The strain on my brain is mainly a pain

Brain scans of TBI.
A mixture of old age, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and too many broken bones over the years brings pain later in life.

Had planned to film the Christmas parade Sunday but my frozen left shoulder scuttled any ability to hold the video cam and I spent the afternoon flat on my back. A cortisone-steroid cocktail shot into that shoulder three months was supposed to ease the pain and return movement to the arm and shoulder needed by a left-handed man. It was “frozen” when I collided with a catcher at home plate in a softball game on the mall near the White House in Washington in 1984 — 38 years ago.

But when I tried to pick up the video rig, the damn shoulder was too stiff and painful to give me the movement I needed to hold the camera without a lot of pain that overcame medications that are supposed to ease the hurt gave up and went south for the winter.

Eight weeks of physical therapy twice a week has increased the pain of movement, so I suspect the orthopedist treatment that part of my worn-0ut body is going to recommend shoulder replacement surgery if things don’t improve over another eight weeks of PT.

To complicate things, increasing weakness in my lower legs has me facing the needles of a nerve conduction study on Carilion on Thursday, which has delayed the start of the second round of PT. Aso in the mix is occupational therapy to see if anything can slow down Early-Onset Dementia, which too often sets in on those of us who suffered brain trauma

Over more than seven decades of life, I’ve had multiple events that have caused “closed head injuries,” the latest diagnosed as TBI (traumatic brain injury) in 2012 when I laid my motorcycle down to try and avoid hitting a black steer on darkened U.S. 221 between Cave Spring and the bottom of Bent Mountain. The brain is a complex, and often fragile part of our bodies, and one neurologist admitted that “we don’t understand it that well.” I’ve abused mine in serious car crashes, a helicopter mishap, too many concussions to remember and calibrate, and the “cow encounter” that has brought on too many gaps in memory, loss of the ability to concentrate, and failure to make necessary decisions that once were easy.

My hearing is down to 20% in my right ear, and 45% in my left. I walk mostly in a shuffle, not steps, balance is a hit or miss on too many days and the right eye that was dislodged in the 2012 accident sometimes experiences dizziness that the brain keeps trying to correct, but fails.

On Thursday, orthopedists will stick probes into my muscles and attach electrode patches near my nerves to conduct a “nerve velocity nerve conduction test” to try and find out why I am having recurring numbness in both of my legs below the knees, along with weakness.

Summer and fall ended at our house with an embarrassing, sloppy, overgrown yard that was not mowed for more than four months. A broken key part failure idled our riding lawn mower when the part was back ordered and my weakened legs kept me off both the mower and our tractor for the entire period. The goal now is to get my body back into shape over the winter to gry and reclaim the three-and-a-half acre front lawn on a sharp hillside when Spring arrives. The house and yard look like something out of the Munsters.

I turn 75 next month and the doctors, usually ask: “what’s your goal for the coming year.” My answer this year will be simple: “Be able to hoist that damn camera rig and control it on my shoulder so I can do my job.” And, yes, mow that yard.

That’s not too much to ask. Or is it?

© 2004-2022 Blue Ridge Muse

© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse