I guess you can't rush healing with a head injury. It sounds like it was a pretty long haul and that you are now getting back to "normal"...both of you. Yeyyyyyyyyy!!!!

  11. There's no way I could understand what you and your family have gone through, but I appreciate some of it having had a head injury that required doctor visits myself.

    Any kind of problem that results in a visit with medical people (thank God we have them and their skills) is traumatic. I'm so glad there is good news with this story. Hoping for a great future for your M.

  12. Now we know what has been so very much on your mind these past months, since you alluded to a difficult situation! What an incredible fright you must have had, what a lengthy period of healing coupled with worry, frustration and managing the logistics of it all. I have always had a fear of any head injury! I have heard of people bumping themselves in the shower and then having a bleed on the brain days later. I am so glad to know M is finally on the mend.

  13. oh my goodness. i am so sorry for your daughter and for you. this has certainly been a trying time for you all. God bless her in her continued fight to return to her old, independent self! sending wishes of healing and safety to surround her...

  14. I can only imagine the worry for the past couple months...maybe I do know a bit about that kind of niece (the light of my life) was diagnosed three years ago with thyroid cancer...she was 24 at the time....she had just been accepted into law your daughter going to the interview my niece was determined she was going to the orientation...10 days after surgery. She could barely hold her head up...all the nerves had been cut during surgery. I took her to the orientation..we were there two hours...she wore a scarf around her neck so no one would know...she was afraid if they knew they would change their mind on accepting her. When we got back to the car she pretty much you with your daughter I had never been so proud yet so scared in my entire life....we have raised some beautiful strong young women and for that we should be proud. Sarah took her bar exams last week husband gave me the best compliment in my entire life..He said "You are two peas in a pod"...Your daughter has taken her strength from you...and your posts to this day shows it from the life you lead...

  15. Wow - I didn't know you were going through this. So glad you were there to help her!!

  16. Buttons, how many times have we bumped our head and thought nothing of it? Just as M has done like others before her.
    I hope and pray that she will recover and be her 'old' self again.( I'm certain she will)
    In the meantime you can only keep in touch and keep'nagging' at her to look after herself. I can't tell you to stop worrying though as that would be useless. Hugs Maa

  17. This post should be wake-up call to all of us to automatically think someone who claims to be okay after a big head bang is actually okay. Your daughter is so fortunate that you knew something was wrong and then acted.

    Isn't it amazing that no matter how old our kid get we still worry about them?

  18. I had a accident decades ago that caused a hairline fracture in my skull. I was unconcious for 4 days and in hospital for 3 weeks. I had to relearn most things except the basics and even had to be taught to negotiate stairs. I'd also lost a lot of memories. I'd hold on to friends so they couldn't leave and ask them to continue their story about us as eventually a key word or phrase would trigger the whole memory and it was like opening a book I'd read long ago and reliving the story again. It took a couple of years and even now, 30 years later, if I'm overtired or under a lot of stress my sentences come out disarranged or the word which expresses exactly what I mean can't be thought of so it takes me longer to say something.
    Peaceful sleep is the thing that sorts this out for me because my brain can 'reboot', like turning off a computer after you've loaded a new program, so it can reset. She will be ok as the human brain is miraculous and when it can't repair it shares out the 'functions' of that part to other areas of the brain and no one but the observant family/friend to that person will notice they aren't just like they were before the accident.
    Hugs to both of you,

  19. P.S. It was about 6 months before I could return to work too and I found driving cars to be the most tiring thing to do as you need to be concentrating all the time on a variety of things.

  20. Best wishes to M. for a quick recovery.

  21. My heart goes out to you and your daughter. I'm proud of you both. Your daughter sounds like her mother a strong determined woman. I wish you both the best of luck with your future struggles. Take care. I will keep you both in my thoughts. I'm glad you could share the story as it may help others.

  22. how brave both of you are! no matter how old they get, they are always our babies. your strength and faith will make all things possible. happy thoughts to all of you.

  23. oh, what a painfully important post! I forgot my bicycle helmet the other day and knew during the whole ride how stupid I was for not wearing one. our brains are just too precious. blessings on M's COMPLETE and one day headache-free recovery!

  24. Good thoughts to M..and hugs to you.
    Head injuries are terrifying and frustrating.

  25. Thank you for all your wonderful comments M spent the day reading them and was very happy and encouraged by your wishes.
    Stichin' time - Robyn M was especially inspired to read some ones story so similar to hers. She said no one understands a head injury and you wrote exactly what she has been going through. The driving thing made her think you know how she feels. Thank you so much.
    I have the best followers and I appreciate you all so much. B

  26. Hi B,

    First off thank you soo much for your incredable sweet comment on my post monday. I now understand better what you meant after reading this post.

    I don't know what it is to be a mom (i'm not a mommy yet) but f i sometimes see my mom and how she handles all of this i know you must be a very strong woman.

    I hope your M is going to be fine... I'll light a little candle tonight...


  27. M and your whole family, will be in my prayers. i can't imagine such a frightful experience. it's a relief to hear things are slowly on the mend.

  28. It was so nice to meet you yesterday; another one of those "it was meant to be" moments. It will take time but improvements will come. It has been six years since my last injury. I still have days where the words won't come to me. My hubby still worries about me driving but I know when to pull over and rest and yes I usually do nap when I get home. I saw a sign the other day that was perfect: "I don't worry about getting lost, I just change where I am going to". That happens way too often.
    M - you have to have patience. Today you might be able to do something you couldn't yesterday and then tomorrow it just won't work. Keep trying and don't give up.

  29. Kim It was also so nice to meet you and I truly do think it was meant to be. You are a lovely young woman and I am happy to have listened to your story. Best to your continued success. B


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