From intensive physical training, teaching and coaching to being bedridden in an instant; how could the puzzle pieces ever come back together.

From intensive physical training, full time teaching, coaching and bicycle commuting to being bedridden in an instant; from totally busy to total bed rest.  Some broken and some so lost, I pondered how the puzzle pieces could ever come back together.

As I stabilized, discussions of physical therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy were tickets I wanted to bounce out of bed for. With speed of the ball that hit me, I learned a painful lesson of the power of the brain. In times past, I felt suspect of the claims about mental energy and exclusively tailored fuel to physical expenditure. The energy to do the most simple tasks,  physical or cognitive were painfully draining. Despite every attempt to keep in secrecy, exhaustion led to what appeared to be narcoleptic tendencies. Exhausted, yet something in that broken brain had the power to try to hide as many broken pieces as possible, to pretend I was ok.  If I faked feeling well, perhaps I could earn a green light leading me on to the trail out from Station 44; you cannot force a piece of puzzle into a space it does not fit.

The nauseating throb in my head which accompanied every movement left me terrified that with every step until eternity the pounding would prevail.  The healing in my head left me leaving me feeling at times like my skull was  being hammered and at other times being squeezed by a vice at my temples. The explanations detailing the severity of my TBI meant nothing; downplayed by my belief that all was lost in translation each morning when the neurosurgery team came in to discuss their outlook .

Physically getting back up on my feet was a painfully slow progression. Arms held out for stability,  head positioned awkwardly up in attempt to see with the only vision I had from my blood filled left eye; my balance off kilter and my gait an unstable teeter. Stable walking is not something that can be faked. My therapists kept logs, the facts and figures hence my medical team could see through my desperate attempt to make light of my staggered stride.  

Becoming steadier on my feet was part of the green pass criteria which permitted 2 hours off site. I was ready for a positive challenge; primed to test that stability and the lingering curiosity of how the pounding in my head might change with the impact of my feet on something other than linoleum flooring. It was weeks later when I earned my first green pass to leave the hospital on signed consent; that green pass had me glowing as though an Olympic medal.  

If I pick up the pace ever so slightly, surely I will accurately forsee the role any type of physical fitness will play in my future. The plan: walk briskly for 1 minute pending no falls and no cranial pounding, assess and adjust the goal posts accordingly. That Olympic medal was not good enough. I needed more, walk faster, walk further, climb higher. I am not enough.

The simplicity of a sports ball had become a puzzle of complexity. Just when I thought the green pass was the magical piece to the puzzle that would lead me joyfully along my trail of recovery, I found the jigsaw still so terribly broken.

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