Back to the Beginning: Mental Exam for SSDI…and Overload (posted Nov. 16, 2008)


Last night was my Mental Exam for SSDI, Brother Frank drove me to and back, and that was a great help. I do not drive at night due to light sensitivity from those glaring headlights, I know it’s not safe, and I very much appreciated the ride.

I felt present for the event although I’ve been nervous and scared since I learned about this test. I used to be on the Honor Roll in college, but now test taking is not something I look forward to post-injury. It is embarrassing and frustrating to the point I want to cry when I can’t figure something out.

I was asked questions like current and former presidents, I couldn’t remember who was in office before George, Sr. I was asked to count back from 100 by 7 and that fried my brain. I have trouble enough figuring out basic math going forward. A lot of mental gymnastics. I was given a string of numbers to recall and had trouble remembering. I was also given three items to recall at a later time, I blew that too. I have no concept of time so keeping us to the 45-minute time slot was entirely up to the doctor. When we went past that timeline, he started filling in the words I could not recall. I need time, I process things slower now.

Today I woke with a throbbing headache. Brain Injury specific because of location, it feels like someone jammed a rod in my head from the crown, through temple, jaw, into shoulder. Definitely injury stuff. I am way, way slower as if sedated. Slept most of the day. This is precisely what overload does to a Brain Injured person. A simple 45-minute test for most people rendered me unable to get out of bed and function today. No question abilities changed drastically post-injury.

This is the tough side of Brain Injury, I may be able to go and do something giving impression I’m high functioning but it’s the aftermath no one sees. I pay dearly for everything I do. I have a very small life balance scale, if I add one thing, one or more things fall off. At this time, the balance scale has no room for social life, friends, hobbies, etc.

In rehab, we learned “Planning and Pacing” and I won’t tell you how much I hated that phrase as a formerly Type-A personality! As humans, we generally don’t like limits. No one enjoys being sick in bed, and this is like that, but to a greater degree.

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About Resilient Heart

TBI x3, that's me! If you had a Traumatic Brain Injury (or Injuries!) and knew you might not remember dates, events, people, etc., would you live each day differently? Would you give more, forgive more, heal more? I am. The statistics for me developing Dementia or Alzheimer's is a high possibility - one, because of the TBIs, and two - because I'm genetically predisposed. Come with me as this present moment is all we know we have... Wishing you all the best - today & always. Blessings, Love & Peace, RH
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